Neoclassics And Romantics Neoclassical, also known as, The Age of Reason and The Enlightenment was during 1660-1770. They exhibit strong tradition and ancient values from the classical writers of Rome and Greece. Who were thought to have achieved excellence in literary and ideas. Such as form, balance, discipline, restraint, unity, order and the use of tragedy, satire and epic. In their opinion, literature was a form of “Art”, therefor must be perfected by long study, practice and attention to details.
The purpose of literature was to instruct the use of reason over emotion. They prefer society to the individual and public life over private. There are four major emphases in this age, firstly, emphasis on decorum, conventions and defined codes of behavior. Secondly, emphasis on moderation, and thirdly, characters type, humans were primarily subject matter of literature, therefor poetry was mere imitation of humans life, and finally, neoclassic poetry emphasizes on general rather than particular. They had rigid class system, women had no voice and children were unimportant. Believed in divine order, a rational and moral universe, and in constant human nature, overall effort towards stability. While the Romantics, from 1798 until 1832, emphasized a number of ideas that were a reaction against the proceeding “Age of Reason”. As Shelley stated, that the literature of the age “has arisen as it were from a new birth”.
They concentrated on innovation rather than traditionalism in their material, forms and style of literature, and introduced symbolism. Wordsworth was one of the key poets in that age; his poetry was about his own feelings, spontaneous and genuine rather than a mirror of men in action, therefor concentrating on inner self and life but not society. In order to achieve that you have to be in solitude. They believed in the power of imagination vs. cold reasoning. They felt that both art and literature had become artificial, and that artists and writers should return to nature for inspiration.
Emotions or feelings were the source of true moral guidance. They believed in individual liberty, and in people being true to themselves. And that the natural goodness in people could change society. But mostly they concentrated on inviting the reader to identify the protagonist with the poets themselves.