What is Romanticism?
What is romanticism? It would be rather difficult to imagine a time where freedom of expression in the arts was frowned upon.
This is what life was like for artists before romanticism. Prior to the Romantic Era, an artist’s imagination was very limited. Romanticism was an artistic movement in the late 18th century that stressed the ideas of freedom of expression, emotion, deep thought, and death. The Raven, a poem written by Edgar Allen Poe, is a great example of romantic literature. The Raven really revolves around love, which is common for romantic pieces. In the Raven, Poe is deeply in love with a girl named Lanore.
She passed away and it is tormenting Poe. A Raven flies into his room and continuously says the word “nevermore.” This reminds Poe that he will never see his love again. This poem contains not only love, but death and deep thought.. Another example of romanticism is found in another poem entitled Thanatopsis written by William Cullen Bryant.
The title for this poem literally translates from Greek to “Meditation upon Death.” That being stated, one can conclude the poem delves deeply into the topic of death. Thanatopsis really stresses the notion that nature can shed light on thoughts of dying. Bryant states that the voice of nature reminds us that one day we too will be apart of it. This is a very atheistic approach of death, which is often referenced when discussing romanticism. Romanticism is exemplified in Rousseau’s literary masterpiece “The Social Contract.
” Rousseau was a French philosopher who was famed for his Enlightenment-era thoughts during the French Revolution. Although Rousseau was concerned more with political philosophy, he also expressed romanticism in his works. Within romanticism, Rousseau particularly talked about nature. He says that humanity will generally cooperate with one another unless halted by a government. Although “The Social Contract” primarily aims at political philosophy, it does have an indirect influence on nature-related romanticism.
Overall, it can be proved that “The Raven” reflects the Romantic Era, due to the fact that Edgar Allen Poe touches directly on the characteristics of romanticism. Another example is found in “Thanatopsis” because Bryant mentions thoughts about death, which is a very romantic idea. The third and final example of romanticism is described in “The Social Contract” where Jean-Jacques Rousseau discussed human behavior in nature. All of these examples can be used in determining the definition of romanticism. They also serve as a reminder that art should be as free-spirited and imaginative as the artist intends it to be.