Characteristics of Romantic Literary Criticism


The Romantic Age in England was not only an age of glorious poetry but also of glorious literary criticism. In fact, most of the eminent men of letters of the age were critics as well as creative writers.

Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Hazlitt, Lamb, Leigh Hunt, and De Quincey all contributed to critical literature. But the main critics who gave a direction to the current of literary criticism were Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt and De Quincey. All of them have often been categorized as “Romantic Critics.”

Characteristics of Romantic Criticism

We can easily see the differences in their approach and opinion, still, they have common features too.

  • All of them reacted sharply against the Neo-classical Tradition of Dr Johnson.
  • Unlike him, they did not indulge in what is called judicial or legislative criticism.
  • With some exceptions, their criticism is commendable.
  • They get into the mind of writers whose work they are examining and thus grasp psychologically the nature of his creative activity, which gets ultimately into his work.
  • Most of the Romantic Critics, particularly Hazlitt give critical judgments which may be called impressionistic (they depend upon their own personal impressions.)

Further Reading

  1. Detailed Notes on Romantic Literary Criticism
  2. Famous Romantic Poets
  3. Characteristics of Romantic Age