Songs of Innocence and of Experience

How do Keats and Blake reflect romantic values in their poetry?

William Blake and John Keats were both prolific English poets of the Romantic era. Blake, an early Romantic along with Wordsworth and Coleridge, produced a poem called "Night" in 1789, which is part of a series of illustrated poetry called "Songs of Innocence." This poem represents Romantic values through its emphasis on self-realization, freedom of expression and the natural world. These ideas are conveyed by Blake's use of sensorial imagery and evocative language. Keats, a late Romantic along with Shelley and Byron, produced "Ode on Melancholy" in 1819 along with other odes known as "The Great Odes". This Ode embodies the Romantic turn to nature, the importance of expressing emotions, and experiencing through the senses.

The late 18th century saw a move towards the ideal that to be a truly modern person, one needed to break free of the rules that constrained society. This movement was labeled Romanticism, a term derived from the medieval tales of myth, magic and the supernatural that were called "Romances" because they were written in the language of Romanz. The movement lasted from 1798 to 1832 and was thought to have begun on par with the French Revolution. It was the...

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