Monday, February 13, 2012

Rome and Romanticism

From Charles Coulombe: 
Historically, Romanticism was born in the hearts and minds of the resistance to Napoleon --- even though many Romantics initially embraced him as a hero figure, akin to Charlemagne. His attempt to do for Europe what his predecessors tried to do to each of their countries aroused the fires of nationalism in their breast --- German, Italian, English --- and even French. The brutality of Napoleon’s police and censors drove “subversive” writers deep within their souls; his total control of Europe led minds to wander elsewhere, beyond the Continent. 

Here we find the origins of the main themes of Romanticism, although, as we noticed, the roots of the phenomenon were already present. A longing for the Medieval past, and for the contemporary exotic --- whether Asia or the wilds of America; an exaltation of the needs of the individual (and by extension, the self) over the wishes of the community; preference for folklore over the sort of learning perceived to have brought the Enlightenment, and of intuition over reason, custom over legislation; a fascination with intense feeling --- including horror and humour --- over the mundane: these were the hallmarks of the Romantic revolt, in literature, art, and music, in politics, and most certainly in religion. (Read entire article.)

1 comment:

Mrs. Rudd said...

A well-done article and very thought-provoking.