ENG 300 Journal

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

9/28: Ahhh, the Romantics

Quotes of the day:

(from The Four Ages of Poetry) "A poet in our times is a semi-barbarian in a civilized community. He lives in the days that are past. His ideas, thoughts, feelings, associations, are all with barbarous manners, obsolete customs, and exploded superstitions. The march of his intellect is like that of a crab, backward. The brighter the light diffused around him by the progress of reason, the thicker is the darkness of antiquated barbarism, in which he buries himself like a mole, to throw up the barren hillocks of his Cimmerian labours." -Thomas Love Peacock
*according to Homer, the Cimmerians lived in a land where the sun never shone.

(from A Defence of Poetry) "Poets have been challenged to resign the civic crown to reasoners and mechanists on another plea. It is admitted that the exercise of the imagination is most delightful, but it is alleged that that of reason is more useful." -Percy Shelley

(from A Defence of Poetry) "Poetry is indeed something divine. It is at once the centre and circumference of knowledge; it is that which comprehends all science, and that to which all science must be referred... It is the perfect and consummate surface and bloom of things; it is as the odour and the colour of the rose to the texture of the elements which compose it, as the form and the splendour of unfaded beauty to the secrets of anatomy and corruption." -Percy Shelley

A little history:
Above in Thomas Love Peacock's 1820 Four Ages of Poetry he challenges the Romantics, and other modern-day poets as old-fashioned, living in the past dark ages before the onset of reason and rationality. Peacock's was the day of science; thriving industry and economy spawned the rapid expansion of factories, new advances in navigation were making the world a more familiar place. Many believed the time employed to write poetry would be better spent contributing to such advances, and the Romantics were often criticized for it. Percy Shelley, one of the five or six main Romantics, ardently defended poetry, claiming poets to be the "unacknowledged legislators of the world."

My soapbox:
I'm not going to lie. I used to hate this stuff. Read... analyze... analyze... analyze. Maybe I was lazy, but I actually think I just didn't get it. I wanted to read something and take it for what it was on the surface - why make things so complicated? I was more science-based than I would like to admit. Then I met the Romantics and voila - I saw the light. I tend to agree with Shelley. While technogical advancement has its many benefits, we need more people like the Romantics to balance the world. If we've got a hundred scientists creating new hybrid roses, it wouldn't hurt to have a hundred Romantics taking the time to smell them. Once again, I strongly detest being called a hippie; no I don't smoke weed and yes I shave my legs. But what's the matter feeling the grass under your bare feet every once in a while or taking the time to marvel at God's sunsets? He didn't put beautiful things on earth to be taken for granted.


At December 10, 2004 at 2:48 PM, Blogger Nikole Didier said...

Of course I loved your journal entry because you defended the Romantics! You really stressed your argument beautifully when you gave the example of, "If we've got a hundred scientists creating new hybrid roses, it wouldn't hurt to have a hundred Romantics taking the time to smell them". What a great way to express your point. Great writing!

Good luck on finals it was great having you in Lit Crit!



Post a Comment

<< Home