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  1. Banned
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    #1

    less their spirit than the spirit of the age

    Many of the major writers, however, did feel that there was something distinctive about their time – not a shared doctrine or literary quality, but a pervasive intellectual and imaginative climate, which some of them called “the spirit of the age.” They had the sense that (as Keats said in one of his sonnets) “Great spirits now on earth are sojourning,” and that there was evidence of that release of energy, experimental boldness, and creative power that marks a literary renaissance. In his Defence of Poetry Shelley claimed that the literature of the age “has arisen as it were from a new birth,” and that “an electronic life burns” without the words of its best writers which is “less their spirit than the spirit of the age.”


    Source: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, The Romantic Period (1785-1830), The Spirit of The Age

    I also took a picture of the page. If you click here, you will see the page.

    Link: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/lear...237844?page=10 : Last paragraph, line 22

    Hello teachers,
    Would you please clarify the blue part to me? I really can't understand it very well.

    Many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by sb70012; 07-Aug-2013 at 10:39.

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    #2

    Re: less their spirit than the spirit of the age

    not a teacher

    This is how I see it. The author quotes Shelley as claiming that the literature of his time is imbued with a particular spirit which arises not so much from the individual writers, but from the character of the age in which they live. That in the social and political spheres there is a new creative energy that does not originate in literature, but is reflected in it.

  2. Banned
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    #3

    Re: less their spirit than the spirit of the age

    Thanks for answering but I got more confused. I only asked the short blue sentence. I wish you could answer or clarify it in a short sentence.
    Thanks for answering but in spite of your good clarification I couldn't understand the blue sentence.

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    #4

    Re: less their spirit than the spirit of the age

    not a teacher

    “an electronic life burns” without the words of its best writers which is “less their spirit than the spirit of the age.”

    A special spirit exists outside of the literature itself, a spirit which arises not so much from the writers (it's less their spirit), but from the time in which they live (it's more the spirit of the age).


    Last edited by JMurray; 07-Aug-2013 at 13:49.

  3. renard's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: less their spirit than the spirit of the age

    To understand the blue sentence, you must understand what the "romantic period" was. I assume you understand this already. When the sentence says "less their spirit than the spirit of the age", it means the literature is more influenced by the ideas of the romantic period and less than the ideas of the individual writer. In this sentence, "spirit" is used to describe the ideas, thoughts, and beliefs of the romantic period.

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