What Is Romanticism?
Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward 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 as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.
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). In contrast to the Rationalism and Classicism of the Enlightenment, Romanticism revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived as authentically medieval in an attempt to escape population growth, early urban sprawl, and industrialism.
Although the movement was rooted in the German Sturm und Drang movement, which preferred intuition and emotion to the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the events and ideologies of the French Revolution were also proximate factors. Romanticism assigned a high value to the achievements of “heroic” individualists and artists, whose examples, it maintained, would raise the quality of society. It also promoted the individual imagination as a critical authority allowed of freedom from classical notions of form in art. There was a strong recourse to historical and natural inevitability, a Zeitgeist, in the representation of its ideas. In the second half of the 19th century, Realism was offered as a polar opposite to Romanticism. The decline of Romanticism during this time was associated with multiple processes, including social and political changes and the spread of nationalism.
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”. To William Wordsworth, poetry should begin as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”, which the poet then “recollect[s] in tranquility”, evoking a new but corresponding emotion the poet can then mold into art.
To express these feelings, it was considered the content of art had to come from the imagination of the artist, with as little interference as possible from “artificial” rules dictating what a work should consist of. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and others believed there were natural laws the imagination—at least of a good creative artist—would unconsciously follow through artistic inspiration if left alone. As well as rules, the influence of models from other works was considered to impede the creator’s own imagination, so that originality was essential. The concept of the genius, or artist who was able to produce his own original work through this process of creation from nothingness, is key to Romanticism, and to be derivative was the worst sin. This idea is often called “romantic originality”. Translator and prominent Romantic August Wilhelm Schlegel argued in his Lectures on Dramatic Arts and Letters that the most phenomenal power of human nature is its capacity to divide and diverge into opposite directions.
According to Isaiah Berlin, Romanticism embodied “a new and restless spirit, seeking violently to burst through old and cramping forms, a nervous preoccupation with perpetually changing inner states of consciousness, a longing for the unbounded and the indefinable, for perpetual movement and change, an effort to return to the forgotten sources of life, a passionate effort at self-assertion both individual and collective, a search after means of expressing an unappeasable yearning for unattainable goals”.
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. Friedrich Schlegel wrote in his Dialogue on Poetry (1800), “I seek and find the romantic among the older moderns, in Shakespeare, in Cervantes, in Italian poetry, in that age of chivalry, love and fable, from which the phenomenon and the word itself are derived.”
In both French and German the closeness of the adjective to roman, meaning the fairly new literary form of the novel, had some effect on the sense of the word in those languages. The use of the word, invented by Friedrich Schlegel, did not become general very quickly, and was probably spread more widely in France by its persistent use by Germaine de Staël in her De l’Allemagne (1813), recounting her travels in Germany. In England Wordsworth wrote in a preface to his poems of 1815 of the “romantic harp” and “classic lyre”, but in 1820 Byron could still write, perhaps slightly disingenuously, “I perceive that in Germany, as well as in Italy, there is a great struggle about what they call ‘Classical’ and ‘Romantic’, terms which were not subjects of classification in England, at least when I left it four or five years ago”. It is only from the 1820s that Romanticism certainly knew itself by its name, and in 1824 the Académie française took the wholly ineffective step of issuing a decree condemning it in literature.
The period typically called Romantic varies greatly between different countries and different artistic media or areas of thought. Margaret Drabble described it in literature as taking place “roughly between 1770 and 1848”, and few dates much earlier than 1770 will be found. In English literature, M. H. Abrams placed it between 1789, or 1798, this latter a very typical view, and about 1830, perhaps a little later than some other critics. Others have proposed 1780–1830. 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. 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 key generation of French Romantics born between 1795–1805 had, in the words of one of their number, Alfred de Vigny, been “conceived between battles, attended school to the rolling of drums”.According to Jacques Barzun, there were three generations of Romantic artists. The first emerged in the 1790s and 1800s, the second in the 1820s, and the third later in the century.
Context and place in history
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. 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.
In philosophy and the history of ideas, Romanticism was seen by Isaiah Berlin as disrupting for over a century the classic Western traditions of rationality and the idea of moral absolutes and agreed values, leading “to something like the melting away of the very notion of objective truth”, and hence not only to nationalism, but also fascism and totalitarianism, with a gradual recovery coming only after World War II. For the Romantics, Berlin says,
in the realm of ethics, politics, aesthetics it was the authenticity and sincerity of the pursuit of inner goals that mattered; this applied equally to individuals and groups—states, nations, movements. This is most evident in the aesthetics of romanticism, where the notion of eternal models, a Platonic vision of ideal beauty, which the artist seeks to convey, however imperfectly, on canvas or in sound, is replaced by a passionate belief in spiritual freedom, individual creativity. The painter, the poet, the composer do not hold up a mirror to nature, however ideal, but invent; they do not imitate (the doctrine of mimesis), but create not merely the means but the goals that they pursue; these goals represent the self-expression of the artist’s own unique, inner vision, to set aside which in response to the demands of some “external” voice—church, state, public opinion, family friends, arbiters of taste—is an act of betrayal of what alone justifies their existence for those who are in any sense creative.
The end of the Romantic era is marked in some areas by a new style of Realism, which affected literature, especially the novel and drama, painting, and even music, through Verismo opera. This movement was led by France, with Balzac and Flaubert in literature and Courbet in painting; Stendhal and Goya were important precursors of Realism in their respective media. However, Romantic styles, now often representing the established and safe style against which Realists rebelled, continued to flourish in many fields for the rest of the century and beyond. In music such works from after about 1850 are referred to by some writers as “Late Romantic” and by others as “Neoromantic” or “Postromantic”, but other fields do not usually use these terms; in English literature and painting the convenient term “Victorian” avoids having to characterise the period further.
In northern Europe, the Early Romantic visionary optimism and belief that the world was in the process of great change and improvement had largely vanished, and some art became more conventionally political and polemical as its creators engaged polemically with the world as it was. Elsewhere, including in very different ways the United States and Russia, feelings that great change was underway or just about to come were still possible. Displays of intense emotion in art remained prominent, as did the exotic and historical settings pioneered by the Romantics, but experimentation with form and technique was generally reduced, often replaced with meticulous technique, as in the poems of Tennyson or many paintings. If not realist, late 19th-century art was often extremely detailed, and pride was taken in adding authentic details in a way that earlier Romantics did not trouble with. Many Romantic ideas about the nature and purpose of art, above all the pre-eminent importance of originality, remained important for later generations, and often underlie modern views, despite opposition from theorists.
