Creativity and the imagination

Romantic imagination

The Romantic group of writers believed very strongly in:

  • The creative power of the imagination

  • Emotional, moral, philosophical and political expression in the form of poetry.

Most of the poets we now call the Romantics expressed these beliefs at one time or another. 

William Blake, A Vision of the Last Judgement, 1810

Vision or Imagination is a representation of what Eternally Exists, Really and Unchangeably.

William Wordsworth, The Prelude, 1805, Bk. XIII, ll. 166-70

This Love more intellectual cannot be
Without Imagination, which, in truth,
Is but another name for absolute strength
And clearest insight, amplitude of mind,
And Reason in her most exalted mood.

S. T. Coleridge, Dejection: an Ode, 1802

But oh! each visitation
Suspends what nature gave me at my birth,
My shaping spirit of imagination.

P. B. Shelley, A Defence of Poetry, 1821

The great instrument of moral good is the imagination; and poetry administers to the effect by acting on the cause.

John Keats, letter to Benjamin Bailey, 22 November 1817

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the truth of imagination - what the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth - whether it existed before or not.


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