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Term paper on Romantiscism
Who most accurately reflected the romantic sensibility of the day: the poets, the artists or the musicians? Well first off what exactly is Romanticism? Romanticism was a literary and artistic movement of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, resulting in part, from the ideals of the French Revolution and in part a revolt against classicism and the Enlightenment. It embodies none of which classicism and neoclassicism did which were precepts of order, calm, harmony, balance, idealization and rationality, and restraint. Instead, romanticism emphasized the irrational, imaginative, spontaneous and emotional. Romanticism also promoted certain attitudes such as a greater appreciation of the beauties of nature, emotion over reason, senses over intellect, heightened fascination with great hero figures, and spiritual truth. Romantics had a greater interest in folk culture, natural and ethnic cultural origins and also showed particular interests in the exotic, the remote, the mysterious, the weird, the occult, the diseased and even the satanic. Throughout the Romantic Movement, eighteenth century music, arts and literature adopted these new concepts and endured a lot of changes, refinement and some may even say perfection. However, I intend to prove that the poets, novelists and essayists best reflected the romantic sensibility.

Romanticism in music was characterized by an emphasis on emotion and great freedom of form and the composer embraces free expression and originality. Romantic music attained its fullest development in the works of German composers. Although elements of romanticism are present in the music of Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert, it reached its highest point in the works of Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Litsz and Wagner. Beethoven and Schubert, although considered to be classical musicians, provided an important model for nineteenth century romantic composers. German novelist Ernst Hoffman wrote, Beethoven s music sets in motion the lever of fear, of awe, of horror, of suffering, and awakens just that infinite longing which is the essence of Romanticism.

Romantic music had only a few major advances. For example there was the creation of new musical forms that are more flexible in structure, therefore allowing more room for experimentation and creativity. These new musical forms were the prelude, intermezzo, nocturne, ballad, and capriccio. Another romantic contribution was the linking of music to literature either programmatically of through concert overtures and incidental music. This is the creation of the symphonic poem.

The visual arts movement was much like the literary movement. Nineteenth century romanticism was characterized by the avoidance of classical forms and rules and emphasis on the emotional and spiritual. It often makes reference to societies outside Europe, concerned with scenes of sickness, suffering and death. Romantic works tend to evoke powerful feelings and emotions. Romantic artists developed precise techniques in order to produce specific associations in the mind of the viewer. To convey verbal concepts they would, for example, associate inanimate objects with human values. The result was often sentimental or ludicrous.

In painting, Romanticism is divided into two groups, figured and landscaped. Artists began to paint subjects that were out of the ordinary. Subjects were now bizarre, pathetic or extravagantly heroic. In both types of paintings, they used more bold lines and bold contrasts of light and shade. Landscape Romanticism often, but not always, called on help from the human presence, as can be seen in the art of the most significant English painter of the first half of the nineteenth century, J.M.W. Turner. His painting Slave Ship (Anderson 103) shows a murky sea beneath a blood-red sky, with the evil ship in the distance, monstrous fish in the waves, and in the foreground a black, constrained leg floating on the surface. Turner used the immensity and power of nature and the powerful elements of nature (fire, wind, earth, and water) to evoke a magnificence in which light and space seem to be swallowing up form in swirling veils of mist.

In architecture, Romanticism took the form of a variety of past styles imaginatively constructed to heighten their emotional effect. These were called follies . Gothic was popular in England, while more classical ideas appeared in France. British examples were the ruins built for the gardens at Hagley, Horace Walpole s famous house Strawberry Hill, and James Wyatt s Fonthill Abbey. More majestic was the globe designed, but never built, by the French architect +tienne Louis Boull e as a cenotaph in honor of Sir Isaac Newton.

Sculptures were not very Romantic but there was some romantic essence in La Marseillaise by Fran ois Rude for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and the animal sculpture of Antoine Louis Barye, in which lions and leopards are often depicted in deadly battle with snakes and crocodiles. Auguste Rodin was the greatest sculptor of the time. Not always admired in his day, Rodin has steadily assumed greater importance because of his effect on modern sculpture, and the sheer physical power of his forms. His Burghers of Calais (1886), a life-sized group of heroic men, gives the observer a strong impression of character and the emotions of brave people under great stress.

