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romanticism,term loosely applied to literary and artistic movements of the late 18th and 19th cent.
Characteristics of Romanticism
Resulting in part from the libertarian and egalitarian ideals of the French Revolution, the romantic movements had in common only a revolt against the prescribed rules of classicismclassicism,
a term that, when applied generally, means clearness, elegance, symmetry, and repose produced by attention to traditional forms. It is sometimes synonymous with excellence or artistic quality of high distinction.
..... Click the link for more information. . The basic aims of romanticism were various: a return to nature and to belief in the goodness of humanity; the rediscovery of the artist as a supremely individual creator; the development of nationalistic pride; and the exaltation of the senses and emotions over reason and intellect. In addition, romanticism was a philosophical revolt against rationalismrationalism
[Lat.,=belonging to reason], in philosophy, a theory that holds that reason alone, unaided by experience, can arrive at basic truth regarding the world. Associated with rationalism is the doctrine of innate ideas and the method of logically deducing truths about the
..... Click the link for more information. .
Romanticism in Literature
Although in literature romantic elements were known much earlier, as in the Elizabethan dramas, many critics now date English literary romanticism from the publication of WordsworthWordsworth, William,
1770–1850, English poet, b. Cockermouth, Cumberland. One of the great English poets, he was a leader of the romantic movement in England. Life and Works
In 1791 he graduated from Cambridge and traveled abroad.
..... Click the link for more information. and ColeridgeColeridge, Samuel Taylor,
1772–1834, English poet and man of letters, b. Ottery St. Mary, Devonshire; one of the most brilliant, versatile, and influential figures in the English romantic movement.
..... Click the link for more information. 's Lyrical Ballads (1798). In the preface to the second edition of that influential work (1800), Wordsworth stated his belief that poetry results from "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings," and pressed for the use of natural everyday diction in literary works. Coleridge emphasized the importance of the poet's imagination and discounted adherence to arbitrary literary rules.
Such English romantic poets as ByronByron, George Gordon Noel Byron, 6th Baron
, 1788–1824, English poet and satirist. Early Life and Works
He was the son of Capt. John ("Mad Jack") Byron and his second wife, Catherine Gordon of Gight.
..... Click the link for more information. , ShelleyShelley, Percy Bysshe
, 1792–1822, English poet, b. Horsham, Sussex. He is ranked as one of the great English poets of the romantic period. A Tempestuous Life
..... Click the link for more information. , Robert BurnsBurns, Robert,
1759–96, Scottish poet. Life
The son of a hard-working and intelligent farmer, Burns was the oldest of seven children, all of whom had to help in the work on the farm.
..... Click the link for more information. , KeatsKeats, John,
1795–1821, English poet, b. London. He is considered one of the greatest of English poets.
The son of a livery stable keeper, Keats attended school at Enfield, where he became the friend of Charles Cowden Clarke, the headmaster's son, who encouraged his
..... Click the link for more information. , Robert SoutheySouthey, Robert
, 1774–1843, English author. Primarily a poet, he was numbered among the so-called Lake poets. While at Oxford he formed (1794) a friendship with Coleridge and joined with him in a plan for an American utopia along the Susquehanna River that was never
..... Click the link for more information. , and William CowperCowper, William
, 1731–1800, English poet. Physically and emotionally unfit for the professional life, he was admitted to the bar but never practiced. After a battle with insanity, Cowper retired to the country, taking refuge with the family of Mrs.
..... Click the link for more information. often focused on the individual self, on the poet's personal reaction to life. This emphasis can also be found in such prose works as the essays of Charles LambLamb, Charles,
1775–1834, English essayist, b. London. He went to school at Christ's Hospital, where his lifelong friendship with Coleridge began. Lamb was a clerk at the India House from 1792 to 1825.
..... Click the link for more information. and William HazlittHazlitt, William,
1778–1830, English essayist. The son of a reform-mindeed Unitarian minister, he abandoned the idea of entering the clergy and took up painting, philosophy, and later journalism.
..... Click the link for more information. and in Thomas De QuinceyDe Quincey, Thomas
, 1785–1859, English essayist. In 1802 he ran away from school and tramped about the country, eventually settling in London. His family soon found him and entered him (1803) in Worcester College, Oxford, where he developed a deep interest in German
..... Click the link for more information. 's autobiographical Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1822). The interest of romantics in the medieval period as a time of mystery, adventure, and aspiration is evidenced in the Gothic romanceGothic romance,
type of novel that flourished in the late 18th and early 19th cent. in England. Gothic romances were mysteries, often involving the supernatural and heavily tinged with horror, and they were usually set against dark backgrounds of medieval ruins and haunted
..... Click the link for more information. and in the historical novels of Sir Walter ScottScott, Sir Walter,
1771–1832, Scottish novelist and poet, b. Edinburgh. He is considered the father of both the regional and the historical novel. Early Life and Works
After an apprenticeship in his father's law office Scott was admitted (1792) to the bar.
..... Click the link for more information. . William BlakeBlake, William,
1757–1827, English poet and artist, b. London. Although he exerted a great influence on English romanticism, Blake defies characterization by school, movement, or even period.
..... Click the link for more information. was probably the most singular of the English romantics. His poems and paintings are radiant, imaginative, and heavily symbolic, indicating the spiritual reality underlying the physical reality.
In Germany the Sturm und DrangSturm und Drang
or Storm and Stress,
movement in German literature that flourished from c.1770 to c.1784. It takes its name from a play by F. M. von Klinger, Wirrwarr; oder, Sturm und Drang (1776).
..... Click the link for more information. school, with its obsessive interest in medievalism, prepared the way for romanticism. Friedrich SchlegelSchlegel, Friedrich von
, 1772–1829, German philosopher, critic, and writer, most prominent of the founders of German romanticism. Educated in law at Göttingen and Leipzig, he turned to literature, writing Die Griechen und Römer (1797).
..... Click the link for more information. first used the term romantic to designate a school of literature opposed to classicism, and he also applied the philosophical ideas of Immanuel KantKant, Immanuel
, 1724–1804, German metaphysician, one of the greatest figures in philosophy, b. Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). Early Life and Works
..... Click the link for more information. and J. G. FichteFichte, Johann Gottlieb
, 1762–1814, German philosopher. After studying theology at Jena and working as a tutor in Zürich and Leipzig, he became interested in Kantian philosophy.
..... Click the link for more information. to the "romantic ideal." Major German writers associated with romanticism include G. E. LessingLessing, Gotthold Ephraim
, 1729–81, German philosopher, dramatist, and critic, one of the most influential figures of the Enlightenment. He was connected with the theater in Berlin, where he produced some of his most famous works, and with the national theater in Hamburg.
..... Click the link for more information. , J. G. HerderHerder, Johann Gottfried von
, 1744–1803, German philosopher, critic, and clergyman, b. East Prussia. Herder was an enormously influential literary critic and a leader in the Sturm und Drang movement.
..... Click the link for more information. , Friedrich HölderlinHölderlin, Friedrich
, 1770–1843, German lyric poet. Befriended and influenced by Schiller, Hölderlin produced, before the onset of insanity at 36, lofty yet subjective poetry, modeled on classic Greek verse.
..... Click the link for more information. , SchillerSchiller, Friedrich von,
1759–1805, German dramatist, poet, and historian, one of the greatest of German literary figures, b. Marbach, Württemberg. The poets of German romanticism were strongly influenced by Schiller, and he ranks as one of the founders of modern
..... Click the link for more information. , and particularly GoetheGoethe, Johann Wolfgang von
, 1749–1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist, and scientist, b. Frankfurt. One of the great masters of world literature, his genius embraced most fields of human endeavor; his art and thought are epitomized in his great dramatic poem Faust.
..... Click the link for more information. , who had a mystic feeling for nature and for Germany's medieval past.
