Difference Between Romantic and Victorian Poetry

Difference Between Romantic and Victorian Poetry

Romantic period and Victorian period are two notable periods in literature. The romantic period was an artistic and literary movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century. Victorian period is the period during the reign of Queen Victoria. The main difference between Romantic and Victorian poetry is that Romantic poets revered and adored nature whereas Victorian poets regarded nature as in a more realistic and less idealistic angel.

Romantic Poetry

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. Romantic poetry refers to the poetry written during the romanticism. Romantic poetry was a reaction against conventions, rules, and traditional laws of poetry. It is considered to be the exact opposite of neoclassical poetry; neoclassical poetry is the poetry of reason and intellect whereas romantic poetry is the poetry of emotion, passion, and sentiments. The romantic poets were against the influence of intellect in their poetry. According to Wordsworth, one of the foremost Romantic poets, ““Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” Emotion and imagination are hallmarks of romantic poems.

Nature is one of the most used themes in romantic poetry; nature was something to be revered and admired. It was a source of inspiration, happiness, and satisfaction. Pastoral life, medievalism, Hellenism, supernaturalism are also important features of romantic poetry.

William Blake, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and John Keats are considered to be the leading figures in romantic poetry.

Difference Between Romantic and Victorian Poetry

Lord Byron

Victorian Poetry

Victorian literature is the literature produced during the reign of Queen Victoria. Although romantic poetry played a dominant role in the romantic period, it was the Victorian novel that played an important role in the Victorian period.

The reclaiming of the past was a major element of Victorian literature; Victorian poets displayed an interest in the medieval literature of England. The heroic and chivalry knights were a particular favorite of Victorian poets. Alfred Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, which blended Arthurian legends with contemporary ideas, is a fine example of this theme.

The use of sensory elements was another important characteristic of Victorian poetry. Many Victorian Poets used imagery and the sensory elements to express the struggles between Religion and Science and ideas about Nature and Romance.

Robert Browning, Thomas Hardy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Alfred Tennyson are some notable poets in the Victorian period.

Main Difference - Romantic vs Victorian Poetry

Lord Tennyson

Difference Between Romantic and Victorian Poetry


Romantic Poetry was produced during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Victorian Poetry was produced during the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. 


Romantic Poetry predominantly used the theme of nature. In addition, themes of pastoral life, medievalism, Hellenism, supernaturalism can also be observed.

Victorian Poetry used medieval myths and legends as well as realistic issues such as the struggle between science and religion.


Romantic Poetry revered and admired nature.

Victorian Poetry treated nature in more realistic and less idealized view.

Emotion vs Intellect

Romantic Poetry gave prominence to emotion, imagination and spontaneity.

Victorian Poetry gave more importance to intellect and realism.


Notable Romantic Poets include William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats.

Notable Victorian Poets include Robert Browning, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Lord TennysonDifference Between Romantic and Victorian Poetry - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Lord Byron” by Henry Pierce Bone – Christie’s (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

“Lord Tennyson” The portrait is from the University of Texas at Austin Portrait Gallery. Their source for the image isEvert A. Duyckinick, Portrait Gallery of Eminent Men and Women in Europe and America. New York: Johnson, Wilson & Company, 1873., (Public Domain) Commons Wikimedia 

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