See also: Romantic poetry
In literature, Romanticism found recurrent themes in the evocation or criticism of the past, the cult of “sensibility” with its emphasis on women and children, the isolation of the artist or narrator, and respect for nature. Furthermore, several romantic authors, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, based their writings on the supernatural/occult and human psychology. Romanticism tended to regard satire as something unworthy of serious attention, a prejudice still influential today. The romantic movement in literature was preceded by the Enlightenment and succeeded by Realism.
Some authors cite 16th century poet Isabella di Morra as an early precursor of Romantic literature. Her lyrics covering themes of isolation and loneliness, which reflected the tragic events of her life, are considered “an impressive prefigurement of Romanticism”, differing from the Petrarchist fashion of the time based on the philosophy of love.
The precursors of Romanticism in English poetry go back to the middle of the 18th century, including figures such as Joseph Warton (headmaster at Winchester College) and his brother Thomas Warton, Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. Joseph maintained that invention and imagination were the chief qualities of a poet. Thomas Chatterton is generally considered the first Romantic poet in English. The Scottish poet James Macpherson influenced the early development of Romanticism with the international success of his Ossian cycle of poems published in 1762, inspiring both Goethe and the young Walter Scott. Both Chatterton and Macpherson’s work involved elements of fraud, as what they claimed was earlier literature that they had discovered or compiled was, in fact, entirely their own work. The Gothic novel, beginning with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764), was an important precursor of one strain of Romanticism, with a delight in horror and threat, and exotic picturesque settings, matched in Walpole’s case by his role in the early revival of Gothic architecture. Tristram Shandy, a novel by Laurence Sterne (1759–67) introduced a whimsical version of the anti-rational sentimental novel to the English literary public.
Important motifs in German Romanticism are travelling, nature, for example the German Forest, and Germanic myths. The later German Romanticism of, for example E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Der Sandmann (The Sandman), 1817, and Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff’s Das Marmorbild (The Marble Statue), 1819, was darker in its motifs and has gothic elements. The significance to Romanticism of childhood innocence, the importance of imagination, and racial theories all combined to give an unprecedented importance to folk literature, non-classical mythology and children’s literature, above all in Germany. Brentano and von Arnim were significant literary figures who together published Des Knaben Wunderhorn (“The Boy’s Magic Horn” or cornucopia), a collection of versified folk tales, in 1806–08. The first collection of Grimms’ Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm was published in 1812. Unlike the much later work of Hans Christian Andersen, who was publishing his invented tales in Danish from 1835, these German works were at least mainly based on collected folk tales, and the Grimms remained true to the style of the telling in their early editions, though later rewriting some parts. One of the brothers, Jacob, published in 1835 Deutsche Mythologie, a long academic work on Germanic mythology. Another strain is exemplified by Schiller’s highly emotional language and the depiction of physical violence in his play The Robbers of 1781.
In contrast to Germany, Romanticism in English literature had little connection with nationalism, and the Romantics were often regarded with suspicion for the sympathy many felt for the ideals of the French Revolution, whose collapse and replacement with the dictatorship of Napoleon was, as elsewhere in Europe, a shock to the movement. Though his novels celebrated Scottish identity and history, Scott was politically a firm Unionist, but admitted to Jacobite sympathies. Several spent much time abroad, and a famous stay on Lake Geneva with Byron and Shelley in 1816 produced the hugely influential novel Frankenstein by Shelley’s wife-to-be Mary Shelley and the novella The Vampyre by Byron’s doctor John William Polidori. The lyrics of Robert Burns in Scotland and Thomas Moore, from Ireland reflected in different ways their countries and the Romantic interest in folk literature, but neither had a fully Romantic approach to life or their work.
Though they have modern critical champions such as György Lukács, Scott’s novels are today more likely to be experienced in the form of the many operas that composers continued to base on them over the following decades, such as Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Vincenzo Bellini’s I puritani (both 1835). Byron is now most highly regarded for his short lyrics and his generally unromantic prose writings, especially his letters, and his unfinished satire Don Juan. Unlike many Romantics, Byron’s widely publicised personal life appeared to match his work, and his death at 36 in 1824 from disease when helping the Greek War of Independence appeared from a distance to be a suitably Romantic end, entrenching his legend. Keats in 1821 and Shelley in 1822 both died in Italy, Blake (at almost 70) in 1827, and Coleridge largely ceased to write in the 1820s. Wordsworth was by 1820 respectable and highly regarded, holding a government sinecure, but wrote relatively little. In the discussion of English literature, the Romantic period is often regarded as finishing around the 1820s, or sometimes even earlier, although many authors of the succeeding decades were no less committed to Romantic values.
The most significant novelist in English during the peak Romantic period, other than Walter Scott, was Jane Austen, whose essentially conservative world-view had little in common with her Romantic contemporaries, retaining a strong belief in decorum and social rules, though critics[who?] have detected tremors under the surface of some works, especially Mansfield Park (1814) and Persuasion(1817). But around the mid-century the undoubtedly Romantic novels of the Yorkshire-based Brontë family appeared. Most notably Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights, both published in 1847, which also introduced more Gothic themes. While these two novels were written and published after the Romantic period is said to have ended, their novels were heavily influenced by Romantic literature they’d read as children.
Byron, Keats and Shelley all wrote for the stage, but with little success in England, with Shelley’s The Cenci perhaps the best work produced, though that was not played in a public theatre in England until a century after his death. Byron’s plays, along with dramatizations of his poems and Scott’s novels, were much more popular on the Continent, and especially in France, and through these versions several were turned into operas, many still performed today. If contemporary poets had little success on the stage, the period was a legendary one for performances of Shakespeare, and went some way to restoring his original texts and removing the Augustan “improvements” to them. The greatest actor of the period, Edmund Kean, restored the tragic ending to King Lear; Coleridge said that, “Seeing him act was like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning.”
Robert Burns (1759–96) and Walter Scott (1771–1832) were highly influenced by the Ossian cycle. Burns, an Ayrshire poet and lyricist, is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and a major influence on the Romantic movement. His poem (and song) “Auld Lang Syne” is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and “Scots Wha Hae” served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country. Scott began as a poet and also collected and published Scottish ballads. His first prose work, Waverley in 1814, is often called the first historical novel. It launched a highly successful career, with other historical novels such as Rob Roy (1817), The Heart of Midlothian (1818) and Ivanhoe (1820). Scott probably did more than any other figure to define and popularise Scottish cultural identity in the nineteenth century. Other major literary figures connected with Romanticism include the poets and novelists James Hogg (1770–1835), Allan Cunningham (1784–1842) and John Galt (1779–1839). One of the most significant figures of the Romantic movement, Lord Byron, was brought up in Scotland until he inherited his family’s English peerage.