France and Other European Countries
The credo of French romanticism was set forth by Victor HugoHugo, Victor Marie, Vicomte
, 1802–85, French poet, dramatist, and novelist, b. Besançon. His father was a general under Napoleon. As a child he was taken to Italy and Spain and at a very early age had published his first book of poems, resolving "to be
..... Click the link for more information. in the preface to his drama Cromwell (1828) and in his play Hernani (1830). Hugo proclaimed the freedom of the artist in both choice and treatment of a subject. The French romantics included ChateaubriandChateaubriand, François René, vicomte de
, 1768–1848, French writer. Chateaubriand was a founder of romanticism in French literature. Of noble birth, he grew up in his family's isolated castle of Combourg.
..... Click the link for more information. , Alexandre DumasDumas, Alexandre
, known as Dumas père
, 1802–70, French novelist and dramatist. His father, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, was a general in the Revolution.
..... Click the link for more information. père, Alphonse de LamartineLamartine, Alphonse Marie Louis de
, 1790–1869, French poet, novelist, and statesman. After a trip to Italy and a brief period in the army, Lamartine began to write and achieved immediate success with his first publication, Méditations poétiques (1820).
..... Click the link for more information. , Alfred de VignyVigny, Alfred Victor, comte de
, 1797–1863, French poet, novelist, and dramatist. One of the foremost romantics, Vigny expressed a philosophy of stoical pessimism, stressing the lonely struggle of the individual in a hostile universe.
..... Click the link for more information. , Alfred de MussetMusset, Alfred de
(Louis Charles Alfred de Musset) , 1810–57, French romantic poet, dramatist, and fiction writer. His first collection of poems, Contes d'Espagne et d'Italie (1829), exhibited a strong Byronic influence.
..... Click the link for more information. , and George SandSand, George
, pseud. of Amandine Aurore Lucie Dupin, baronne Dudevant
, 1804–76, French novelist. Other variant forms of her maiden name include Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin.
..... Click the link for more information. . Other leading romantic figures were Giacomo LeopardiLeopardi, Giacomo
, 1798–1837, Italian poet and scholar, considered Italy's outstanding 19th-century poet. An intellectual prodigy, he taught himself Hebrew and ancient Greek and was devoted to the study of the classics and philosophy from early childhood.
..... Click the link for more information. and Alessandro ManzoniManzoni, Alessandro
, 1785–1873, Italian novelist and poet. Taken in his youth to Paris by his mother in 1805, Manzoni embraced the deism that he was later to discard for an ardent Roman Catholicism. He returned to Italy in 1807 and in his later years was a senator.
..... Click the link for more information. in Italy, and Aleksandr PushkinPushkin, Aleksandr Sergeyevich
, 1799–1837, Russian poet and prose writer, among the foremost figures in Russian literature. He was born in Moscow of an old noble family; his mother's grandfather was Abram Hannibal, the black general of Peter the Great.
..... Click the link for more information. and Mikhail LermontovLermontov, Mikhail Yurevich
, 1814–41, Russian poet and novelist. Given an extensive private education by his wealthy grandmother, Lermontov began writing poetry when he was 14.
..... Click the link for more information. in Russia.
The United States
In the United States romanticism had philosophic expression in transcendentalismtranscendentalism
[Lat.,=overpassing], in literature, philosophical and literary movement that flourished in New England from about 1836 to 1860. It originated among a small group of intellectuals who were reacting against the orthodoxy of Calvinism and the rationalism of the
..... Click the link for more information. , notably in the works of EmersonEmerson, Ralph Waldo
, 1803–82, American poet and essayist, b. Boston. Through his essays, poems, and lectures, the "Sage of Concord" established himself as a leading spokesman of transcendentalism and as a major figure in American literature.
..... Click the link for more information. and ThoreauThoreau, Henry David
, 1817–62, American author and naturalist, b. Concord, Mass., grad. Harvard, 1837. Thoreau is considered one of the most influential figures in American thought and literature.
..... Click the link for more information. . Poets such as PoePoe, Edgar Allan,
1809–49, American poet, short-story writer, and critic, b. Boston. He is acknowledged today as one of the most brilliant and original writers in American literature.
..... Click the link for more information. , WhittierWhittier, John Greenleaf
, 1807–92, American Quaker poet and reformer, b. near Haverhill, Mass. Whittier was a pioneer in regional literature as well as a crusader for many humanitarian causes. Early Life
Whittier received a scanty education but read widely.
..... Click the link for more information. , and LongfellowLongfellow, Henry Wadsworth,
1807–82, American poet, b. Portland, Maine, grad. Bowdoin College, 1825. He wrote some of the most popular poems in American literature, in which he created a new body of romantic American legends.
..... Click the link for more information. all produced works in the romantic vein. Walt WhitmanWhitman, Walt
(Walter Whitman), 1819–92, American poet, b. West Hills, N.Y. Considered by many to be the greatest of all American poets, Walt Whitman celebrated the freedom and dignity of the individual and sang the praises of democracy and the brotherhood of man.
..... Click the link for more information. in particular expressed pride in his individual self and the democratic spirit. The works of James Fenimore CooperCooper, James Fenimore,
1789–1851, American novelist, b. Burlington, N.J., as James Cooper. He was the first important American writer to draw on the subjects and landscape of his native land in order to create a vivid myth of frontier life.
..... Click the link for more information. reflected the romantic interest in the historical past, whereas the symbolic novels of HawthorneHawthorne, Nathaniel,
1804–64, American novelist and short-story writer, b. Salem, Mass., one of the great masters of American fiction. His novels and tales are penetrating explorations of moral and spiritual conflicts.
..... Click the link for more information. and MelvilleMelville, Herman,
1819–91, American author, b. New York City, considered one of the great American writers and a major figure in world literature. Early Life and Works
..... Click the link for more information. emphasized the movement's concern with transcendent reality.
Romanticism in the Visual Arts
In the visual arts romanticism is used to refer loosely to a trend that appears at any time, and specifically to the art of the early 19th cent. Nineteenth-century romanticism was characterized by the avoidance of classical forms and rules, emphasis on the emotional and spiritual, representation of the unattainable ideal, nostalgia for the grace of past ages, and a predilection for exotic themes.
Romantic artists developed precise techniques in order to produce specific associations in the mind of the viewer. To convey verbal concepts they would, for example, endow inanimate objects with human values (e.g., the wild trees and shimmery moonlight used in the paintings of Caspar David FriedrichFriedrich, Caspar David
, 1774–1840, German romantic landscape painter. After studying painting in Copenhagen he visited various scenic spots in Germany and chose to live in Dresden, where he remained until his death.
..... Click the link for more information. to suggest an infinity of human longing, the weltschmerz of his time). The result was often sentimental or ludicrous. In the case of DelacroixDelacroix, Eugène
(Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix) , 1798–1863, French painter. Delacroix is considered the foremost painter of the romantic movement in France; his influence as a colorist is inestimably great.
..... Click the link for more information. , however, his painterly style and color sense exalted the romantic attitude in a singularly effective fashion.
In England landscape gardening was used to express the romantic aesthetic by means of deliberate imitation of the picturesque in nature. In architecture WyattWyatt, James,
1746–1813, English architect. He worked in many styles but is best known as one of the originators of the Gothic revival. Appointed surveyor at Westminster Abbey in 1776, he did cathedral restorations at Salisbury, Durham, and elsewhere and completed
..... Click the link for more information. 's preposterous, mock medieval Fonthill Abbey displayed the romantic building style in extreme form. The host of lesser artists of the romantic tradition included the French GéricaultGéricault, Jean Louis André Théodore
, 1791–1824, French painter. He studied with Antoine Vernet and with Pierre Guérin, in whose studio he met Delacroix.
..... Click the link for more information. , the Swiss-English Henry FuseliFuseli, Henry
, 1741–1825, Anglo-Swiss painter and draftsman, b. Zürich. He was known also as Johann Heinrich Fuessli or Füssli. He took holy orders but never practiced the priesthood. Fuseli went (c.
