The Effects of Social and Political Changes on Literary Periods: Literature of the Romanticism Period Compared to the Realism Period

Topics: Romanticism, Age of Enlightenment, Mary Shelley Pages: 2 (1121 words) Published: October 24, 2014

The Effects of Social and Political Changes on Literary Periods: Literature of the Romanticism Period Compared to the Realism Period Melissa DeShon
Western Governor’s University
IWT1Abstract
To understand the effects of social and political changes on literature, one could analyze the relationship between Romanticism and Realism. Romanticism began in the early 1800’s as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution as society began to reject the social and political norms of the Aristocrats during the Age of Enlightenment. During the Romantic period, authors and artists embraced nature, and imagination. They adopted impractical romantic attitudes and valued emotion over rationality. After the French Revolution of 1848, society began to revolt against the devices of the Romantic Period and embrace the truth, valuing the practical over impractical. This was to be known as the Realism Period. Similar in some ways to the Age of Enlightenment popular in the 17th century which emphasized reason and individuality, the Realism period (1850-1910) portrayed the world without imagination and idealization. Since Realist were so forth-coming of the truth, some accused Realist of having a negative view on life. The Effects of Social and Political Changes on Literary Periods: Literature of the Romanticism Period Compared to the Realism Period When comparing the literature of the Romantic Period to the literature of the Realism period it is apparent that when a society reacts to important social and political changes, their changing views are expressed in the Art that they create. Al though Romanticism can be viewed as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution of the Age of Enlightenment, it was quite popular during the early 1800’s. During the Romantic period, famous novels such as “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley were written. As in “Frankenstein,” authors, such as Shelley, expressed a fear and distain for knowledge and embraced nature, and imagination. They adopted...

References: Berthoff, Warner (1981). The Ferment of Realism: American Literature, 1884-1919. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cambridge University Press.
James, Henry (2003). Daisy Miller. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shelley, Mary (1994). Frankenstein. New York. Dover Thrift Editions.
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