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Romanticism: Connect with the Arts

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 12:13 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50.6 
  • Words: 1885
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The romantics of the late eighteenth and nineteenth century was the reaction against the Enlightenment and Classical rationality. Unlike the rational and analytical thinking of classical thinkers, romantics allowed their emotions to take over. Painters escaped the rigid form of straight lines and proportions and painted swirling and colorful paintings, novelists and composers broke the rigid forms and essentially produced works that expressed feelings, the awe of nature, and the belief that gaining experience is more beneficial to learning. Perhaps the most influential minds of romanticism were the French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Many credit Rousseau as the “Father” of romanticism, due to his belief of spiritual freedom from any power, and his emphasis on expression of emotions. Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther published in 1774 also contributed in the spread of romanticism due to its emphasis on rebellion based on belief and emotions. Another novel, Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelly accurately portrays many aspects of the romantic era. Victor’s quest for knowledge shows the rational side and serves as the foil to the individual emotions and needs. One of the main romantic topics in Shelly’s novel is the concept of an overpowering nature that has the ability to soothe or destroy.

Published in 1818, the novel had aspects of both Gothic and Romantic ideals imbedded within the pages. Shelly’s depiction of nature is shown throughout the novel. In one scene, Victor was “the only unquiet thing that wandered restless in a scene so beautiful and heavenly…tempted to plunge into the silent lake, that the waters might close over me and my calamities forever”. The concept of a sublime nature is portrayed in this scene by the idea that the calmness and serenity of nature has the ability to calm a person down. The romantic nature is idealized as unconquerable, awe-inspiring figure. In...


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