European Romanticism

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Romanticism was a movement in art and literature that started in the late 18th century and continued throughout the 19th century in Europe and America. The movement rebelled against classicism. The basic idea in Romanticism is that reason cannot explain everything. This in contrast to the Age of Enlightenment, which focused more on scientific and rational thinking, Romantics searched for deeper appeals, emotional directness of personal experience and visionary relationship to imagination and aspiration. Romantics favoured more natural, emotional and personal artistic themes. Some of the most notable writers of Romanticism were Mary Shelley, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Friedrich von Schiller.

Many of the characteristic features of Romanticism can be seen in Frankenstein written by Mary Shelly. Romantic writers always try to focus on sublime moments and experiences in their work. In Frankenstein, we see this by the quest of Victor Frankenstein to achieve the sublime moment by the creation of a monstrous living being through his quotes “No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success”. Also Victor Frankenstein is portrayed as a Romantic character with an imagination through the words “Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source” that he wanted to be a creator. Victor Frankenstein’s character was a dreamer which is a characteristic feature of romanticism. Also in Frankenstein, nature is one of Romantic characteristic portrayed elegantly. In the beginning of the novel, the reade...

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...arrested again for stealing his silverware. The police inspector Javert, who strictly believes in law, at the end of the novel even though he has a chance to arrest Valjean, he let him go because Valjean was trying to save Marius.

Prior to French Revolution, literature was more focused on aristocrats and clergies. But after the French Revolution, in the romanticism movement, literature was more about common people, imagination, human goodness, heroism of common man and sublimity

through a connection with nature. Thus it is right to conclude that authors of Frankenstein and Les miserables shaped their work with romanticism.

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