If you are using a campus IP address, you should be able to watch the film for Thursday's class here:



You may also follow this link to watch the film.

If you are off campus and having trouble logging in to see the film, please follow these directions:

Go to library.gatech.edu
Click on Find Articles and Databases.
Click on the alphabetical listing for databases beginning with F.
Scroll down until you find the database Films on Demand. Click on Films on Demand.
Enter your campus id and password if prompted.
In the Films of Demand database, search for "From Transcendence to Oblivion."
Choose "Search By Titles" from the drop down menu.
The film for Thursday's class should be there at the top.

After you've completed watching the film, please use the space below to write a thoughtful response to the film (approximately 50-100 words). You might consider describing aspects of the film that surprised you or interested you. Or you may draw out connections between the film and the course topic and assigned readings. You may also identify areas of the film that you would like to think more about or on which you would like to do more research. You may also choose to write a response to someone else's response by inserting your text directly after theirs. Please try to keep the formatting on this page as neat as possible, including a line break between your response and the one above yours. Please also remember to sign off on your response with the four tildes so that I can give you credit. Your response will be factored into your class participation grade. Responses are due by 10pm on Thursday 2/10.

Responses to "From Transcendence to Oblivion:"

The film "From Transcendence to Oblivion" is very informative on just how differing the approaches to poetry were for the featured poets. Coleridge was intertwining his poetry with possible madness and writing based on dreams and visions he saw while on opium. Byron was outgoing and used his poetry to work towards fame and public celebrity. Shelley approached his poetry as philosophical and challenged the common beliefs of the time. Meanwhile Keats humbly wrote poems of reflection while including his religious beliefs and morals. All of these poets were writing about some of the same things, but as made evident by the film had very different takes on life. - H2BohanonPatrick H2BohanonPatrick Feb 10, 2011

After watching "From Transcendence to Oblivion", I definitely have a better grasp of the lives of important Romantics era poets. However, from a cinematographic standpoint, I thought it was a weak presentation. The cast of one narrator and several actors was awkward and many of the special effects took away from the film, distracting the viewer from the content. It was also interesting to note the contrast to “The Age of Wonder” by Holmes, especially in tone. Throughout Holmes, readers find connections between science and poetry whereas the film polarized the two. - N2KingWill N2KingWill Feb 9, 2011

This film is an interesting contrast to the Holmes book in that while the book focuses on the literature as a response to social and scientific trends, this film uses the literature to emphasize the events in the life of each writer, and focused more on God and religion than the Holmes book did. I prefer the book to this film because I found that this film was a bit melodramatic in presentation. From the lighting to the background music and the word choice the narrator used, I think it was overdone. - N2FrancisAyanda N2FrancisAyanda Feb 9, 2011

The film was interesting albeit stale in its narration and overtly melodramatic in its acting. I found Atheism's connection with romanticism and Shelley's works to be fascinating, especially with the fact that atheism fueled is imagination to write his works which were not bounded by societal standards. His works were very personal and followed closely to his life. There's also an interesting parallel between Shelley's views on love and modern standards which seem to follow his idea on "free love". - D1HuiTimothy D1HuiTimothy Feb 9, 2011

The main aspect of the film that I found intriguing was the idea of poetry being the new religion. Poetry was described as divine. Upon death, poets were given “a new kind of divinity in a new kind of heaven”. Poetry was now being worshipped by people and was a substitute for religion. I feel as though this is in contrast with parts of Holmes because although Holmes does state the increasing popularity of poetry and science, there is not much focus on the diminishing idea of religion. - H2OlneyJennifer H2OlneyJennifer Feb 9, 2011

The Romantic film highlights the thoughts and inner feelings of the most popular poets at the time. The Romantic poet’s quest for fresh experience as well as their celebration of originality shows their desire to break away from conventional thinking. As highlighted in the Age of Wonder by Holmes, scientists continually attempted to learn and discover more aspects of science. The film shows that similarly the Romantic poets also pushed to reach a new frontier. Their new frontier, however, was individualism and imagination.- H2NemetzWilliam H2NemetzWilliam Feb 9, 2011

The film “From Transcendence to Oblivion” was a lot darker than I thought it would be. It wasn’t the usual dull BBC film but instead provided an almost morbid touch to the lives of the Romantics. The opium imagery was very bizarre and creepy and Coleridge’s dreamlike states were very bizarre. In addition, the film didn’t connect the Romantic Movement with the science going on in that period as much as I thought I would. It focused more on the lives of the Romantics and how their work and ways of life continue to affect us today; in particular their sense of freedom and rebellious ways.- N2GizziShane N2GizziShane Feb 9, 2011

