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Terrell Main Library

8am - 5:30pm

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3:30pm - 4:30pm

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2:30pm - 4:30pm

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9am - 2pm (just drinks)

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Mary Church Terrell Main Library
148 W College St. Oberlin, OH 44074-1545


The main visitor lot is the east Service Building lot, and the south row of the Carnegie Building lot for visitors to offices within that building.

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Historical Context

The British Romantic Movement highlights a wide spectrum of change in the Arts that took hold in the late 18th century. In literature specifically it represents a shift in poetic forms away from the highly learned, rigid decorum of the earlier 18th century.

Robert Burns, illustrated portrait in round border.

Robert Burns

Free-form in construction, using natural language, and drawing inspiration from common ballads, the Romantic poets privileged feeling and spontaneity over polished, archaic language, pedantic ambition, and controlled prosody. The Romantics strove to make poetry appealing and accessible to the masses. Robert Burns' "Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect" (1786) rises near the start of what would become a tidal wave of popularity that would see so many authors become icons of their age. Wordsworth's and Coleridge's "Lyrical Ballads" (1798 & 1800) would become the defining voice for this new poetic experiment that would gain massive influence.

Romanticism ushered in its own revolution for literature against a backdrop of the "Age of Revolution." It coincided with the rise of political Liberalism, social reforms, philosophical idealism, as well as a rising attraction to spirituality, myth, and mystery. Romantic poetry turned away from an England which is increasingly urban and industrial, and instead retreated toward rustic nature in a search for beauty and meaning.

Ironically, it is likely the very industrialism that the Romantics so distrusted that helps explain their wide dissemination and influence. The 19th century witnessed a progressive cascade of innovations in factory technology, chemistry, and social engineering that provided the very conditions for a mass reading audience, and books at affordable prices.

Written by Ed Vermue