..... Click the link for more information. , the Swiss Arnold BöcklinBöcklin or Boecklin, Arnold
, 1827–1901, Swiss painter. Most of his life was spent in Italy. With Feuerbach he led the group of painters known as "German Romans," who attempted to express an idealistic
..... Click the link for more information. , the English Pre-RaphaelitesPre-Raphaelites
, brotherhood of English painters and poets formed in 1848 in protest against what they saw as the low standards and decadence of British art. The principal founders were D. G. Rossetti, W.
..... Click the link for more information. , the German NazarenesNazarenes
, group of German artists of the early 19th cent., who attempted to revive Christian art. In 1809, J. F. Overbeck and Franz Pforr formed an art cooperative in Vienna called the Brotherhood of St. Luke.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the American artists of the Hudson River schoolHudson River school,
group of American landscape painters, working from 1825 to 1875. The 19th-century romantic movements of England, Germany, and France were introduced to the United States by such writers as Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper.
..... Click the link for more information. .
Romanticism in Music
Romanticism in music was characterized by an emphasis on emotion and great freedom of form. It attained its fullest development in the works of German composers. Although elements of romanticism are present in the music of BeethovenBeethoven, Ludwig van
, 1770–1827, German composer. He is universally recognized as one of the greatest composers of the Western European music tradition. Beethoven's work crowned the classical period and also effectively initiated the romantic era in music.
..... Click the link for more information. , WeberWeber, Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von
, 1786–1826, German composer and pianist; pupil of Michael Haydn and Abbé Vogler. He made his debut as a pianist at 13 and began to compose at about the same time.
..... Click the link for more information. , and SchubertSchubert, Franz Peter
, 1797–1828, Austrian composer, one of the most gifted musicians of the 19th cent. His symphonic works represent the best legacy of the classical tradition, while his songs exemplify the height of romantic lyricism.
..... Click the link for more information. , it reached its zenith in the works of BerliozBerlioz, Louis-Hector
, 1803–69, French romantic composer. He abandoned medical study to enter the Paris Conservatory as a composition student. In 1830 his Symphonie fantastique was first performed in Paris, marking a bold new development in program music.
..... Click the link for more information. , MendelssohnMendelssohn, Felix
(Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn) , 1809–47, German composer; grandson of the Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn was one of the major figures in 19th-century European music.
..... Click the link for more information. , SchumannSchumann, Robert Alexander
, 1810–56, German composer. Both as a composer and as a highly articulate music critic he was a leader of the romantic movement. He studied theory with Heinrich Dorn and piano with Friedrich Wieck, whose daughter Clara he married.
..... Click the link for more information. , ChopinChopin, Frédéric François
, 1810–49, composer for the piano, b. near Warsaw, of French and Polish parentage. His lyrical, often melancholy, compositions brought romantic piano music to unprecedented expressive heights.
..... Click the link for more information. , LisztLiszt, Franz
, 1811–86, Hungarian composer and pianist. Liszt was a revolutionary figure of romantic music and was acknowledged as the greatest pianist of his time. He made his debut at nine, going thereafter to Vienna to study with Czerny and Salieri.
..... Click the link for more information. , and WagnerWagner, Richard
, 1813–83, German composer, b. Leipzig. Life and Work
Wagner was reared in a theatrical family, had a classical education, and began composing at 17.
..... Click the link for more information. . Less totally romantic composers usually placed in the middle period of romanticism are BrahmsBrahms, Johannes
, 1833–97, German composer, b. Hamburg. Brahms ranks among the greatest masters of the romantic period. The son of a musician, he early showed astonishing talent in many directions; he chose as a boy to become a pianist.
..... Click the link for more information. , TchaikovskyTchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich
, 1840–93, Russian composer, b. Kamsko-Votkinsk. Variant transliterations of his name include Tschaikovsky and Chaikovsky. He is a towering figure in Russian music and one of the most popular composers in history.
..... Click the link for more information. , DvořákDvořák, Antonín
, 1841–1904, Czech composer. He studied at the Organ School, Prague (1857–59) and played viola in the National Theater Orchestra (1861–71) under Smetana.
..... Click the link for more information. , and GriegGrieg, Edvard Hagerup
, 1843–1907, Norwegian composer. Grieg developed a strongly nationalistic style which made him known as "the Voice of Norway." He received piano lessons from his mother and later studied at the Leipzig Conservatory. Influenced by N. V.
..... Click the link for more information. ; those grouped in the last phase include ElgarElgar, Sir Edward William
, 1857–1934, English composer. He received his training from his father, who was an organist, music seller, and amateur violinist. In 1885 he succeeded his father as organist of St. George's Church, Worcester.
..... Click the link for more information. , PucciniPuccini, Giacomo
, 1858–1924, Italian composer of operas. He wrote some of the most popular works in the opera repertory. A descendant of a long line of musicians, he studied piano and organ at his Tuscan birthplace, Lucca, and in 1880 entered the Milan Conservatory.
..... Click the link for more information. , MahlerMahler, Gustav
, 1860–1911, composer and conductor, born in Austrian Bohemia of Jewish parentage. Mahler studied at the Univ. of Vienna and the Vienna Conservatory.
..... Click the link for more information. , Richard StraussStrauss, Richard
, 1864–1949, German composer. Strauss brought to a culmination the development of the 19th-century symphonic poem, and was a leading composer of romantic opera in the early 20th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , and SibeliusSibelius, Jean Julius Christian
, 1865–1957, Finnish composer. Sibelius was a highly personal, romantic composer, yet at the same time he represents the culmination of nationalism in Finnish music. He studied in Berlin (1889) and with Karl Goldmark in Vienna (1890).
..... Click the link for more information. .
Many romantic composers, including Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, and Brahms, worked in small forms that are flexible in structure, e.g., prelude, intermezzo, nocturne, ballad, and cappriccio, especially in solo music for the piano. Another romantic contribution was the art song for voice and piano, most notably the German lied (see songsong,
relatively brief, simple vocal composition, usually a setting of a poetic text, often strophic, for accompanied solo voice. The song literature of Western music embodies two broad classifications—folk song and art song.
..... Click the link for more information. ). Romantic composers, particularly Liszt, in combining music and literature, created the symphonic poemsymphonic poem,
type of orchestral composition created by Liszt, also called tone poem. Discarding classical principles of form, it begins with a poetic or other literary inspiration.
..... Click the link for more information. . Berlioz also made use of literature; much of his work is described as program musicprogram music
Instrumental music of the 19th and 20th cent. that endeavors to arouse mental pictures or ideas in the thoughts of the listener—to tell a story, depict a scene, or impel a mood.
..... Click the link for more information. . Romantic opera began with Weber, included the works of the Italians RossiniRossini, Gioacchino Antonio
, 1792–1868, Italian operatic composer, one of the great masters of the Italian opera buffa. His parents were both musicians, and he began his career in childhood as a singer.
..... Click the link for more information. , BelliniBellini, Vincenzo
, 1801–35, Italian opera composer. He acquired his musical training from his grandfather and father, and began composing religious and secular music in his childhood. His first opera, Adelson e Salvini, was successfully performed in 1825.
..... Click the link for more information. , DonizettiDonizetti, Gaetano
, 1797–1848, Italian composer. He studied music in Bergamo and Bologna and achieved success with his first opera, Enrico di Borgogna (1818).
..... Click the link for more information. , and VerdiVerdi, Giuseppe
, 1813–1901, foremost Italian composer of opera, b. Le Roncole. Verdi, the son of an innkeeper, showed a precocious talent for the organ but was refused entrance to the Milan Conservatory as having been inadequately trained.
..... Click the link for more information. , and culminated in the work of Wagner, who aimed at a complete synthesis of the arts in his idea of Gesamtkunstwerk [total work of art].
