Romantic Poets by Richard Holmes
The popular ideal of the 'inspired' artist - beautiful, brooding and young - owes its origin to portraits of the poets, writers and artists of the Romantic period. This group revolutionised English art and literature transforming our understanding of creativity and the individual imagination. Richard Holmes's engaging text explores the portraits and lives of Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats and the circle that formed around Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William and Dorothy Wordsworth in the early nineteenth century. In an expanding and subtly overlapping series of interwoven biographies, he shows how the idea of Romantic genius spread through the Regency world of painting, journalism, theatre and even science. It was a society of contradictions: on the one hand self-confident and elegant; on the other hand violent and dissolute. There was a growing public hunger for glamorous, humorous and erotic images. Portraiture flourished, especially among friends, and the celebrity of male, and increasingly female, poets, writers and artists grew while literary reputations rose and fell with dizzy speed. The Romantic Poets and Their Circle presents a fascinating illustrated history of an extraordinary generation, and assesses the impact of their work on contemporary culture and society.