Please remember to sneak another Peek each week…
There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is rapture in the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar;
I love not Man the less, but Nature more.
–Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, canto IV, stanza 178
Englishman George Gordon Byron (1788-1824), aka Lord Byron, was a poet and leading figure of the Romantic movement. His Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, published from 1812 to 1818, is a four-part narrative poem that tells the tale of Harold, a young man seeking distraction in foreign lands. Harold’s travels and reflections express the disillusionment of a generation weary of wars. The “childe” in the title refers to a candidate for knighthood in medieval times.
Romanticism, which originated in Europe, peaked during the period from 1800 to 1850. The artistic, literary, and intellectual Romantics were reacting to the Age of Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the scientific rationalization of nature. Leaders of the movement emphasized intense emotions, such as apprehension, horror, terror, and awe, as the authentic sources of aesthetic experience. An especially prominent aesthetic category was the sublimity of nature. In trying to escape urban sprawl, population growth, and industrialism, Romantics revived authentically medieval elements of art and narrative.