What is Romantic Poetry?

What is Romantic Poetry?

Romanticism appears through poetry, often through highly descriptive, emotional, and even mystical elements. Learn about romantic poetry here.

What is Romantic Poetry?

Romantic poetry is poetry from the Romantic period, an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that began in Europe near the end of the 18th century.

It lasted roughly from 1800 to 1850 and involved a reaction against prevalent Enlightenment ideas of the 18th century.

Meaning of Romantic Poetry

In a nutshell, romantic poetry is a form of poetry that talks about man’s love and admiration for nature. It explores the relationship between man and the natural environment.

Romanticism in poetry is the development of individualism and an embrace of the natural world in poetic form.

Many Romantic poets revered idealism, emotional passion, and mysticism in their works.

Furthermore, a strong emphasis was placed on the imagination in response to the neoclassical tradition, which favored science and reason.


What is Romanticism in Literature?

Romanticism, a literary movement popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries emphasized nature as well as the importance of emotion and artistic freedom.

In many ways, writers of this era resisted attempts to explain the world and human nature through science and the lens of the Industrial Revolution.

Emotion is far more powerful than rational thought in Romanticism.

What Are the Characteristics of Romanticism in Literature?

Although literary Romanticism existed from about 1790 to 1850, not all writers of the time used this style.

Certain characteristics distinguish a work of literature as belonging to the Romantic movement.

You will not find every characteristic present in every piece of Romantic literature; however, writing from this period will usually have several of the key characteristics like:

Glorification of Nature

Nature, in all its unbound glory, plays a huge role in Romantic literature. Nature, sometimes seen as the opposite of the rational, is a powerful symbol in work from this era.

Romantic poets and writers give personal, deep descriptions of nature and its wild and powerful qualities.

Natural elements also work as symbols for the unfettered emotions of the poet or writer, as in the final stanza of “To Autumn” by John Keats. Keats was aware that he was dying of consumption throughout much of his short life and career, and his celebration of autumn symbolizes the beauty in the ephemeral.

Awareness and Acceptance of Emotions

A focus on emotion is a key characteristic of nearly all writing from the Romantic period.

When you read the work of this period, you’ll see feelings described in all forms, including romantic and filial love, fear, sorrow, loneliness, and more.

This focus on emotion offered a counterpoint to the rational, and it also made Romantic poetry and prose extremely readable and relatable.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein offers a perfect example of this characteristic of Romanticism. Here, Frankenstein’s monster shows great self-awareness of his feelings and offers a vivid emotional description full of anger and sadness.

Celebration of Artistic Creativity and Imagination

In contrast to the previous generations’ focus on reason, writers of the Romantic movement explored the importance of imagination and creative impulse.

Romantic poets and prose writers celebrated the power of imagination and the creative process, as well as the artistic viewpoint.

They believed that artists and writers looked at the world differently, and they celebrated that vision in their work.

You can see this in William Wordsworth’s poem, “The Prelude.”

Emphasis on Aesthetic Beauty

Romantic literature also explores the theme of aesthetic beauty, not just of nature but of people as well.

This was especially true with descriptions of female beauty. Writers praised women of the Romantic era for their natural loveliness, rather than anything artificial or constrained.

A classic example of this characteristic is George Gordon, or Lord Byron’s, poem “She Walks in Beauty.”

Themes of Solitude

Writers of the Romantic era believed that creative inspiration came from solitary exploration.

They celebrated the feeling of being alone, whether that meant loneliness or a much-needed quiet space to think and create.

You’ll see solitary themes in many literary works from this period, including in this excerpt from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Frost at Midnight.”

You’ll see solitary themes in many literary works from this period, including in this excerpt from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Frost at Midnight.”


It’s useful to know the forms that were popular during the Romantic era if you’re studying Romantic poetry. Odes, sonnets, and lyrics were among them.

Consider ode examples by Romantic poets such as Keats, as well as sonnet examples by Percy Shelley. Understanding these poetic forms and their relationship to Romanticism will help you appreciate this work more fully.

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