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This program is not for those who attach fig leaves to Michelangelos. The historical fact is that the pendulum in 17th-century England made some wide sweeps, from the Virgin Queen to the witch-loving James I, the beheaded Charles I, the Puritans, and the final counter-swing, the ultimate negation of Puritanism: the Restoration. Charles II was a libertine, rake, roue, and the model of sexual excess for his countrymen.
Examining the birth of Romanticism through the lenses of art and uprising, this program illustrates the political and cultural roots of the movement. The film begins by describing the significance of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, his influence on the French Revolution, and his belief that civilization and governmental systems suppress the individual human spirit. Linking Rousseau’s philosophy to the emergence of New World political ideals and the American struggle for independence, the program also studies the writings and illustrations of William Blake, the collaboration of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the notions of freedom advanced by all three poets. Produced by the Open University. (60 minutes)