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 Romantic Era began in the late 18th century. It was a period of literature and arts. Romanticism is described as the basis of the fact that reason cannot explain everything. Romantic artists tried to reach their audience through a deeper and an enhanced emotional appeal. The Romantic Era was seen as a rebellion towards the Enlightenment.
Jefferson and Blake Writers of the Enlightenment and the Romantic Era The Enlightenment and the Romantic Era are two periods that differed greatly. Out of these contrasting eras came different literary styles and purposes. Thomas Jefferson and William Blake are two primary examples of diverse authors from equally diverse eras. Although the Romantic Era grew alongside the Enlightenment, it placed value on emotion or imagination over reason, where as the Enlightenment focused on reason and logical thinking. Unlike the Enlightenment, Romanticism allowed people to get away from the constricted, rational views of life and concentrate on an emotional and sentimental side of humanity.
Their treatment of subject was emotional rather than reasonable, intuitive rather than analytical. Among other Romantics, the focus on the human being was manifested in a fascination with the eerie and exotic and with the effects of guilt, evil, isolation, and terror on the human psyche. Romanticism was seen as a revival of the essentially modern, spiritual and fantastic culture of the middle Ages. Romantics were involved in emotional directness of personal experience and individual imagination and aspiration. It was partly a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature, and was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature.
The expression Romantic gained currency during its own time, roughly 1780-1850. However, the Romantic era is to identify a period in which certain ideas and attitudes arose, gained the idea of intellectual achievement and became dominant. This is why , they became the dominant mode of expression. Which tells us something else about the Romantic era which expression was perhaps everything to do with them -- expression in art, music, poetry, drama, literature and philosophy. Romantic ideas arose both as implicit and explicit criticisms of 18th century Enlightenment thought.
Romanticism was, in essence, a movement that defined itself in opposition to the Enlightenment but nonetheless, was a poetic form of the Enlightenment. The romantics, rather than valuing symmetry and harmony, valued individuality, surprise, intensity of emotion, and
Romanticism originally was the reaction against the Enlightenment. According to the Scientific Journal Of Humanistic Studies, the Enlightenment’s purpose was “to reform society using reason, challenging ideas are grounded in tradition and faith, and advance knowledge through the scientific method. “It promoted scientific thought, skepticism, and intellectual interchange” (Bodrogean). With the historical and cultural context of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Romanticism in music took two distinctive paths. “One path in particular was taken in the path to find sources in the French Revolution of 1789 through 1793 and other revolutionary movements such as the July Revolution of 1830” (Fluck).Realism is found everywhere in literature and has enhanced the experiences of our lives, especially in the humanities.
The characteristics of romantic literature as described above are reflected in the works of these poets, who were near contemporaries. Their contribution to English poetry gains particular importance in the light that they freed poetry from the constraints of aristocracy, and enriched poetry by adding elements of music, nature and imagination to it.
The Romantic Movement was largely a response to the emergence of The Enlightenment in Europe, which had prized objectivity and rationality in the human endeavor. However, as the revolutions to topple the aristocracy in Europe gained traction, the Romantic Movement began to turn to emotions more than reason as the true essence of man. The Romantics looked back to the medieval concept of the sublime, the feeling of awe and fear at something transcendent. Thus, the Romantic Movement prioritized feelings and emotions over reason or intellect. This paper will discuss William Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias," and John Keats "Ode to a Grecian Urn" as poems that exemplify the primacy of the emotion over reason, as they are all products of the Romantic Movement.