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The Romantic Period

British Romanticism

“[I]f Poetry comes not as naturally as the Leaves to a tree it had better not come at all,” proposed John Keats in an 1818 letter, at the age of 22. This could be called romantic in sentiment, lowercase r, meaning fanciful, impractical, unachievably ambitious. But Keats’s axiom could also be taken as a one-sentence distillation of British Romanticism—with its all-or-nothing stance on the spontaneity of the highest art, its conviction of the sympathetic connections between nature’s organic growth and human creativity, and its passion for individual imagination as an originating force. This period is generally mapped from the first political and poetic tremors of the 1780s to the 1832 Reform Act. No major period in English-language literary history is shorter than that half-century of the Romantic era, but few other eras have ever proved as consequential. Romanticism was nothing short of a revolution in how poets understood their art, its provenance, and its powers: ever since, English-language poets have furthered that revolution or formulated reactions against it.



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Romantic Poetry Books

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Sample of books available

Compiled and created by Luciana Cavallaro March 2024