While Tchaikovsky was inspired by a more universal romanticism, the movement in Russia was nationalist in nature, exemplified by the works of Mikhail GlinkaGlinka, Mikhail Ivanovich
, 1804–57, first of the nationalist school of Russian composers. His two operas, A Life for the Czar (1836) and Russlan and Ludmilla (1842), marked the beginning of a characteristically Russian style of music.
..... Click the link for more information. . The music of the Czech composers Bedřich SmetanaSmetana, Bedřich
, 1824–84, Czech composer, creator of a national style in Czech music. He studied in Pilsen and in Prague, where in 1848, with the encouragement of Liszt, he opened a music school. From 1856 to 1860 he was a conductor at Göteborg, Sweden.
..... Click the link for more information. and Dvořák and that of the Norwegian composer Grieg also expressed romantic nationalism. Toward the end of the 19th cent. interest in classical forms was revived by BrucknerBruckner, Anton
, 1824–96, Austrian composer. He was appointed organist at the Linz cathedral in 1856 before becoming court organist in Vienna in 1868, where he later taught at the conservatory and university.
..... Click the link for more information. , Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and FranckFranck, César Auguste
, 1822–90, Belgian-French composer and organist. He studied at the conservatories of Liège and Paris, taking prizes in piano, composition, and organ.
..... Click the link for more information. . The end of the romantic period—frequently described as decadent and grandiose—is often referred to as postromanticism and is represented by the works of HolstHolst, Gustav
, 1874–1934, English composer, studied at the Royal College of Music. Grieg, Richard Strauss, and Ralph Vaughan Williams influenced his early work, but most of his music is highly original.
..... Click the link for more information. , Elgar, Mahler, and Richard Strauss.
See J. Barzun, Romanticism and the Modern Ego (1944); L. R. Furst, Romanticism in Perspective (1970); R. F. Gleckner and G. E. Enscoe, ed., Romanticism (2d ed. 1970); M. Praz, The Romantic Agony (tr., 2d ed. 1970); I. Berlin, The Roots of Romanticism (1999).
For treatment of romanticism in the visual arts, see K. Clark, The Romantic Rebellion (1974); H. Honour, Romanticism (1979); C. Rosen and H. Zerner, Romanticism and Realism (1984); A. K. Wiedmann, Romantic Roots in Modern Art (1984). In music, see A. Einstein, Music in the Romantic Era (1947); R. M. Longyear, Nineteenth Century Romanticism in Music (1969); P. Conrad, Romantic Opera and Literary Form (1981).
an ideological and artistic trend in European and American culture from the late 18th century through the first half of the 19th. The French term romantisme was derived from the Spanish romance (the medieval term for a genre of Spanish poetry and later, the term for chivalric romances), by way of the English word “romantic.” The latter was rendered in French as romanesque and later, as romantique. During the 18th century the term meant “strange,” “fantastic,” “picturesque.” At the beginning of the 19th century the term “romanticism” designated a new literary trend counterposed to classicism.
In Soviet literary criticism and scholarship the term “romanticism” is frequently used in a broader sense to designate a type of creative art that is the opposite of realism, broadly defined. In this sense, “romanticism” refers to a type of art in which the determining role is played not by the reproduction of reality but by its active re-creation, by the embodiment of the artist’s ideal. This type of creative art is characterized by a proclivity for an intentional conventionality of form, as well as for the fantastic, the grotesque, and the symbolic.
In the traditional, specifically historical sense, romanticism was the peak of the anti-Enlightenment movement that spread throughout Europe. Its socioideological foundation consisted in a disillusionment with bourgeois civilization and with social, industrial, political, and scientific progress, which had introduced new contradictions and antagonisms and had resulted in fragmentation, leveling, and the spiritual devastation of the individual. “The social and political institutions which had been established ‘by the victory of reason’ turned out to be evil, evoking bitter disillusionment by their caricature of the glittering promises of the Enlightenment thinkers” (F. Engels, in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 19, p. 193). Vaguely suggested during the Enlightenment and first expressed in sentimentalism and preromanticism, criticism of the objectionable character of the bourgeois way of life and protest against the banal, prosaic, soulless, egotistical quality of bourgeois relations became particularly sharp among the romantics. History was not subject to “reason” but appeared to be irrational and full of mysteries and unpredictable events. The contemporary structure of the world seemed hostile to human nature and to personal liberty.
Disillusionment with society, which Europe’s best minds had prophesied, prepared for, and preached as “natural” and “rational,” gradually grew into a “cosmic pessimism,” especially among the late Western European romantics. Assuming a universal character, this cosmic pessimism was accompanied by hopelessness, despair, and Weltschmerz—the “sickness of the age,” which was characteristic of heroes created by F. R. de Chateaubriand, A. de Musset, Byron, A. de Vigny, A. de Lamartine, G. Leopardi, and H. Heine, for example. The chance to improve society seemed to have been lost forever, and the world was represented as “lying in evil”: the material world was darkened with the forces of decay, “ancient chaos” was reborn in man, and “universal evil” was triumphant. The entire history of romantic literature is laced with the inner theme of the “dreadful world,” with the blind power of material relations, the irrationality of destinies, and the sorrows of the endless monotony of everyday life. This inner theme is most apparent in the “black genre”—the preromantic Gothic novel (A. Radcliffe and C. Maturin) and the “tragedy of fate” (Z. Werner, H. von Kleist, F. Grillparzer)—as well as in the works of Byron, C. Brentano, E. T. A. Hoffmann, E. A. Poe, and N. Hawthorne.
However, romanticism profoundly interpreted and brilliantly expressed ideas and spiritual values that were polar op-posites of the “dreadful world” theme. F. W. J. von Schelling observed that the human spirit had been unchained in the works of the early German romantics. He believed that he was correct in juxtaposing his own freedom to everything that exists and in asking not “what is” but “what is possible.”
It is not possible to separate from romanticism as a whole the “enthusiasm” that was proclaimed and experienced—the feeling of participating in a developing and renewing world; the sense of belonging to a spontaneous, endless stream of life, to the universal historical process; the feeling of a hidden abundance and inexhaustible possibilities of being. Romanticism’s proclivity for the “infinite,” for absolute, universal ideals, was the polar opposite of its deep, general disillusionment with reality and with the possibilities of civilization and progress. The romantics dreamed not of a partial improvement of life but of a unified resolution of all its contradictions. A passionate, all-embracing thirst for renewal and perfection was among the important characteristics of the romantic world view. A. de Vigny wrote: “Insofar as humanity moves on, it approaches that goal, the explanation for which must be sought beyond the visible.” In romanticism the awareness of a disparity between the ideal and the real, which was characteristic of previous periods, attained an unusual sharpness and tension, accounting for the essence of the “romantic duality.” The creative work of certain romantics, including the poets of the Lake School, Chateaubriand, and V. A. Zhukovskii, was pervaded by the concept that life is ruled by inaccessible, enigmatic forces, and that it is necessary to submit to destiny. Moods of struggle and protest against the evil reigning in the world prevail in the creative work of other romantics, including Byron, Shelley, S. Petõfi, A. Mickiewicz, and the young Pushkin.
“Romantic irony,” one of the characteristic means of contrasting the ideal and the real, was used by F. von Schlegel, K. W. F. Solger, J. P. F. Richter (pen name, Jean Paul), J. L. Tieck, Brentano, Byron, and Musset. At first, romantic irony signified the limitations of any point of view, including that of romanticism, if directed only at the “infinite”; the relativity of any historical reality, except that of life and the world as a whole; and the impossibility of comparing empirical reality with the infinite potential of being. Later, in some of Byron’s works and especially in works by Hoffmann and Heine, romantic irony reflected an awareness that romantic ideals could not be realized and that dreams are incompatible with life.
Rejecting the everyday life of contemporary, civilized society as drab and prosaic, the romantics strove for the unusual. They were attracted by the fantastic, by folk traditions and legends, and by creative folk art in general, as well as by the past. The romantics were excited by unusual, vivid nature scenes and by the life and mores of distant lands and peoples. They contrasted lowly material existence with powerful passions (the romantic conception of love) and the life of the spirit, particularly its higher spheres—religion, art, and philosophy.