Scottish “national drama” emerged in the early 1800s, as plays with specifically Scottish themes began to dominate the Scottish stage. Theatres had been discouraged by the Church of Scotland and fears of Jacobite assemblies. In the later eighteenth century, many plays were written for and performed by small amateur companies and were not published and so most have been lost. Towards the end of the century there were “closet dramas”, primarily designed to be read, rather than performed, including work by Scott, Hogg, Galt and Joanna Baillie (1762–1851), often influenced by the ballad tradition and Gothic Romanticism.
Romanticism was relatively late in developing in French literature, more so than in the visual arts. The 18th-century precursor to Romanticism, the cult of sensibility, had become associated with the Ancien regime, and the French Revolution had been more of an inspiration to foreign writers than those experiencing it at first-hand. The first major figure was François-René de Chateaubriand, a minor aristocrat who had remained a royalist throughout the Revolution, and returned to France from exile in England and America under Napoleon, with whose regime he had an uneasy relationship. His writings, all in prose, included some fiction, such as his influential novella of exile René (1802), which anticipated Byron in its alienated hero, but mostly contemporary history and politics, his travels, a defence of religion and the medieval spirit (Génie du christianisme 1802), and finally in the 1830s and 1840s his enormous autobiography Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe (“Memoirs from beyond the grave”).
French Romantic poets of the 1830s to 1850s include Alfred de Musset, Gérard de Nerval, Alphonse de Lamartine and the flamboyant Théophile Gautier, whose prolific output in various forms continued until his death in 1872.
Stendhal is today probably the most highly regarded French novelist of the period, but he stands in a complex relation with Romanticism, and is notable for his penetrating psychological insight into his characters and his realism, qualities rarely prominent in Romantic fiction. As a survivor of the French retreat from Moscow in 1812, fantasies of heroism and adventure had little appeal for him, and like Goya he is often seen as a forerunner of Realism. His most important works are Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black, 1830) and La Chartreuse de Parme (The Charterhouse of Parma, 1839).
Their art featured emotionalism and irrationality, fantasy and imagination, personality cults, folklore and country life, and the propagation of ideals of freedom. In the second period, many of the Polish Romantics worked abroad, often banished from Poland by the occupying powers due to their politically subversive ideas. Their work became increasingly dominated by the ideals of political struggle for freedom and their country’s sovereignty. Elements of mysticism became more prominent. There developed the idea of the poeta wieszcz (the prophet). The wieszcz (bard) functioned as spiritual leader to the nation fighting for its independence. The most notable poet so recognized was Adam Mickiewicz.
Zygmunt Krasinski also wrote to inspire political and religious hope in his countrymen. Unlike his predecessors, who called for victory at whatever price in Poland’s struggle against Russia, Krasinski emphasized Poland’s spiritual role in its fight for independence, advocating an intellectual rather than a military superiority. His works best exemplify the Messianic movement in Poland: in two early dramas, Nie-boska komedyia (1835; The Undivine Comedy) and Irydion (1836; Iridion), as well as in the later Psalmy przyszłości (1845), he asserted that Poland was the Christ of Europe: specifically chosen by God to carry the world’s burdens, to suffer, and eventually be resurrected.
Early Russian Romanticism is associated with the writers Konstantin Batyushkov (A Vision on the Shores of the Lethe, 1809), Vasily Zhukovsky (The Bard, 1811; Svetlana, 1813) and Nikolay Karamzin (Poor Liza, 1792; Julia, 1796; Martha the Mayoress, 1802; The Sensitive and the Cold, 1803). However the principal exponent of Romanticism in Russia is Alexander Pushkin (The Prisoner of the Caucasus, 1820–1821; The Robber Brothers, 1822; Ruslan and Ludmila, 1820; Eugene Onegin, 1825–1832). Pushkin’s work influenced many writers in the 19th century and led to his eventual recognition as Russia’s greatest poet. Other Russian Romantic poets include Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time, 1839), Fyodor Tyutchev (Silentium!, 1830), Yevgeny Baratynsky (Eda, 1826), Anton Delvig, and Wilhelm Küchelbecker.
Influenced heavily by Lord Byron, Lermontov sought to explore the Romantic emphasis on metaphysical discontent with society and self, while Tyutchev’s poems often described scenes of nature or passions of love. Tyutchev commonly operated with such categories as night and day, north and south, dream and reality, cosmos and chaos, and the still world of winter and spring teeming with life. Baratynsky’s style was fairly classical in nature, dwelling on the models of the previous century.
Romanticism in Spanish literature developed a well-known literature with a huge variety of poets and playwrights. The most important Spanish poet during this movement was José de Espronceda. After him there were other poets like Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Mariano José de Larra and the dramatists Ángel de Saavedra and José Zorrilla, author of Don Juan Tenorio. Before them may be mentioned the pre-romantics José Cadalso and Manuel José Quintana. The plays of Antonio García Gutiérrez were adapted to produce Giuseppe Verdi’s operas Il trovatore and Simon Boccanegra. Spanish Romanticism also influenced regional literatures. For example, in Catalonia and in Galicia there was a national boom of writers in the local languages, like the Catalan Jacint Verdaguer and the Galician Rosalía de Castro, the main figures of the national revivalist movements Renaixença and Rexurdimento, respectively.
There are scholars who consider Spanish Romanticism to be Proto-Existentialism because it is more anguished than the movement in other European countries. Foster et al., for example, say that the work of Spain’s writers such as Espronceda, Larra, and other writers in the 19th century demonstrated a “metaphysical crisis”. These observers put more weight on the link between the 19th-century Spanish writers with the existentialist movement that emerged immediately after. According to Richard Caldwell, the writers that we now identify with Spain’s romanticism were actually precursors to those who galvanized the literary movement that emerged in the 1920s. This notion is the subject of debate for there are authors who stress that Spain’s romanticism is one of the earliest in Europe, while some assert that Spain really had no period of literary romanticism. This controversy underscores a certain uniqueness to Spanish romanticism in comparison to its European counterparts.
Alexandre Herculano is, alongside Almeida Garrett, one of the founders of Portuguese Romanticism. He too was forced to exile to Great Britain and France because of his liberal ideals. All of his poetry and prose are (unlike Almeida Garrett’s) entirely Romantic, rejecting Greco-Roman myth and history. He sought inspiration in medieval Portuguese poems and chronicles as in the Bible. His output is vast and covers many different genres, such as historical essays, poetry, novels, opuscules and theatre, where he brings back a whole world of Portuguese legends, tradition and history, especially in Eurico, o Presbítero (“Eurico, the Priest”) and Lendas e Narrativas (“Legends and Narratives”). His work was influenced by Chateaubriand, Schiller, Klopstock, Walter Scott and the Old Testament Psalms.
