April 10, 2012 | | Comments Off on Romanticism

Romanticism (Original Work by Jeffrey Hoehn)

The rise of reason, and the Age of Enlightment rubbed off on many individuals as seeming too simplistic, and ordinary.  The 18th and 19th century would be home to a movement in literature and arts arising from the Age of Enlightment, and the industrial revolution known as Romanticism.  The period of Romanticism has been described by some as starting roughly in 1770 and ending around 1848.  Romanticism may be defined as an emphasis on emotions, spiritual nature of creativity, and the “celebration of spontaneity in formed by imagination as an avenue to truth.”  The final characteristic demonstrates why Romanticism evolved from a reaction to reason.  Romanticism holds concepts not rooted in the material world as the forefront of truth.  Romanticism tries to beautify humans, and the many ways in which they humans are different.  The Enlightment focused too much on what made humans all the same, and romanticists tried to differentiate, and emphasize the differences that made humans unique, and fascinating.  Nature was also an influential aspect of Romanticism, once again stemming from Enlightment thinkers applying reason to the universe.  Instead of trying to understand what the laws of planetary motion, the Newtonian Paradigm, and law of inertia, Romanticists would proclaim that nature is not easily discerned through our senses.  Nature instead should be valued as “a spiritual touchstone, guide to emotion, and source of artistic inspiration.”

The impact of Romanticism contributed to a new founded appreciation for human creativity, and emotion.  Romanticists were able to reemphasize passion, will, and intuition all which are human characteristics.  Romanticist novels also left trace of an opposition to the conditions many laborers were subjected to  during the Industrial Revolution.  Romanticism even played a part in encouraging nationalism across Europe.  Romantics viewed Napoleon Bonaparte as the example of human emotion and will that can influence a number of individuals.  Similarly, those who led nationalistic revolutions held ideas revolutionary as Bonaparte, and it is quite possible they drew strength of how to defy the odds from Bonaparte’s personality and vision.

Work by Adrian Ludwig Richter

Sources: Frankforter, D. A., Spellman, W. M.  The West, A Narrative History.  Volume Two : 1400 to the Present.


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