What is Chatterton's influence on Romanticism?

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gpane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thomas Chatterton influenced major Romantic writers both in his poetry and, perhaps even more, in the example of his own life and death. He committed suicide at an extremely young age, dying alone and poor, in a garret. After his death he came to symbolise the archetypal lonely, poverty-stricken, creative genius, rejected by the world at large and living only in and for his imagination; an image that was very popular during the Romantic era and persists to some extent to this day. As for his poetry, he remains most well-known for his forgery of a set of medieval works under the assumed persona of a medieval priest, Thomas Rowley. The historical flavour and imagery of such poems strongly appealed to the Romantics.

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