During the late 18th century in Europe, a movement known as Romanticism first defined by "German poet Friedrich Schlegel as [
], "literature depicting emotional matter in an imaginative form,"" (Whitney) had rooted into the artistic world to fashion poets including John Keats, Percy Shelley, and in particular, Lord George Gordon Byron and William Blake. Although Blake and Byron were stark opposites in both life and literature, Blake preferring to live a more pious life utilizing poetry as entertainment and to fight against injustice in England, and Bryon leading a life of mischief and promiscuity employing writing as an escape, both had used similar writing elements that helped to further develop the emotional appeal and imaginative nature, which are characteristic of Romanticism.
At first glance, one would assume that Blake's "London," an outcry against the Church and State's lack of attention to the impoverished London, and Byron's "Written After Swimming from Sestos to Abydos," comparing his swim across the Hellespont river to Greek legend of Leander swimming the same river, are quite the opposite in every almost respect. The subject matter and the tone of the both pieces are a black and white contrast- "London" having a somber, and even disgusted, tone pertaining to 18th century politics and life, and "Written After Swimming from Sestos to Abydos" possessing a victorious yet humble tone, abstractly glorifying Byron's "feat." (Line 12, Byron) Upon further analysis of "London" and "After Swimming from Sestos to Abydos," however, one can similarities between the two pieces in terms of their structure and in particular, Byron and Blake's use of diction.
The use of diction is an almost inevitable commonality between Blake and Byron, as many poets of varying movements use it as a means to further develop the emotional appeal and imaginative images present in the piece, particularly those classified as Romantics. The presence of strong, descriptive...
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Gilmour, Andie. George Gordon Byron. "1810 Swimming the Hellespont" Oct 14th, 2005.
"Lord George Gordon Byron." Dictionary of Literary Biography; British Romantic Prose Writers 1789-1832. Vol. 110, 2nd Ed. 1991.
Pioch, Nicholas. Romanticism. The BMW Foundation & the WebMuseum. 14th October 2002. October 10th, 2005.
Webster 's Universal Dictionary and Thesaurus. New Lanmark, Scotland. Geddes & Grosset Ltd. 1993.
Whitney, Elizabeth. "What is Romanticism?" English Romanticism. 7th February 2000. October 10th, 2005.
--- "English Romanticism: Poets" English Romanticism. 7th February 2000. Oct 12th, 2005.
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