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‘Wild and Majestic’: Romantic visions of Scotland

Oh for the crags that are wild and majestic, The steep frowning glories of dark Lochnagar             Lachin y Gair, Lord Byron, 1807   Lochnagar is a peak in the Grampian Mountains, now part of the Royal Estate of Balmoral. George Gordon Byron was raised in nearby Aberdeen in his […]

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'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 her father’s […]

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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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Mary Wollstonecraft on Men

by Simon Court Mary Wollstonecraft is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, published in 1792, which is generally acknowledged to be one of the first recognisably feminist texts. Yet earlier, in December 1790, she published A Vindication of the Rights of Men, which introduces some of the arguments extended in Woman, […]

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Romanticism in painting

by Simon Court What is it that distinguishes the Romantic view of the world from others? It is the importance which is placed on individuals who, inspired by the emotive power of imagination, perceive and order the world through their own senses. In doing so they reach an understanding of both nature and themselves. Whether […]

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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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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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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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