Welcome to the Wordsworth and Romanticism Blog. Here you will find lively and engaging explorations of the literature, history and culture of the Romantic period (1750 to 1850) from a variety of contributors. Illuminating and thought-provoking, they offer fresh perspectives on a period in our cultural history that continues to fascinate and inspire.

Flashing flowers

'Flashes upon the inward eye’ : Wordsworth, Coleridge and ‘Flashing Flowers’

by Fred Blick

Few readers will be aware of the ‘Elizabeth Linnaeus phenomenon’ today; yet over a span of almost two hundred years botanists, gardeners and scientists speculated about it. Elizabeth was the eldest daughter of the famous botanist, Carl Linné, known as Linnaeus.

One evening in the early 1760s, she was enjoying […]

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The intellectual context of Romanticism
William Wordsworth
Wordsworth and Romanticism

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the-valley-thick-with-corn

English Romantic painting: Samuel Palmer

by Simon Court

 

Samuel Palmer’s contribution to Romanticism in painting lies in his highly distinctive portrayal of the English countryside. For Palmer’s interpretation of the ‘pastoral’ is not remotely conventional; rather, it is visionary and idealistic.  As he wrote in 1871: “I was always imagining and trying to draw”. What his imagination created was a […]

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The intellectual context of Romanticism
Wordsworth and Romanticism

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NPG 411; William Godwin by Henry William Pickersgill

William Godwin: Political Justice, anarchism, and the Romantics

by Simon Court

William Godwin was a major contributor to the radicalism of the Romantic movement. A leading political theorist in his own right as the founder of anarchism, Godwin provided the Romantics with the central idea that man, once freed from all artificial political and social constraints, stood in perfect rational harmony with the […]

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The intellectual context of Romanticism
William Godwin
Wordsworth and Romanticism

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Robert Southey, by Thomas PhillipsRobert Southey, by Thomas Phillips

Coleridge and the Pantisocratic pipe-dream

by Simon Court

One of the more spectacular experiments to emerge from the early Romantic movement was the idea of “Pantisocracy” which was the brain-child of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, assisted by his fellow poet and friend Robert Southey, who with youthful enthusiasm devised in 1794 a highly ambitious utopian scheme for an egalitarian society. Akin […]

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Robert Southey
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The intellectual context of Romanticism

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John Thelwall, attrib to John Hazlitt. Owned by the National Portrait Gallery and on show at Dove CottageJohn Thelwall, attrib to John Hazlitt. Owned by the National Portrait Gallery and on show at Dove Cottage

John Thelwall and the idea of democracy

by Geoffrey Bindman

John Thelwall (1764-1834), was a friend of both Wordsworth and Coleridge, and one of the most radical political activists of his day. That radicalism was stimulated by his knowledge of English history and wide reading in philosophy and literature. He claimed to have been inspired by the prominent campaigner for political reform, […]

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John Thelwall
The intellectual context of Romanticism
Wordsworth and Romanticism

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Edmund Burke: studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds Edmund Burke: studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds

Edmund Burke and the Sublime

By Simon Court

The idea of the sublime is central to a Romantic’s perception of, and heightened awareness in, the world. It was Edmund Burke, who in 1757 published a treatise of aesthetics called A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, and therefore provided the English Romantic movement […]

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