The Romantic Era
Have you ever heard of the word romance? Love is the 980th most commonly used word in the English language, which connects to the word romance, so there is a very good likelihood that you have. The real question, however, is do you really know what romance means? Romance has several different meanings and the Romantic Era encompasses them all. Despite the fact that the Romantic Era was a hundred years, the Romantics contributed so many things, some of those being romance, the religion of the whole of Europe, and how people thought and felt, and therefore, influenced Europe back then, and how the world is today.
The definition of romance varies. In some definitions it means a medieval narrative, originally one in verse and in some Romance dialect, treating of heroic, fantastic, or supernatural events, often in the form of allegory. In other definitions it means to court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness. Both are correct and both apply to the era.
When the Romantic Era first started in 1750 it had originally adapted the medieval meaning, which was a type of ballad or legend. It started this way because at about this time people started to record folktales and fairytales from all over the world. In these tales, they saw that love became one of the most important themes to the story, which is how the Romantic Era includes the definition of agape (Dearborn, The Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, Vol.2 955).
The reason this era was started was because of the Age of Enlightenment. The Age of Enlightenment was a time when justice and the government (and basically anything and everyone else) were ruled by reason and logic. The Romantic Era is the complete opposite of everything that the Age of Enlightenment is, and that was exactly the effect that the Romantics were trying to accomplish.
The Romantic Era was a retaliation against the endless reason and logic that had to be applied to everything, including the art of the Age of Enlightenment. The Romantics didn’t like all of the endless logic, and thus, attacked the philosophers of that time for “turning man into a soulless, thinking machine – a robot.” They gathered things together, such as imagination, feelings, and freedom and broke free of the stifling binds of intellect from that age (Kreis).
The religion of that time had great affect on the Romantic Era. The religion wasn’t one that was set in stone for each person. Rather, each country had its own religion. That’s not to say that each person in each country had exactly the same religion. The only thing that it does say is that each country normally had a religion that it was associated with and was the largely acceptable religion in that country.
For instance, England’s overall religion was Christianity. If you were not baptized as one, you were shunned by society. You couldn’t attend Oxford or Cambridge University. You also couldn’t have a government related job. The same thing happened all over the British Isles in Ireland and Scotland, although the majority of Ireland was Roman Catholic (the official ruling church being the Anglican Church of Ireland.) and Scotland was dominated by the Presbyterian Kirk.
France was a different matter entirely. What occurred in the British Isles was the complete opposite of what happened here. France was not forced into religion, but reigned against it. Most of them went atheist, although some stayed Roman Catholic, which used to be the country’s main religion. France was the first country to be primarily atheist in this century, and it started a real turning point for most people everywhere during the Romantic Era. Religion was so important during this period of time because their faiths influenced the art work of that day because those are the beliefs they were raised with. How you are influenced as a child affects how you grow up and shapes your mind set for the rest of your life. For instance, most British Romantic writers were...
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