The heirs of the artistic traditions of the Middle Ages, the Spanish baroque, and the English Renaissance, the romantics revealed the unusual complexity, depth, and contradictoriness of the inner, subjective nature of man, the inner infinity of the individual personality. They viewed man as a miniature universe, a microcosm. Among the principal features of romantic art are a proclivity for the intuitive and the unconscious and an intense interest in the secret stirrings of the soul and its “darker” aspects, consuming passions, and strong, vivid feelings. Equally characteristic of romanticism was a defense of the liberty, sovereignty, and self-esteem of the individual personality, which, according to Schelling, contained all the “ardor of the earthly” and all the “piquancy of life”; a heightened attention to the unique in man; and the cult of the individual. The principle of the personality served as a defense against the increasing conformity in bourgeois society and against the ruthless pressure of history and the state.
Following Vico and Herder, the romantics were profoundly interested in the uniqueness of nations, in the fundamental traits of national character and the properties of the national spirit and culture, as well as in the uniqueness and self-evaluation of various historical periods. Among the most important, most enduring triumphs of the romantic theory of art is its demand for historicism and close ties with the people: for a faithful re-creation of the tone of a place or time. The historicism of romantic thinking was most brilliantly and completely manifested in the historical novel (J. F. Cooper, A. de Vigny, and Hugo, as well as Scott, who transcended romanticism), and also in works by the historians of the French romantic school (A. Thierry, F. Guizot, and F. Mignet). The romantics believed that the infinite variety of geographical, epochal, national, historical, and individual characteristics possessed a definite philosophical significance as a revelation of the richness of the unified world, the universum.
In aesthetics, romanticism counterposed the creativity of the artist, the transformation of the real world, to the “imitation of nature” advocated by classicism. The artist creates his own special world, more beautiful and more truthful, and therefore even more real, than empirical reality, because art, or creative work, as the world’s treasured essence, its profound meaning, and its highest value, also signifies the highest reality. In romanticism, the work of art is compared to a living organism, and artistic form is interpreted not as the external shell of content but as something that expresses the depths of content, with which it is inextricably linked. The romantics passionately defended the artist’s creative freedom and imagination, rejecting aesthetic norms and the rationalistic establishment of rules in art. The theoreticians of romanticism assimilated Kant’s idea that a genius does not submit to rules but creates them.
Literature. The romantics revitalized artistic forms, creating the genre of the historical novel, the fantastic tale, and the lyric epic poem and reforming the stage. Lyrical works flourished during the romantic age. The possibilities of the poetic word were expanded by the use of multiple meanings, association, and terse metaphors, as well as by innovations in versification, meter, and rhythm. The romantics advocated the closer identity of literary types and genres, the interpénétration of the arts, and the synthesis of art, philosophy, and religion. They were concerned with attaining a musical, picturesque quality in literature, and they boldly combined the high and the low, the tragic and the comic, the ordinary and the unusual. The romantics also had a proclivity for the fantastic, the grotesque, and an intentional conventionality of form. Nineteenth-century realism inherited the highest artistic achievements of romanticism—a grotesquely satiric depiction of the world, the discovery of the “subjective” aspect of man, and the penetrating re-creation of nature.
The country most closely associated with romanticism was Germany. The events of the Great French Revolution, which were the decisive social prerequisite for the intensive development of romanticism throughout Europe, were experienced in Germany primarily in an ideal sense. This facilitated the transfer of social problems, as well as problems in ethics and especially in aesthetics, to speculative philosophy. In a period marked by general disillusionment with bourgeois reforms and their consequences, the unique features of Germany’s intellectual culture acquired significance throughout Europe, exerting a very powerful influence on the social thought, aesthetics, literature, and art of other countries. However, under the specific national and historical conditions of various countries, the ideas of the German romantics often received specific interpretations and acquired other, contradictory meanings.
The foundation of the romantic world view and romantic aesthetics was laid by German writers and theoreticians of the Jena school—W. H. Wackenroder, Novalis, the brothers F. von Schlegel and A. von Schlegel, and Tieck. The romantic philosophy of art was systematized in the lectures of A. von Schlegel and the works of Schelling, who was closely associated with the Jena group. The first examples of romantic art were created by members of the Jena group: Tieck’s comedy Puss in Boots (1797), Novalis’ lyrical cycle Hymns to Night (1800) and his novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen (1802), and a number of fantastic tales. Progressive ideas of national liberation and the cult of antiquity were characteristic of the outstanding romantic poet F. Hölderlin, who was not a member of the Jena group.
An interest in religion, the national past, and folklore was characteristic of the second generation of German romantics, the Heidelberg school. L. J. von Arnim’s and C. Brentano’s compilation of folk songs, The Boy’s Magic Horn (1806–08), as well as the Grimm brothers’ Children’s and Household Tales (1812–14), were very important contributions to German culture. Lyric poetry, including works by J. B. von Eichendorff, attained a high degree of refinement. Drawing on the ideas of Schelling and the brothers A. von Schlegel and F. von Schlegel regarding mythology, the Heidelberg romantics definitively formulated the principles of the mythological school, the first profound, scholarly trend in folklore studies and literary criticism and scholarship.
Late German romanticism was characterized by an increase in motifs of tragic inconsolability (Kleist’s dramas and short stories), an increasingly critical attitude toward contemporary society, and a growing feeling of the disparity between dreams and reality (Hoffmann’s tales and novellas). Hoffmann’s ideas and artistic principles strongly influenced subsequent literary schools, including both realism (Balzac, Dickens, Dostoevsky) and symbolism (irrational and mystical motifs). The democratic ideas of late romanticism were expressed in the creative work of A. von Chamisso, the lyric poetry of W. Miiller, and the poetry and prose of Heine, who was justified in calling himself the “last romantic,” for he went beyond romanticism proper, subjecting its heritage to a critical reexamination.
English romanticism was characterized by concentration on the problems of the development of society and mankind, as well as by a keen sense of the contradictory, even catastrophic nature of the historical process. In works by poets of the Lake School, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey, the principal themes are a rejection of contemporary industrial society; an idealization of the past and particularly of prebourgeois, patriarchal relations; and a celebration of nature and simple, natural feelings. Because they did not believe in the possibility of rationally restructuring the world, the poets of the Lake School evinced Christian reconciliation, religious sentimentality, and penetration into the irrational foundation of the human psyche. An interest in the nation’s past and in oral folk poetry was characteristic of the creative work of Scott, who wrote romantic narrative poems with medieval plots and originated the genre of the historical novel in European literature. Keats’ poetry may be described as a hymn to the world’s beauty and to the splendor of human nature. Keats was one of the “London romantics,” a group that included the essayists and critics C. Lamb, W. Hazlitt, and Leigh Hunt.
Characteristic of both Byron and Shelley, whose creative work is permeated with moods of struggle and protest, are political enthusiasm, a sharply negative attitude toward the existing social structure, sympathy for the oppressed and unfortunate, advocacy of the rights of the individual, and a passionate yearning for the future. However, the lack of clarity in Byron’s political ideals and in his outlook on social development engendered in his creative work a tragic dejection, or Weltschmerz. The titanic individualistic rebels created by Byron had a very powerful influence on all of European literature (Byronism).
In France, where the traditions of classicism were particularly strong, romanticism encountered the greatest opposition and became firmly established in literature only in the early 1820’s. French romanticism was characterized by ties with the Enlightenment and previous artistic traditions and by its greater attention to the contemporary world and to urgent sociopolitical problems. The development of French romanticism was associated primarily with the lyrical, intimately psychological novel and novella—Chateaubriand’s Atala (1801) and René (1802), Mme de Staël’s Delphine (1802) and Corinne, or Italy (1807), E. P. de Senancour’s Obermann (1804), and B. Constant’s Adolphe (1815).
