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Classical, Neo-classical and Romantic Poetry: Themes, Content and Settings of Epic

Updated on December 1, 2019
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My name is Maham. I am an English Literature graduate. I have done about three years of online writing. It is my greatest passion.

Epic Poetry

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To put for all intents and purposes, Classical, Neoclassical, and Romantic poetry, all have dealt with the outside world, however, Neoclassicism demonstrates the world for what it's worth, Romanticism as the heart reveals to us it ought to be and Classicism as it would be in some perfect or aesthetic and local public manifestation. Contemporary writing, on the other hand, is ordinarily a retreat into the author's cognizance — to make self-ruling expressions that consolidate various parts of current life (Modernism), or free-wheeling expressions built of a language that to a great extent indicates to itself (Postmodernism).

The terms are to some degree overlay, and not well characterized. All the more especially, Classicism is a term that has advanced throughout the hundreds of years, regularly distinctively in various nations. The French consider Classical their extraordinary writing of the seventeenth century, however German writers will in general call this Neoclassicism, for example, obliged and subsidiary.


CLASSICAL POETRY:

Classical poetry was an aesthetic attitude which was taken from the arts of Greece and Rome from the 14th to 17th century. In classical poetry most of the literature was written in an aesthetic frame of mind getting from expressions of the human experience of antiquated Greece and Rome, explicitly putting accentuation on simplicity, extent, and restrained emotions.

The classic Elizabeth era is also called the era of reconciliation of goodness, this age is also called the intellectual and awakening of national conciseness. English mind was strongly tempered by Plato. In classical poetry, religious freedom was explored along with basic purpose of sense of patriotism, justice, and, individuality etc.

That to the highth of this great Argument

I may assert Eternal Providence,

And justifie the ways of God to men. (Paradise Lost by John Milton)

Paradise lost can easily be relevant to the classical epic poetry, its theme is to justify the ways of God to man.

Elucidating the impression that Educational or remote Classicism may appear in the contemporary artistry scene, it is the overwhelming aesthetic frame of mind of western culture (and significantly more so of Indian and Chinese societies). Centuries have passed in which Classicism is lost or misconstrued; however, expressions of the human experience relentlessly come back to what people pine for: simplicity, aestheticism, and security. Dominatingly, Classicism is the craft of communities that live by acknowledged principles — rules which a long and ever so often excruciating history has demonstrated to be vital. Classical poetry did not depend on hypothesis, in this manner, however on experience: its standards sum upon past accomplishments. Tradition can be smothering, and poets worth the name typically enhance, test and disrupt the guidelines. Classic poetry is a class of literature that shows the society of shepherds as free from the unpredictability and corruption of city life. A significant number of the idylls written in its name are far from the true nature of any life, natural or urban. Among the poets who have utilized the classical poetry with striking achievement and essentialness are the classic writers Theocritus and Virgil and the English artists Edmund Spenser, Robert Herrick, John Milton, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Matthew Arnold.


NEOCLASSICAL POETRY:

Above all else, it is important to light on the historical background of the word Neoclassicism. The term Neoclassicism is a blend of two words: Neo and Classic. The word neo has been gotten from a Greek word neos, which means youthful or new, while the word Classic, as indicated by the Webster Dictionary, alludes to the style and works of the antiquated creators of Greece and Rome. To join these words, we get the importance of Neoclassicism as the resurrection and reclamation of Classicism. Consequently, Neoclassicism has been a development throughout the entire existence of English writing, which laid massive accentuation on the restoration of the traditional soul during the period somewhere in the range of 1680 and 1750 in the time of Pope and Dryden. It is a model of Classicism. Scholars of this period gigantically tried to pursue the pathways of the journalists of the time of Augustus, head of Rome, which created unmatched poets as Horace, Virgil, and Ovid. That is the reason; the time of Pope and Dryden is additionally called the Augustan Age.

Neoclassical Poetry pursues the example of writers of olden time i.e., Greek and Rome. Pope and Dryden were the main writers of that time, who veered off from the conventional schools of poetry and looked for direction in progress of old Greek and Roman scholars. They attempted to pursue the authors of the relic in letter and soul in the Augustan Age.

