Love through the ages

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ohn Keats (1795-1821)

Keats became one of the key figures in the Second Generation of Romantic Poets. Whilst he was unrecognised in his lifetime, he has become known as one of England’s best poets. Keats’ poetic style was characterised by elaborate word choice, sensual imagery and the creation of odes. Keats’ is also famous for his letter writing; many of these letters still survive and are a topic of great fascination. Keats died in Rome, Italy and is buried there.

Bright Star (written 1819, revised 1820)
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

1803 – 1815 – Napoleonic Wars

Romantic Period – 1785-1830

Regency Period – 1812-1820

Jane Austen (1775-1817)


usten is still to this day one of the most widely read female authors. Her work is characterised by its realism and social commentary. While comical, they highlight the dependency of women on marriage, something Austen never experienced herself. Austen chose to publish anonymously during her lifetime. She is buried in Winchester Cathedral.
Pride and Prejudice (1813) - Mr Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth Bennet
After a silence of several minutes, he came towards her in an agitated manner, and thus began:-

‘ In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.’

Elizabeth’s astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement, and the avowal of all he felt and had long felt for her immediately followed. He spoke well, but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed, and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority, of its being a degradation, of the family obstacles which judgment had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.

In spite of her deeply rooted dislike, she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man’s affection, and though her intentions did not vary for a minute, she was at first sorry for the pain he was to receive; till, roused to resentment by his subsequent language, she lost all compassion in anger.

Whilst Austen was writing when many literary movements were occurring in England, she does not really conform to any of them. There are elements of the Romantic within her work and of Realism (although she predates this particular period)

Victorian Period – 1830-1901

Realism – 1830-1900

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