Two Literary Reactions in the Romantic Period: Romantic Anti-Slavery Idea and Romantic Orientalism in Selected English Romantic Poems

Kaya H.

AGATHOS-AN INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF THE HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES, vol.10, no.1, pp.91-105, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.91-105


The Romantic Period in England can be considered as indicative of 'an age of crises' because the era witnessed several political affairs, ideologies and strategies such as slaver trade, colonialism, American and French Revolutions. These political and social changes all signalled 'chaos' which would dominate European political, cultural, and literary life for the next quarter of a century. Therefore, it was inevitable that Romantic writers were influenced by the political and social events in Europe. They were considerably aware of British expansionism. It would not be incorrect to claim that there is a direct correlation between socio-political revolution and the literary revolution in Britain. No matter what their ideological stance was, some Romantic poets of the era, like S. T. Coleridge, William Cowper, William Blake and Robert Southey, reflected their observations of the colonialist activities in their works. Some other poets of the era, however, like Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, tried to especially avoid subjects concerning European colonialism in their writings. They were concerned with escape from day-to-day reality, with images and narratives remarkable for their historical or geographical exoticism. This paper will analyse these two reactions of the English Romantic poets; those who directly dealt with colonialism and those who principally presented orientalist and exotic elements in their poems.