Romanticism In Thanatopsis, By William Cullen Bryant

Decent Essays

Imagine a candle-lit dinner on a starry night in Paris, the Eiffel Tower just in view with dazzling lights shining into the night. This image is probably what you think of when you hear the word “romantic,” correct. However, this image is a stumbling block when people think of the “Romanticism Period” in literature. Where “romantic” means having a lovely time with the person you love the most, “Romanticism” is a piece of literature written with key themes in mind. Those themes tend to be a strong emotion, imagery or worship of nature, and individuality and subjectivity. The peak of inspiration for these pieces was in the years 1800-1850, and there are famous poems that are well loved today from this period. Many of the poets that you enjoy reading and know are, in actuality, Romanticism writers, and instill the themes above in our minds. William Cullen Bryant was well known for writing poems on nature, and he beautifully shows us the Romanticism view of one of their key themes. As with numerous other poems from the Romanticism Period, Bryant uses the imagery and ideas of a woman to convey his love for nature. An example of this trait is in the poem, “Thanatopsis”, Bryant’s most famous work. The first three lines of the poem shows both his love for nature and that he is going to use the image of a woman for the rest of the poem. “To him who in the love of nature holds/ Communion with her visible forms, she speaks/ A various language; for his gayer hours” He expressly says

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