I found it very interesting how the film focused on a dark and mystic perspective of a movement that seemed from our class discussions and Holmes’ writings to be founded on the ideas of freedom and discovery. It took the idea of Romantic poets searching for meaning in life through ways other than science, and pointed out that it was the apparent emptiness of life itself that led to this drive in the first place. This was done by bringing up the darker aspects of the Romantic period, such as opium addiction. While this may seem cryptic, and a bit biased, in many cases (such as that of Coleridge), it was these darker aspects that caused the literature of the time period to be so enlightening and wondrous.- H2RubinMatt H2RubinMatt Feb 9, 2011

I found this small film to be quite interesting. It focused a lot on the poet's inner feelings and how this was an almost dark period for them. It was a time of connecting poetry with science; a time period where poetry was almost considered religious. I was very interested in the way that I made connections between scientists in Holmes' "Age of Wonder"and the poets described in the film. Each wanted to take progress in their field of work to the next level, constantly pushing the boundaries of what was considered acceptable. Overall I feel the film was a bit out of date and distracting, but the connections one can make are valuable. - N2SheltonClark N2SheltonClark Feb 9, 2011

The most intriguing topic in the film was Keats’ decision to switch from being a doctor to becoming a poet. Appalled by the pain involved in surgical procedures, Keats felt that the patients’ pain became his own; thus, he quit medicine and chose poetry over science. The film describes the switch as a choice of “imagination over the body,” which is very interesting because it implies science is not imaginative or wondrous as Holmes describes. It continues to say that a poet is for all men, while a doctor is very specialized to only certain individuals. This portrayal of science versus art contradicts Holmes’ views of the two subjects as almost a single unit and suggests that science was more about digging deeper and destroying wonder, as opposed to increasing it. (It is also interesting to note that Davy’s experiments with nitrous oxide could have prevented pain in surgeries, but the science was not applied until a much later time after the discovery.) - D1KolpitckeAndrew D1KolpitckeAndrew Feb 9, 2011

I now have a deeper understanding of significant Romantic poets and their lives after watching the film "From Transcendence to Oblivion." In comparison to Holmes’s “The Age of Wonder”, the film focused more on literary works of the individuals discussed with an emphasis on religion, as opposed to the relationship between science and poetry. The special effects and background music were peculiar, excessive, and detract from the film. While the film did mention the role of opium and dissection in broadening scientific knowledge, it did not mention the relationship between science and literature as much as I would have liked. - D1SenaAndreaMarie D1SenaAndreaMarie Feb 10, 2011

I think this film does a great job of conveying the Romantics' messages through explaining their life experiences and backgrounds. That being said, the actual message is lost in the useless special effects put forth by the production company. While these effects make the film more appeasing to the wandering eye and would probably draw my attention if this were on TV, they take away from the effect of Ackroyd's message. I particularly enjoyed the connection between Keat's mentioning that the patient's pain became his own and the quote from "The Fall of Hyperion - a Dream" which read, " A poet is a sage; A humanist, physician to all men" because it completes Keats' transition from training surgeon to poet. - N2ChervuSameer N2ChervuSameer Feb 10, 2011

Before watching this film or taking this class, I did not have a strong Romanticism background. After watching this movie, I was kind of shocked by the darker undertones that it conveyed, especially Shelley's part, because I did not depict Romanticism as having these types of characteristics. I was intrigued by how much religion influenced a writer's work and how much religion meant to everyone during this time period. The narrator mentioned that Shelley once said "Atheism is the free and enlightened life and without proof there is no sense to believe." I found this particularly fascinating because it was probably very extreme to not believe in a higher power which makes me wonder how Shelley found inspiration or motivation to write his works against societal standards. - H2WilliamsTaylor H2WilliamsTaylor Feb 10, 2011

In the video, I find the aspect most interesting to me is how the narrator puts much emphasis on how Coleridge’s opium and alcohol addiction and how this drug was the gateway to the new ways of writing and ideas in general. With opium, Coleridge was able to go to the “limits of human imagination,” believing that our imagination is essentially the soul, which I find very interesting. I also enjoyed learning that John Keats quit the life of training to become a surgeon to be a poet, believing that the “art of empathy” is more powerful than science. The final aspect I found intriguing was how Shelley was brave enough to spread his blasphemous ideas of atheism with all of the clergymen of Oxford, even with the risk of getting caught and his future expulsion from the university. - H2ArnoldCaitlyn H2ArnoldCaitlyn Feb 10, 2011

I very much enjoyed watching the film “From Transcendence to Oblivion” because it addressed a different aspect of Romanticism- the rejection of the traditional faith. I found how passionately the poets felt about their disconnect from religion surprising. I suppose this is because I always saw Romanticism as a spiritual movement, it never occurred to me that the kind of spirituality the poets felt would have been uncommon for the time. On that note, while the details of the poets’ lives were interesting, it would have been appropriate had the movie addressed more thoroughly how the poets were viewed in their culture. It was only really discussed when a poet was directly influenced. I feel that it would have been a valuable contribution to the movie had it taken some time to study the culture the poets were living in as a whole and their combined affect upon it.- N2LazaroSofia N2LazaroSofia Feb 10, 2011