The neoclassical writers constantly wanted to utilize insightful interpretations in their poetry. They were all exceptionally instructed and knowledgeable in different fields of study. In neoclassical poetry reason and intellect play a vast role, the poets made a point to disregard the use of imagination, emotion, and feelings which highly differentiates neoclassicism from romanticism. Suggestions helped them to pass on their message to their pursuers viably and effectively. That is the reason; their verse is overflowing with ample references to old-style poets i.e., Virgil, Horace, and Homer. They wanted to write in the way of their traditional experts. Take a gander at the accompanying models taken from Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope:

Safe past the Gnome thro' this fantastic band,

A branch of healing Spleenwort in his hand. (Rape of the Lock, Canto IV)

In the previously mentioned lines, Spleenwort is a part of a tree. Pope is alluding to Virgil's Aeneid, wherein the Aeneas visits the gangland securely due to having a mystical part of a tree.

The Goddess with a discontented air

Seems to reject him, tho' she grants his pray'r.

A wond'rous Bag with both her hands she binds,

Like that where once Ulysses held the winds. (Rape of the Lock, Canto IV)


ROMANTIC POETRY:

Romanticism, Spirit of the age, Age of beginning, Age of thinking, and Age of limitless possibility (meaning exploration of mind, surrounding, nature, and one’s self). Romanticism movement started from the late 1770s and ended in 1830 it is characterized by the emphasis on emotion and individualism, as well as, the glorification of all past and nature. This poetry interprets the expression of personal feelings, energy, and passion.

“Nothing great was accomplished in history without passion” (Hegel).

In this movement, any things were highlighted and discussed by the poets such as, the struggle between agricultural class (common class), and powerful landholding class which evidently brought restlessness in the middle class. French Revolution was characterized by universalistic idea that all men an alike, create equal, which corresponds to the philosophy of enlightenment, restlessness in aristocracy due to American and French revolution and towards royalty as well, further right of women were discussed in Romantic era, but women were never given any proper space in society on the basis of equality and intelligence.

Romantic poetry and Epic being two very distinct genres that poets like to combine in some of the most effective narrative poems of early modern time. Wordsworth turned away from the excess of the revolution and wrote a very simple poetry in a democratic style.

Whate’er its mission, the soft breeze can come

To none more grateful than to me; escaped

From the vast city, where I long had pined

A discontented sojourner; now free,

Free as a bird to settle where I will. (The Prelude by William Wordsworth)

Wordsworth’s The Prelude was revised in 1850; it a poem that is considered to be an epic but not necessarily follows its rules. Romantic poetry follows that nature and man have three stages of the relationship, i.e. playfulness and pure enjoyment, nature and man has a broken connection and refurbishing the connection by recollection. Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Preface to a lyrical ballad is considered to be the most significant work in romantic poetry. Wordsworth has also said that “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”.

Trances of thought and mountings of the mind

Come fast upon me: it is shaken off

That burthen of my own unnatural self, (The Prelude by William Wordsworth)

As in romanticism, it is described to be in close relation to nature and one’s true self, just like that the poet in the above lines, says, that he wants to wash off his artificially self that has overtaken his life while living in city. The unnatural surroundings now suffocate him. There are no connections he feels with his true self and the nature of reality that is farfetched from the man-made world.



Works Cited

Rivers, Isabel. Classical And Christian Ideas In English Renaissance Poetry. 2nd ed., George Allen And Unwin, 1994, pp. 9, 21.

"What Is Classical Poetry?". Bachelorandmaster.Com, 2018, https://www.bachelorandmaster.com/literaryterms/classical-poetry.html#.W7-IqnszbIV. Accessed 11 Oct 2018.

Sutton, Dawn. "Characteristics Of Classical Poetry". Pen And The Pad, 2016, https://penandthepad.com/characteristics-classical-poetry-8660982.html. Accessed 11 Oct 2018.

"Epic". Karolus.Net, 2018, http://karolus.net/epic.html. Accessed 11 Oct 2018.

Rafiq, Muhammad. "Definition And Characteristics Of Neoclassical Poetry". Owlcation, 2016, https://owlcation.com/humanities/Neoclassical-Poetry-Definition-and-Characteristics-of-Neoclassical-Poetry. Accessed 11 Oct 2018.

"Romanticism". Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2018.

"Romanticism: Definition & Key Themes". Saleonard.People.Ysu.Edu, 2018, http://saleonard.people.ysu.edu/Romantic%20notes.html. Accessed 12 Oct 2018.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Mzz Kassim

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