Summary
Romanticism (also known as the Romantic movement or Romantic era) is an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century. In most parts of Europe, it was at its peak from approximately 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of the past and nature, preferring the medieval to the classical. Romanticism was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, and the prevailing ideology of the Age of Enlightenment, especially the scientific rationalization of Nature. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature; it also had a major impact on historiography, education, chess, social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics: Romantic thinking influenced conservatism, liberalism, radicalism, and nationalism. The movement emphasized intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience. It granted a new importance to experiences of sympathy, awe, wonder, and terror, in part by naturalizing such emotions as responses to the "beautiful" and the "sublime". Romantics stressed the nobility of folk art and ancient cultural practices, but also championed radical politics, unconventional behavior, and authentic spontaneity. In contrast to the rationalism and classicism of the Enlightenment, Romanticism revived medievalism and juxtaposed a pastoral conception of a more "authentic" European past with a highly critical view of recent social changes, including urbanization, brought about by the Industrial Revolution. Many Romantic ideals were first articulated by German thinkers in the Sturm und Drang movement, which elevated intuition and emotion above Enlightenment rationalism. The events and ideologies of the French Revolution were also direct influences on the movement; many early Romantics throughout Europe sympathized with the ideals and achievements of French revolutionaries.
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