From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Romance (disambiguation).
Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog,38.58 × 29.13 inches (98 x 74 cm), 1818, Oil on canvas,Kunsthalle Hamburg
J. M. W. Turner, Two women and a letter, c. 1835, Tate Gallery
See also: Romantic poetry and Romanticism in science
Romanticism (or the Romantic Era orthe "'Romantic Period"') was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution. In part, it was a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. It was embodied moststrongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education and natural history.
The movement validated strong emotion as an authentic source of aestheticexperience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as trepidation, horror and terrorand awe—especially that which is experienced in confronting the sublimity of untamed nature and itspicturesque qualities, both new aesthetic categories. It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, made of spontaneity a desirable character (as in the musical impromptu), and argued for a "natural" epistemology of human activities as conditioned by nature in the form of language and customary usage.
Romanticism reached beyond the rational and Classicist ideal models to elevate arevived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived to be authentically medieval, in an attempt to escape the confines of population growth, urban sprawl, and industrialism, and it also attempted to embrace the exotic, unfamiliar, and distant in modes more authentic than Rococo chinoiserie, harnessing the power of the imagination to envision and to escape.
The modern sense of a romanticcharacter may be expressed in Byronic ideals of a gifted, perhaps misunderstood loner, creatively following the dictates of his inspiration rather than the standard ways of contemporary society.
Although the movement was rooted in the German Sturm und Drang movement, which prized intuition and emotion over Enlightenment rationalism, the ideologies and events of the French Revolution laid thebackground from which both Romanticism and the Counter-Enlightenment emerged. The confines of the Industrial Revolution also had their influence on Romanticism, which was in part an escape from modern realities; indeed, in the second half of the 19th century, "Realism" was offered as a polarized opposite to Romanticism. Romanticism elevated the achievements of what it perceived as heroicindividualists and artists, whose pioneering examples would elevate society. It also legitimized the individual imagination as a critical authority, which permitted freedom from classical notions of form in art. There was a strong recourse to historical and natural inevitability, azeitgeist, in the representation of its ideas.
In a basic sense, the term "Romanticism" has been used torefer to certain artists, poets, writers, musicians, as well as political,philosophical and social thinkers of the late 18th and early to mid 19th centuries. It has equally been used to refer to various artistic, intellectual, and social trends of that era. Despite this general usage of the term, a precise characterization and specific definition of Romanticism have been the subject of debate in thefields of intellectual history and literary history throughout the 20th century, without any great measure of consensus emerging.
Arthur Lovejoy attempted to demonstrate the difficulty of defining Romanticism in his seminal article "On The Discrimination of Romanticisms" in his Essays in the History of Ideas (1948); some scholars see romanticism as essentially continuous with the present,...