The Romantic Poets: A Revolution in Thought

For our November 6 meeting Anne Rowe talked to us entertainingly and engagingly about the Romantic Poets and their role in bringing about political and social change in the wake of the French Revolution, not just in England but in the rest of Europe too.

She told us how the Romantic poets in England, led by Byron and Keats, brought a volatile and powerful erotic sensibility to politics and the social make-up of the country. As William Blake wrote at that time ‘The job of the poet is to go beyond understanding.’ In forty or so years fundamental shifts in ideas and thought took place in areas which were no longer the province of the elite. Wordsworth’s ‘Lyrical Ballads’ made a cataclysmic change in the way Nature was portrayed in poetry. Instead of Man dominating Nature, Nature dominated Man, who effectively becomes part of the Landscape.

Blake wrote that ‘evil is necessary’ and ‘relationships between innocence and experience’ were a necessary connection. This is Freudian stuff but the Romantic poets got there first! From now on we shall doubtless read their work through new eyes.

A thought provoking talk.

Richard Davies

What a wonderful, knowledgeable talk delivered with such charm and enthusiasm! Everyone was riveted and you have inspired so many of us to reread this beautiful poetry. You have given us so many insights! Marjorie James