The Romanticism Period, refers to the cultural movements that occurred in Europe, and America from 1770 to the 1860s. In this era, romantic authors saw themselves revolting against another period called the Age of Reason which began in the 1700s and ended in 1770. The Romantic Period came after the Age of Enlightenment, which really had an emphasis on logic, reason and science. The Romantic Period was a deviation from that. In Romantic literature, we see a prominence on emotions, imaginations and intuitions elements of humanity that can challenge reason.
The era before Romanticism weakened the religious stronghold on society, Romantics were not very concerned with devotion, but rather were interested in experimentation with religion in an esthetical manner. Many artists, writers and visual artists alike, used religious imagery and themes in their works, but did not necessarily consider their works to have Christian or religious associations. As with the era before it, people of the Romantic period expressed doubt in a higher holiness. Romantic poets cultivated individualism, reverence for the natural world, idealism, physical and emotional passion.
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Romantics set themselves in opposition n to the order and rationality of classical and neoclassical artistic principles to embrace liberty and revolution in their art and politics. No other period in English literature exhibits more diversity in style, theme, and substance than the Romantic Movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Additionally, no period has been the topic of so much disagreement and misperception over its essential principles and aesthetics. Romantics stressed the admiration of nature in art and language and the involvement of sublimity through a link with nature. Romantics rejected the rationalization of nature by the previous thinkers of the Enlightenment period.
People desired magic and a retreat from real-life, particularly in the second half of the eighteenth century. Industrialization was leaving its residue in the cities and in the world. Many wished and that the Revolution would bring a remedy for the difficulties with modern society and European development. When it did not come, they withdrew to nature and Romanticism. It became a reserve, where they could vision a better world, revel in the past and imagine their time away. The eruption of the French Revolution almost heralded the start of Romanticism. What they had in common was the striving for liberty: liberty from an tyrannical regime and freedom from reasonableness.
Several of the libertarian and abolitionist movements of the 18th and early 19th centuries were created by the romantic philosophy, the desire to be free of convention and oppression, and the new importance on the rights and self-respect of the individual (robinson,2001). Romanticism pressures self-expression and individual uniqueness, romantics believed that men and women should be guided by sincere emotions rather than the cold abstract guidelines and rites recognized by a conformist society. The conformist, who promoted, defended, and openly profited by the Revolution when they rose to power. In the period of its most active fermentation, the Romantic Movement was nothing more than a protest against conformist conventions, conformist society and morality. To be extreme and flamboyant and unusual and violent even at the risk of becoming grotesque was the desire of every young Romantic. The Romantics were, in fact, conventional origins, who were trying hard to escape from their own darkness.
To contemplate Romanticism is logical to think of Victor Hugo. Hugo associated himself with the Romantic Movement that flounced through Europe and the Americas. It was a movement categorized by reliance on the mind, liberty of thought, expression, and nostalgia of nature. As early as 1828, Hugo had allied with social freedom, and the liberty of the artist. He believed that the year 1830 was as vital for poetry as it was for government. The 19th century, was known for Romanticism and Socialism.
Hugo related with the Romantic Movement while it was still in its early stages, and endured faithful to the Romantic cause all throughout, it spanned over three generation. Hugo not only safeguarded his break from outdated dramatic structure but also justified the outline of the grotesque into art. Romanticism praised the genius of the extraordinary man, Hugo presented himself as the poet born of the philosophical currents that shaped Romanticism, to which the poet is a supremely individual creator, whose creative spirit is more important than strict adherence to formal rules and traditional procedures (Gay,2015) . Hugo identified with the Romantic Movement and felt it was his calling. In the early 1830’s, when Romanticism was just beginning.
Hugo’s influence lay in his fictional characters, Hugo created for himself a character. Hugo believed that: “Every man who writes, writes a book; this book is himself. Whether he recognizes it or not, whether he desires it or not, it is true (Dick, 2018). The things of which he wrote were about the people and for the people. He believed in the common man, and saw the poor as the legs by which the rich were able to stand. He saw in them potential and he worked hard to have this potential realized by the people. His most notable characters in Les Miserables were not of the rich or people of high-standing, but rather, of the poor and common man (Gay,2015).
In conclusion, feelings and imagination are different in each person, romanticism encompasses the accentuation of the personal or diverse. Today, Romanticism can be found in a widespread of films, television, music, literature, and art. Whether it is emphasized on the eternal power of nature or an audiencer’s intuitive reaction to a specific medium, current society is apt with Romance in the Romantic sense. In the art world, Romanticism provides a new way to interrelate with paintings to not only capture the complexity of the human understanding, but to capture this format with desire of color and form.
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