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The Romantic Movement

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The Romantic Movement

Romanticism is a new intellectual and artistic movement that involved Europe in the 18th century. The word Romantic was first used around the middle of the 17th century to mean the fantastic events told by old romances. During the Augustan Age which highlighted order, balance and correctness, the term romantic was used in a derogatory way. However "romantic" got a positive meaning again, mirroring the change in sensibility. In fact it started being used to mean an expression of feelings and emotions shaded with melancholy and sadness. This word was used also by Jacques Rousseau and Friedrich Schlegel. Rousseau used "Romantic" to describe a landscape; Schlegel used this term to describe the creative process led by the emotion and imagination. In England the authors never used this term to define the qualities of their poetry. The romantic movement got to his apogee thanks to the debate developed in Europe during the latter part of the 18th century. In this period the works of Rousseau and the German movement of Sturm und Drang were very important. In Discours sur l'origine de l'inegalitè Rousseau contended that human behaviour, which for his nature is good, became bad owing the social conventions. So he advocated a return to nature which should make man a noble savage good, happy and free. The writers involved in Sturm und Drang emphasized the uniqueness and the freedom of the individual. These features were expressed with the ure of the genius, who is a creative artists. The basical philosophy of Romanticism has been the German idealism theorized by Fichte, Hegel, Wilhelm, Schelling. They expressed the will to get to the Absolute or the infinite beyond the limits imposed by reason and recognized a creative, dynamic spiritual force at work in the world which moved incessantly towards its own realization. For Fichte it was the Ego, for Shelling it was the Absolute, for Hegel it was the Ideal.


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