This film gave me a new outlook on Romantic poets and poetry. It portrayed the poets as troubled souls that were very emotional and confused about life. The film made their lives seem dark, sad, and emotional. This confused me a little because I was envisioning these poets as present-day writers- simply a creative soul writing for their profession. This film helped me to better understand the conflicts with religion and science during that time, and how poets were criticized for addressing these issues. They had to flee their homes for simply stating their opinions in writing. This made the Romantic period seem like a much darker time than I had envisioned.- D1GaertigAgnieszka D1GaertigAgnieszka Feb 10, 2011

This film, I believe, was truly created in order for people to understand the means at which people came from in the Romantic period when creating poetry. The narrator began this sinister film with Coleridge and the substances he had surrounded his life with in order to show the extremes that poets might have actually gone in the Romantic era to discover thoughts that are unheard of but meaningful. The film also showed interesting changes people made to go into poetry, such as John Keats' switch from doctor to a nature loving poet. The main thought I received about the poets during the Romantic period, was during the story on Percy Bysshe Shelley. His story showed that all poets really had a rebel side to them when it came to normal society. This film helps to show that poetry was truly a life back then instead of just paper and pen. - N2TynanChris N2TynanChris Feb 10, 2011

Reflecting on the each poet's life in a personal way, this film gave a good perspective on how each poet had different experiences and troubles that affected their writing. Poets often reveal deep and personal thoughts in their work and let personal familiarities determine what they think are important. “From Transcendence to Oblivion” gave great examples of this characteristic of poets. I especially liked that Keats had the most optimistic view of life. He let the deaths of people he loved make him appreciate life and nature to the fullest. He emphasized beauty and understanding which I believe creates amazing works. - N2OpraseuthBrittany N2OpraseuthBrittany Feb 10, 2011

The movie “From Transcendence to Oblivion” served as in insight into the lives of the poet’s whose literary works echo throughout history today. The most intriguing part of the movie was the contrast between John Keat’s lighthearted poems/lifestyle and other Romantic authors. Rather than choosing the celebrity lifestyle of Percy Shelly, he chose a simpler lifestyle. His life was full of sadness yet that intensified his love of life, which is reflected in his works. While his works were not well received in life, they were in his death. Shelly, the polar opposite, even died with a copy of Keat’s poems. - D1ScholzAnika D1ScholzAnika Feb 10, 2011

What surprised me the most about the film, initially at least, was its style of presentation. Keeping with its topic, the film was particularly 'artsy', but to the point that it felt mellow dramatic. With a different sound track this film could have been a Hallmark movie about an old man haunted by visions of his past. In general, but in particular respect to Coleridge and Shelly, the film idolizes the lifestyles of the poets. When expounding on Coleridge’s drug usage, it seems to me that the film gives credit to Laudanum itself, not to Coleridge. - H2EdwardsJohn H2EdwardsJohn Feb 10, 2011

The concept that this “trippy” film most struck me with was the complex relationship of science and literature with God. I would be curious to research how this relationship has transformed since this romantic era. I do not believe that the ideas Shelley attempted to spread would be met with such severe punishment today. But how does the idea of what is so obscene change? The narrator references during his description of Keats’ suffering from tuberculosis how fearful death could become with the new romantic, individualistic ideas so radically different than those of the English Church. I feel that this fear is something that literature and science were driven by and would analyze until now and will beyond. I believe the poets and scientists of the romantic age can be seen as a catalyst for the individual liberties of creativity and expression that we hold so important today. - N2ThomasBenjamin N2ThomasBenjamin Feb 10, 2011

In the Film I found the connection between Keats and Shelly rather interesting. Ackroyd seems to expound on the idea that Shelly alone heralded the atheistic movement in romantics and which subsequently caused both he and Keats a similar torment near the end of their lives. Also the almost intimate tie between Keats and Shelly, seemed to be another means for Shelly to indulge his Romanic sentiments; at Shelly’s death we see Keats’s works almost as a bible to him, concreting the idea that he had relatively exchanged a Christian god for Poetry as the source he found Divinity in. - H2DerochersJohn H2DerochersJohn Feb 10, 2011

