Like many eras, the Romantic Era was born in rebellion to an era that took place before the emergence of change. The era that had influenced the birth of Romanticism was The Age of Enlightenment. During The Age of Enlightenment, society valued reason; knowledge gained from experience, and sought truth through observation instead of sources like the Bible, which had been deemed too authoritative in nature ("Enlightenment, Age Of."). The generation of peoples that followed the Age of Enlightenment believed that through reason, the worlds wonder had been stripped away, and that man had lost its connection to nature. It was in rebellion to reason that the Romantics sought to return these elements to society, which meant that the principles held in high regard would also change with the times.
While the people of the Age of Enlightenment valued logic, the Romantics values were created to snub the previous era’s ways. During the Enlightenment, new discoveries in science were found that put an end to the myths that ancient cultures believed in, and replaced them with reason and logic, or simply changed the view of how things worked. For example, the discovery of Sir Isaac Newton’s “Laws of Gravit...
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...the idealistic world that Romantics dreamed about. Instead, they believed that the exploration of dark urges like greed and pride should be addressed in a way that reflected the world around them. It was for this reason that the next literary period was called a time of realism (Dewey).
Realism was born of the changes in social, political, and scientific discoveries during the mid-nineteenth century. During this time, the liberty that the romantics fought for became little more than a political slogan, vast sections of the globe opened up to western trade, the middle class was established, and living conditions were changed through the Industrial Revolution. The human life became simpler through the railroad, rapid urbanization, and lasted longer with the improved hygiene and medications that became available (Lawall, Nineteenth Century: Realism and Symbolsim).
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