The height of the romantic period was marked by a brilliant flowering of poetry in the creative work of Lamartine, Hugo, Vigny, Musset, C. A. Sainte-Beuve, and M. Desbordes-Valmore. Romantic drama, represented by Dumas père, Hugo, Vigny, and Musset, became firmly established after a bitter struggle against the old art. The French novel developed further as a genre, giving rise to the psychological novel (Musset), the historical novel (Vigny, the early Balzac, P. Mérimée), and the social novel (Hugo, George Sand, E. Sue). Romantic literary criticism is represented by Mme de Staël’s treatises, Hugo’s theoretical pronouncements, and studies and articles by Sainte-Beuve, the originator of the biographical method.
Romanticism also became popular in the literature of other European countries, including Italy (U. Foscólo, A. Manzoni, Leopardi), Spain (J. de Espronceda, J. Zorilla y Moral), Austria (dramas by Grillparzer and poetry by N. Lenau), Denmark (A. Oehlenschläger), Sweden (E. Tegnér), Hungary (Petõfi), and Rumania (M. Eminescu). Polish literature went through a romantic period, represented by A. Mickiewicz, J. Słowacki, Z. Krasiński, and C. Norwid.
The development of romanticism in the USA was, to a large extent, the result of the winning of national independence. American romantics, and especially early representatives such as W. Irving, Cooper, and W. C. Bryant, were closer to Enlightenment traditions than their European counterparts. In addition, American romantics had optimistic illusions regarding the future of their country, but they had only a weakly developed sense of nostalgia for past epochs, such as the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the baroque period, which the European romantics had rediscovered. Mature American romanticism, of which the most outstanding representatives were Poe, Hawthorne, Longfellow, and Melville, was characterized by greater complexity and by a more intense, more meaningful quest for positive values. Transcendentalism, a special trend in American romanticism represented by R. W. Emerson, H. Thoreau, and Hawthorne, criticized industrialization and urbanization and proclaimed a cult of nature and the simple life. Romanticism also developed unusual features in the literature of some Latin American and Asian countries.
The sociohistorical prerequisites for the emergence of romanticism in Russia were the exacerbation of the crisis of the serf-owning system, the rise of nationalism in 1812, and the development of a revolutionary spirit among the gentry. Romantic ideas, moods, and artistic forms emerged in Russian literature at the end of the first decade of the 19th century. At first, however, romanticism was interwoven with the diverse pre-romantic traditions of sentimentalism (Zhukovskii), Anacreontic “light poetry” (K. N. Batiushkov, P. A. Viazemskii, the young Pushkin, and N. M. Iazykov), and Enlightenment rationalism (the Decembrist poets K. F. Ryleev, W. K. Küchel-becker, and A. I. Odoevskii). The high point of early Russian romanticism (prior to 1825) was Pushkin’s creative work, including several romantic poems and the cycle of “southern poems.”
After 1825, in connection with the defeat of the Decembrists, the foundations of romanticism were strengthened, and romanticism became an independent style (the later works of the Decembrist writers and the philosophical lyric poetry of E. A. Bar-atynskii and the liubomudry [lovers of wisdom]—D. V. Venevitinov, S. P. Shevyrev, and A. S. Khomiakov). Romantic prose was developed by A. A. Bestuzhev-Marlinskii, Gogol (early works), and Herzen. The creative work of M. lu. Lermontov was the high point of the second period of Russian romanticism. F. I. Tiutchev’s philosophical, lyrical work was one of the highest expressions of Russian romanticism, as well as the culmination of the romantic tradition in Russia.
In the principal European countries romanticism declined after the 1840’s, giving way to critical realism. The traditions of romanticism, however, thrived throughout the 19th century, attaining renewed impetus and strength at the turn of the 20th century in neoromanticism. The term “neoromanticism,” which lacks a single, fixed scholarly definition and does not correspond to an integrated aesthetic program or general poetic system, refers to the entire diverse complex of intellectual attitudes and artistic quests characterizing bourgeois humanistic culture at the turn of the 20th century. The vagueness of this concept is compounded by the combination and sometimes even the union of neoromantic and neoclassicist tendencies. (Neoclassicism, which rejected naturalism in literature and art, was the idealist reaction to the antagonisms that had emerged in society and to positivism, the prevailing ideological trend.)
Nevertheless, neoromanticism was closely linked with romanticism, not so much by the themes, motifs, specific treatment, and formal structure of works as by a frame of mind, common poetic principles, the rejection of everything ordinary and prosaic, the “duality” of the reflecting creative consciousness, the turn to the irrational and the extrasensory, a proclivity for the grotesque and the fantastic, the revival of an artistic form oriented toward the primacy of the musical principle, and a tendency toward synthesizing all the arts. In this sense, the term “neoromanticism” unites various phenomena of symbolism in European literature, including the creative work of Verlaine, Mallarmé, Rimbaud, and J. Moréas of France; M. Maeterlinck and E. Verhaeren of Belgium; R. M. Rilke and H. von Hofmannsthal of Austria; S. George of Germany; and D. S. Merezhkovskii, Z. N. Hippius, K. D. Bal’mont, A. M. Remizov, and F. Sologub of Russia. To varying degrees, “neoromanticism” is also an adequate rubric for phenomena closely related to symbolism, including the aestheticism of W. Pater and O. Wilde (Great Britain), the creative work of H. Ibsen and K. Hamsun (Norway), and the work of G. Hauptmann (Germany). Motifs of decadence, including pessimism and a mystical, esoteric quality, which had entered symbolism and similar schools broadly classified as neoromantic, were counterposed to certain tendencies that emerged during this period in both impressionism and realism—tendencies toward a romantic transformation of reality; a heroic, lofty quality; and the affirmation of the reality of spiritual values. The works of G. Hauptmann and R. Huch (Germany), G. Pascoli and A. Fogazzaro (Italy), and E. Rostand (France) exemplify these new tendencies.
In a strict sense, the term “neoromanticism” has been applied to a specific line of turn-of-the-century English literature associated with the development of several genres, including the adventure novel (J. Conrad, H. R. Haggard, R. Kipling), the historical novel (R. L. Stevenson), and the detective story (A. Conan Doyle, G. K. Chesterton). English neoromanticism was opposed to both symbolism and naturalism.
Since neoromanticism, the romantic tradition has usually been associated with artists who have a keen sense of the crisis in bourgeois society and culture. The direct and indirect influence of the ideological and creative attitudes of romanticism is perceptible in expressionism and, to some extent, in surrealist and other avant-garde poetry.
The romantic ardor for transforming life, as well as the loftiness of romantic ideals, has been closely associated with Soviet art, causing many socialist realist writers to turn to the legacy of the romantics.
Music. In music, the romantic school emerged during the 1820’s and reached the peak of its development in the last decades of the 19th century, a period referred to as the neoromantic. Romantic music developed first in Austria (Schubert), Germany (E. T. A. Hoffmann, C. M. von Weber, L. Spohr, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Wagner), and Italy (Paganini, Bellini, the early Verdi). Somewhat later, it emerged in France (Berlioz, D. F. Auber, Meyerbeer), Poland (Chopin), and Hungary (Liszt). In each country a national form of romantic music developed, and in some countries, diverse romantic trends took shape, such as the Leipzig and Weimar schools in Germany. Without having become an entirely independent mode of expression, musical romanticism was, in a number of countries, manifested in the work of individual composers (for example, A. A. Aliab’ev, A. N. Verstovskii, the young M. I. Glinka, Rim-sky-Korsakov and other members of the Russian Five, Tchaikovsky, and A. N. Scriabin of Russia; B. Smetana and A. Dvořák of Bohemia; and E. Grieg of Norway). In Austria and Germany important features of romanticism were developed in the creative work of composers such as Brahms, A. Bruckner, and R. Strauss.