I liked the content of the documentary and how it attempted to portray the poets as real people with desires, flaws, and ambitions. Keats' story was especially engaging because you knew that he had only been writing for six years before he died and that he thought that his works would never be immortalized. This is reflected by the line he requested be put in his epitaph: "Here lies one whose name was writ in water." However, the special effects and overdramatisation within the documentary made it very difficult to watch and distracted from the content and original message that the Romantic poets played a large part in influencing today's opinions on different areas of life. - N2HuynhLinda N2HuynhLinda Feb 10, 2011

I found this video intriguing because of the differences between all the poets. In their most discernable form, the differences were evident in the fact that Byron liked Shelley but not Keats, yet Shelley thought Keats' poetry was "sublime." The video talked a lot about Shelley's view on God and religion, but barely mentioned Keats' affiliation with it. It said that he went to Rome because he wanted to find an eternity, knowing that he didn't have one. I want to find out how he came to this conclusion of not having an eternity. Shelley obviously thought that because the existence of God couldn't be proved, he didn't necessarily exist. But Keats seemed to follow a different line of thinking from Shelley and Keats. I also thought it was interesting that "Kublah Khan" came about because of the use of opium and not because of a direct support or opposition to the scientific discoveries of the time. - D1SullivanAlexander D1SullivanAlexander Feb 10, 2011

I really liked how the film depicted the poets as saying their poems out loud as their own thoughts because it really made their situations and experiences come alive and make more sense. I thought it was really interesting how Keats' atheism affected his poetry and his life, especially toward the end of his life when he needed something eternal to make him feel better about not believing in a heaven. I found it especially interesting that Keats had no idea how popular his poetry would be, and that he thought statues were the only "eternal" creations. I usually think of ideas, like poetry, as being eternal--not physical objects and other worldly things like statues. If he had known that we'd still be reading his poetry today, he probably wouldn't have written his epitaph "Here lies one whose name was writ in water." He would've been much more content with his life had he known that his poetry--and thus Keats, himself--would be eternal. - N2GwynnCaroline N2GwynnCaroline Feb 10, 2011

I found this film interesting in how it showed many differences between the poets, but also outlined the common aspects amongst all of them that allowed them to be grouped together as Romanticists. Some had their poetry inspired by opium, such as Coleridge, while other were inspired by things that they saw or events from their life such as Keats. However, commonalities highlighted in the film included a skepticism of God as central to the universe and a focus by each of them on a personal experience with the world. - D1ThwaitsJames D1ThwaitsJames Feb 10, 2011

Overall, I thought the video did a good job of giving an overview of a few of the big six romantic poets at the time. Through the interesting and sometimes psychedelic filming styles, the video left with me with a sense that the Romantic Period had many mystical attributes associated with it. For example, Coleridge's overuse of opium resulting in supernatural visions and experiences along with the strange and almost barbaric burial ceremony of Shelley on the beach, seemed to capitalize upon both the intellectual and spiritual deviations from normal culture that occurred during this time. - H2BenGoldberg H2BenGoldberg Feb 10, 2011

Of the big 6 Romantic poets, it seems that Lord Byron is the greatest outlier, in terms of his behavior and public perception. He became known for his works that related to sensations that stemmed from his lifestyle highlighted in the film. Due to his accusations of relations with his half-sister as well as of homosexuality, he was forced to flee England to continue writing. I found it interesting how while recreating a recitation of one of his poets, he was shown doing so on a TV, as if to say that a large amount of people were interested in his poems in older times as well as more modern times. This related to the central messages of the film: that the Romanticism poets transcended this world to create and inspire just as they transcend time to relay these messages to the masses even today. - D1MortonWesley D1MortonWesley Feb 10, 2011

I was left with an impression, after watching the video, that the romantics had a very dark side to them. The video portrayed different images of blood, dark nights, depressing graveyards, and other scenes that evoke a mysterious, spooky feeling. It should have been expected from poets such as Keats, who began his professional career as a surgeon, learning from dissections and anatomy lectures. Byron and Shelley, plagued by ill opinions from the public for their impure behavior, should also seem depressed. Coleridge, under the influence of opium, fell into a similar pattern. - H2BayleyMelissa H2BayleyMelissa Feb 10, 2011

The idea of finding the answers of life in the human imagination presented in this film is first shown by Coleridge, and all of the Romantic poets followed suit. Each man discussed in this film was a sort of outcast of society, and this could be why they turned to the idea of finding answers within themselves. They eventually had no one to turn to but themselves, and tried to transcend the common beliefs and religion to find their souls. The poets were not the only ones concerned with finding their souls. But the scientists of the time could not accept the poets purely philosophical methods of soul-searching. - H2DavisNicole H2DavisNicole Feb 10, 2011

