Difference Between Enlightenment and Romanticism

Topics: Romanticism, Voltaire, Age of Enlightenment Pages: 4 (1169 words) Published: May 28, 2013
Difference Between Enlightenment and Romanticism

Enlightenment and Romanticism are two aspects of literature in which the thinkers contributed according to their school of thought. Writers that contributed to romanticism are called as romantics. On the other hand, writers that contributed to enlightenment are called as enlightenment thinkers. Romantics gave more importance to intense emotion in their works. On the other hand, the enlightenment thinkers did not give that much importance to intense emotion in their works. Instead, they valued tradition the more. This is a significant difference between enlightenment and romanticism. As a matter of fact, you can see that romanticism is laden with works wherein characteristics were overdone. On the other hand, enlightenment thinkers never overdid the characteristics. This is another key difference between enlightenment and romanticism. One of the most prominent differences between the two schools of thought is that while enlightenment thinkers showed more importance and concern towards reason in their writings and speeches, the romanticism thinkers showed a lot of concern and significance to imagination. It can be said that romantics valued imagination more than anything else did, and hence they depended more on enjoyment in their works.

During the age of Enlightenment, the philosophes believed that reason could be used to explain everything. The philosophes believed that people could make the world a better place to live in. Voltaire is against such optimism. Ian Bell Says "The 'optimist' argument then, was complex and sophisticated, but like all ironists Voltaire chose to simplify it to the extent that it seemed complacent and absurd, and he went on to cast doubt on our chances of ever securing 'eternal happiness'"(1-2). According to Voltaire true happiness can only be experienced in an unreal world. The multitudes of disasters that Candide endures after leaving Eldorado culminate in his eventual abandonment...
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