Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Introduction to Romanticism

In the 18th century, Romanticism bloomed in Europe. It changed the way painters painted, the way authors wrote stories and books, and the way composers made music. It was full of emotion. The article states that it gained steam through the industrial revolution. Because the industrial revolution was a time of booming technology, writers were able to mass produce their books because of the printing press. The books were cheaper and more affordable for most, so reading became popular for people that were not necessarily in the aristocratic class. Writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickinson were able to have their ideas reach thousands of people. Music also changed during the time of Romanticism. Composers included more key modulations in their music and incorporated elements of folk music.
The article puts an emphasis on how war affected the romantic writers and composers. These people were experiencing death and destruction all around them from soldiers at war, so they created new worlds of beauty and grace in their writings. These writers personified nature and showed great pride in their country. Because they did not go to war themselves, they showed love for their country through their writings. Women began to write more and more during this time period due to being at home while the men were away at war.

Reading this reminded me of my sophomore English class; It was American Literature. My teacher loved transcendentalism. We spent an entire semester reading Emerson's "Nature," Thoreau's "Walden" and "Civil Disobedience," Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," and various poems by Emily Dickinson. Personally, I didn't really enjoy that particular semester of English, but my teacher was so enthused and excited that we all really learned about it. I remember reading "I heard a fly buzz" by Dickinson and thinking how weird it was. That had to have been one of the craziest things he made us read.
As far as some of the visual arts mentioned, I noticed that there was a painting by Francisco Goya included. It was titled " The Third of May." In high school, we studied spanish painters in my Spanish II and III class. Goya was a very celebrated spanish painter and was very successful. However, later in life he went a little bit crazy and started his phase of "black paintings." They were really dark and hinted towards beliefs in witchcraft. Let's just say that the day that was studied in class was an interesting one!

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