Watch: The Romantics (BBC Series)

Posted June 10th, 2011 under Documentaries, TV, Videos

“Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution. In part, it was a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education and natural history.”
(Wikipedia) “The Industrial Revolution sought to dominate Nature as a means to create profit. Romantic artists would seek to replace this relationship of domination with one of reverence and understanding.

The poet John Clare sought freedom in exploring the countryside around him. But the lands he loved were increasingly seen as units of production. When such lands were officially enclosed by Act of Parliament in 1809, the freedom to roam the countryside was curtailed.

This shift in attitudes drove John Clare insane. It drove William Blake to write works of protest, such as the raging, tempestuous ‘Jerusalem’.

Both William Blake and Samuel Taylor Coleridge sought to understand man’s true relation to nature by returning to the source – by observing and writing about the innocence of children. Others sought to reconnect themselves to Nature more directly – such as William Wordsworth, who wrote of his travels to the Alps, the Lake District and the Wye Valley.

The ideas of the child, nature and scientific progress would collide in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. This book is a Romantic manifesto – a warning that nature is not to be trifled with, that children are sacred, and science can corrupt our world. It is also a work of prophecy, still relevant in the 21st century.”
More at

The Romantics – BBC documentary – Eternity (2005)

The Romantics – BBC documentary – Nature (2005)

The Romantics – BBC documentary – Liberty (2005)