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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The concept of generation continues to influence how Romantic writing is read and interpreted. While ‘the Romantics’ and ‘Romanticism’ are retrospective organizational terms, emerging in later nineteenth-century criticism, the Romantic generations are not back-formations of this kind: Romantic writers constructed themselves and others within loose but coherent groups based on age, affiliation, aesthetic taste, and, above all, their stance in relation to the sublime historical moment, the French Revolution. It is in the poetry of the period that generational succession is most keenly articulated. There are two widely recognized generations of Romantic writers: that of Wordsworth and Coleridge; and the younger generation of Byron, Shelley, and Keats. To this traditional pairing can be added a third Romantic generation of the 1820s and ’30s, including often overlooked writers such as Beddoes, Darley, Hood, and Landon, who extended Romantic themes of imaginative creativity into the commodity culture of the mid-nineteenth century.

Keywords: generation, literary history, literary tradition, inheritance, Lake poets, younger Romantics, commodity culture, belatedness

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