One of the most memorable quotes in “From Transcendence to Oblivion” was Shelley’s statement: “Poetry is indeed something divine. It is at once the center and circumference of knowledge; it is that which comprehends all science, and that to which all science must be referred.” Shelley did not believe in God, but he essentially made poetry his religion. His idolatry for poetry provided insight to the world around him. Poetry gave him answers to life’s biggest questions and fulfilled the desire for immortality for which many people search in other religions. - H2EhmannMichael H2EhmannMichael Feb 10, 2011

It was interesting to see that Samuel Taylor Coleridge would take opium while writing poetry. With this, he was able to write some of his most brilliant poetry, which was unique to anyone before him. I wonder if this is why Humphrey Davy and others would breathe in laughing gas so that they would be in a similar state. However, it does not seem like these people had as much success as Coleridge did. It also reminded me of the surrealist movement of that began in the 1920’s because how they would paint from their subconscious. They would imagine things that they were not able to in their conscious mind. It was also interesting to see how much of a hippie Percy Shelley was with his ideas of “free love” and atheism. - N2CaffreyBrian N2CaffreyBrian Feb 10, 2011

Watching the film “From Transcendence to Oblivion” was much more enjoyable than I had anticipated. It, like Holmes, provided insight into the personal lives of the Romantics. It made many of their poems and works come more to life by explaining the dark circumstances behind many of their inspirations. The actors portraying the poets and reading them in the environment to which they related also helped to make them more understandable and for the emotional impact to come through more. This film dove deeper into the dark aspects of the poets lives which was interesting as well as informative. - N2HortonStephanie N2HortonStephanie Feb 10, 2011

After watching the video I have a better understanding of the Romantic poets and their place in the nineteenth century society. The video’s portrayal of each poet, along with a constant integration of literary works, enables the audience to connect with these literary figures on a more personal level. Unlike The Age of Wonder, the video presents the poets’ lives in a form that resembles a narrative, whereas Holmes approaches things from a more objective, biographical standpoint. However, I felt that, besides the reference to Keats’ experiences with dissections, the video did not ever delve into the realm of science that was so significant during this era. - D1IppolitoMichael D1IppolitoMichael Feb 10, 2011

Responding to the above post by Stephanie Horton, I definitely agree. The power and thought behind a lot of the more significant poetry and verses we have read is inspired by depression and despair. Keat's situation especially hit me hard, since he was one of the first poets we heard about repeatedly in the Holmes book. The only poem of his that I recall off the top of my head was Ode on a Grecian Urn, perhaps because we mentioned it in class. The circumstances in which it was written in, at least as depicted by the movie are very grave. Mortality and death, and the unescapable realization that death is inevitable. What makes poetry like this timeless is that it applies to every person, no matter how young or old. How much we can relate to the poem and to Keat's itself is solely dependent on the reader. We can, as people, know that we will die eventually, but similar to using a credit card we are living on borrowed time, and the gravity of the situation doesn't hit us until we see the bill the next month. Keat's saw the bill. - D1ChudyKarol D1ChudyKarol Feb 10, 2011

While watching the film “From Transcendence to Oblivion”, I was slightly shocked at the speaker's main premise. When people think of romantic poets, they imagine a group filled with love and passion. However the the body of romantic poets shown throughout the film achieved an opposite effect. They were constantly enshrouded by a dark, mysterious atmosphere as they fought against the dominant authority of the age, the omnipotent creator of the world, with proclamations and support for the bold and portentous concept of Atheism. Thus, in contrast to the Holmes book, the film clearly reveals the gradual decline of religion over the course of the romantic movement and how religion was perceived as the shackles that kept one from embracing his individual will and freedom.- D1YimJin D1YimJin Feb 10, 2011

I liked the film because it gave insightful information about the poets. The two poets that interested me the most were Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. I was amazed to find that Lord Bryon was the first modern celebrity, whose image continues to hold importance in today’s society. I admired Shelley’s honesty with his wife about Mary and that they decided to leave England. I also thought it was interesting how Keats and Lord Byron found refuge in Europe for different reasons; Keats went to improve his health and Lord Byron went to escape the rumors that had formed in England. I thought it was unfortunate though that Keats had to deal with the death of his family and that he ended up suffering from Tuberculosis in the end. - N2DikkalaGouthami N2DikkalaGouthami Feb 10, 2011

I found the in depth background information about the authors to be very eye-opening. Reading poetry in high school with only a vague understanding of who wrote it is one thing, but I feel like I genuinely understand what they were thinking when they wrote they're poems from their life stories. I think the recited poetry was a nice touch too (because I could relate a poem to a time in their life). Knowing this, I think it makes poetry's relationship with science even more clear: it seems both scientists and poets are just trying to make sense of the world around them, but it hints at the subjectivity of their work to their life experiences. I think another important aspect to consider is that they both try to explain the unexplainable, they just do it through different ways while sometimes looking to each other for inspiration and answers. Thus, I think this film gives us a lot to keep in the back of our minds when examining the cross pollination of literature and science in the romantic era. - D1LoalboThomas D1LoalboThomas Feb 10, 2011