António Feliciano de Castilho made the case for Ultra-Romanticism, publishing the poems A Noite no Castelo (“Night in the Castle”) and Os Ciúmes do Bardo (“The Jealousy of the Bard”), both in 1836, and the drama Camões. He became an unquestionable master for successive Ultra-Romantic generations, whose influence would not be challenged until the famous Coimbra Question. He also created polemics by translating Goethe’s Faust without knowing German, but using French versions of the play. Other notable figures of Portuguese Romanticism are the famous novelists Camilo Castelo Brancoand Júlio Dinis, and Soares de Passos, Bulhão Pato and Pinheiro Chagas.
Romantic style would be revived in the beginning of the 20th century, notably through the works of poets linked to the Portuguese Renaissance (Renascença Portuguesa), such as Teixeira de Pascoais, Jaime Cortesão, Mário Beirão, among others, who can be considered Neo-Romantics. An early Portuguese expression of Romanticism is found already in poets such as Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage (especially in his sonnets dated at the end of the 18th century) and Leonor de Almeida Portugal, Marquise of Alorna.
Brazilian Romanticism is characterized and divided in three different periods. The first one is basically focused on the creation of a sense of national identity, using the ideal of the heroic Indian. Some examples include José de Alencar, who wrote Iracema and O Guarani, and Gonçalves Dias, renowned by the poem “Canção do exílio” (Song of the Exile). The second period, sometimes called Ultra-Romanticism, is marked by a profound influence of European themes and traditions, involving the melancholy, sadness and despair related to unobtainable love. Goethe and Lord Byron are commonly quoted in these works. Some of the most notable authors of this phase are Álvares de Azevedo, Casimiro de Abreu, Fagundes Varela and Junqueira Freire. The third cycle is marked by social poetry, especially the abolitionist movement, and it includes Castro Alves, Tobias Barreto and Pedro Luís Pereira de Sousa.
In the United States, at least by 1818 with William Cullen Bryant’s “To a Waterfowl”, Romantic poetry was being published. American Romantic Gothic literature made an early appearance with Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820) and Rip Van Winkle (1819), followed from 1823 onwards by the Leatherstocking Tales of James Fenimore Cooper, with their emphasis on heroic simplicity and their fervent landscape descriptions of an already-exotic mythicized frontier peopled by “noble savages”, similar to the philosophical theory of Rousseau, exemplified by Uncas, from The Last of the Mohicans. There are picturesque “local color” elements in Washington Irving’s essays and especially his travel books. Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of the macabre and his balladic poetry were more influential in France than at home, but the romantic American novel developed fully with the atmosphere and melodrama of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850). Later Transcendentalist writers such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson still show elements of its influence and imagination, as does the romantic realism of Walt Whitman. The poetry of Emily Dickinson—nearly unread in her own time—and Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick can be taken as epitomes of American Romantic literature. By the 1880s, however, psychological and social realism were competing with Romanticism in the novel.
Influence of European Romanticism on American writers
The European Romantic movement reached America in the early 19th century. American Romanticism was just as multifaceted and individualistic as it was in Europe. Like the Europeans, the American Romantics demonstrated a high level of moral enthusiasm, commitment to individualism and the unfolding of the self, an emphasis on intuitive perception, and the assumption that the natural world was inherently good, while human society was filled with corruption.
Romanticism became popular in American politics, philosophy and art. The movement appealed to the revolutionary spirit of America as well as to those longing to break free of the strict religious traditions of early settlement. The Romantics rejected rationalism and religious intellect. It appealed to those in opposition of Calvinism, which includes the belief that the destiny of each individual is preordained. The Romantic movement gave rise to New England Transcendentalism, which portrayed a less restrictive relationship between God and Universe. The new philosophy presented the individual with a more personal relationship with God. Transcendentalism and Romanticism appealed to Americans in a similar fashion, for both privileged feeling over reason, individual freedom of expression over the restraints of tradition and custom. It often involved a rapturous response to nature. It encouraged the rejection of harsh, rigid Calvinism, and promised a new blossoming of American culture.
American Romanticism embraced the individual and rebelled against the confinement of neoclassicism and religious tradition. The Romantic movement in America created a new literary genre that continues to influence American writers. Novels, short stories, and poems replaced the sermons and manifestos of yore. Romantic literature was personal, intense, and portrayed more emotion than ever seen in neoclassical literature. America’s preoccupation with freedom became a great source of motivation for Romantic writers as many were delighted in free expression and emotion without so much fear of ridicule and controversy. They also put more effort into the psychological development of their characters, and the main characters typically displayed extremes of sensitivity and excitement.
The works of the Romantic Era also differed from preceding works in that they spoke to a wider audience, partly reflecting the greater distribution of books as costs came down during the period.
Romantic architecture appeared in the late 18th century in a reaction against the rigid forms of neoclassical architecture. reached its peak in the mid-19th century, and continued to appear until the end of the 19th century. It was designed to evoke an emotional reaction, either respect for tradition or nostalgia for a bucolic past. It was frequently inspired by the architecture of the Middle Ages, especially Gothic architecture, It was strongly influenced by romanticism in literature, particularly the historical novels of Victor Hugo and Sir Walter Scott. It sometimes moved into the domain of eclecticism, with features assembled from different historic periods and regions of the world.
Gothic Revival architecture was a popular variant of the romantic style, particularly in the construction of churches, Cathedrals, and university buildings. Notable examples include the completion of Cologne Cathedral in Germany, by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The cathedral had been begun in 1248 but work was halted in 1473. The original plans for the facade were discovered in 1840, and it was decided to recommence.. Schinkel followed the original design as much as possible, but used modern construction technology, including an iron frame for the roof. The building was finished in 1880.
In Britain, notable examples include the Royal Pavillion in Brighton, a romantic version of traditional Indian architecture by John Nash (1815-1823), and the Houses of Parliament in London, built in a Gothic revival style by Charles Barrybetween 1840 and 1876.
In France, one of the earliest examples of romantic architecture is the Hameau de la Reine, the small rustic hamlet created at the Palace of Versailles for Queen Marie Antoinette between 1783 and 1785 by the royal architect Richard Mique with the help of the romantic painter Hubert Robert. It consisted of twelve structures, ten of which still exist, in the style of villages in Normandy. It was designed for the Queen and her friends to amuse themselves by playing at being peasants, and included a farmhouse with a dairy, a mill, a boudoir, a pigeon loft, a tower in the form of a lighthouse from which one could fish in the pond, a belvedere, a cascade and grotto, and a luxuriously furnished cottage with a billiard room for the Queen.
