Dr. George Boeree best describes the Romantic Movement in the following, Reason and the evidence of our senses were important no doubt but they mean nothing to us unless they touch our needs, our feelings, our emotions. Only then do they acquire meaning. This meaning is what the Romantic Movement is all about.
There were many changes that made this movement. The Romantics turned to the poet before the scientist to harbor their convictions. They found that Science was too narrow-minded, and held no room for emotion or feelings. In England, there was a resurgence into Shakespearean drama, and numerous techniques and styles such as Sturm and Drang, a style of writing in Germany, and in art the title sublime to describe the power of natural disasters that developed in the Romantic period. The perception that the Enlightenment was destroying the natural human soul and substituting it with the mechanical, artificial heart was becoming prevalent across Europe. Also another thought that was at the wake of romanticism were the words of the French revolution emphasizing liberty, freedom, and individuality as well as the need in England to escape what the industrial revolution was doing to the country.
Many writers such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, and George Gordan, Lord Bryant, classified the Romantic period. One writer however Johann Wolfgang von Goethe of Germany really expressed this movement with “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, which epitomized what Romanticism stood for. His character expressed feelings from the heart and gave way to a new trend of expressing emotions through individuality as opposed to collectivism. He was also known for the Sturm and Drang style that was popular in Germany. This style was the free spirited answer to the restraint of the classical period. Another popular writer was Mary Shelly. To go without saying her book Frankenstein which describes a man (Frankenstein) who lets science get out of control and creates a being that eventually hunts down and kills him was revolutionary at the time. This book was clearly is a revolt against the scientific happenings that caused the Romantic Movement.
The aspect of philosophy on Romanticism can be attributed to two great thinkers. G. W. F. Hegel, a German philosopher, rejected philosophy of the 18th century because he believed in “Idealism”. He looked at life in terms of the importance of ideas not through the importance of materials and wealth. By advocating Idealism, Hegel concluded that mankind could be led by his spirit, his soul, rather than the establishment or the status quo. (Through link found at erraticimpact.com) The other philosopher Jean Jacque Rouseau and his at the time radical views on the perception of nature among other things gave this movement a great boost. One of his most famous works The Social Contract with its opening line man is born free, and he is everywhere in chains. shouts the ideals of the romantic period. Rousseau also had an intense love of nature, as well as strong ideas on child rearing expressed in Emile which led him to run literally out of the country to escape critics.
Lastly the man who is considered the one to bring Romanticism to music is Ludwig van Beethoven. Though others such as Schubert, Chopin, Verde, and Berlioz were certainly givers to romanticism in music Beethoven introduced many aspects that made Romantic music what was. Beethoven s musical style introduced the idea of lengthening movements, and creating a much wider variety of emotions into the music. He also brought with him varied rhythms as well as a wider range of dynamics. Beethoven s compositions are often divided into three stages early, middle, and late. One piece written in the Ninth symphony composed in 1824. This piece although sometimes dark bursts with energy, and brings to light all the freedom of expression, thought, and emotion meant for the Romantic period. (www.erosinstitute.com/music/Beethoven.html)
Romanticism was a time when mankind restructured his outlook on life enabling him to reach far greater heights of intellectual and emotional awareness. In the process of doing so, man answered problems by using his heart and searching his soul. These great thinkers, writers, and musicians, were all born and many raised in unique, often hard child hoods that sculpted them into leaders of on entire age the world grew from.