After watching this short film, I feel I have a better grasp on the poets and how the feelings they obtained were due to the events occurring around them in each of their lives. I find it interesting how the movie began and referred back to the idea of poetry being like a religion, and the poet being a God. On another note, I did not particularly like the structure/format of the film in the way the characters were shown. The cinema effects lessened my attention at points and took away the importance in some scenes. - N2KeshaniSmruti N2KeshaniSmruti Feb 10, 2011

I appreciated how the film “From Transcendence to Oblivion” went into such great detail about each poet, in regards to their lives as well as their contributions. I was especially impressed by the films description about Byron, who became my favorite Romantic poet after doing extensive research on him in high school. The film revealed facts about his life that I had not read, also how they related his person to a “living poem” in that he was extremely passionate, bawdy, and full of experience, especially after he was permanently exiled from London. - N2WattsSam N2WattsSam Feb 10, 2011

“From Transcendence to Oblivion” was an informative film about the most well known Romantic poets. Through their poems Coleridge, Byron, Keats, and Shelley cultivated individualism, reverence for the natural world, idealism, physical and emotional passion, and an interest in the mystic and supernatural. I believe that this point was evidenced in the film but I would have to say that I overall didn’t really enjoy it. Because of their incredible artistic talents I had envisioned the poets as cheerful and intelligent individuals. But because of the video’s dark demeanor, it is hard not to picture the poets as sad intellectuals. This video doesn’t even compare to the “Age of Wonder” by Holmes, in which he depicts the poets in a somewhat positive light. Overall, the video could be improved by correctly casting people that would encourage the audience to enjoy the adventure of the lives of such great poets. - D1DawsonAlexandra D1DawsonAlexandra Feb 10, 2011

After watching the film, I had a greater appreciation for John Keats. To me, Keats seemed like the most genuine poet. Samuel Coleridge was a drug addict, Percy Shelly seemed far too selfish, and Lord Byron wanted too much to be in the spotlight. In reading Coleridge’s writing, it would be very hard to distinguish the rants of an addict and the words of poetic genius. Shelly left his wife and child, and wrote back to her telling her he was innocent (or the actions, themselves, at least, were innocent). Lord Byron was the Romantic version of a Britney Spears or a Lady Gaga. Keats lived a tragic life, and I think he wanted nothing more than to be remembered as a poet that truly loved and appreciated life. - H2KhanAnik H2KhanAnik Feb 10, 2011

For me, this documentary shed new light on the Romantic Period. Reading The Age of Wonder and discussing the Romanticism in class gave me the hard facts and the knowledge I needed to understand the novel academic and literary stigma surrounding the era. However, “From Transcendence to Oblivion” conveyed the time period in such a way that I now understand the social “revolution” of the Romantic Period. The sacrilegious ideals, heightened interest in the body and anatomy, and the exploration of new territories (globally and mentally) were almost a watershed moment for art and education. I really enjoyed the way the film made all of the historical events realistic. By actually taking the viewer to the place of the event and reenacting what happened, the events surrounding the Romantic Period become less of a vague fact and more of a significant event in our lives. - n2mohammedbehetrin n2mohammedbehetrin Feb 10, 2011

This biographical film of a few of the Romantic poets was the most interesting in its juxtaposition of their ideals and modern life. Diverging from the objectivity of science and the staid grasp of tradition, the Romantic poets defined the way we live now. The film attributes the concept of free love to Shelley and the idea of celebrity to Lord Byron. The spirit of individuality, originality, and freshness endures within all of us. By placing the historical figures in a modern setting, the film highlights this comparison. - H2RobertsLaura H2RobertsLaura Feb 10, 2011

The dialogue in this movie was interesting, but I would not give the special effects or acting anything more than a D+. The narrator was overly melodramatic, and pictures of blood seemed to keep appearing throughout the beginning. The movie went quite deep into the romantic poets’ lives and gave me a new outlook on some of them. I especially was interested in Coleridge, as I have read some of his poems through the wiki. Even though Coleridge was suffering from dysentery (which apparently exists in more than just Oregon Trail), he found a way to alleviate his pain. Opium provided him with his inspiration. He would just sit outside, smoke his pipe, and explore the soul. - D1SinhoViplav D1SinhoViplav

This film discusses very simply, the life of what it meant to be a romantic poet. The narrator describes the contrasting lives of that of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Shelley, John Keats, and Lord Byron. Each of these poets had their own views on what it meant to be human and how they wished to be remembered. By watching this film, I was be able to realize how complex and socially different the Romantic Age was, and how the movement placed much emphasis on the aesthetic experience, and the worldly emotion of awe, fear, and mystery. In fact all these poets, despite their differing lifestyles, have a seeming similar portrayal of a misunderstood loner, one who follows their imagination and works through that of inspiration and sensation rather than to the ideals of what society deemed proper. - H2QiMeng H2QiMeng Feb 10, 2011