John Constable (1776-1837) was one of the greatest landscape artists. He best sums up what artistic Romanticism was all about in his lecture notes and letters:

I hope to show that ours is a regularly taught profession; that it is scientific as well as poetic; that imagination alone never did, and never can, produce works that are to stand by a comparison with realities; and to show, by tracing the connecting links in the history of landscape painting, that no great painter was ever self taught (Haberman 124)

Romanticism in literature was a movement that took place in most of Western world in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As in the visual arts, the literary Romantic Movement grew from the rejection of restraint, objectivity and rationalism. Now literature was based on growing concerns with themes of melancholy, mysticism and the life of the common people. In Romantic literature the objects of the physical world became symbols of spiritual or intellectual truth. Things remote in time and place were much sought as subjects.

The first wave of the literary Romantic Movement came in England and Germany near the close of the eighteenth century. In England William Wordsworth s and Samuel Taylor Coleridge s Lyrical Ballads represented a sharp break with the neoclassical tradition. The poems had various forms, dealt with common people or the supernatural, expressed and defined the poets personal emotion, and were in language closely related to common speech. In a preface to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads Wordsworth defined poetry as the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranquility. (Haberman 117) He also explains the characteristics of Romantic literature:

The principal object, then, proposed in these poems was to choose incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as possible, in a selection of language really used by mean, to throw them a certain coloring of imagination (Haberman 117)

Other major British Romantics were Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, Thomas Carlyle, and Sir Walter Scott. Byron used Narrative poems to elevate the antisocial, melancholy hero into a romantic character. Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote ingenious lyrical poetry where he used and expressed ideas of freedom and beauty. Keats emphasized beauty and the quick course of human experience in the form of odes and other poems. Carlyle loved to use his literature to praise the heroes. Sir Walter Scott had the greatest audience and had the most profound effect of any British Romantic. He invented an immensely popular form of the novel, taught his generation and later ones how to use the past seriously in the portrayal of life, showed the great value of common people to the writer of fiction. Scott deeply influenced many other writers in England, France and Germany.

After the historical novel, the most extensive fictional form for the Romantics was the Gothic novel. The Gothic novel continued to be popular throughout the English Romantic period, reaching its height in Emily Bront s Withering Heights (1846) and of course Charlotte Bront s Jane Eyre (1847). For the reader of popular fiction the Gothic novel successfully joined several aspects of Romanticism; the supernatural, emphasis of intense feeling, interest in the past, concern with remote settings, and the melancholy, mysterious and fascinating figures often called the Byronic Hero .

Despite the fact that Rousseau s concept of the social contract as the cause of most human suffering was fundamental to the Romantic Movement, and that his Nouvelle Helo se influenced European education profoundly, France developed a full-fledged Romantic Movement quite late. The leader in Romantic Movement in France was Victor Hugo. In 1830, the first night his play Hernani was a declaration of freedom from the restraints of classical drama, resulting in clashes in the theatre between the classicists and the Romantics that continued for a hundred nights. As a poet, a playwright, and as a novelist (notably of Notre-Dame de Paris and Les Miserables), Hugo was a fundamental part of France s Romantic Movement.

In Germany, the philosophical home of Romanticism, a fully realized Romanticism developed by 1798, with poets that put sensibility and transcendent insight above rational experience. Fredrich von Schlegel was the primary theoretician of German Romanticism. For him the imagination, moved by the memory of the infinite and the perfect, acts to create in works of art a spiritual truth out of material actuality. (Bloom 197) He believed that the perfect literary work was free from the rules and genre and prose, poetry, criticism and philosophy. Such a mixture could be seen in Novalis s poem Hymns to Night (1800):

Over I journey

And for each pain

A pleasant sting only

Shall one day remain.

Yet in a few moments

Then free am I,

And intoxicated

In Love's lap lie.

Life everlasting

Lifts, wave-like, at me,

I gaze from its summit

Down after thee.

Your lustre must vanish

Yon mound underneath --

A shadow will bring thee

Thy cooling wreath.

Oh draw at my heart, love,

Draw till I'm gone,

That, fallen asleep, I

Still may love on.

I feel the flow of

Death's youth-giving flood

To balsam and ether

Transform my blood --

I live all the daytime

In faith and in might

And in holy fire

I die every night.

After a thorough analysis of Romantic music, art and literature, it is clearly proven that literature most accurately reflected the Romantic sensibility of the day. It expressed ideas that were irrational, imaginative, spontaneous and emotional in a way that captured the mind and hearts of Europe s audience. Not only did it possess everything that the Romantic Movement embodied, it also produced many influential writers that are still praised today, such as Mary Shelley, and Charlotte Bront . Romantic literature surpassed its music and visual arts because of its unique quality; the ability to let the reader use his imagination in an association of powerful words and mental images. That is why Romantic literature is best portrayed the very essence that is Romanticism.
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