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    Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism, clandestine literature, Paganism, idealization of nature, suspicion of science and industrialization, and glorification of the past with a strong preference for the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, chess, social sciences, and the natural sciences.

    Philosophical Beliefs[edit | edit source]

    Blue Flower[edit | edit source]

    The blue flower, or Blaue Blume in German, was a key symbol in the Romanticism movement and remains significant in Western art today. It represents desire, love, and the pursuit of the infinite and unattainable. It symbolizes hope and the beauty found in things.

    The blue flower is seen as a sacred symbol of the Romantic school, representing the deep longings of a poet's soul. It embodies a sense of longing, a connection to the infinite, and a dissatisfaction with worldly happiness. Thomas Carlyle described it as Poetry, the true object of young Heinrich's passion and calling, which he seeks amidst various adventures and trials.

    Genius[edit | edit source]

    The idea of genius in literary theory originated in the late 18th century when it was distinguished from ingenium in discussions about the "spirit of the place." It was believed that each place had its own unique nature that influenced everyone there. In early nationalist literary theories, each nation was thought to have a nature determined by its climate, air, and fauna, shaping its poetry, manners, and art, forming its national character.

    T. V. F. Brogan suggests that "genius" is a middle term between the belief in external sources of inspiration like divine infection and internal sources like imagination. Over time, "genius" became closely associated with poetic and divine madness in Romanticism. The word itself was linked with natural ability during the Renaissance, becoming a unique natural spirit derived from an individual's place. In this sense, it remains synonymous with skill.

    Edward Young's Conjectures on Original Composition (1759) reshaped "genius" to align more with the Romantic idea of a seer or visionary. This influenced German theorists of Sturm und Drang, who in turn influenced Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Romantics viewed genius as superior to mere skill, as something beyond ordinary ability. The emphasis on Gothic literature and the sublime, and the poet as the voice of a nation's consciousness, allowed the decline of the "genius" as a natural spirit of place and its rise as an inherent and irrational ability to coincide.

    With Sigmund Freud's theories on poetic madness and the irrationality of imagination, "genius" in poetry came to be seen in the 20th century as inherent in the writer. The writer was seen as unique and set apart by "genius," whether it was a psychic wound or a particular aspect of the ego. Irving Babbitt's writings explored the Modernist view of genius as something above skill, inexplicable and unique to the individual.

    Since the decline of Modernism, "genius" has become less prominent in critical discussions. Writing has focused more on its own medium, and writers on their processes, leading to a decline in the belief that artists possess a special trait making them superior. However, in certain contemporary literary circles, there's a renewed interest in the concept of genius, often defined in contrast to critics, with the former seen as more independent and spontaneous, and the latter as more self-reflective but limited to responding to existing cultural artifacts. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's commentary on Immanuel Kant's notion of genius offers an early version of this idea, suggesting that genius demonstrates autonomy by deriving rules from itself.

    Gothic Fiction[edit | edit source]

    Gothic fiction, also known as Gothic horror, is a style of literature that evokes fear and haunting. It gets its name from the Gothic architecture of the Middle Ages, seen in early Gothic novels. Gothic fiction creates an atmosphere of fear, often with supernatural events and the past affecting the present. It uses settings like ruined buildings, castles, and religious structures to show decay. Typical plot elements include persecution, imprisonment, and murder, and often have complex structures, with multiple narratives and mysterious elements like doubles and hidden family connections. They may include dreams and surreal landscapes. In the late 19th century, demons, ghosts, and evil spirits became common in Gothic fiction.

    Gothic literature is closely linked with Gothic Revival architecture. English Gothic writers connected medieval buildings with a dark and frightening era characterized by harsh laws and strange rituals. Like the Gothic Revivalists' rejection of Neoclassical style, Gothic literature appreciates extreme emotions, fear, and awe. Gothic ruins evoke mixed feelings, symbolizing decay and human creations' collapse. Placing a story in a Gothic building creates a sense of awe, suggests a historical setting, isolation, and religious themes. Gothic castles often symbolize darkness and secrets, reflecting the characters and events of the story. For example, in The Castle of Otranto, the buildings' tunnels mirror the secrets surrounding the castle's ownership.

    Historical Fiction[edit | edit source]

    Historical fiction is a genre where fictional stories are set against real historical events. It's not just limited to books but includes plays, movies, TV shows, video games, and graphic novels. This genre often uses symbols and metaphors to tell stories.

    Key to historical fiction is its setting in the past, paying attention to details like social customs and conditions of that time. Authors may also include famous historical figures, showing how they might have reacted in their era. Historical romance tends to idealize past eras, while subgenres like alternate history and historical fantasy add speculative elements.

    Mal du siècle[edit | edit source]

    Mal du siècle, which means "sickness of the century" in French, refers to the feelings of ennui, disillusionment, and melancholy experienced by many young adults in early 19th-century Europe, particularly during the rise of the Romantic movement. François-René de Chateaubriand's character René embodies this Romantic ennui, which became a defining feature of the Romantic aesthetic in the first half of the century.

    René, the protagonist, represents a young man afflicted by the moral malaise known as "le mal du siècle." This condition, common during the era, was often depicted and idealized in literature. It was characterized by feelings of boredom, aristocratic melancholy, premature apathy, and a lack of faith and duty. René's experience of this pessimistic state is analyzed with depth and insight by Chateaubriand, who considered it his masterpiece.

