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Romanticism

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  • December 16, 2012
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Originated in the 18th century, romanticism was a movement in literature, the arts and music. Romanticism emphasized inspiration, and intuitive rather than rationalism and logic. Romanticism had elements that focused on the awe of nature, spirituality, and individualism of the common man. As romanticism became more popular it began to break off into two types: dark romanticism, and light romanticism. One example of dark romanticism is The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. Conversely, Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant is an example of light romanticism.  Light and dark romanticism both present the elements of romanticism, however they do it in different ways. Light romantics, like William Cullen Bryant, believe in the good of nature, spirituality and humanity. In Thanatopsis, the voice of Nature says, “Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim/ Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again.” This quote shows how Earth is welcoming and how the cycle of life is natural and good. Bryant goes on to describe, “The speechless, babe, and the gray-headed man- shall one by one be gathered to thy side.” Bryant shows that all people are equal in the sense that they start and end up in the same place where they both will be reunited. This appealing view of nature and humanity continues on with spirituality when Bryant describes death as lying “down to pleasant dreams.” Bryant makes death sound peaceful and almost a desirable part of nature’s cycle of life. In light romanticism, nature, spirituality and the life of the common man are all displayed positively. Dark romantics, like Edgar Allen Poe, create a somber and evil tone when describing the different elements of romanticism. In The Raven, Poe creates a negative mood when describing nature, mankind and the spiritual world. For example, The Raven uses words like “bleak, vainly, unhappy, unmerciful Disaster, grim, and loneliness.” These negative words continue describing the spiritual element of romanticism as “demon, devil and evil.”...