Untitled Document By the late 18th century in France and Germany, literary taste began to turn from classical and neoclassical conventions. The generation of revolution and wars, of stress and upheaval had produced doubts on the security of the age of reason. Doubts and pessimism now challenged the hope and optimism of the 18th century. Men felt a deepened concern for the metaphysical problems of existence, death, and eternity. It was in this setting that Romanticism was born. Origins Romanticism was a literary movement that swept through virtually every country of Europe, the United States, and Latin America that lasted from about 1750 to 1870. The Romantic Style The term romantic first appeared in 18th-century English and originally meant "romancelike"-that is, resembling the fanciful character of medieval romances. Romanticism stresses on self-expression and individual uniqueness that does not lend itself to precise definition.
Lecture 16: The Romantic Era The categories which it has become customary to use in distinguishing and classifying "movements" in literature or philosophy and in describing the nature of the significant transitions which have taken place in taste and in opinion, are far too rough, crude, undiscriminating -- and none of them so hopelessly as the category "Romantic." ---Arthur O. Lovejoy, "On the Discriminations of Romanticisms" (1924) Ask anyone on the street: "what is Romanticism?" and you will certainly receive some kind of reply. Everyone claims to know the meaning of the word romantic. These meanings cause few problems in every day life -- indeed, few of us wonder about the meaning of Romanticism at all. The expression Romantic gained currency during its own time, roughly 1780-1850. ROMANTICISM appeared in conflict with the Enlightenment. The philosophes were too objective -- they chose to see human nature as something uniform. The period from 1793 to 1815 was a period of European war. | Table of Contents |
The Culture of Rebellion in the Romantic Era Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, 1830. One of Delacroix’s best known works, the painting depicts a bare-breasted Liberty leading Parisians of mixed social and economic backgrounds into battle. The Romantic era is typically noted for its intense political, social, and cultural upheavals. The period is conventionally marked as beginning with the French Revolution in 1789 and ending with the passing of the Great Reform Bill in 1832, occurrences which exemplify the political zeal of the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth centuries as well as the resultant changes brought about in society. Events initially external to England, such as the French Revolution, are internalized in Romantic literature as a part of the debates on more relevant, internal issues in English politics, such as the prededing American Revolution and the imminent Irish Uprising of 1798. One key area in which the influence of the French Revolution manifests itself is in the satiric poetry of the period.
English literature: The Romantic Period At the turn of the century, fired by ideas of personal and political liberty and of the energy and sublimity of the natural world, artists and intellectuals sought to break the bonds of 18th-century convention. Although the works of Jean Jacques Rousseau and William Godwin had great influence, the French Revolution and its aftermath had the strongest impact of all. In England initial support for the Revolution was primarily utopian and idealist, and when the French failed to live up to expectations, most English intellectuals renounced the Revolution. However, the romantic vision had taken forms other than political, and these developed apace. In Lyrical Ballads (1798 and 1800), a watershed in literary history, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge presented and illustrated a liberating aesthetic: poetry should express, in genuine language, experience as filtered through personal emotion and imagination; the truest experience was to be found in nature.
Romanticism Alternative titles: Romantic movement; Romantic Style Romanticism, Britannica Classic: “The Spirit of Romanticism”Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.attitude or intellectual orientation that characterized many works of literature, painting, music, architecture, criticism, and historiography in Western civilization over a period from the late 18th to the mid-19th century. Romanticism can be seen as a rejection of the precepts of order, calm, harmony, balance, idealization, and rationality that typified Classicism in general and late 18th-century Neoclassicism in particular. It was also to some extent a reaction against the Enlightenment and against 18th-century rationalism and physical materialism in general. Romanticism emphasized the individual, the subjective, the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, and the transcendental. ... (100 of 1,783 words)
The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Romantic Age: Introduction In a letter to Byron in 1816, Percy Shelley declared that the French Revolution was "the master theme of the epoch in which we live" — a judgment with which many of Shelley's contemporaries concurred. As one of this period's topics, "The French Revolution: Apocalyptic Expectations," demonstrates, intellectuals of the age were obsessed with the concept of violent and inclusive change in the human condition, and the writings of those we now consider the major Romantic poets cannot be understood, historically, without an awareness of the extent to which their distinctive concepts, plots, forms, and imagery were shaped first by the promise, then by the tragedy, of the great events in neighboring France. "The Gothic," another topic for this period, is also a prominent and distinctive element in the writings of the Romantic Age.
Romanticism If the Enlightenment was a movement which started among a tiny elite and slowly spread to make its influence felt throughout society, Romanticism was more widespread both in its origins and influence. No other intellectual/artistic movement has had comparable variety, reach, and staying power since the end of the Middle Ages. Beginning in Germany and England in the 1770s, by the 1820s it had swept through Europe, conquering at last even its most stubborn foe, the French. It traveled quickly to the Western Hemisphere, and in its musical form has triumphed around the globe, so that from London to Boston to Mexico City to Tokyo to Vladivostok to Oslo, the most popular orchestral music in the world is that of the romantic era. After almost a century of being attacked by the academic and professional world of Western formal concert music, the style has reasserted itself as neoromanticism in the concert halls. Origins: Folklore and Popular Art Nationalism Shakespeare The Gothic Romance Medievalism
Romanticism Romanticism arose as a reaction against the excessive rationalism of the Enlightenment. It drew upon the French Revolution's rejection of aristocratic social and political norms. It was also influenced by the theory of evolution and uniformitarianism, which argued that "the past is the key to the present." Thus some Romantics looked back nostalgically to the sensibility of the Middle Ages and elements of art and narrative perceived to be from the medieval period. The ideals of the French Revolution influenced the Romantic movement in other ways. The flaw in the Enlightenment mind, represented by the moral philosophy of Kant with its overemphasis on intellect (reason) and will, was its disregard of the faculty of emotion which is so central to human life. Characteristics Did you know? Romanticism, popular from the late eighteenth century through the nineteenth century, emphasized emotion and imagination in contrast to reason that was the focus of the Enlightenment Visual art and literature
Romantic nationalism Among the key themes of Romanticism, and its most enduring legacy, the cultural assertions of romantic nationalism have also been central in post-Enlightenment art and political philosophy. From its earliest stirrings, with their focus on the development of national languages and folklore, and the spiritual value of local customs and traditions, to the movements that would redraw the map of Europe and lead to calls for "self-determination" of nationalities, nationalism was one of the key issues in Romanticism, determining its roles, expressions and meanings. Historically in Europe, the watershed year for romantic nationalism was 1848, when a revolutionary wave spread across the continent; numerous nationalistic revolutions occurred in various fragmented regions (such as Italy) or multinational states (such as the Austrian Empire). Brief history The ideas of Rousseau (1712–1778) and of Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744–1803) inspired much early Romantic nationalism in Europe.
A Brief Guide to Romanticism “In spite of difference of soil and climate, of language and manners, of laws and customs, in spite of things silently gone out of mind and things violently destroyed, the Poet binds together by passion and knowledge the vast empire of human society, as it is spread over the whole earth, and over all time. The objects of the Poet’s thoughts are everywhere; though the eyes and senses of man are, it is true, his favorite guides, yet he will follow wheresoever he can find an atmosphere of sensation in which to move his wings. Poetry is the first and last of all knowledge—it is as immortal as the heart of man.”—William Wordsworth, “Preface to Lyrical Ballads" Romanticism was arguably the largest artistic movement of the late 1700s. Its influence was felt across continents and through every artistic discipline into the mid-nineteenth century, and many of its values and beliefs can still be seen in contemporary poetry. browse poets from this movement