Romanticism and Childhood

2730 Words11 Pages
With close reference to specific examples, outline and account for Romanticism’s concerns with childhood. The discovery of childhood was first founded in the 1800’s, also the beginning of the Romantic era. It was new discovery being presented to society so it was a sensitive issue to discuss until society itself accepted it, so it was mostly portrayed in early writings such as poetry. The idea of childhood became increasingly valued by adults as youth became the main representation of modernisation and progress within society. Before this era children were mostly disregarded and emotionally detached from their parents, they were seen as unimportant, almost non human. This realisation of childhood meant that schooling became the utter most importance in the changing attitudes; more schools were founded in cities and some were even opened for the poor. The Romantic period was a key moment in the approachs about how children of both genders should be educated, how a parent raises his or her child and their emotional involvement or attachment to the child. Alan Richardson, (1994) comments “The modern ‘discovery of childhood’ can be traced back to the thirteenth century, but begins to grow significantly noticeable only by the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries; the eighteenth century in England sees the ‘new world of children’ in full flower, with games, toys, books, and apparel designed specifically for children becoming increasingly available”. The study of this childhood period opened important debates about innocence, individuality and nature as critic James Kincaid argued that, “the child breathes image into the life of nature”, meaning that children were the main representation of nature and innocence within this period. The romantic era was also characterised in a category where feelings and emotions were in desperate need. It was a time when the
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