Wordsworth and Byron – Two Faces of English Romantic Expression

Anton Pokrivčák, Slovakia, ID LLCE2016-389;       Romanticism is one of the most important periods in the history of English literature. It was the time when such towering figures appeared as William Wordsworth, S. T. Coleridge, P. B. Shelley, J. Keats and G. Byron. The period is usually characterised by the famous definition of poetry as “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” introduced by Wordsworth in the Preface to the Second Edition of Lyrical Ballads. Another distinctive feature used to define it is the organic character of nature expressed by the power of symbol. However, Wordsworth with his natural symbolism was only one face of English Romanticism. One cannot forget that there was another one – a strong undercurrent informing many crucial Romantic works, i.e. the political considerations embodied in the concepts of nationalism and internationalism which found expression especially in the work of G. Byron. The paper aims at a thematic comparative analysis of Wordsworth´s and Coleridge´s Lyrical Ballads and Byron´s Childe Harold´s Pilgrimage as the works in which the two significant faces of Romanticism could be clearly identified. 

Keywords: Romanticism, Wordsworth, Byron, feelings, nationalism