Here's to reviving the Romantic era: New Romantics!Does anyone else feel that there should be a new age of Romantics?  I appreciate the change and flux of literature, but I long for more of...

Here's to reviving the Romantic era: New Romantics!

Does anyone else feel that there should be a new age of Romantics?  I appreciate the change and flux of literature, but I long for more of today's poets to write in the Romantic style.  I think it's unfair to put this kind of poetry aside simply because it's been done before. 

The style may have been done before, but the words and ideas would be new.  Who else will hitch their wagon to this poor little star?

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Optimism in Romanticism is not something that may jump out at a person when one reads romantic poets.  Optimism isn't a dominant, specific theme, for instance.  But it is inherent in Romanticism.  Wordworth communes with nature, contemplates it, and is transformed by it in "Tintern Abbey."  Shelley thinks the wind can transform his imagination and his mind and make him do to the world what the wind does to the landscape in "West Wind."

The romantics think they can change the world.  They think the world can be changed.  The world has potential; humanity can reach the ideal. 

That is what moderns and postmoderns have trouble with, and why a full-blown romantic revival is unlikely. 

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the previous thoughts that raised the issue of modernism and post modernism makes it difficult for a new Romanticism not to take account how these movements impact it.  The unbridled sense of optimism that was present in the Romantic mode of thought is something that is challenging to address.  How would a modern resurgence of Romanticism address the issues raised in modernism and post- modernism?  I would be really interested to see this emerge and see a potential answer to it.

Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the sense that we continue to rebel against classicism, we today are still very much romantic. 

Also, with so much being published today, compared to during the period of Romanticism (thanks to computers, etc.), there's probably romantic poets around somewhere.

Specifically, though, I have to wonder if the optimism of the romantics could ever come back full force.  Didn't modernism and postmodernism destroy that optimism for good?  Or not?

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I love that a young person, and apparently at least some of her friends, is so connected to Romantic poetry.  Interesting discussion here.  I'm thinking many of today's poets are much more concerned with self than with the greater or bigger picture of the world around them.  They're trying more to get in touch with self than world, it seems to me.  In that sense, I, too, wish we had more Romantics. 

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I love what Stella said about the comfort of the style. To me, good literature is like an old friendsometimes you just need to revisit that friend for some emotional or mental uplifting or stimulation. How nice would it be, however, if those styles were written by contemporary authors on contemporary topics?

nusratfarah | Student


I think all poets are more or less Romantics, even though they admit it or not. In fear of getting confined into a circle which would label them as "soft, nature-lover and fantasized", I think, most of them claim themselves to be realists. But, even modern poets like Eliot, Yeats, even the harsh realist Larkin whose poetic persona is often very objective, do possess a lot of Romantic attributes. So, declaring that "I am anti-Romantic" does not necessarily make a poet anti-Romantic.

And, most importantly, I personally consider this era needs, again, more nature-lover poets who would talk for common people from all walks of life throughout the entire world. Poems need to be more humanitarian.

I am nothing in this world, though I'd say - if I am about to start the revolution again, I shall change one thing a bit, that is the removal of over-subjectivity which is a Wordsworthian style. Yet, this one is my very personal opinion.

epollock | Student

It is actually being revived everyday in the push-back from students over a more centralized school system with ever more increasing responsibilities on both students and teachers. Students are more and more expressing themselves in unique ways with technology leading the way.

stella-lily-rothe | Student

In reply to ask996 and akannan:

I agree in both cases: it would be interesting to explore modern ideas in Romantic form, and also to see how modernism and postmodernism would bring about a need for a softer, sweeter form of poetry. 

I still do not see Romanticism as being optimistic; I think it was justthe era it comes from that makes it seem so.  Flowers and birds mae everything seem happy, even when writing about tragedy. ;) 

I myself would love both sides: a new Romaticism to address both current issues and revive the overall feeling of days gone by.  I guess that's my longing for the past, though.  My soul feels as if it should have lived in the 1800s, but I feel that I can make a stronger impact with my life now.  So, both elements are important to address, I think.

I, too, would love to see this emerge and see how people would handle it and what could come out of it. 

Thank you for replying!

stella-lily-rothe | Student

I don't think that optimism is a problem, as I really don't see much of it in Romantic poetry.  In my experience, the Romantics wrote heavily about death, loss, sorrow, and remembrance.  Their love of nature and beauty makes their poems seem optimistic, but I think as far as optimism goes, the Romantics seemed to be 50/50, if even.

One thing that concerns me is the steady loss of nature.  The beauty of Romanticism is, in many cases, its references to wildlife and nature.  With malls and cars abounding, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find the Pristine. 

Another major set-back, I believe, is the slow decline of respect for the old classics: Homer, Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare, the Latin language, etc.  Without proper education and/or personal exposure to the influences of the Romantics,  it would be difficult to find a large audience.

I have a few friends who write in the Romantic style, and I am definately a self-proclaimed "neo-Romantic." :)  It's a style I find comfortable to ease into, like an old armchair or a cozy robe.  It fits, and it inspires me.  The lack of interest in the publishing world devastates me: not for me, but for the genre itself. 

Thank you for replying!