World Humanities 102
October 10, 2012
Although love may occasionally be the subject of the Romantic Era, Romanticism has very little to do with things commonly thought of as “romantic.” Rather, it was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in the late 18th century Western Europe. Romanticism flourished as a form of revolt, opposing the idea of the Age of Reason. Newton’s and the rationalist philosophers’ idea that science and technology would solve man’s economic troubles, dominated this era. However, the Age of Enlightenment resulted in two major revolutions; first, the French Revolution (1789-1799), and secondly, the Industrial Revolution (1750-1850). During the French Revolution, new Enlightenment principles were adapted—“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”— and individual freedom was restricted. The Industrial Revolution, however, changed much of the world from agrarian communities into industrialized cities. Both, the French and Industrial Revolution caused artists and other creative individuals to form an anti-scientific movement, known as the Romanticism Era. Many romantics believed that, science and virtue were incompatible; an idea which was coined by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Another belief of theirs was that people were good and innocent by nature, and corrupted by the sciences. As well as that people were good and innocent by nature, and corrupted by the sciences. Romantics opposed the beliefs that the revolution established in Western Europe, as they were in favor of free expression of the imagination and the liberation of the emotions; they believed in the individual rather than society, in imagination rather than logic, and in nature instead of the artificial. These characteristics of Romanticism were embodied in literature by various artists, one of them being John Keats. In Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale,” romanticism is present through three major romantic elements: nature, imagination, and...