French romantic architecture in the 19th century was strongly influenced by two writers; Victor Hugo, whose novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame inspired a resurgence in interest in the Middle Ages; and Prosper Merimée, who wrote celebrated romantic novels and short stories and was also the first head of the commission of Historic Monuments in France, responsible for publicizing and restoring (and sometimes romanticizing) many French cathedrals and monuments desecrated and ruined after the French Revolution. His projects were carried out by the architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. These included the restoration (sometimes creative) of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, the fortified city of Carcassonne, and the unfinished medieval Château de Pierrefonds.
The romantic style continued in the second half of the 19th century. The Palais Garnier, the Paris opera house designed by Charles Garnier was a highly romantic and eclectic combination of artistic styles. Another notable example of late 19th century romanticism is the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur by Paul Abadie, who drew upon the model of Byzantine architecture for his elongated domes (1875-1914).
The arrival of Romanticism in French art was delayed by the strong hold of Neoclassicism on the academies, but from the Napoleonic period it became increasingly popular, initially in the form of history paintings propagandising for the new regime, of which Girodet’s Ossian receiving the Ghosts of the French Heroes, for Napoleon’s Château de Malmaison, was one of the earliest. Girodet’s old teacher David was puzzled and disappointed by his pupil’s direction, saying: “Either Girodet is mad or I no longer know anything of the art of painting”. A new generation of the French school, developed personal Romantic styles, though still concentrating on history painting with a political message. Théodore Géricault (1791–1824) had his first success with The Charging Chasseur, a heroic military figure derived from Rubens, at the Paris Salon of 1812 in the years of the Empire, but his next major completed work, The Raft of the Medusa of 1821, remains the greatest achievement of the Romantic history painting, which in its day had a powerful anti-government message.
Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) made his first Salon hits with The Barque of Dante (1822), The Massacre at Chios (1824) and Death of Sardanapalus (1827). The second was a scene from the Greek War of Independence, completed the year Byron died there, and the last was a scene from one of Byron’s plays. With Shakespeare, Byron was to provide the subject matter for many other works of Delacroix, who also spent long periods in North Africa, painting colourful scenes of mounted Arab warriors. His Liberty Leading the People (1830) remains, with the Medusa, one of the best-known works of French Romantic painting. Both reflected current events, and increasingly “history painting”, literally “story painting”, a phrase dating back to the Italian Renaissance meaning the painting of subjects with groups of figures, long considered the highest and most difficult form of art, did indeed become the painting of historical scenes, rather than those from religion or mythology.
Francisco Goya was called “the last great painter in whose art thought and observation were balanced and combined to form a faultless unity”. But the extent to which he was a Romantic is a complex question. In Spain, there was still a struggle to introduce the values of the Enlightenment, in which Goya saw himself as a participant. The demonic and anti-rational monsters thrown up by his imagination are only superficially similar to those of the Gothic fantasies of northern Europe, and in many ways he remained wedded to the classicism and realism of his training, as well as looking forward to the Realism of the later 19th century. But he, more than any other artist of the period, exemplified the Romantic values of the expression of the artist’s feelings and his personal imaginative world. He also shared with many of the Romantic painters a more free handling of paint, emphasized in the new prominence of the brushstroke and impasto, which tended to be repressed in neoclassicism under a self-effacing finish.
Sculpture remained largely impervious to Romanticism, probably partly for technical reasons, as the most prestigious material of the day, marble, does not lend itself to expansive gestures. The leading sculptors in Europe, Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorvaldsen, were both based in Rome and firm Neoclassicists, not at all tempted to allow influence from medieval sculpture, which would have been one possible approach to Romantic sculpture. When it did develop, true Romantic sculpture—with the exception of a few artists such as Rudolf Maison— rather oddly was missing in Germany, and mainly found in France, with François Rude, best known from his group of the 1830s from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, David d’Angers, and Auguste Préault. Préault’s plaster relief entitled Slaughter, which represented the horrors of wars with exacerbated passion, caused so much scandal at the 1834 Salon that Préault was banned from this official annual exhibition for nearly twenty years. In Italy, the most important Romantic sculptor was Lorenzo Bartolini.
In France, historical painting on idealized medieval and Renaissance themes is known as the style Troubadour, a term with no equivalent for other countries, though the same trends occurred there. Delacroix, Ingres and Richard Parkes Bonington all worked in this style, as did lesser specialists such as Pierre-Henri Révoil (1776–1842) and Fleury-François Richard (1777–1852). Their pictures are often small, and feature intimate private and anecdotal moments, as well as those of high drama. The lives of great artists such as Raphael were commemorated on equal terms with those of rulers, and fictional characters were also depicted. Fleury-Richard’s Valentine of Milan weeping for the death of her husband, shown in the Paris Salon of 1802, marked the arrival of the style, which lasted until the mid-century, before being subsumed into the increasingly academic history painting of artists like Paul Delaroche.
Another trend was for very large apocalyptic history paintings, often combining extreme natural events, or divine wrath, with human disaster, attempting to outdo The Raft of the Medusa, and now often drawing comparisons with effects from Hollywood. The leading English artist in the style was John Martin, whose tiny figures were dwarfed by enormous earthquakes and storms, and worked his way through the biblical disasters, and those to come in the final days. Other works such as Delacroix’s Death of Sardanapalus included larger figures, and these often drew heavily on earlier artists, especially Poussin and Rubens, with extra emotionalism and special effects.
Elsewhere in Europe, leading artists adopted Romantic styles: in Russia there were the portraitists Orest Kiprensky and Vasily Tropinin, with Ivan Aivazovsky specializing in marine painting, and in Norway Hans Gude painted scenes of fjords. In Italy Francesco Hayez (1791–1882) was the leading artist of Romanticism in mid-19th-century Milan. His long, prolific and extremely successful career saw him begin as a Neoclassical painter, pass right through the Romantic period, and emerge at the other end as a sentimental painter of young women. His Romantic period included many historical pieces of “Troubadour” tendencies, but on a very large scale, that are heavily influenced by Gian Battista Tiepolo and other late Baroque Italian masters.
Literary Romanticism had its counterpart in the American visual arts, most especially in the exaltation of an untamed American landscape found in the paintings of the Hudson River School. Painters like Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church and others often expressed Romantic themes in their paintings. They sometimes depicted ancient ruins of the old world, such as in Fredric Edwin Church’s piece Sunrise in Syria. These works reflected the Gothic feelings of death and decay. They also show the Romantic ideal that Nature is powerful and will eventually overcome the transient creations of men. More often, they worked to distinguish themselves from their European counterparts by depicting uniquely American scenes and landscapes. This idea of an American identity in the art world is reflected in W. C. Bryant’s poem, To Cole, the Painter, Departing for Europe, where Bryant encourages Cole to remember the powerful scenes that can only be found in America.