I thought that the segment on Coleridge and his view of the imagination and the mind was a perfect example of the definition of Romanticism. Science and anatomy looked at human life in a somewhat neoclassical way by looking for a logical and reasonable explanation for life’s existence by thoroughly examining the body. This contrasted what many romantic poets though, notably Coleridge. Coleridge believed that the whole of the human life force was a product of the imagination, and that the soul itself was something that could not be comprehended in a scientific manner.
- H2BeyerNick H2BeyerNick Feb 10, 2011

I liked how this film focused on the duality of the Romantic Age. It seemed like all of the poets of this age were deeply troubled, and only in this trouble could they create what they had created; Coleridge’s addiction, Keats’s tremendous bad luck, and Shelley’s societal disconnect due to his hate of “authority” and religion. Byron also searched for meaning in celebrity, and drank a ton. The part about Keats’s death was also interesting, as it showed how Keats, thinking he was a failure, and without a God, was living a life without purpose.
- H2LansingDavid H2LansingDavid Feb 10, 2011

While watching From Transcendence to Oblivion, I noticed that a recurring theme in the documentary was the conflict between art and science at the time of the Romantics. A prime example of this conflict was John Keats, who gave up being a surgeon in favor of becoming a poet. Because surgery was a crude and painful science in those days, Keats felt so empathetic with his patients who suffered from his surgical procedures that he decided he could help people more by healing their souls. Keats himself said that “A poet is a sage, a humanist, physician to all men.” This implies that he believed a person’s spiritual being to be more important than their physical bodies and that by studying the human soul, he could learn more about humanity as a whole. Or as the narrator put it, Keats and his fellow poets “would study the human soul as intensely as the anatomists had studied the human body.” - H2HoffmannTobias H2HoffmannTobias Feb 10, 2011

I thought the film "From Transcendence to Oblivion:" was interesting because it changed my perception of the lifes of the poets. I had assumed from what was discussed in class that the poets could write freely about their beliefs, but the film showed they were influenced greatly by the differering views of religious beliefs and science. I thought it was interesting how Keats gave up his medical career to become a poet, and how his poetry was greatly influenced by it. - H2FisherEric H2FisherEric Feb 10, 2011

The aspect that this film was trying to to show was as honest as interesting. When speaking of people from hundreds of years ago who have achieved enough in life to leave their names behind, I always felt like they were more of a superhuman. This film showed that the poets from the Romantic era struggled through the same adversities that the average Joe faces once in his life time. Also, while speaking of Shelley, the narrator commented, "...Free of God and the moral constraints of religion, Shelley was able to become a pioneer of new ways of living." I thought this was hypocritical in a way, as Shelley, the "pioneer of new ways of living", because the Romantic poets, too, were setting counter-contraints against God and His morals. - D1LeeJiSoo D1LeeJiSoo Feb 10, 2011

I felt that this film presented four of the Big Six poets of the Romantic era in a different way than Holmes would going more in depth and perhaps casting a more negative light on some of the choices that the poets made (obviously Coleridge's opium addiction). I feel that Holmes tends to portray his characters in an admiring tone for all of their contributions to science and the literary movement and prefer his marrying science and the arts that the film neglected to focus on.- D1LindseyChelsea D1LindseyChelsea Feb 10, 2011

The film “From Transcendence to Oblivion” did a great job informing the audience about the Romantic poets and sources of their works. It grabbed the audience’s attention by showing appropriate backgrounds when poets were citing their poems. I liked the scene where Coleridge was citing part of “Kubla Khan” in a cave. This helped the audience to understand the poem better and provided the idea of how he ended up writing such literary work. Moreover, the film’s focus on the relationship between poetry and Romantic era, which contains atheism or science, made it more interesting. - H2KimJinwoo H2KimJinwoo Feb 10, 2011

What really struck me about this film, “From Transcendence to Oblivion”, is how different poets of the time were viewed as compared with poets in today’s society. Poets seemed to be sort of the rebels of the time with novel ideas that evoked such strong emotions among the public. The film makes it clear that poetry was powerful during the Romantic period. Percey Shelly’s pamphlet on atheism created such controversy. It would be hard to imagine a writer of any kind these days to inspire such action as someone insisting a book and all its be burnt within moments of it being placed on the self. While, a celebrity for us today would be an actress or a model, Lord Byron’s brilliance gained him such a high status in the eyes of the people. This is another example of how important these poets were and how well-respected writers of the time were. - N2ArnoldJennifer N2ArnoldJennifer Feb 10, 2011

