The Development and Impact of Romanticism on the Eupropean World

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The Development And Impact Of Romanticism On The Eupropean World

Romanticism, in a way, was a reaction against rigid Classicism, Rationalism, and Deism of the eighteenth century. Strongest in application between 1800 and 1850, the Romantic Movement differed from country to country and from romanticist to romanticist. Because it emphasized change it was an atmosphere in which events occurred and came to affect not only the way humans thought and expressed themselves, but also the way they lived socially and politically. (Abrams, M.H. Pg. 13) “Romanticism emphasized the individual, the subjective, the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, and the transcendental,”( Among the characteristic attitudes of Romanticism were the following: a deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature; a general exaltation of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect; a turning in upon the self and heightened examination of human personality and its moods and mental potentialities; a preoccupation with genius, the hero, and the exceptional figure in general, and a focus on his passions and inner struggles; a new view of the artist as a supremely individual creator, whose creative spirit is more important that strict adherence to formal rules and traditional procedures; an obsessive interest in folk culture, national and ethnic cultural origins, and the medieval era; and a fondness for the exotic, the remote, the mysterious, the weird, the monstrous, the diseased, and even the satanic.(Barzun, Jaques. Pg 157-159) Romanticism was preceded by several related developments from the mid-18th century that can be called Pre-Romanticism. Among such trends was a new appreciation of the medieval romance, from which the Romantic Movement derives its name. (Abrams,M.H. Pg. 261) The romance was a tale or ballad of chivalric adventure whose emphasis on individual heroism and on the exotic and mysterious was in clear contrast to the elegant formality and artificiality of widespread Classical forms of literature, such as French Neoclassical tragedy. This new interest in relatively unsophisticated but emotional literary expressions of the past was to be a dominant note in Romanticism. (Frenz, Horst and Stallknecht, Newton P. pgs 70-73) Romanticism in English literature began in the 1790’s was the publication of Lyrical Ballads written by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Cloeridge. Wordsworth’s “Preface” to the second edition (1800) of Lyrical Ballads, in which he describes poetry as “ the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,” became the manifesto of the English Romantic Movement in poetry. (Thompson, E.P. Pgs 33-34) The first phase of Romantic Movement was in Germany, which was marked by the innovations in both content and literary style and by a preoccupation with the mystical, the subconscious, and the supernatural. (Abrams, M.H. Pg.68) The most momentous national movement was Germany’s. The Germans rebelled not only against Napoleonic rule but against the century old upper hand of French civilization. They rebelled not only against the French armies but against the philosophy of the Age of Enlightenment. “The years of the French Revolution and Napoleon were, for Germany, the year of it greatest Cultural Efflorescence.” (Abrams, M.H. Pg. 73) Germany became the most “romantic” of all countries, and German influence spread throughout Europe. In the nineteenth century, the Germans came to be widely regarded as intellectual leaders, like the French had been a century before. Most of the German thought had come from nationalism in a broad sense. A wealth of talents, including Friedrich Hölderlin, the early Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Jean Paul, Novalis, Ludwig Tieck, A.W. and Friedrich Schlegel, Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, and Friedrich Schelling belong to this first phase. In Revolutionary France, the Vicomte de Chateabriande and Mme de Stael were the chief...
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