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Romantic Lit Paper #1 - 1 Revolutions"The Dark Age yielded...

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1 Revolutions “The Dark Age yielded at length to the dawning light of Reason and Common-Sense at the glorious, though imperfect, Revolution. THE PEOPLE can be no longer duped or scared out of their imprescriptilbe and inalienable RIGHT to judge and decide for themselves on all important questions of Government and Religion” (Keen 19). With literacy among the lower-classes on the rise, the English upper-class became concerned that an expanding reading public posed a threat to the political and cultural stability of their nation (Keen 17). Surprisingly, even some authors were against the idea that members of lower classes would be reading their works. Others resorted to mocking the opposition with satirical claims such as “reading kills the imagination” (Keen 29). In early 19 th century England, there was a great fear that a growing reading public could dramatically alter the course of literature and even debate the ideas of the way things were. One such author who was opposed to a growing reading public was Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He referred to the accessibility of knowledge and literature as a “misgrowth of our luxuriant activity” and referred to the new reading public as a promiscuous audience (Keen 19). Coleridge was upset that people of lower classes may be reading his work claiming that they lacked the capacity to give it the type of attention
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2 that it deserved. What business did the poor have reading? That activity was reserved solely for the elite. Coleridge supported the idea that certain works of literature should be directed toward specific classes and he titled some of his own works accordingly. His “sermons” were titled specifically for the class that they were geared towards. The Statesman’s Manual
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