Keats' Poems and Letters

Byron, Keats and Coleridge: The Poetic Masters of the Romantic Period

Of all the English poets that comprise the Romantic period, George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824), John Keats (1795-1821), and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) stand as the quintessential masters of Romantic poetry. Their contributions to the aesthetics of versification, from which emerged "a concept of the poetic imagination that acted as a single unifying force within all creative acts. . . (and) defined the doctrine of Romanticism" (Holmes 108), are highly representative of the Romantic period as evidenced by Byron's "She Walks in Beauty," Keats' major odes ("Ode to a Nightingale", "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and "Ode to Melancholy") and Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

At first, the term Romanticism referred to the characteristics of romances written in the Neo-Classical style which emphasized a strict adherence to form and function without what some call "flowery" language or literary extravagance. But in the 18th century, Romanticism came to designate a new kind of exotic landscape lorded over by the outcast wanderer, always heroic but cursed and often on some desperate quest in search of self-identity and discovery. The penultimate...

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