The History of the Romantic Period

The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
The Romantic Period
The Victorian Period
The Post-Victorian Period
The Pre-Atomic Period
The Nuclear Age

Novelists from this period found themselves seeking different goals than their predecessors. Earlier religious themes disappeared while humanitarianism concerns emerged. Sentimental and Gothic novelists were replaced by such enduring authors as Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy and the Bronte sisters. These pivotal novelists joined with the noted and iconic poets of their time - Byron, Shelley and Keats - in defending the individual against society and protecting personal freedoms.

Rebellion was everywhere. The targets of this insurrection were the traditional authorities and old conventions. Politics was in great turmoil during this time because of the French Revolution (1789-1799). A tremendous upheaval existed because significant changes had arisen in both industry and agriculture.

This new revolt involved radical shifts. One such shift was from what was manufactured or man-made to what was natural and uncontrolled. Nature was used as a backdrop for addressing the plight of man. Everyday interactions between people were being described in more earthier detail. Reality took precedence over improvisation while spontaneity and truth took precedence over what was contrived.

A new type of mysticism with a magical Oriental flavor replaced the medieval superstition of the Gothic novels. Awe and wonder eventually took the place of fear and horror. A re-enactment of the 15th Century Renaissance took place. A new examination of the Classics resulted in literary pursuits that led back to the Greek and Roman eras. The ancient myths and cultures were re-examined in order to get a new perspective. The future betterment of mankind was their ultimate goal.

Some of the noted novelists of this period are: Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Ann Bronte, Thomas Hardy, Anthony Trollope, Sir Walter Scott, Stendal, Honore de Balzac, Maria Edgeworth, Thomas Love Peacock, Jane Porter, Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Mary Shelley.