Phenomenon of the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution catalyzed one of the most prevalent literary movements in human history, as the harsh living conditions forced writers and poets to evolve from mimetic writing, to expressionist writing. The people of Europe were seemingly surrounded by the harsh realities of living in a rapidly evolving country, many of them feeling as though they were incapable of escaping the factories located on every dirty street corner.

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Directly following the Enlightenment, the Romantic Era brought a new style of description and expression to the dull streets of newly industrialized Europe, as writers felt unfulfilled and uninspired by conventional mimetic expression, leading to an era of deep introspection and self-examination in the literary community. This new style of writing was composed of pointed political rhetoric, flawlessly integrated with descriptions of nature, in stark contrast to the mechanical and unforgiving Realist style of writing that existed in Europe prior to the emergence of Romanticism. In example, William Wordsworth revolutionized poetry after traveling France, and being exposed to the rampant poverty that permeated the French way of life.

The French people did not revolt against the monarchy that rendered them starving and helpless until the closing of the American Revolution, as the patriotism and righteousness that characterized Americar’s rise to political independence inspired the downtrodden French citizens. William Wordsworth wrote about the deplorable scenes of poverty that he witnessed throughout France, leading to harsh criticism from institutions that supported the French monarchy. Poets during this era took cues from the already industrialized American continent, wish resulted in an influx of political and social commentary dispersed throughout their poems and other written works. Wordsworth focused primarily in his poetry on class division, and it can be argued that this rampant Classism was caused by the stress of the Industrial Revolution on the newly divided french state.

Wordsworthr’s most famous piece of writing, The Lyrical Ballads, put strong emphasis on the financial and social disparities of people living in Europe at the time of the Industrial Revolution, and truly revolutionized poetry in the way that he chose to utilize unconventional rhyming and free verse. In example, Sweet is the lore which nature brings; Our meddling intellect, Misshapes the beauteous forms of things; ”We murder to dissect, (Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads). This excerpt demonstrates the strong emphasis that Wordsworth and other writers of his time period put on the Human Condition, and the ideals that make a human being feel alive and in tune with nature. Wordsworth continuously acknowledges that there is a great deal of pain and suffering permeating the earth that society inhabits, but chooses to advocate for the appreciation of feeling and emotion, even if it does involve enduring sadness and grief. Another theme in the Lyrical Ballads, as well as in other works of writing, is the concept of human intervention and the manifestation of selfishness and destruction through the continued overutilization of natural resources.

Although he was an American poet, Walt Whitman greatly contributed to the school of thought permeating Post Industrialized Europer’s literary community, revolutionizing Stream of Consciousness poetry, and teaching his European counterparts expressionist writing. Whitman wrote primarily about social issues, as he was deeply impacted by the cruel punishment endured by African Americans that he encountered whilst living in New Orleans. This style of expressionist writing that unapologetically revealed political and social discontent for large and seemingly impenetrable social institutions like slavery, as well as the deeply oppressive monarchical system in France- showed the literary community that Romanticism was not a fad, and would cement itself as one of the most impactful and enduring forms of literature of all time.

Walt Whitman took deep inspiration from the Enlightenment period in Europe, taking from their style of writings about nature and science, and effectively intertwining this with self-expression and emotion that the Neoclassicism period lacked. Whitman wrote about his deep connection to nature and his appreciation of the natural world, emphasizing the effect that simple snapshots in nature had on his spirit, and somehow found a way to make these writings deeply political and rooted with antislavery sentiments, appealing to his liberal colleaguer’s viewpoints on the concepts of equality and the meaning of liberty and prosperity. Whitmanr’s European counterparts expanded on his style of free verse poetry intermixed with political and social rhetoric, using this vehicle of literary expression to criticize the overutilization of natural resources, the mistreatment of the impoverished, and countless other social ills plaguing Europe during the Industrial Revolution.

Another leading novelist and poet of Industrial England, is Mary Shelley. Shelley completely revolutionized the subject matter that was acceptable by writers within the literary community, and absolutely destroyed the preconception of women being confined to write only on certain subjects. Shelleyr’s writings were considered highly controversial during the period in which she was alive, as she was a woman writing gothic stories with underlying themes of political and social criticism aimed at human production and the rapid advancement of technology and enterprise. Mary Shelleyr’s most famous piece of writing, Frankenstein, tells the story of scientific advancement gone horribly wrong, which most historians and literary experts within the Romanticism field believe to be an allusion to her rampant distaste for technological advancement and the complete lack of emphasis put on human emotion and the wellbeing of the people around her. The Industrial Revolution put many writers into a state of emotional monotony, as they were angered by societyr’s complete lack of regard for all things human and real, and the growing sense of importance placed on putrid and seemingly emotionless subjects like technological advancement and scientific innovation.

It is almost impossible to write about Industrialized Europe without detailing the rise and fall of one of the most prolific and profoundly disturbed poets of all time, Edgar Allen Poe. Although Poe, like Walt Whitman was American, he greatly contributed to the gothic style of writing prevalent during the time of the Industrial Revolution that existed in Europe. Many literary experts argue that writers like Mary Shelley, and Edgar Allan Poe, discussed taboo themes that centered around death, sexuality, and the overall bleakness of life because they were surrounded by the harsh realities of living in an industrializing country that valued technological advancement above human emotion and artistic expression.

The Industrial Revolution greatly impacted the subject matter that writers of the Romantic period chose to discuss, and allowed them to separate their spirits and minds from the overarching theme of dissatisfaction and numbness that permeated the psyches of people existing during this era. Authors chose to expand their styles of speech in order to escape their oppressive surroundings, leading to a form of prose that existed multifacetedly, and allowed for writers living around the world to criticize daunting institutions that they had previously believed to be insurmountable in changing. Romanticism revolutionized the way in which humans perceive their spirit and inner selves, and taught the world that emotion on all scales, and in all forms can be personified through the use of expressionist writing.

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Phenomenon Of The Industrial Revolution. (2019, Jun 14). Retrieved January 30, 2023 , from

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