Closer Look at Historical Context of Romantic Literature

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Closer Look at Historical Context of Romantic Literature

At the end of the 18th century and the start of the 19th century, the literature witnessed a lot of development, and key to them being art, music and the themes that were being written by the authors. One of the literary aspects that were brought in includes romanticism; and this romanticism is connected with the social and political arguments. Therefore, it can be argued that the politics and the social kind of writing got heightened significance in these periods; the same way romanticism got a lot of attention. In general, romanticism represents the beauty in the way the texts appear and how these contribute to the overall understanding of the intended message by the author. A number of authors are well known for the development of romanticism in this period and among others, they are David Ferris, Lacoue Labarthe, and Shelley, Novalis, Holderlin, Keats and the Schlegel brothers. This paper focuses on the literary elements that are used in the writing of political literature and how the authors utilize the tools of writing to pass their message across. Specifically, this paper looks at one author William C. Martel especially on his article Technology and Military Power.


William Martel: Political literature. Politics has become part of literature writing and therefore has become a genre. Since the coming of romanticism, this genre has become a centerpiece in writing, and people like William C. Martel have devoted themselves to using this as one of the areas that they can further. In the article Technology and Military Power, it is seen that William Martel goes to the extent of conjoining the evolvement of technology by major countries in the world becoming the super powers. For example, Martel (177-187) notes that the United States has the economic capability and wealthy enough to sustain itself in the never-ending technological races, and here, the country is seen to be in still competition with other perceived super powers like China. However, the US as noted by Martel (177-187) has an upper hand when it comes to the great economic power and the capability of developing weapons for political purposes. It is noted to spend a lot on technology twice the spending of Russia, Iran, China, Iraq, Serbia, Sudan, Korea, Cuba and Libya.


From the above, William C. Martel can therefore be put as a person who has taken the political genre in literature and mostly, his concern is on how the United States of America has invented itself to become a policy maker in the whole world in regard to political policy. Among the books that this renowned author has done include Nuclear Coexistence: Rethinking U.S. Policy to promote stability in an Era of Proliferation (Co-author), Victory in War: Foundations of modern military policy, the technological arsenal: Emerging defense capabilities, Russia’s Democratic moment? Defining U.S. Policy to promote Democratic Opportunities in Russia (Co-author), how to stop a war: The lessons of two hundreds years of war and peace (co-author) and improving the USAF technology transfer process: Prepared for the United States Air Force (co-author). Others are like Strategic nuclear war: What the superpowers target and why, Review of “Bases abroad: The global foreign military presence”, A nuclear war-fighting strategy for the United States, Russia’s Democratic Moment? And Defining United States policy to promote Opportunities in Russia


Literary elements in political writing of William Martel. The history of use of politics in literature could be dated back to the 19th century; that is, at the start of the 19th century the issue of writing in politics became real and much acclaimed. For example, in the year 1821 when the Guatemala gained its independence from Spain, the desire to establish political genre in writing arose. The literature then was characterized by the political strife and these were dominated by the essays as well as the treatise genres. In the same century, romanticism, which had started on art, became popular in literature and this is when the literary elements started to show up in writing. According to Rajan (34), romance was brought in to make some interest in the writing and appreciation in what was being written. It was a way of making liberal conversation and even though the present world has a lot of liberalism in writing; however, it is just part of the romantic genre reforms. Therefore, as is reflected in most of the writings of William C. Martel in the books listed above, it is clear that the writing of politics has become popular and looking at the United States of America as an example, the writing in politics has rich information.


Aphorism is one of the literary elements that have been used in the modern and classical literature. Aphorism refers to a concise statement that has some cleverly stated subjective or observation and it mostly uses rhyming, anaphora and alliteration and considered in mostly poetic genre. However, it has been used in the writing of books as well when the author wants to make a claim or an observation about a particular issue.  According to O’Brien (161), the political Aphorism has become part of making writing and this genre have a kind of appreciation and by its importance in the policymaking, use of observation by the author help to understand properly. Martel (177-187) quotes, “In the long term, U.S. military capabilities depend on maintaining technologies that are without equal to the breadth and depth of technologies being developed by other states.”


Incluing is another literary element in writing, and specifically in political writing, it is used to show or expose the reader to some background information, which forms the basis for what would be written later. Incluing is used subtly clue the readers into a world the author has in building what he has. The author exposes the reader gradually until he or she makes an opinion of himself or herself. However, the real importance of this is to prepare the readers for information that the author would expose to them. For example, in the article Technology and Military Power by William C. Martel, the author prepares the writer on his main concentration and mostly about how the United States of America has used technology for military powers over the others. Martel (177-187) starts in the article:


After decades of investment in technology, the capabilities of the U.S. military are without equal. While the consensus is that no state has military power to prevent the United States from achieving its military objectives, the country may not be prepared for the lesser crises that may dominate this century. The conflicts in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia, and other countries did not fit the mold established in the twentieth century.


From the above, the author makes it clear his direction and wants people to form an opinion of the United States of America and this opinion is shaped by this early introduction. For example, somebody may be compelled to think that the United States of America uses its economic prowess to become the super power. Flippin (xvii) gives opinion that this kind of writing in America was very popular during the administration of George W. Bush during his reign as the American president. In that era, the journalists scrambled to have new forms of literary paradigm and the use of incluing came to the fore of this writing.


Magical realism is one of the literary genres and it refers to the description of an event or events in a most realistic manner. However, they are described in some magical haze of the strange customers and beliefs to bring out the intended message of the subject under discussion. Martel (177-187) quotes, “In the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Department of Defense reaffirmed that “it is imperative that the United States maintain its military superiority…” The aim of the author bringing in the quote is to show that the country has no regrets to make, and this makes the readership understand the notion behind the country being referred to a super power and which will remain as so no matter the views of the others. Smith (10) writes that magical realism is used in the modern world in writing that employs the political concept and mostly in viewing the politics that are used in America.


Political Genre and Contribution to the National Canon. From the analysis, it has been noted that the start of the political genre dates back to the 19th century, and this form has been taken up by major writers of the present including William C. Martel in most of his writing, and this goes as well to the literary forms that have been used by the authors. According to Kanellos (131), the literary canon of United States of America is expected to expand more than it is and this is because more and more writers are evolving to put romanticism in the writing. This goes together with the literature contributions that have come and what the world has in the present is a national canon that cannot be compared to any other. The United States of America is considered as the country that has the highest form of literacy and this goes in line with the many publishers and authors that are in the country. The country is the benchmark to many of the writings and a number of references especially the political writing have been made from the country’s authors. Therefore, it can be said that the literary canon of America is the first beneficially of the modern ways of writing and general romanticism.


Works Cited

Flippin, Royce. Best American Political Writing 2009. Boulder, Perseus Books Group, 2009

Kanellos, Nicolas. Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States: Volumes 1-2. Texas: Arte Publico Press, 1994

Martel, William C. “Technology and Military Power.” The Fletcher Forum, summer 2001, Vol. 25 (2), pp 177-187

O’Brien, William. Novalis, Signs of Revolution. New York: Duke University Press, 1995

Rajan, Tilottama. Romanticism, History, and the Possibilities of Genre: Re-forming Literature 1789-1837. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006

Smith, Claudia. Border Fictions: Globalization, Empire, and Writing at the Boundaries of the United States. Virginia: University of Virginia Press, 2008

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