Romanticism - HaydenMadole

By: Hayden Madole
Romanticism refers to a movement in art,
literature, and music during the 19th century.
Romanticism is characterized by the 5 “I”s
 Imagination
 Intuition
 Idealism
 Inspiration
 Individuality
Imagination emphasized over “reason”
Backlash against the rationalism characterized
by the Neoclassical period or “Age of Reason”
Imagination considered necessary for creating
all art
British writer Samuel Taylor Coleridge called
imagination “intellectual intuition.”
Romantics placed value on “intuition,” or
feeling and instincts, over reason.
Emotions were important in Romantic art.
British Romantic William Wordsworth
described poetry as “the spontaneous overflow
of powerful feelings.”
Idealism refers to any theory that emphasizes
the spirit, the mind, or language over matter –
thought has a crucial role in making the world
the way it is.
Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher, held
that the mind forces the world we perceive to
take the shape of space-and-time.
The Romantic artist, musician, or writer, is an
“inspired creator” rather than a “technical
Romanticism emphasized going with the
moment, or being spontaneous, rather than
being precise, controlled, or realistic.
Romantics celebrated the individual.
During this time period, Women’s Rights and
Abolitionism were taking root as major
Walt Whitman, a later Romantic writer, would
write a poem entitled “Song of Myself.” It
begins, “I celebrate myself.”
Romanticism began to take root as a movement
following the French Revolution.
The publication of Lyrical Ballads by William
Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in
1792 is considered the beginning of literary
Romanticism was a movement across all the
arts: visual art, music, and literature.
All of the arts embraced themes prevalent in
the Middle Ages, such as chivalry and courtly
Written by Edgar
Allen Poe.
One of the most
important works of
the time.
A very important
piece of work written
by Nathaniel
Considered to be
one of the most
important pieces of
It was written by
Herman Melville.
Neoclassical art was
rigid, severe, and
unemotional; it
hearkened back to
ancient Greece and
Romantic art was
emotional, deeply-felt,
individualistic, and
exotic. It has been
described as a
reaction to
Neoclassicism, or
Romantic Art
In America, Romanticism’s strongest impact
was on literature.
Writers explored supernatural and gothic
Writers wrote about nature as a place to escape,
to reconnect with the primitive and Edenic,
and/or to connect with God.
Setting: “pseudo-medieval,” e.g. in a dark castle or
abbey with secret passageways and hidden trap doors
Themes often focused on the darker side of human
nature: betrayal, the desire for revenge, insanity,
superstition, etc.
Supernatural Elements: ghosts and spirits
Mood and Tone: mysterious, dark, suspenseful,
meant to arouse terror
Hawthorne (1804-1864) was born in
Salem, Massachusetts; many of his
novels and stories are set in Puritan
New England.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young
Goodman Brown” takes place in
Salem in the late 1600’s, around the
time of the Salem witch trials.
Hawthorne’s ancestor was a judge
during the witch trials; Hawthorne
changed the spelling of his name to
distance himself from this ancestor.
Recurring themes in Hawthorne’s work:
•the isolation and alienation of the individual
•the workings of the inner mind, including psychological
repression and madness
•sin and guilt as universal
•society’s (especially Puritan society’s) restrictions on
sexual and religious freedom
•the dangers of the mob mentality
•dysfunctional family and other relationships
“Young Goodman Brown” is in some ways, but not all,
a “typical” example of the Romantic movement. Which
elements in the text are “typical” of Romanticism
(Recall the 5 I’s and other features of Romantic art and
thinking)? Which do not seem to fit with the Romantic
movement’s ideals?
Which themes in “Young Goodman Brown” are typical
of Hawthorne’s work in particular (Recall the list of
This story makes several implicit arguments. What is
Hawthorne arguing about Puritan society? About the
plight of the individual? About human nature?
Romanticism changed the lives of millions of
people and changed the way everyone lived
during this time.
In a way, Romanticism was a trend that many
people followed and ended up in having
counter culture movements.
Overall, Romanticism greatly helped out the
arts and literature during this time.