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  1. 1. Romanticism B. McDaniel John F. Kennedy School Berlin, Germany
  2. 2. Definition <ul><li>A movement in the fine arts and literature that became popular in the late 1700s and continued through most of the 1800s. </li></ul><ul><li>Romanticism was partly a reaction against classicism and the Age of Reason. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Romantic writers rejected what they considered to be the excessive rationalism and lifeless literary forms of previous periods. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasized emotions (passion) and the imagination and intuition over logic </li></ul><ul><li>Promoted full expression of the emotions, and free, spontaneous action rather than restrainst and order. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Qualities of Romanticism <ul><li>Emphasized external nature and physical beauty rather than human nature and moral beauty. </li></ul><ul><li>Viewed nature as a living spirit, attuned to human feelings of love and compassion. </li></ul><ul><li>Believed that external nature is pure and unspoiled, and can heal humans from the damage that religious and social institutions do to their souls. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Emphasized deep feelings, emotions, and passions. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nothing was more important than feeling things deeply. The whole point of having feelings is to feel them strongly and passionately. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Stressed the natural goodness of human beings. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Human in a state of nature will behave well, but civilization interferes. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Stressed freedom for the individual, or “radical individualism.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rejected social conventions that restrict people </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rejected unjust political rules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many Romantic writers believed in the absolute independence of the individual </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Romantic hero is often a rebel or outlaw </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Romantic hero is in revolt against social conventions. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Artists revolted against artificial ideas of good form. (Allowed the events in their plays to range widely in time and space.) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Artists placed a high value on “authentic expression”—the worst thing one could be was phony. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tried to present real thoughts and feelings. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Rejected religious, moral, and societal restraints on individual freedom. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many Romantics were atheists or rejected traditional religion in favor of their own mystical visions. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Believed that religious and moral restrictions were artificial and repressing. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasis on the political power of the people. (Can be seen in the French and American revolutions in the late 1700s.) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Romanticism was a quest for new experiences. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Most writers were discontented with their world. It seemed commercial, inhuman, and standardized. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wanted to experience everything—to explore and invent. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To escape from modern life, the Romantics turned their interest to remote and faraway placed, the medieval past, folklore and legends, and nature and the common people. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Also drawn to the supernatural. (The Gothic novel—type of horror story filled with violence and supernatural effects and set against a background of gloomy medieval Gothic castles.) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Valued the working classes and “common people.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Writers believed that common people were closer to nature, and therefore closer to truth, than the rest of us. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Conventions of Romanticism
  13. 13. Hero <ul><li>Pure and good, sorely tested by adversity (usually through the malicious actions of enemies). </li></ul><ul><li>Good qualities set him apart from ordinary mortals. </li></ul><ul><li>Usually a nobleman. </li></ul><ul><li>Heroes and heroines were peasants or poor people who were naturally more noble than the wealthy but corrupt nobility. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Characters <ul><li>Sharply defined (hero/villain, master/victim) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Larger than life”—they seem to be more real than real people, exaggerated. </li></ul><ul><li>Protagonist is often solitary and relatively isolated from a social context. </li></ul><ul><li>Villains/opponents to the hero—bad qualities outweigh any goodness they may possess. </li></ul><ul><li>Follow the”code of nobility”—a person must act in a noble manner, even if he/she is not really an honorable person. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Classic Melodrama <ul><li>A clearly virtuous character is putted against characters who wish him/her ill and have the power to do him/her harm. </li></ul><ul><li>Events are sensational, often exotic, even improbable. </li></ul><ul><li>Justice prevails, but not before the hero has suffered injustice and struggled against seemingly overwhelming odds. </li></ul><ul><li>Nonrealistic/melodramatic events can project In symbolic form the primal desires, hopes, and terrors of the human mind. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Virtue is always rewarded.
  17. 17. Plot <ul><li>Emphasizes adventure </li></ul><ul><li>Frequently takes the form of a quest for an ideal or pursuit of an enemy. </li></ul><ul><li>Tends to be set in the historical past. </li></ul><ul><li>Often uses devices such as buried treasure or a search for treasure, secret passageways. </li></ul><ul><li>Idea of suicide was “highly romantic”. (Today is seen as a sign of weakness instead of strength and devotion.) </li></ul>