Romantic Poets

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What is Romanticism, and what was the influence of various cults on Romantic poets?

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A detailed note on Romanticism and the influence of various cults on Romantic poets could touch on the cult of sensibility, the occult, and the cult of personality.

The cult of sensibility influenced Romantic poets as they emphasized individual perception and responses. In other words, they spotlighted a person’s subjective sense of the world. The cult of sensibility is evinced in John Keats’s poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Here, the speaker famously declares, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” For the speaker, this is all one needs to know on earth. As what qualifies as beautiful and true tends to depend on the senses of the individual, this line is an example of the influence of the cult of sensibility.

The cult of sensibility also appears in poems like “Lucy Gray.” This William Wordsworth poem focuses on how a child perceives and responds to nature. “Lucy Gray” ties into the occult since it suggests that Lucy didn’t die in the storm but somehow managed to survive, and now, more or less, haunts the landscape. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s longish poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is another example of the influence of the occult as the sailors must endure supernatural entities and developments.

Concerning the cult of personality—this can be seen in Lord Byron’s epic poem Don Juan or Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. In both works, the main characters are quite consumed by themselves, and this self-admiration creates a lot of trouble for both Don Juan and Victor Frankenstein. Since Frankenstein creates a monster, Shelley's novel reflects the influence of the occult too.

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