Supporting the English Curriculum
A Sense of Place
Perhaps the most significant contribution of the Romantic Poets was their invention of the idea of “landscape” as something to be appreciated and understood at an emotional and spiritual level rather than thought of only in terms of financial or military value. They were amongst the first and most influential to describe what we now call “sense of place”
Romanticism was a rebellion against the age of enlightenment, which stood for logic, science and reason. The Romantic poets and painters celebrated life through emotion and imagination and regarded the natural world as their teacher. They embraced the struggle for freedom and equality and wanted to give a voice to the oppressed and unheard, which at the time included women and children.
The Romantic Poets
William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved to the West Country in 1797. Samuel Coleridge, came to stay with them, and all three immediately got on and became close friends. Dorothy and William moved to Alfoxden House, near Kilve, in June 1798 where they stayed for a year. Coleridge came to stay frequently, and it has become known as one of the most intensively creative times in English literature. Many of their most famous poems had their beginnings here, they exchanged ideas, walked and talked continuously and collaborated on a book of poems called the Lyrical Ballads.
During this time Dorothy wrote a journal that describes the weather, their walks and simple life. It is rich in expressive words describing the Quantock scenery and weather. Her contribution to Coleridge and Wordsworth’s poetry cannot be overestimated. All his life Wordsworth often relied on her notes and memory when writing his poems.
The Alfoxden Journal, Dorothy Wordsworth 1798.
The hawthorn hedges black and pointed, glittering with millions of diamond drops; the hollies shining with broader patches of light. The road to Holford glittered like another stream.
10 March 1798
Coleridge, William and I walked in the evening to the top of the hill. We all passed the morning in sauntering about the park and gardens, the children playing about, the old man at the top of the hill gathering furze; interesting groups of human creatures, the young frisking and dancing in the sun, the elder quietly drinking in the life and soul of the sun and air.
In the Footsteps of the Romantic Poets...
Use the works of Dorothy Wordsworth as a starting point for creative writing; Watch our films and take inspiration from Emily Haworth-Booth, using illustration to bring narrative to life; explore the works of performance artists like Mikhail Karikis or create discussion and debate around the themes raised by ‘The Last Tree’
'In the Footsteps of the Romantic Poets' can be used to help teachers and learners enjoy a creative journey, consolidating language skills in reading, writing and speaking, drawing on the National Curriculum for literacy’s emphasis on:
‘teaching pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them...in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.’
With new experiences for...
‘…developing their vocabulary and the breadth and depth of their reading, making sure that they become independent, fluent and enthusiastic readers who read widely and frequently…developing their understanding and enjoyment of stories, poetry, plays and non-fiction, and … developing their knowledge and skills in reading non-fiction about a wide range of subjects.’
Inspiring new multidisciplinary approaches…
‘Drama and role-play can contribute to the quality of pupils’ writing by providing opportunities for pupils to develop and order their ideas through playing roles and improvising scenes in various settings’
We encourage you to take inspiration from authors and artists and allow pupils to find their own visual and written language in their exploration of the Quantocks. Throughout the resources on this website, you will find ideas for developing children’s skills, confidence and creativity in english.
Link to English KS 1 - 2 Programme of Study here