How did the Romantics invent the modern idea of childhood? This lecture puts particular emphasis on the poetry of Blake and Wordsworth.

A lecture by Sir Jonathan Bate, Gresham Professor of Rhetoric 20 November 2018

The Romantics invented the modern idea of childhood.

In the third of his lectures on the rhetoric of Romanticism, Jonathan Bate will explore how they did so, with particular emphasis on the role of children in the poetry of Blake and Wordsworth. He will also show how Wordsworth’s memory of his own childhood allowed him to invent something else as well: the art of poetic autobiography.

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