Reading Response 3: George Gordon, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats
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This week, you will be reading the three poets who are considered the late Romantics, George Gordon (Lord Byron), Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats. The following article from Encyclopedia Britannica provides additional information about their political views and their poetry:
The later Romantics: Shelley, Keats, Byron (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Lord Byron’s long narrative poems Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Don Juan, and The Prisoner of Chillon ed to create a type of man called (later) a Byronic hero. The shorter poems often don’t feature this type of hero, but they reveal much about his philosophy of life. He died in an effort to aid in the independence of Greece from the Ottoman Empire.
Both Shelley and Keats died very young, so we don’t know how their poetry might have changed if they had lived to be as old as Wordsworth was when he died. Shelley was quite critical of Wordsworth, as you will see if you read “To Wordsworth.” The first line of the introduction in the textbook includes the phrase “radical in every aspect of his life.” This idea is important to understanding Percy Shelley’s life. It seems that he was bullied when he went away to school at age 10; as he grew older, he saw this as what was happening to human beings in general. He “. . . dedicated his life to a war against injustice and oppression” (748-49).
John Keats has been compared to both Shakespeare and Milton, England’s greatest poets. He came from a humble background, unlike Shelley. Keats’ father was a stableman. He was rarely bullied, even though he was only about five feet tall. His education was in medicine, but he decided to become a poet. He knew Shelley, but he knew he had a tendency to be influenced by other poets, so he remained independent.
You must read the following file for complete instructions for your responses to do well on the assignment. Be sure to respond to the comments of at least two other students.
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