Some American paintings (such as Albert Bierstadt’s The Rocky Mountains, Lander’s Peak) promote the literary idea of the “noble savage” by portraying idealized Native Americans living in harmony with the natural world. Thomas Cole’s paintings tend towards allegory, explicit in The Voyage of Life series painted in the early 1840s, showing the stages of life set amidst an awesome and immense nature.
See also: Romantic music, Musical nationalism, and List of Romantic-era composers
Musical Romanticism is predominantly a German phenomenon—so much so that one respected French reference work defines it entirely in terms of “The role of music in the aesthetics of German romanticism”. Another French encyclopedia holds that the German temperament generally “can be described as the deep and diverse action of romanticism on German musicians”, and that there is only one true representative of Romanticism in French music, Hector Berlioz, while in Italy, the sole great name of musical Romanticism is Giuseppe Verdi, “a sort of [Victor] Hugo of opera, gifted with a real genius for dramatic effect”. Nevertheless, the huge popularity of German Romantic music led, “whether by imitation or by reaction”, to an often nationalistically inspired vogue amongst Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Czech, and Scandinavian musicians, successful “perhaps more because of its extra-musical traits than for the actual value of musical works by its masters”.
This chronologic agreement of musical and literary Romanticism continued as far as the middle of the 19th century, when Richard Wagner denigrated the music of Meyerbeer and Berlioz as “neoromantic”: “The Opera, to which we shall now return, has swallowed down the Neoromanticism of Berlioz, too, as a plump, fine-flavoured oyster, whose digestion has conferred on it anew a brisk and well-to-do appearance.”
It was only toward the end of the 19th century that the newly emergent discipline of Musikwissenschaft (musicology)—itself a product of the historicizing proclivity of the age—attempted a more scientific periodization of music history, and a distinction between Viennese Classical and Romantic periods was proposed. The key figure in this trend was Guido Adler, who viewed Beethoven and Franz Schubertas transitional but essentially Classical composers, with Romanticism achieving full maturity only in the post-Beethoven generation of Frédéric Chopin, Robert Schumann, Berlioz, and Franz Liszt. From Adler’s viewpoint, found in books like Der Stil in der Musik (1911), composers of the New German School and various late-19th-century nationalist composers were not Romantics but “moderns” or “realists” (by analogy with the fields of painting and literature), and this schema remained prevalent through the first decades of the 20th century.
By the second quarter of the 20th century, an awareness that radical changes in musical syntax had occurred during the early 1900s caused another shift in historical viewpoint, and the change of century came to be seen as marking a decisive break with the musical past. This in turn led historians such as Alfred Einstein to extend the musical “Romantic Era” throughout the 19th century and into the first decade of the 20th. It has continued to be referred to as such in some of the standard music references such as The Oxford Companion to Music and Grout’s History of Western Music but was not unchallenged. For example, the prominent German musicologist Friedrich Blume, the chief editor of the first edition of Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (1949–86), accepted the earlier position that Classicism and Romanticism together constitute a single period beginning in the middle of the 18th century, but at the same time held that it continued into the 20th century, including such pre–World War II developments as expressionism and neoclassicism. This is reflected in some notable recent reference works such as the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and the new edition of Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart.
In the contemporary music culture, the romantic musician followed a public career depending on sensitive middle-class audiences rather than on a courtly patron, as had been the case with earlier musicians and composers. Public persona characterized a new generation of virtuosi who made their way as soloists, epitomized in the concert tours of Paganini and Liszt, and the conductor began to emerge as an important figure, on whose skill the interpretation of the increasingly complex music depended.
Outside the arts
The Romantic movement affected most aspects of intellectual life, and Romanticism and science had a powerful connection, especially in the period 1800–40. Many scientists were influenced by versions of the Naturphilosophie of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and others, and without abandoning empiricism, sought in their work to uncover what they tended to believe was a unified and organic Nature. The English scientist Sir Humphry Davy, a prominent Romantic thinker, said that understanding nature required “an attitude of admiration, love and worship, […] a personal response”. He believed that knowledge was only attainable by those who truly appreciated and respected nature. Self-understanding was an important aspect of Romanticism. It had less to do with proving that man was capable of understanding nature (through his budding intellect) and therefore controlling it, and more to do with the emotional appeal of connecting himself with nature and understanding it through a harmonious co-existence.
History writing was very strongly, and many would say harmfully, influenced by Romanticism. In England Thomas Carlyle was a highly influential essayist who turned historian; he both invented and exemplified the phrase “hero-worship”, lavishing largely uncritical praise on strong leaders such as Oliver Cromwell, Frederick the Great and Napoleon. Romantic nationalism had a largely negative effect on the writing of history in the 19th century, as each nation tended to produce its own version of history, and the critical attitude, even cynicism, of earlier historians was often replaced by a tendency to create romantic stories with clearly distinguished heroes and villains. Nationalist ideology of the period placed great emphasis on racial coherence, and the antiquity of peoples, and tended to vastly over-emphasize the continuity between past periods and the present, leading to national mysticism. Much historical effort in the 20th century was devoted to combating the romantic historical myths created in the 19th century.
To insulate theology from scientism or reductionism in science, 19th-century post-Enlightenment German theologians developed a modernist or so-called liberal conception of Christianity, led by Friedrich Schleiermacher and Albrecht Ritschl. They took the Romantic approach of rooting religion in the inner world of the human spirit, so that it is a person’s feeling or sensibility about spiritual matters that comprises religion.
Romantic chess was the style of chess which emphasized quick, tactical maneuvers rather than long-term strategic planning. The Romantic era in chess is generally considered to have begun with Joseph MacDonnell and Pierre LaBourdonnais, the two dominant chess players in the 1830s. The 1840s was dominated by Howard Staunton, and other leading players of the era included Adolf Anderssen, Daniel Harrwitz, Henry Bird, Louis Paulsen, and Paul Morphy. The “Immortal Game”, played by Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky on 21 June 1851 in London—where Anderssen made bold sacrifices to secure victory, giving up both rooks and a bishop, then his queen, and then checkmatinghis opponent with his three remaining minor pieces—is considered a supreme example of Romantic chess. The end of the Romantic era in chess is considered to be the 1873 Vienna Tournament where Wilhelm Steinitz popularized positional play and the closed game.
Main article: Romantic nationalism
Early Romantic nationalism was strongly inspired by Rousseau, and by the ideas of Johann Gottfried von Herder, who in 1784 argued that the geography formed the natural economy of a people, and shaped their customs and society.
