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Essay Romanticism In European History

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Romanticism was an era in European history, roughly between 1790 and 1815, and was characterized by a growing interest in the imagination and emotions. This era was unlike the Enlightenment, which focused on changes in political ideology, or Neo-classicism, which was more akin to classicism in that rationality and realism are ideal. Romanticism aimed to invoke a change in cultural ideology and, in turn, gave people a sort of freedom in deciphering ideas and symbols using their own imaginations.
Romantic philosophy was bolstered by the questionings of Neo-classicism during the Enlightenment. Neo-classicism, governed by reason, attempted to establish certain standards in the lives of Europeans. The backlash during the Enlightenment, in which traditions were beginning to be scrutinized negatively, also fed into much of the ideals during this period. Romanticism emerged as a sort of continuation of the Enlightenment; not in questioning political ideology but in praising irrationality through imagination. Regarded as the “Age of Sensibility,” Romanticism is very well known for the emergence of guiding oneself through emotion rather than reason. First expressed in the Enlightenment by writers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, this era saw an increase in the interest of nature and the wish for a return to a “simpler” society.
The work of David Hartley introduced the idea of “association.” In his work, Observations on Man, his Frame, his Duty, and his Expectations (1749), Hartley attempted to connect physiology and psychology in order to explain the workings of the mind. He also expressed that morals are learned from experiences and are key in becoming “capable of sympathy, theopathy and the moral sense.” Hartley concluded that...


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...ics in the Age of Romanticism, edited by Darla Crispin, 37-67.
Belgium: Leuven University Press, 2009.

Watson, J. R. “Association.” In A Handbook to English Romanticism, edited by Jean Raimond
and J.R. Watson, 14-16. USA: St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 1992.

———. “Constable, John (1776-1837).” In A Handbook to English Romanticism, edited by
Jean Raimond and J. R. Watson, 80-83. USA: St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 1992.

———. “Drama.” In A Handbook to English Romanticism, edited by Jean Raimond and J.
R. Watson, 95-97. USA: St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 1992.

———. “Painting.” In A Handbook to English Romanticism, edited by Jean Raimond and J.
R. Watson, 199-202. USA: St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 1992.

———. “Turner, Joseph William Mallord (1775-1851).” In A Handbook to English
Romanticism, edited by Jean Raimond and J. R. Watson, 275-278. USA: St. Martin’s
Press, Inc., 1992.


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