For AP Literature, we get to learn about the Romanticism period. It was a literary and artistic period towards the end of the 18th century that celebrated individuality, emphasized emotion, and connected god with nature. Novels that you’ve probably heard of from this time period include Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, etc. When some people read these books, they consider them dry and uninteresting, but what they don’t know is how weird the authors of most of these novels actually where. It was mainly the poets who seemed to have crazy lives, so here are some interesting facts about some of the writers from this time.
1. Lord Byron
While Lord Byron was attending Trinity College, Cambridge, he reportedly kept a pet bear as a protest to the rules forbidding pet dogs since he was such an avid animal lover. The particular animal he was wanting to take to college was a Newfoundland dog named Boatswain, who when he passed away got a bigger monument that his owner and at one point Lord Byron wanted to be buried with his dog. If that isn’t a testimony of man’s best friend, then I don’t know what is.
2. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, one of his most famous works, was actually written after an opium induced hallucination/dream. It’s left unfinished because he couldn’t remember the rest of his hallucination. So whenever you teacher made you read something that made you think, “Wow, this guy sounds like he was on drugs when he wrote this,” you might actually be right about that.
3. William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth was such a popular poet at the time that his home actually became a tourist attraction where he would actually charge tourists for tea. I guess being a poet doesn’t pay all the bills.
4. William Blake
William Blake claimed to have visions of God and the afterlife throughout his life; when his brother died, he is said to have seen his spirit ascend into heaven. This is probably why he was considered crazy for most of his lifetime, but his poems have transcended time with their popularity.
5. John Keats
Although John Keats was a brilliant poet, he was actually terrible at reading his poetry aloud, even his friends said he didn’t do the poems justice, which can be either seen as a compliment to his writing or a dig at his verbal skills. Either way, the lung hemorrhage he suffered due to tuberculosis is said to be brought on by negative reviews, so his friend’s comments on his oral presentations probably didn’t help with his anxiety.