The development of romanticism in music was determined by the influence of literary romanticism and by the entire course of the internal development of music, as well as by the sociohistorical prerequisites for romanticism in all the arts. The aesthetics of classicism was oriented toward the plastic arts, with their essentially static quality and complete artistic images. For the romantics, music, as the embodiment of the infinite dynamics of inner experiences, was the expression of the essence of art.
Music adopted many of the major, general trends of romanticism, including antirationalism, the primacy and universality of the spiritual, and a focus on the inner world of man and the lim-itlessness of his feelings and moods. Consequently, the lyrical principle, emotional directness, and freedom of expression were especially important in romantic music. Like romantic writers, romantic musicians were characterized by an interest in the past and in distant, exotic countries; by love for nature; and by a deference to folk art. Many folktales, legends, and beliefs were reworked and presented in their compositions. They regarded the folk song as the source of professional musical art. For them, folklore was the true repository of national color, without which art was unthinkable.
Romantic music differed fundamentally from the music of its immediate forerunner, the Viennese classical school. Its content was less generalized than that of Viennese classical music. In romantic music reality was depicted not on an objective contemplative level but through a man’s (the artist’s) personal experience, with all its rich nuances. Romantic music was characterized by a proclivity for the stereotypical and, simultaneously, for the individual portrait. Moreover, it captured the typical in the psychological sense and in the sense of everyday life. Irony, humor, and even the grotesque are much more broadly represented in romantic than in Viennese classical music, and national patriotic and heroic liberation themes are much more intense (for example, works by Chopin, Liszt, and Berlioz). Musical description and “sound painting” became very important.
Expressive means were fundamentally revitalized by the romantics. Melody became more individualized, more clearly defined, more characteristic, more internally changeable, and more responsive to the most subtle changes in the state of the soul. Harmony and instrumentation became richer, more vivid, and more eloquent. The evenly balanced and logically regulated structure of classical music gave way to an increasing emphasis on contrasts and on freely combining various types of episodes.
In conformity with the general tendencies of romantic aesthetics, many romantic composers strove for a synthesis of the arts. Innovative synthetic genres acquired particular importance during the romantic period. For example, Schubert, and later, Schumann, Liszt, and Wolf transformed the modest song, endowing it with profound content and elevating it to one of the most respected musical genres. The vocal-instrumental ballad, a variant of the song, became highly developed. The song cycle also took shape and flourished (Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerinand Die Wintereise and Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben and Dichterliebe).
Many composers concentrated on opera, the most synthetic genre. Among the romantics, operatic plots were borrowed primarily from fantastic fairy tales or “magical,” chivalrous, adventure, and exotic stories. Hoffmann’s Undine was the first romantic opera. Weber made a great contribution to opera, with works such as Der Freischütz (1820), Euryanthe (1823), and Oberon (1826). Romantic operas were written by many composers, including H. Marschner and A. Lortzing, Bellini, Verdi, Berlioz, Auber, and Meyerbeer. Wagner, who gave a new, romantic significance to opera, proposed a “work that would unite all the arts” (Gesamtkunstwerk) and attempted to realize this idea in his mature operas—The Flying Dutchman (1841), Lohengrin (1848), the tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen (1854–74), Tristan und Isolde (1859), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1867), and Parsifal (1882).
In instrumental music the symphony, the chamber ensemble, and the sonata for piano or other solo instrument remained the definitive genres, but they were internally transformed. For example, in sonatas and symphonies the dominant factor was no longer the dramatic tension and logic of thematic development but the free juxtaposition of individual episodes, or “mood pictures.” This change is evident in symphonies, chamber ensembles, and sonatas by Schubert and Schumann. As a result of the general orientation toward lyricism in music, the melodious, lyrical principle became more important in the sonata and the symphony. Trends toward musical “painting” were more clearly expressed in various forms of instrumental works. New varieties of genres emerged, such as the symphonic poem, which combined features of the sonata-allegro form and the sonata and symphonic cycle. The development of the symphonic poem was associated with the importance of program music in romanticism as a synthesis of the arts, a means of enriching instrumental music by uniting it with literature. The programmatic quality became important not only in symphonic music but also in other types of instrumental music, including piano works. The instrumental ballad was among the new genres developed during the romantic period. The romantics’ tendency to perceive life as a diversified alternation of separate mental states, pictures, and scenes resulted in the development of various types of miniatures and cycles of miniatures (V. Tomaŝek, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, the young Brahms).
In musical performance romanticism was manifested in emotionally saturated playing, richness of color, vivid contrasts, and virtuosity (Paganini, Chopin, Liszt). Romantic elements were often accompanied by a striving for effect, as in salon music; this was also evident in the work of minor composers.
Romantic music is an enduring artistic value and a vital legacy.
Theater. In the theater arts, romanticism emerged between 1810 and the 1840’s. Despite national and historical differences, the creative work of the greatest romantic actors had in common a profound humanism, a hatred of the philistine and the bourgeois, and a protest against the inhumanity that rules the world. Among the greatest romantic actors and actresses were E. Kean of Great Britain; L. Devrient of Germany; G. Modena and A. Ristori of Italy; P. Bocage, M. Dorval, and Frédérick (stage name of A. L. P. Lemaître) of France; P. S. Mochalov of Russia; E. Forrest and C. Cushman of the USA; and G. Eg-ressy of Hungary.
Imagination and feeling became the foundation of theatrical aesthetics. Having rebelled against the classicist principle of “ennobled nature,” actors concentrated on depicting life’s contrasts and contradictions. Social enthusiasm, accusatory passion, and loyalty to an ideal determined the turbulent emotionality and vivid, dramatic expression of the actors’ art, as well as their impetuous gestures. However, the romantic world view also harbored the danger of creative subjectivism, the accentuation of the exceptional and the fantastic. Emotionality sometimes gave way to rhetorical effects and melodrama.
For the first time, the romantic theater asserted that the stage experience—the immediacy, truthfulness, and sincerity of performing—is the principal content of the actor’s creative work. Romanticism enriched the expressive means of the theater by the re-creation of “local color,” the historical fidelity of sets and costumes, and the accuracy of mass scenes and production details. To a large extent, the artistic accomplishments of the romantic theater laid the foundation for and determined the fundamental principles of the realistic theater. Among the actors and actresses whose artistry was associated with the traditions of lofty, heroic romanticism in Russia were M. N. Ermolova, A. I. Iuzhin, P. Adamian, V. S. Aleksi-Meskhishvili, M. K. Zan’kovetskaia, and G. Arablinskii and later, Iu. M. Iur’ev, A. A. Ostuzhev, V. K. Papazian, M. Kasymov, Sh. Burkhanov, A. Khorava, A. Khidoiatov, and N. D. Mordvi-nov.
Representational arts. In the representational arts romanticism was most clearly expressed in painting and the graphic arts. Romanticism was less pronounced in sculpture, and in architecture it was only vaguely reflected, primarily in the landscape gardening of parks, the Gothic revival style, and the design of small structures, which revealed a proclivity for exotic motifs.
Features of romanticism were present, to varying degrees, in the representational arts during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In England, the Swiss-born artist H. Fuseli created graphics and paintings in which the grotesque—gloomy and twisted—often breaks through the classical clarity of images. A mystical, visionary quality pervades W. Blake’s paintings and graphics (as well as his poetry). Created with unrestrained imagination and tragic ardor, the later works of the Spanish painter Goya express a passionate protest against feudal and national oppression and violence. In France elements of romanticism emerged in lofty, agitated portraits painted by J. L. David during the period of the French Revolution; in early, intensely dramatic paintings and portraits by A. J. Gros; in P.-P. Prud’hon’s works, which are pervaded by dreamy lyricism and sometimes by exalted images; and in the works of A.-L. Giro-det-Trioson and F. Gérard, which are characterized by a contradictory combination of romantic tendencies and academic rules.
