"A deception that elevates us is dearer than a host of low truths."
Romanticism was a complex artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe. It has very little to do with things popularly thought of as "romantic," although love may occasionally be the subject of Romantic works. Rather, it is the exact counterpoint to the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment - the imagination is thought to be supreme to the reason. Think Dee Dee instead of Dexter. The individual has a central role in Romantic works; he/she is usually in conflict with the established society and goes through internal turmoil because of this. Character Development usually occurs.
The movement is also associated with a newfound interest in Oral Tradition and folk culture in general. Seen both as a source of inspiration and an object of study. The movement also sought inspiration in The Middle Ages and other past eras. Helping the popularization of Historical Fiction Literature. On the other hand, Romantic authors were also interested in the intensity of human emotions, fear included. Many of their works fit into the Gothic Horror. A more surprising aspect of the movement was its hero-worship of William Shakespeare. The long-dead playwright was relatively well known in the British Isles and obscure in the rest of Europe. The Romantics were rather vocal in viewing him as the best of the British authors. They helped revitalize scholarly interest in his works, introduced them to French and German audiences, and drew inspiration from them. This "Bardolatry" continued to have an influence long after the demise of its original proponents.
Writers active in the heyday of Romanticism include John Keats, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and William Blake. In the mid-19th century, just as Romanticism was beginning to wane in Europe, it hit America in a big way, becoming the Transcendentalist movement, leading lights of which include Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Though the "age of Romanticism" is long over, Romantic themes are still common today.
Compare Post Modernism. Related to Individualism; in some ways the predecessor of Symbolism, where the individual is again the central (and in most cases - only) figure, however it's mostly internal conflicts that drive him/her.
Not to be thought of as "romantic" in the sense of "love romance".
Notable Authors of this movement (in chronological order)
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
- William Blake (1757-1827)
- Robert Burns (1759-1796)
- William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
- Walter Scott (1771-1832)
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
- ETA Hoffmann (1776-1822)
- The Brothers Grimm
- Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm (1785-1863)
- Wilhelm Carl Grimm (1786-1859)
- Lord Byron (1788-1824)
- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
- John Keats (1795-1821)
- Mary Shelley (1797-1851)
- Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)
- Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)
- Victor Hugo (1802-1885)
- Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
- Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)
- Emily Brontë (1818-1848)
- Herman Melville (1819-1891)
- Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)