The nature of nationalism changed dramatically, however, after the French Revolution with the rise of Napoleon, and the reactions in other nations. Napoleonic nationalism and republicanism were, at first, inspirational to movements in other nations: self-determination and a consciousness of national unity were held to be two of the reasons why France was able to defeat other countries in battle. But as the French Republic became Napoleon’s Empire, Napoleon became not the inspiration for nationalism, but the object of its struggle. In Prussia, the development of spiritual renewal as a means to engage in the struggle against Napoleon was argued by, among others, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, a disciple of Kant. The word Volkstum, or nationality, was coined in German as part of this resistance to the now conquering emperor. Fichte expressed the unity of language and nation in his address “To the German Nation” in 1806:
Those who speak the same language are joined to each other by a multitude of invisible bonds by nature herself, long before any human art begins; they understand each other and have the power of continuing to make themselves understood more and more clearly; they belong together and are by nature one and an inseparable whole. …Only when each people, left to itself, develops and forms itself in accordance with its own peculiar quality, and only when in every people each individual develops himself in accordance with that common quality, as well as in accordance with his own peculiar quality—then, and then only, does the manifestation of divinity appear in its true mirror as it ought to be.
This view of nationalism inspired the collection of folklore by such people as the Brothers Grimm, the revival of old epics as national, and the construction of new epics as if they were old, as in the Kalevala, compiled from Finnish tales and folklore, or Ossian, where the claimed ancient roots were invented. The view that fairy tales, unless contaminated from outside literary sources, were preserved in the same form over thousands of years, was not exclusive to Romantic Nationalists, but fit in well with their views that such tales expressed the primordial nature of a people. For instance, the Brothers Grimm rejected many tales they collected because of their similarity to tales by Charles Perrault, which they thought proved they were not truly German tales; Sleeping Beauty survived in their collection because the tale of Brynhildr convinced them that the figure of the sleeping princess was authentically German. Vuk Karadžić contributed to Serbian folk literature, using peasant culture as the foundation. He regarded the oral literature of the peasants as an integral part of Serbian culture, compiling it to use in his collections of folk songs, tales, and proverbs, as well as the first dictionary of vernacular Serbian. Similar projects were undertaken by the Russian Alexander Afanasyev, the Norwegians Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, and the Englishman Joseph Jacobs.
Polish nationalism and messianism
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- David Levin, History as Romantic Art: Bancroft, Prescott, and Parkman(1967)
- Gerald Lee Gutek, A history of the Western educational experience (1987) ch. 12 on Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi
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- Perpinya, Núria. Ruins, Nostalgia and Ugliness. Five Romantic perceptions of Middle Ages and a spoon of Game of Thrones and Avant-garde oddity. Berlin: Logos Verlag. 2014
- “‘A remarkable thing,’ continued Bazarov, ‘these funny old romantics! They work up their nervous system into a state of agitation, then, of course, their equilibrium is upset.'” (Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons, chap. 4 )
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- Novotny, 96
- From the Preface to the 2nd edition of Lyrical Ballads, quoted Day, 2
- Day, 3
- Ruthven (2001) p. 40 quote: “Romantic ideology of literary authorship, which conceives of the text as an autonomous object produced by an individual genius.”
- Spearing (1987) quote: “Surprising as it may seem to us, living after the Romantic movement has transformed older ideas about literature, in the Middle Ages authority was prized more highly than originality.”
- Eco (1994) p. 95 quote: Much art has been and is repetitive. The concept of absolute originality is a contemporary one, born with Romanticism; classical art was in vast measure serial, and the “modern” avant-garde (at the beginning of this century) challenged the Romantic idea of “creation from nothingness”, with its techniques of collage, mustachios on the Mona Lisa, art about art, and so on.
- Waterhouse (1926), throughout; Smith (1924); Millen, Jessica Romantic Creativity and the Ideal of Originality: A Contextual Analysis, in Cross-sections, The Bruce Hall Academic Journal – Volume VI, 2010 PDF; Forest Pyle, The Ideology of Imagination: Subject and Society in the Discourse of Romanticism (Stanford University Press, 1995) p. 28.
- 1963–, Breckman, Warren (2008). European Romanticism: A Brief History with Documents. Rogers D. Spotswood Collection. (1st ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. ISBN978-0-312-45023-6. OCLC148859077.
- Day 3–4; quotation from M.H. Abrams, quoted in Day, 4
- Berlin, 92
- Ferber, 6–7
- Ferber, 7
- Christiansen, 241.
- Christiansen, 242.
- in her Oxford Companion article, quoted by Day, 1
- Day, 1–5
- Mellor, Anne; Matlak, Richard (1996). British Literature 1780–1830. NY: Harcourt Brace & Co./Wadsworth. ISBN978-1-4130-2253-7.
- Edward F. Kravitt, The Lied: Mirror of Late Romanticism (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996): 47. ISBN0-300-06365-2.
- Greenblatt et al., Norton Anthology of English Literature, eighth edition, “The Romantic Period – Volume D” (New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2006):
- Johnson, 147, inc. quotation
- Barzun, 469
- Day, 1–3; the arch-conservative and Romantic is Joseph de Maistre, but many Romantics swung from youthful radicalism to conservative views in middle age, for example Wordsworth. Samuel Palmer‘s only published text was a short piece opposing the Repeal of the corn laws.
- Berlin, 57
- Several of Berlin’s pieces dealing with this theme are collected in the work referenced. See in particular: Berlin, 34–47, 57–59, 183–206, 207–37.
- Berlin, 57–58
- Linda Simon The Sleep of Reason by Robert Hughes
- Three Critics of the Enlightenment: Vico, Hamann, Herder, Pimlico, 2000 ISBN0-7126-6492-0 was one of Isaiah Berlin‘s many publications on the Enlightenment and its enemies that did much to popularise the concept of a Counter-Enlightenment movement that he characterised as relativist, anti-rationalist, vitalist and organic,
- Darrin M. McMahon, “The Counter-Enlightenment and the Low-Life of Literature in Pre-Revolutionary France” Past and Present No. 159 (May 1998:77–112) p. 79 note 7.
- “Baudelaire’s speech at the “Salon des curiosités Estethiques” (in French). Fr.wikisource.org. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- Sutherland, James (1958) English Satire p. 1. There were a few exceptions, notably Byron, who integrated satire into some of his greatest works, yet shared much in common with his Romantic contemporaries. Bloom, p. 18.
- Paul F. Grendler, Renaissance Society of America, Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, Scribner, 1999, p. 193
- John Keats. By Sidney Colvin, p. 106. Elibron Classics
- Thomas Chatterton, Grevel Lindop, 1972, Fyffield Books, p. 11
- Zipes, Jack (1988). The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World (1st ed.). Routledge. pp. 7–8. ISBN978-0-415-90081-2.
