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So, in literature, "much of romantic poetry invited the reader to identify the protagonists with the poets themselves".
Its relationship to the French Revolution, which began in 1789 in the very early stages of the period, is clearly important, but highly variable depending on geography and individual reactions.
Most Romantics can be said to be broadly progressive in their views, but a considerable number always had, or developed, a wide range of conservative views, and nationalism was in many countries strongly associated with Romanticism, as discussed in detail below.
The nature of Romanticism may be approached from the primary importance of the free expression of the feelings of the artist.
The importance the Romantics placed on emotion is summed up in the remark of the German painter Caspar David Friedrich, "the artist's feeling is his law".
Margaret Drabble described it in literature as taking place "roughly between 17", and few dates much earlier than 1770 will be found. In other fields and other countries the period denominated as Romantic can be considerably different; musical Romanticism, for example, is generally regarded as only having ceased as a major artistic force as late as 1910, but in an extreme extension the Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss are described stylistically as "Late Romantic" and were composed in 1946–48.
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However, in most fields the Romantic period is said to be over by about 1850, or earlier.The early period of the Romantic era was a time of war, with the French Revolution (1789–1799) followed by the Napoleonic Wars until 1815.These wars, along with the political and social turmoil that went along with them, served as the background for Romanticism.The group of words with the root "Roman" in the various European languages, such as "romance" and "Romanesque", has a complicated history, but by the middle of the 18th century "romantic" in English and romantique in French were both in common use as adjectives of praise for natural phenomena such as views and sunsets, in a sense close to modern English usage but without the amorous connotation.The application of the term to literature first became common in Germany, where the circle around the Schlegel brothers, critics August and Friedrich, began to speak of romantische Poesie ("romantic poetry") in the 1790s, contrasting it with "classic" but in terms of spirit rather than merely dating.The more precise characterization and specific definition of Romanticism has been the subject of debate in the fields of intellectual history and literary history throughout the 20th century, without any great measure of consensus emerging.That it was part of the Counter-Enlightenment, a reaction against the Age of Enlightenment, is generally accepted in current scholarship.Not essential to Romanticism, but so widespread as to be normative, was a strong belief and interest in the importance of nature.This particularly in the effect of nature upon the artist when he is surrounded by it, preferably alone.It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, The movement emphasized intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe—especially that experienced in confronting the new aesthetic categories of the sublimity and beauty of nature.It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, but also spontaneity as a desirable characteristic (as in the musical impromptu).