Shifts In Sensibility

Sample essay topic, essay writing: Shifts In Sensibility - 629 words

During the end of the seventeenth century and early eighteenth century a socio-political shift occurred. Sensibilities transferred from the logic of the Enlightenment, or Neo-classical Period, to those feelings and emotions of the Romantic Age. During the Enlightenment authors such as Moli'ere & Swift used reason and rational to present their ideas. They address broad socio-political issues with their writings. Moli'ere in his satirical work, Tartuffe, focuses upon hypocrisy within the clergy. He uses Cl'eante to voice his argument of logic against Tartuffe throughout the play.

Swift, in A Modest Proposal, uses shock therapy to motivate people into action with anger and wrath. Swift still uses the philosophy of the Enlightenment; his narrator provides sound, well-considered arguments and logic in sharing his proposal. And Swift, himself, provides us with an actual list of proposed solutions under disguise. Both authors attempted to bring about a change in society by reasoning with their audience. When the Enlightenment ended and the Romantics took hold, logic gave way to emotions. The Romantic Poets relied upon their feelings and were driven by their passions. They were inspired by nature and by the imagination

They focused upon the uniqueness of the individual, not broad socio-political issues. Rousseau's Confessions perfectly exemplifies the change in sensibilities. The piece focuses directly upon is unique, individual life. He relies completely on his feelings. His thoughts and longings center around his whims and fancy, not upon logic. He states that it is only objects for which he yearns which tempt and sometimes lead him to thievery.

He would not consider stealing actual money, which he could use to purchase the desired items. He prefers to let the impetuous passion guide his actions. He makes tracks for Paris which he "had heard so much praised" without any money or means of support or even any real plan for such (674). Rousseau claims that he is unable to simply sit and write what comes to mind, the train of thought process. He states that his writings under such circumstances result in dense and verbose ramblings of which "[his] meaning is difficult to make out" (672).

He finds it tough to organize his thoughts and opinions without adequate time to arrange his mind. Another prime example of Romantic ideals is William Woodsworth Lines Composed Above Tintern Abbey. Woodsworth delightfully captures for the reader the beloved place of his youth. Only with the reflection of age does he realize that the natural beauty lied within his imagination and the warmth of his memories. He knows that this place shall remain just as beautiful in his mind's eye as he has always seen it for he "[knows] that Nature never did betray The heart that loved her" (794, ln 124).

He does not dismay at his current impression of this site, for it has renewed in him the ability to see the beauty of nature everywhere and not become overwhelmed by humanity. Shelly in his piece In Defense of Poetry, suggests that poetry exists to capture forever "the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds" (823). These fleeting moments will vanish in the blink of an eye. Shelly's views fit directly into the ideology of the Romantic Period. Romantics centered on the emotional, that which elicits from human kind all that is beautiful and pure with in ourselves and the natural world that surrounds us, "thus [making] immortal all that is best and most beautiful in the world" (824).

Bunina magnificently captures the glory of the evening fire with eloquence and grace. Castro's use of death and gloom in her poetry adds a stark contrast which makes the expressiveness of the amazing nature scene even more vibrant. Overall the differences between the logic of the Enlightenment and the feelings of the Romantic Period remain stark contrasts to each other.

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