The film gave me great insight into the lives of the romantic poets that we have so often studied in class, but the way it represented them on screen was truly eye opening as now I could understand the personal lives of these legends and what was it that motivated(inspired) them to pursue such new lifestyles. The theme of the film was extremely interesting as the idea of eternity is simply beautiful and Keats experiencing “infinity for a fleeting moment” was the highlight of it. It made me wonder about life’s purpose and how the way a person lives affects the future of the society. - N2BalasubramanianAkash N2BalasubramanianAkash Feb 10, 2011

In my opinion, one of the most striking elements of the film was the analogy comparing the ideas of poets to the ideas of scientists; how the Romantics studied the soul as the anatomists the body. Another thing I found striking was the idea that, in the absence of religious beliefs, Shelly thought that poetry created a new religion. Most of the film, though, was about the poets' struggle to find meaning in a life they defined as meaningless. With Keats, it was through art that he found immortality and sought to emulate it through his poetry. To Byron, it was living in the spotlight, making his life a spectacle, succumbing to the sensations of life. Coleridge found meaning in opium and arguing that the imagination is the manifestation of spirit, something that could never be found and documented by those who dissected bodies and turned human beings into "machines". Overall, this film heightened my knowledge of the Romantics as the Romantics sought to heighten their own existence.- N2RawlDanny N2RawlDanny Feb 10, 2011

This film gave a very good picture into life during the romantic period. It demonstrates the trials one who is living during this time must go through and how they effect ones life and work. This is peculiarly true for John Keats. Being a surgeon, he became sympathetic for those he was operating on and began to not only see but feel life from another person's suffering. The video also expresses many lifestyles that contribute to the romantic period. From Percy Bysshe Shelley's atheistic views to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's addiction to opium, Romantics found many alleys of thought which contributed to their works and legacies. - D1LanierScott D1LanierScott Feb 10, 2011

This film broadened my perspective on the Romantic Era. Unlike The Age of Wonder, this film presented a much darker side of the era. The film presented the era as darker by its use of background music, tone, and diction. This film views the poets as opposing science, whereas Holmes portrays the poets and art in general during the Romantic Era as coinciding and complementary to science. I also like how this film gave background info on the poems it recited and the poets who wrote those poems. I have learned more about the context and summary of the poems and poets this film has covered. This film also opposes The Age of Wonder in that it credits religion more for influencing poetry than Holmes did. Holmes credits science more for influencing poetry. - H2KamorMichael H2KamorMichael Feb 10, 2011

In contrast with The Age of Wonder, which focuses primarily on the scientific achievements of the Romantic era, "From Transcendence to Oblivion" is an account of the lives of the greatest poets from this same time period. The Romantic era produced astounding discoveries in many fields of science, and yet, the narrator in this video states that science during this period reduced humans to a machine--that advances in science took the wonder out of life. The Romantic poets challenged both authority and societal norms, instead focusing on self-fulfillment, self-knowledge, and sensations. I found it quite interesting that Coleridge's opium-dreams profoundly affected the way people view the imagination, and his claim that the imagination is the basis for the human soul, defining each person individually. - H2BrooksMatt H2BrooksMatt Feb 13, 2011

It seems that with great poetry comes a dark side. But this is not actually true. This documentary does not focus on the darkness of the Big Six and the Romantic Era, in general, but rather how the Romantic poets sought to transcend the monotony of life and obtain a different perspective. Whether it was Coleridge's use of opium to experience life in a different light, Shelley's rebellious and atheistic attitude that gave him a unique viewpoint, or Keats's work as a surgeon permitting him to see human suffering. History is a perspective, and one can decipher the perspectives that "From Transcendence to Oblivion" and The Age of Wonder will have simply by the title. But, I enjoyed this version of history more as it did not give me the history of the man behind the poem, but rather the history of the poem. - H2WeemsMatthew H2WeemsMatthew

I found "From Transcendence to Oblivion" to be a very helpful film to watch while finishing up The Age of Wonder. While Holmes does a remarkable job bringing the reader into the lives of the Big Six, including background information on their personal lives as well as their poetic efforts, the film helped me to fill in the blanks of some areas that Holmes could have further visited. The Age of Wonder was not a book written solely about these influential Romantic poets, rather the entire age that they were a great part of, so I can understand why Holmes chose certain information to include and to exclude from his book in order to keep it flowing and concise. I particularly enjoyed the film's use of powerful imagery and background music, both effects that a book cannot utilize to evoke the same feelings. In conclusion, the combination of reading the book and watching the film was extremely effective and helped me to further understand the ideas behind the Romantic period. - H2StanfordLindsay H2StanfordLindsay Feb 16, 2011