Do you agree with view that non- Romantic poetry is the criticism of life, while Romanticism poetry is not?  Support your point of view.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the fundamental problem with the statement is that it is far too wide reaching.  Poetry is so expansive and so divergent that it is difficult to be able to fully generalise what poetry through judgments.  For example, I think that you can find examples of poetry from Emily Dickinson, Tennyson, and Robert Frost that seeks to extol the virtues of life.  There is not an element of criticizing life in much of these poets' works.  In Barrett Browning's, "How Do I Love Thee?" there is little in way of criticism of life and of being.  By the same token, I think that you can find some examples of Romantic poetry where there is a definite criticism of life in the way it is being lived.  Wordsworth and Byron are just two examples of poets who criticized the way life was being led.  Keats was so much critical of life that he had to reach back to Antiquity and Classical notions of the good because of the shortcomings in the modern setting.  I think that these would be representative of Romantic poets who did not simply "love life."  Rather, they criticized it and offered critiques to make life more reflective of their own philosophical tenets.  I think that this is where I feel that the point of view being advocated here might be limited because the scope of the poetic literature that can find challenging notions to each part of the initial statement is so abundant.


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