    While Chateaubriand first identified this "illness," it was Alfred de Musset who popularized the concept further in his work "Confession of a Child of the Century." Musset attributed the malady to the loss of Napoleon Bonaparte, a significant figure for the French nation, describing the era as a time of uncertainty and transition, symbolized by the "spirit of the century," which he likened to twilight, neither fully night nor day.

    Medievalism[edit | edit source]

    Medievalism is a belief system and cultural movement inspired by the Middle Ages of Europe. It finds expression in various forms like architecture, literature, music, art, philosophy, and popular culture. Since the 17th century, many movements, including Romanticism, the Gothic revival, and the arts and crafts movements, have drawn inspiration from medieval times.

    Romanticism, in particular, saw the Middle Ages as a source of inspiration, seeking to break away from the constraints of urbanization and industrialization. The name "Romanticism" itself comes from the medieval genre of chivalric romance. This movement led to a heightened interest in medieval themes and stories, often depicted in literature and art. Works like Ivanhoe by Walter Scott and translations of medieval epics into modern languages further popularized the medieval era's imagery and ideals.

    Noble Savage[edit | edit source]

    The noble savage is a character found in Western literature and philosophy who represents someone untouched by civilization. This figure symbolizes the belief that people living in harmony with nature possess innate goodness and moral superiority. In literature, the noble savage often serves as the main character, and the focus is on their thoughts rather than their actions.

    The idea of the noble savage was popularized by writers like John Dryden and Charles Dickens, who explored themes of human nature and society. It became a recurring motif in Romantic literature, reflecting a longing for simpler, more natural ways of life. However, this notion also raises questions about Orientalism, colonialism, and exoticism, as it often involves idealizing non-Western cultures.

    Historically, the noble savage concept has roots in ancient texts like Tacitus' Germania, where the Germanic tribes were portrayed as culturally superior due to their simpler way of life. In more recent centuries, figures like the Highland Scots served as examples of noble savages in British intellectual discourse, admired for their toughness and resilience despite their perceived rudeness.

    Nostalgia[edit | edit source]

    Swiss nostalgia was linked to a type of singing called Kuhreihen, which Swiss soldiers were forbidden to do because it made them miss home too much, sometimes leading to them running away, getting sick, or even dying. According to a book from 1767 by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Swiss soldiers were punished harshly to stop them from singing these songs. This idea became common in Romantic literature, appearing in poems and operas. The Romantic idea of longing for the past, called nostalgia, played a big role in making people interested in Switzerland and led to early tourism there. In contrast, German Romanticism had a different idea called Fernweh, which means wanting to be far away and reflects the desire to travel and explore.

    Romantic Hero[edit | edit source]

    The Romantic hero is a character in stories who goes against society's rules, often feeling rejected by it. They focus a lot on their own thoughts rather than their actions, and they're usually the main character in a story.

    Some key traits of the Romantic hero include feeling like they're outside society's norms, being strong and sometimes ruthless, but also having a deep sense of power and leadership. They often reflect on their own lives and may struggle with feelings of loneliness or sadness. Despite their rebellious nature, they might also feel regret for their actions and try to help others. These characters are often portrayed as being separate from their families and living a solitary life, but they may have a long-lasting love interest who shares their struggles. Romantic heroes were commonly seen in Gothic fiction, a popular genre in Britain and beyond.

    Political Beliefs[edit | edit source]

    Romantic Nationalism [edit | edit source]

    The romantics exalted nationalism in an exacerbated way, encouraging love for one's own country and the creation of a national hero. For Europeans, these heroes are medieval knights and in Brazil they are brave and civilized Indians. Nature is also highly exalted within the nationalism of romanticism. Romantic nationalism (also called organic nationalism or identity nationalism) is a form of nationalism in which the state derives its political legitimacy as an organic consequence of the unity of the individuals it governs. This includes, depending on the particular manner of practice, the language, race, culture, religion and customs of the "nation" in its primary sense of the set of people "born" into the culture. This form of nationalism emerged as a reaction to dynastic or imperial hegemony, which proclaimed the legitimacy of the state "from the top down", emanating from the monarch or other authority, thus justifying its existence. Power "from above" could ultimately derive from one God or several gods (see Divine Right of Kings).

    Varients[edit | edit source]

    Dark Romanticism [edit | edit source]

    Dark Romanticism is a literary movement within Romanticism with a focus on the grotesque, the demonic human fallibility, self-destruction, judgement, punishment, as well as the psychological effects of guilt and sin. Dark Romanticism is often conflated with gothic literature, it has shadowed the euphoric Romantic movement ever since its 18th-century beginnings. Authors of Dark Romanticism include Edgar Allan Poe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and John William Polidori.

    Personality[edit | edit source]

    • Likes to imagine idealized versions of already existing civilzations
    • Heavily relies on feelings or pleasure
    • Loves poetry and nature

    You form the rest.

    Relationships[edit | edit source]

    Friends[edit | edit source]

    Frenemies[edit | edit source]

    • Christianity - Though you are (usually) dogmatic and against mysticism, major religions are necessary for strong civilizations.

    Enemies[edit | edit source]

    Quotes[edit | edit source]

    “To romanticize the world is to make us aware of the magic, mystery and wonder of the world; it is to educate the senses to see the ordinary as extraordinary, the familiar as strange, the mundane as sacred, the finite as infinite.”


    "Reason speaks in words alone, but love has a song.”

    Joseph de Maistre

    “Nature shall be the visible spirit, and spirit, invisible nature.”

    Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling

    Further Information[edit | edit source]

    Wikipedia[edit | edit source]

    Literature[edit | edit source]

    Videos[edit | edit source]

    References[edit | edit source]

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