The Industrial Revolution in England

free essayRomanticism is one of the cultural flows, which pay special attention to feelings and discuss them in different settings in the light of a romantic approach to the beloved subject. In England, roots of romanticism can be traced back to the end of 18th century. This period is characterized by social tensions and dissatisfaction in the English society with the achievements and innovations of the industrial revolution. Moreover, social changes indicated that the old good England had been gradually transforming into a capitalistic state with its positive and negative aspects. As a result, romanticists thought that the Industrial Revolution had set the humanity back and stole the best values from the English society. Therefore, they attempted to substitute the predominating industrial topics with the concepts of beauty and sorrow about the good old days. Moreover, each representative of this cultural flow found consolation in the philosophic thoughts or nature. They attempted to refer to these concepts in order to provide a so-called healing of the souls that were dissatisfied with the changes brought by the industrialization.

The Industrial Revolution in England caused enormous social changes because of the shift to industrial processes as opposed to the craftsmanship and trade. As a result, there was a massive downfall of craftsmanship, growth of poverty along with the rapid development of the cities, emergence of factories and numerous scientific explorations. These social changes were negatively met by the society; these attitudes were also reflected by the works of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Byron, and some other writers. Popular gothic novels and sentimental poetry were the basis for the transition of literature into the works of Romanticism. The unique feature of English Romanticism is that it specially focused on the lyric poetry because local poets enjoyed framing their reflections into allegory, fantastic, and cosmic symbolism. Moreover, they regarded even simple things as the signs of the sublime, which gave a wide range of opportunities for interpretations.

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One of the beginners of the discussed style was Blake, who reflected on the most critical aspects of Romanticism. Thus, he was sure that fantasy, intuition, and poetic speculations were especially precious for Romantics,

To see a World in a grain of sand,

And a Heaven in a wild flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,

And Eternity in an hour. (Blake)

These words can be interpreted as a manifesto of English Romanticism because they present a philosophical approach towards the very possibility of interpretations. Similarly, the presented quote indicates that contemporary writers found a unique and endless source for interpretations in nature. Similarly, Wordsworth’s philosophic reflections indicate that he regarded nature as a sacred phenomenon, which had a specific moral influence. For instance, these lines are from “The Tables Turned”,

One impulse from a vernal wood

May teach you more of man,

Of moral evil and of good,

Than all the sages can. (“Wordsworth, William”)

Thus, Wordsworth’s words indicate that he found a didactic philosophy in nature. In this sense, one may say that nature was opposed to the society, which was characterized by the moral decay manifested in numerous daily troubles and by the accent on rational thinking. Similarly, the Romanic philosophical thinking was opposed to the concepts of dry science and ratio, which left no space for feelings. In this respect, the genre of poetry was also more popular among English Romanticists because it allowed creating a more emotional effect as opposed to the prose. Furthermore, one of the poets, who reflected about nature in his works, was Coleridge. He was also among the writers that were attracted by the ideas of Nature Philosophy that was popular in Germany at the time. As a result, he regarded nature as a unity of life and knowledge, which wanted people to be the students of the living knowledge. This idea can be exemplified by the quote from “Frost at Midnight”, so shalt thou see and hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible Of that eternal language, which thy God Utters. (Coleridge)

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As one can clearly see, Coleridge considered nature even a God, who had endless knowledge and could share it with people if they wished. One can find another example of the representation of nature in English Romanticism in Keats’ works that treated nature as a transcendent and endless art, which outperformed the human art,

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?

To what green altar, O mysterious priest,

Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,

And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? (“John Keats: Ode On A Grecian Urn”)

Similarly, Byron admired nature as a creation, which outperformed the human world because of its beauty and perfection. For example, these are the lines from “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”,

There is pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society, where none intrude,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar,

I love not man the less, but Nature more. (Byron)

Therefore, the examples demonstrated above give a comprehensive idea about the philosophic concepts rendered by the poets of English Romanticism. They admired nature and regarded it as a God’s creation, which had more beauty and wisdom than the human world. Moreover, they admired it and considered that people should follow the example of natural processes in order to become more educated and beautiful in themselves.


Conclusion

Summarizing the presented information, the paper arrives at a conclusion that English Romanticists escaped from the reality in their works by using philosophic allegories, which allowed transforming the world. This approach taken for escaping from the reality was caused by the fact that the society was dissatisfied with the new rules and evaporation of old good England with its historic social values. Instead, people faced the technical and industrials progress, which caused painful social changes such as poverty and the loss of interest in craftsmanship. However, the approach of thinking about the past, recollecting it along with reframing into a philosophy of melancholy resulted in the popularity of poetry. It gave a wide opportunity for using allegories and metaphors along with the presentation of the elevated style, which also reflected melancholy about the past. Similarly, nature was regarded as one of the endless resources used for the philosophic conceptualization and interpretation. Moreover, English Romanticists admired it as a unique creation of God, which could teach people beauty and truth.