Literature basically has various genres which originate from the rise of different literary geniuses. Poets do not just follow other poet’s method in expressing their thought and their ideas. Poetry is more of a poet’s expression of his feelings towards his observations of the happenings in his environment thus a form of literary expression. It only means that the type of poetry method that a poet applies could tell of the period to which he lived. No account of poetry and its various forms is complete without reference to the relationship of certain poetry to the time to which it is created.
The art of poetry definitely reveals the imagination of men living in a society at one time in history. Robert Browning and William Wordsworth lived at almost the same era however their works are quite distinctive from each other. It is not hard to distinguish Browning’s work from that of Wordsworth due to the methods they employed in their poems.
It just important to analyze what makes their works identifiable and different from each other. Wordsworth is considered as a romantic poet while Browning is a social-realist.
The origin and the components of such basic methods of literature should be explained and tackled well in order to understand the difference and similarities of the two poets. In English literature, the Romantic period is considered to begin with Wordsworth. He offered new definitions and new insights into what originally constituted poetry (21st Century Universal Encyclopedia). In terms of origins and influence, Romanticism was more widespread since no other artistic change has such comparable variety (Brians).
It is one of the two major artistic philosophies of the Western culture. This movement began in 1770 and in 18th century, it transformed almost all forms of literature including poetry. It has its origins in the social changes of the 18th century, in a new awareness of nature as it was probed by science in a reaction against industrialization and in intellectual support for radical political ideas. This shows a renewed interest in medievalism (21st Century Universal Encyclopedia) as well as the artist’s role in the changing world.
Romanticism calls forth opposing movements. It calls for change and it was even successful in the way it changed history. Though emotions like terror and rage are also seen in the Romantics, the most popular emotion was love. The inspiration for this emotion is the relationship between pair of lovers. Unlike at present in which love is identified with sex, it was treated in a cynical manner by the Romantics (Brians), the reason why though the theme of most arts during that time was about boldly speaking of emotions, it was accepted and recognized.
Social realism is a basic method in literature which is defined as a truthful and historically concrete representation of reality showing the revolutionary development (21st Century Universal Encyclopedia) and it aims towards illustrating and explaining the unlikely part of life because it does not exist to amuse but to show the effects of poverty, immorality and war (Free Essays). Its roots lie in the 18th century and it aimed at social transformation (Social Realism) and is rather defined by the message it conveys more than the style.
Majority of works at this period were reflection of their hard work, their religion, legacy of the revolution (Grove Dictionary of Art as quoted in Social Realsim). Scholars tend to distinguish Romantic and Victorian poetry but as observed, the Victorian is just a later stage of Romantic which is evident by fact that wild, passionate, and other intense emotions exemplified in the Romantic is continually shown in all forms of Victorian literature and arts (Brians). William Wordsworth sought to put an end the reigning practice of neoclassic poetry (Norton 239 as quoted by Moore).
He began the Romantic Movement with his collection of Lyrical Ballads in collaboration with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He is best-known as poet who reawakened his readers to the beauty of nature. Through his works, he described the emotional fervor and perceptive insights from which naturally beauty aroused (21st Century Universal Encyclopedia). His works are focused on the nature, children, the poor, common people, and used ordinary words to express his personal feelings (William Wordsworth).