La Belle Dame sans Merci Historical Context

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Romanticism

John Keats is considered one of the central figures in the English romantic movement. Romanticism was a philosophical and artistic ideal that spread across Western civilization in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. It sprang from the ideas of French writer Jean Jacques Rousseau and German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Rousseau, a major figure in the Enlightenment, wrote eloquently and convincingly about theories of social equality. At the time, most governments were arranged in a system that divided the opportunities for social success available to commoners from those available to people considered to be of noble birth. Rousseau's writings presented society as a corruption of humanity's natural state. His theory that every citizen participates in society willingly, as part of an implied "social contract," created a cult of individual freedom that celebrated the human spirit and led to the French Revolution in 1789. The Revolution's ten-year...

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This section contains 777 words
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Poetry for Students
La Belle Dame sans Merci from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.