Romanticism and Frankenstein

Junior English

August 17th, 2012

Themes: , , ,

We’ve read a number of works over the past few days in an attempt to triangulate an understanding of this “Romanticism” thing. Here are links to most (a second read is worth your while):

Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and “I Sing the Body Electric,” especially these lines:

You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.

Milton’s Paradise Lost1:

 The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.

We can contrast them nicely by looking at the way in which the speaker knows his world: Whitman understands through experience, while Satan is busy cogitating.2 Both, however, refuse a universal, objective reality that Enlightenment thinkers founded their philosophies upon. As we move forward we’ll find other examples, further work out their attraction to Milton’s Satan, and look at the role of the artist/hero.

Also: There is a great series of lectures on this topic here, if you’re interested, and a previous post by me on the Gothic.

  1. note that he, like Ellison, begins in medeas res. Not so modern after all… []
  2. Later we’ll see Hamlet say something similar: “Denmark’s a prison. . . . for there is nothing / either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me / it is a prison. . . . I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count / myself a king of infinite space” II.ii []


British Literature

October 6th, 2010

Themes: , , ,

Romanticism information (actually, there is plenty on the French Revolution and such here, too; dig around.)

Paradise Lost

A previous post on the gothic and sublime (we’ll talk about this tomorrow).

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