- Zipes, Jack (2000). The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. Oxford University Press. pp. 13–14, 218–19. ISBN978-0-19-860115-9.
- Christiansen, 215.
- Christiansen, 192–96.
- Christiansen, 197–200.
- Christiansen, 213–20.
- Christiansen, 188–89.
- Or at least he tried to; Kean played the tragic Lear for a few performances. They were not well received, and with regret, he reverted to Nahum Tate‘s version with a comic ending, which had been standard since 1689. See Stanley Wells, “Introduction” from King Lear Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 69.
- Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, Table Talk, 27 April 1823 in Coleridge, Samuel Taylor; Morley, Henry (1884). Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christobel, &c. New York: Routledge. p. 38.
- J. Buchan, Crowded with Genius (London: Harper Collins, 2003), ISBN0-06-055888-1, p. 311.
- J. Buchan, Crowded with Genius (London: Harper Collins, 2003), ISBN0-06-055888-1, p. 163.
- H. Gaskill, The Reception of Ossian in Europe (Continuum, 2004), ISBN0-8264-6135-2, p. 140.
- D. Thomson, The Gaelic Sources of Macpherson’s “Ossian” (Aberdeen: Oliver & Boyd, 1952).
- L. McIlvanney, “Hugh Blair, Robert Burns, and the Invention of Scottish Literature”, Eighteenth-Century Life, vol. 29 (2), Spring 2005, pp. 25–46.
- K. S. Whetter, Understanding Genre and Medieval Romance (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), ISBN0-7546-6142-3, p. 28.
- N. Davidson, The Origins of Scottish Nationhood (Pluto Press, 2008), ISBN0-7453-1608-5, p. 136.
- A. Maunder, FOF Companion to the British Short Story (Infobase Publishing, 2007), ISBN0-8160-7496-8, p. 374.
- P. MacKay, E. Longley and F. Brearton, Modern Irish and Scottish Poetry(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), ISBN0-521-19602-7, p. 59.
- A. Jarrels, “‘Associations respect[ing] the past’: Enlightenment and Romantic historicism”, in J. P. Klancher, A Concise Companion to the Romantic Age(Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, 2009), ISBN0-631-23355-5, p. 60.
- A. Benchimol, ed., Intellectual Politics and Cultural Conflict in the Romantic Period: Scottish Whigs, English Radicals and the Making of the British Public Sphere (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), ISBN0-7546-6446-5, p. 210.
- A. Benchimol, ed., Intellectual Politics and Cultural Conflict in the Romantic Period: Scottish Whigs, English Radicals and the Making of the British Public Sphere (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), ISBN0-7546-6446-5, p. 209.
- I. Brown, The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature: Enlightenment, Britain and Empire (1707–1918) (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), ISBN0-7486-2481-3, pp. 229–30.
- Christiansen, 202–03, 241–42.
- Christiansen, 239–46, 240 quoted.
- Christiansen, 244–46.
- Leon Dyczewski, Values in the Polish cultural tradition (2002) p. 183
- Christopher J. Murray, Encyclopedia of the romantic era, 1760–1850 (2004) vol. 2. p. 742
- “Nie-Boska komedia” (in Polish).
- “Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin (1799–1837)”. University of Virginia Slavic Department. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
- “El escritor José de Espronceda”. Museo del Prado (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
- Philip W. Silver, Ruin and restitution: reinterpreting romanticism in Spain(1997) p. 13
- Gerald Brenan, The literature of the Spanish people: from Roman times to the present (1965) p. 364
- Foster, David; Altamiranda, Daniel; de Urioste, Carmen (2001). Spanish Literature : Current debates on Hispanism. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. p. 78. ISBN978-0-8153-3563-4.
- Caldwell, Richard (1970). “The Persistence of Romantic Thought in Spain”. Modern Language Review. 65: 803–12.
- Sebold, Russell (1974). El primer romantico ‘europeo’ de España. Madrid: Editorial Gredos. ISBN978-84-249-0591-0.
- Shaw, Donald (1963). “Towards an Understanding of Spanish Romanticism”. Modern Language Review. 58: 190–95.
- Almeida Garrett, João Baptista (1990). Obras Completas de Almeida Garrett – 2 Volumes. Porto: Lello Editores. ISBN978-972-48-0192-6.
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- José., Saraiva, António (1996). História da literatura portuguesa. Lopes, Oscar (17a ed.). [Porto, Portugal]: Porto Editora. ISBN978-972-0-30170-3. OCLC35124986.
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- Gaetana Marrone, Paolo Puppa, Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies: A–J, Taylor & Francis, 2007, p. 1242
- La nuova enciclopedia della letteratura. Milan: Garzanti. 1985. p. 829.
- Roberto González Echevarría and Enrique Pupo-Walker, The Cambridge History of Latin American Literature: Brazilian Literature (1996) vol. 2 p. 367
- George L. McMichael and Frederick C. Crews, eds. Anthology of American Literature: Colonial through romantic (6th ed. 1997) p. 613
- “Romanticism, American”, in The Oxford Dictionary of American Art and Artists ed by Ann Lee Morgan (Oxford University Press, 2007) online
- The relationship of the American poet Wallace Stevens to Romanticism is raised in the poem “Another Weeping Woman” and its commentary.
- Weber, Patrick, Histoire de l’Architecture (2008), p. 63
- Weber, Patrick, Histoire de l’Architecture (2008), pp. 64
- Weber, Patrick, Histoire de l’Architecture (2008), pp. 64-65
- Saule 2014, p. 92.
- Weber, Patrick, Histoire de l’Architecture (2008), pp. 64
- Poisson, Georges; Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (in French) (2014)
- Weber, Patrick, Histoire de l’Architecture (2008), pp. 64-65
- Novotny, 96–101, 99 quoted
- Novotny, 112–21
- Honour, 184–190, 187 quoted
- Walter Friedlaender, From David to Delacroix, 1974, remains the best available account of the subject.
- “Romanticism”. metmuseum.org.
- Novotny, 142
- Novotny, 133–42
- Hughes, 279–80
- McKay, James, The Dictionary of Sculptors in Bronze, Antique Collectors Club, London, 1995
- Novotny, 397, 379–84
- Dizionario di arte e letteratura. Bologna: Zanichelli. 2002. p. 544.
- Noon, throughout, especially pp. 124–155
- Boyer 1961, 585.
- Ferchault 1957.
- Grétre 1789.
- Samson 2001.
- Hoffmann 1810, col. 632.
- Boyer 1961, 585–86.
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- Einstein 1947.
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