video record
Media not available in the Digital Archive
The first programme in this series explores the birth of the individual in modern society. The 18th century was a time of opulence and privilege for some. Europe was dominated by the twin authority... of the Church and King - but beneath the surface, new forces were gathering to challenge their absolute rule. The French philosopher, Denis Diderot insisted that men must reason for themselves. His friend, Jean-Jacques Rousseau claimed civilization had corrupted mankind - to free themselves, men must listen to their emotions. Rousseau's writings gave birth to a hope for a new world of liberty, equality and fraternity. These ideas would fuel the greatest social upheaval in history - the French Revolution. In Britain, these 'Romantic' ideals would burst into the public arena in art and poetry. William Blake's engravings and poetry were howls of revolutionary anger: Blake made the liberation of the human spirit his life's work. William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote one of the most powerful revolutionary works of the time; Lyrical Ballads. This volume of poetry was considered so dangerous that even as they composed, Wordsworth and Coleridge were being followed by government spies. This was the greatest period of sustained creativity in English literature - at a time of revolutionary change in which poets had the power to remake the world in their own image.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Series: The Romantics
First transmission date: 2005
Published: 2005
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 01:00:00
Note: A booklet about the Romantics is available for reference use only.
+ Show more...
Producer: Sam Hobkinson
Contributor: Peter Ackroyd
Publisher: BBC Open University
Link to related site: :
Subject terms: English literature--18th century; English literature--19th century; Enlightenment; Romanticism--Great Britain; Blake, William, 1757-1827; Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 1772-1834; Diderot, Denis, 1713-1784; Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 1712-1778; Wordsworth, William, 1770-1850
Master spool number: VMS2018428
Production number: VMS2018428
Available to public: no