08-Romanticism - READINGS: ROMANTICISM Background: Eugen...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
READINGS: ROMANTICISM Background: Eugen Weber, Romanticism Wordsworth, Various Poems Background: Eugen Weber, P. S. Germany Brentano, Letter to Goethe Beethoven, Letter to Brentano Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther Selections from German Romantic Stories Goethe, Faust , Part I Eugen Weber, ROMANTICISM, Movements, Currents, Tends , pp. 13-18 r What is Romanticism? In 1925, a Belgian scholar trying to establish the nature of the movement, counted up to a hundred and fifty definitions. Three-quarters of a century before that, one of the German founders of the school had to admit that, were he asked to give a definition of Romanticism, he could not do it. For Ludwig Tieck, there was no difference between the Romantic and the poetic. In a sense he was right-but only by implying a definition of the "poetic" in the Romantic sense, for certainly he would not have counted Boileau as a Romantic poet. At any rate, no student of the many and varied phenomena that have been called "Romantic" (at first, generally, by their critics) could hazard more than the vaguest and most inclusive answer to the question. The Romantic spirit, so-called, is to some degree simply an intellectual reaction against the eighteenth- century ideals of order, discipline, and reason, and a nationalistic reaction against French predominance in the cultural, as in the political, sphere. And certainly the movement as a whole stresses freedom, inspiration, and originality in contrast to the formal rules and imitative procedure of the classic style, it replaces the somewhat detached, sometimes even impersonal approach of the late eighteenth century by the lyrical expression and expansion of personality, and denies "Enlightened" universalism by its insistence upon the local, the particular, the peculiar. The sources of the Romantic movement lie in Germany and England, away from those French cultural centers which it only begins to infiltrate after the turn of the century and to touch seriously after Waterloo, through the agency of Chateaubriand, of Madame de Stael whose book on Germany has been called the Romantics' Bible, and through Rousseau, long deceased yet more alive than ever when 492,500 volumes of his works were being printed between 1817 and 1824 alone. In the various aspects of the Romantic reaction to the great Enlightenment dream of a rational and rationally comprehensible world inhabited by human beings equally accessible to reason, we may find the seeds of most subsequent cultural attitudes. In the work of the two generations whose lives were marked by the three great revolutionary explosions of the 1790's, 1830, and 1848 we find a subjective approach to reality which is assumed to lie first in the particular, then in oneself; we find respect for the organic, often incalculable, in opposition to the planned that is reducible to rational formulae; we find distrust of the Cartesian tendency to see the past in terms of the present and the conviction that, on the contrary, the present has meaning and being
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/15/2011 for the course HISTORY 106 taught by Professor Dennis during the Spring '11 term at Loyola Chicago.

Page1 / 26

08-Romanticism - READINGS: ROMANTICISM Background: Eugen...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online