This period brought about almost as great a change in prose as it did in poetry, a fact that is frequently overlooked. That in tense individualism, already mentioned, is as evident in the chief prose writers as it is in the poets. The essay was no longer some thing that might have been written by a committee of sensible men, it was as personal and intimate as talk. So, too, criticism became frankly personal, and the only standard was the critic's own likes and dislikes. These Romantic prose writers expressed themselves first of all, and even their criticism was a chapter of autobiography. One result of this was a change in prose style. The i8th century prose style had been antithetical, balanced, impersonal. This standard style was by no means abandoned altogether (it exists to this day) and most of the quarterly re viewers used it, but all the more important prose writers (with the exception of Walter Savage Landor, who in his massive prose Imaginary Conversations, as in his exquisite epigrammatic verses, aimed at a classical balance, dignity and brevity of phrase) turned away from it to styles more personal, more highly coloured and musical, nearer to poetry. The most ambitious of all these prose colourists and musicians was Thomas De Quincey, who produced one masterpiece of autobiography and day-dream and elaborately notated prose, in his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, and then gently subsided into being a writer of learned and in genious articles for the magazines.
This section includes some of the more widely used anthologies that reproduce excerpts of previously published works by writers, essayists, travelers, and poets in environmental literature and culture. is as an early anthology used in environmental writing courses in the early to mid-1990s, during the early expansion of ecocriticism as a field. Another batch of anthologies emerged on the market in the late 1990s. diversifies the range of nature and environmental writers and even includes some international figures. is a comprehensive textbook and reader that differs from many of the readers in this list, which mainly reproduce experts of previously published material. Many of the earlier volumes—, , and even , the latter of which focuses on the origins of nature writing—resemble each other in content and approach. The later volumes, starting with , begin to address a wider range of “second wave” concerns. Coupe provides an extensive overview of literary periods in ecocriticism, beginning with the Romantics. is a volume devoted entirely to American environmental poetry. is the most recent and comprehensive reader in this list, except for perhaps , although it does not offer the pedagogical elements that does. A significant gap at the moment in ecocritical anthologies remains the lack of a complete anthology of environmental writers from around the globe.
Appreciating English Literature - London School of …
These thirty years are some times called the "Romantic Revolt," a name that could be given with more justice to the Romantic movement in France that came later. It is rather misleading when applied to the English period because it suggests the existence of some definite literary authority and something like an organized rebellion against its canons. What actually happened was something vaguer and more complicated. We shall not attempt to define "Romantic," and there is not space in which even to indicate all the forces at work, the hundred and one factors, ranging from the re-discovery of mediaeval ballads to the influence of the French revolution. All that we can do is to find some common denominator of all the major writers of the age, something that not only links Words worth and Shelley, Lamb and Byron, but also points to the differ ence between them and the writers of the previous century. It is not easy. No political or religious belief, no common system of philosophy, no theory of literature, will help us. If, however, we remember that the 19th century itself was an era of indi vidualism, we stumble upon a common denominator. What dis tinguishes the literature of this Romantic Period is its intense individualism. In the 18th century, an author was essentially a member of a community, a good citizen writing for other good citizens ; his appeal was always to common sense, general knowl edge; if he described a landscape he took care to give it features that a hundred landscapes have in common; if he expressed feel ings, they were only the feelings that it is customary to express in society. The result was a literature that is sensible, social, generalized. When it was weak, it was dull, savourless. The Romantics broke with this tradition. Their first duty, they con sidered, was to express themselves. Their appeal was always to what transcended common sense. They would become universal in that appeal not by smoothing away all individual characteristics but by reaching the very heart of individuality. They held that to express one's own most intimate thoughts and feelings was really to express everybody. Thus it comes about that these Romantic poets, for all their wonders and crazy flights of fancy, are actually more realistic than the poets in the English classical tradition. It is they who give us "the streaks on the tulip," sim ply,because they are aiming at the individual thing. And when they are at their weakest, they arrive at sheer eccentricity. Their danger always is that they may become mawkishly egoistic or barbarically anti-social.