Essay on Romanticism

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Romanticism

"In spite of its representation of potentially diabolical and satanic powers, its historical and geographic location and its satire on extreme Calvinism, James Hogg's Private Memoirs and Confessions of a
Justified Sinner proves to be a novel that a dramatises a crisis of identity, a theme which is very much a Romantic concern." Discuss.

Examination of Romantic texts provides us with only a limited and much debated degree of commonality. However despite the disparity of
Romanticism (or Romanticisms) as a movement it would be true to say that a prevalent aspect of Romantic literature that unites many different forms of the movement, is a concern with the divided self.

As the empirical Rationalism of the eighteenth century was
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Griffiths agrees that the "central distinctive feature of Romanticism is the search for a reconciliation between the inner vision and the outer experience." Duncan Wu asserts that Romantic texts are often concerned with "division..and reunion between the body and the spirit." (Wu, xvii). David Oakleaf specifically applies this theme to
Confessions identifying it as Robert Wringhim's "refusal to accept himself as both a spiritual and corporeal creature." (Oakleaf, 27).

It is worth noting that Hogg himself felt somewhat torn between his traditional "spiritual" side and his intellectual "corporeal" side. We shall see that this is a biographical detail of Hogg's life that spills over considerably in his depiction of a crisis of identity in
Confessions.

It is also worth remembering that what is conveniently termed the
"Romantic period" was one of great social and political division.
Britain itself was undergoing a societal "crisis of identity" catalysed by the industrial revolution, increased literacy and the noble beginnings of the French Revolution. As a result the literature of the age reflected this on a number of levels both overt and covert; tangible and spiritual.

In the Scotland of Confessions almost everything is at odds with everything else. It is fraught with historical, religious and familial divisions and, more substantially, divisions of identity. Although
Scottish religious and political history provides an effective
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