The most consistent school of romanticism developed in France under the Restoration and the July Monarchy, as a result of a stubborn struggle against the dogmatism and abstract rationalism of the official art of academic classicism. The founder of the romantic school was T. Géricault, a bold innovator in painting, whose creative work expressed the steadily rising protest against surrounding reality, as well as a striving to respond to the extraordinary events of the time. E. Delacroix, the recognized head of the romantic school from the 1820’s, created several paintings that were imbued with revolutionary ardor, fully and brilliantly embodying romanticism’s proclivity for large-scale themes, emotionally saturated images, and a search for new expressive means in painting. Delacroix’ followers included A. G. Decamps, the landscape artists H. Michel and P. Huet, and the sculptors P. J. David d’Angers, A. L. Bar-ye, and F. Rude.
Rejecting everything that was ordinary and stagnant in the present and focusing only on the climactic, dramatically critical moments in contemporary history, the French romantics found themes and subjects in the historical past, in legends and folklore, in the exotic customs of the Orient, and in the works of Dante, Shakespeare, Byron, and Goethe—the creators of monumental images and powerful characters. In the portrait the romantics emphasized the importance of revealing a vivid individuality, man’s intense spiritual life, and fleeting passions. Human feelings were also echoed in the romantic landscape, which emphasized the power of the elements. Defending the unlimited freedom of creative art and its liberation from academic canons, the romantics strove to imbue their images with rebellious passion and heroic stature and to re-create all of nature’s unexpected, unique manifestations in an intensely expressive, turbulent artistic form. The principles of the transformation of reality, of the artist’s creativity, and of the creation of a new, splendid, genuine reality was counterposed by the romantics to the classicist principles of the imitation of nature and copying of classical images. In contrast to the classicists, the romantics endowed their compositions with heightened dynamics, uniting the forms by turbulent motion and resorting to vivid spatial effects; bright, saturated color based on contrasts of light and shade and warm and cold tones; and a lambent, light, often generalized style.
The French romantics made graphics more of a mass art form, creating flexible forms in lithography and xylography (N. T. Charlet, A. Devéria, and J. Gigoux, for example). The creative work of the most important graphic artist and caricaturist, H. Daumier, is associated with the romantic school and is democratic in its ideological principles. Daumier’s painting was very strongly influenced by romanticism.
The general characteristics of romanticism, such as the sense of the disparity between lofty ideals and everyday life, the idealization of phenomena remote from everyday existence, the emphasis on individualism in perceiving the world, and a penchant for theatricalizing motifs, often gave way to a tragic pessimism, an apologia for the Middle Ages, and an extremely subjective coloring and melodramatic pathos of imagery. Romanticism’s conservative tendencies, which sometimes developed into an open cult of monarchy and religion, appeared in the creative art of many French artists, including E. Devéria and A. Scheffer, and influenced J. A. D. Ingres, the leader of late classicism, a trend inimical to romanticism, and his disciples, including T. Chassériau. Perhaps the largest group of romantics was made up of artists who advocated a “golden mean” and eclecti-cally combined romantic principles with academicism, treating romantic themes superficially, in a shallow, empty academic vein (for example, P. Delaroche, H. Vernet, and E. Meissonier).
Romantic currents were captured in diverse ways in the early creative work of the representatives of realism in French art—the painters C. Corot and T. Rousseau; the masters of the Barbizon school, G. Courbet and J. F. Millet; E. Manet; and the sculptor J. B. Carpeaux. Mysticism and a complex allegorical quality, which were sometimes present in romanticism, became predominant in symbolism (G. Moreau). The characteristic features of romanticism reappeared in the neoromantic tendencies of postimpressionism.
The development of romanticism was even more complex and contradictory in Germany than in France. Early German romanticism was characterized by a heightened interest in everything that was sharply individual and unique; by a melancholy, minor emotional tonality; and by remote imagery, as well as mystical, pantheistic moods. This period is associated primarily with experimentation with the portrait, allegorical compositions (P. O. Runge), and the landscape (K. D. Friedrich and the Austrian J. A. Koch). Religious and patriarchical ideas and an attempt to revive the religious spirit and stylistic characteristics of 15th-century Italian and German painting fostered the creative art of the Nazarenes, including F. Overbeck, J. Schnorr von Carolsfeld, and P. von Cornelius. By the mid-19th century their point of view had become particularly conservative. The members of the Düsseldorf school, including A. Rethel, W. von Schadow, C. F. Sohn, and T. Hildebrandt, were, to a certain degree, associated with romanticism. Characteristic of their work is the celebration of medieval idylls, following the example of contemporary romantic poetry; superficial sentimentalism; and a preoccupation with subject matter. Romanticism also influenced the creative work of K. Blechen, as well as the work of representatives of the Biedermeier style, including J. P. Hasenclever, F. Krüger, and the Austrian F. G. Waldmüller.
From the mid-19th century, German romanticism continued to develop in the pompous, academic salon painting of W. von Kaulbach and K. Piloty and in the narrative genre works of L. Richter, C. Spitzweg, and the Austrian M. von Schwind. Like late French romanticism, late German romanticism had, by the end of the 19th century, become closely allied with symbolism (the creative work of H. Thoma, F. von Stuck, M. Klinger, and the Swiss artist A. Boecklin). To a large extent, late German romanticism absorbed elements of naturalism and, later, art nouveau.
Landscapes painted in the first half of the 19th century by the English artists J. Constable and R. Bonington were marked by both originality and a degree of similarity to the French romantic style. J. M. W. Turner’s landscapes were characterized by romantic imagination and a search for new expressive means, some of which verged on impressionism. The late romantic Pre-Raphaelite movement was characterized by religious mystical moods, a proclivity for medieval and early Rennaissance culture, an inclination for literary reminiscences, and hopes for a revival of handicrafts. Among the Pre-Raphaelites were D. G. Rossetti, J. E. Millais, W. H. Hunt, and E. Burne-Jones. The movement influenced the socially aware creative work of W. Morris, as well as the mystically symbolic painting of G. F. Watts and the development of art nouveau (A. Beardsley).
Throughout the 19th century the romantic school in American art was represented primarily by landscape artists, such as T. Cole, G. Inness, and A. P. Ryder. The romantic landscape was also developed in other countries. However, in the European countries that experienced an awakening of the ideas of national liberation and national self-awareness, romanticism was characterized primarily by an interest in the heroic history of the country, in the national cultural and artistic heritage, in folk themes, and in the liberation struggle. This emphasis is encountered in the creative work of G. Wappers, L. Gallait, H. Leys, and A. Wiertz of Belgium; F. Hayez, D. Induno, G. Induno, G. Carnevali, and D. Morelli of Italy; D. A. de Se-queira of Portugal; J. Manes and J. Navrátil of Bohemia; M. Barabás and V. Madarász of Hungary; and A. Orfowski, P. Micharowski, H. Rodakowski, and the late romantic J. Matejko of Poland.
Varying degrees of romanticism were manifested in the creative work of many Russian masters. Romantically lofty, passionate imagery characterized works by A. Orfowski, who resettled in Russia, as well as a number of portraits by O. A. Ki-prenskii. Some of F. P. Tolstoi’s works reveal his proclivity for romantic motifs. Romanticism had a substantial influence on the development of Russian landscape painting, as is evident in the creative work of S. F. Shchedrin, M. I. Lebedev, and especially M. N. Vorob’ev and I. K. Aivazovskii. The paintings of K. P. Briullov and F. A. Bruni are charactrized by a contradictory combination of romanticism and academic classicism. Nevertheless, Briullov’s portraits provide the clearest expression of romantic principles in Russian art. To some extent, romanticism influenced the work of the painters P. A. Fedotov and A. A. Ivanov. Unlike romanticism in other countries, Russian romanticism was not directly linked with turn-of-the-cen-tury neoromanticism. During the second half of the 19th century, romantic tendencies were found only in unusual, religious romantic works by N. N. Ge and landscapes by A. I. Kuindzhi.
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V. P. BOL’SHAKOV, A. M. GUREVICH (literature), IU. N. KHOKHLOV (music), and V. A. MARKOV (art)