Romanticism It is the Europe’s last great cultural epoch. It began toward the end of the 18th century and lasted till the middle of the 19th century. It started in Germany. The typical romantics were young men, often university students. Romantics drawn attention to the ‘feeling’, ‘imagination’, ‘experience’, and ‘yearning’.
Many romantics saw themselves as Kant’s successors. They exploited Kant’s ego’s contribution in an almost unrestrained ‘ego-worship’. This led to the exaltation of artistic genius. Romantics think that artist can provide something philosophers can’t express. It was once said that ‘idleness is the ideal of genius, and indolence the virtue of the Romantic.’ in this epoch.
One of the features of Romanticism was the yearning for nature and nature’s mysteries. Romanticism represents not least a reaction to the Enlightenment’s mechanistic universe. It was characteristic of the Romantic view in general that nature was thought of as an organism. Romantics natural philosophy had Aristotelian as well as Neoplatonic overtones. Romanticism helped strengthen the feeling of national identity.
Romanticism can be separate into two part. Universal Romanticism - It referring to the Romantics who were preoccupied with nature, world soul, and artistic genius. National Romanticism - It were mainly interested in the history of the people, the language of the people, and the culture of the people in general. ‘Organism’ is the key word that united these two aspects of Romanticism.
Schelling The leading Romantic philosopher. He lived from 1775 to 1854. He wanted to unite mind and matter. He believed that all of nature is the expression of one Absolute, or world spirit. He said ‘nature is visible spirit, spirit is invisible nature.’
He believed that the world spirit can thus be sought both in nature and in one’s own mind. He drew attention to very gradual transitions from inanimate nature to more complicated life forms. He said explicitly that the world is ‘in God.’ God is aware of some of it. He believed there are other aspects of nature which represent the unknown in God.
Novalis One of the young geniuses. Died when he was 29 years old. He said that ‘the world becomes a dream, and the dream becomes reality.’ He wrote a novel called Heinrich von Ofterdingen. It was unfinished. He said that ‘the path of mystery leads inwards.’ It means that man bears the whole universe within himself and comes closest to the mystery of the world by stepping inside himself.
Goethe Introduce the theme of unrequited love in his novel ----- The Sorrows of Young Werther. The suicide rate rose after the publication of the novel. For a time, the novel was banned in Denmark and Norway.
Johann Gottfried von Herder A man who came to have great significance for the Romantics. A historical philosopher who lived from 1744 to 1803. He believed that history is characterized by continuity, evolution, and design. He showed that each historical epoch had its own intrinsic value and each nation its own character or ‘soul’. He had been the forerunner, collecting folk songs from many lands under the eloquent title Voices of the People.