When looking across the broad categories of literary genres that have been identified, it becomes clear that the Romantic era was one of the most distinct and clearly delineated periods. Authors who wrote during this period had a number of commonalities in the their works. These commonalities typically included: the use of nature as an omnipresent and inspiring force, the use of personal experiences as epiphanies caused by ordinary events, enlightenment through the process of emotion, the use of simple language to convey complex meanings, and the inclusion of supernatural events. In order to illustrate the ways in which these elements converge to create Romantic literature, this investigation considers the work of William Wordsworth. Specifically, it focuses on his poems “The world is too much with us” and “My heart leaps up.” In each of these poems Wordsworth develops the Romantic tradition by employing many of the elements of this genre into a few succinct lines of poetry. To this end, this investigation considers the override theme of nature in Wordsworth’s poetry. In particular, it considers the presence of nature, how it promotes the personal epiphany of the author and its relationship to the supernatural. Analysis of Wordsworth’s poems will provide a full conceptualization of how Romantic literature is defined and also how it is different from other genres of literature.
As noted above the central element that will be explored within the context of Wordsworth’s poetry is the theme of nature. While this theme is not the central focus of all of Wordsworth’s poems, the two poems being analyzed in this essay contain numerous references to nature and demonstrate how nature impacted Wordsworth’s life. Because nature is seen as a central theme of Romantic poetry, this essay also includes the elements of epiphany as they relate to nature and the elements of the supernatural as they relate to the central theme of nature.