FINAL Paper Eng 103B

FINAL Paper Eng 103B - Wylie, Lawren September 6, 2008 ENG...

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Exaltation of the Mind: Drug Utilization & Romanticism Within 19 th Century British Intellectual Societies Inspiration can be drawn from any aspect of life. Anything from a simple stanza in a literary poem to the sight of a breathtaking view of a landscape, the human mind has the ability to gather inspiration from even the most insignificant and seemingly “trivial” sources. The Romantic British Victorian intellectuals of the nineteenth century sought to express and maintain “higher truths” within their respective modes of creativity. In attempts to further adhere to maintaining naturalistic qualities in their works, substance utilization became increasingly prevalent amongst intellectual societies so as to broaden, expand, and exalt the mind to foster creative inspiration. The revolutionary and brilliant works of these romantic intellectuals still stand testament to the correlation (and encouragement) of drug use in seeking “higher truth” within British intellectual circles during the nineteenth century.“Romantic” or “pre-Raphaelite” ideologies in artistic and literary works became increasingly prevalent throughout the nineteenth century. The term “pre-Raphaelite” was coined as a result of the formation of the “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood” in 1848 by Royal Academy students Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and William Holman Hunt. The Brotherhood resolved to refute the formulaic artistic techniques taught at the Academy, and sought to return to a “more genuine art. ..rooted in realism and truth to nature” 1 as they believed existed before Raphael Sanzio in the fifteenth century. In order to collaboratively seek higher truth and honesty in visual art, the Brotherhood set down in 1895 that their intentions were: 1 http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/speel/group/prb.htm 1 Wylie, Lawren September 6, 2008 ENG 103B
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“To have genuine ideas to express;To study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them; To sympathize with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learned by rote; And, most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues .” 2 The pre-Raphaelite ideologies were not well received until John Ruskin (a prominent art critic and theorist of the era) publicly endorsed the pre-Raphaelites in 1851. Ruskin defended the Brotherhood, maintaining that “Pre-Raphaelitism has but one principle, that of absolute, uncompromising truth in all that it does, obtained by working everything down to the most minute detail, from nature, and from nature only.” 3 Although the Brotherhood was originally composed of painters and visual artists, contemporary intellectuals (such as within literary circles) adopted the Brotherhood’s dogma to depict aspects of life in a more honest, heartfelt, and natural manner. Pre-Raphaelites, however, sought to mentally expand and explore their “natural” state of being. As has been the case with intellectual
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FINAL Paper Eng 103B - Wylie, Lawren September 6, 2008 ENG...

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