The romance is a cultural-historical era, which lasted from the late 18th century until well into the 19th century and in particular in the fields of visual arts, literature and music expressed, but also the areas history, theology and philosophy as well Natural sciences and medicine included. In the literature of the Romantic period (approx. 1795–1848) a distinction is made between Early Romanticism (until 1804), High Romanticism (until 1815) and Late Romanticism (until 1835). In painting the late Romanticism lasted until the end of the 19th century, in music until the beginning of the 20th century ( Gustav Mahler , Richard Strauss ).
History of the concept of romance
The term comes etymologically from lingua romana (" Romance language ") and referred to writings that were written in the vernacular of the Romance countries. These contrasted with the previously common texts written in lingua latina ( Latin ). The word Roman developed from lingua romana via French . Therefore, "Romantic" (originally, in the 17th and 18th centuries still "Romance") meant first novel-like , and so the term was also originally from Friedrich Schlegel used, who coined the term modern romance. However, the term was initially often used by opponents of Romanticism, such as Goethe :
“I call the classic the healthy and the romantic the sick. And the Nibelungen are as classic as Homer, because both are healthy and efficient. Most of the newer is not romantic because it is new, but because it is weak, sickly and sick, and the old is not classic because it is old but because it is strong, fresh, happy and healthy. If we distinguish between the classical and the romantic according to such qualities, we will soon be pure. "
Self-image of the romantics
In Friedrich Schlegel's sense, romanticism meant turning away from antiquity and classical models. This means that the authors identified with the term Romantics develop topics from their own culture and history and turn away from classical forms, which explains the preference for a fragmentary spelling in Romanticism from the retrospective and historical perspective. The turn to one's own culture also meant a stronger turn to the legends and myths of the Middle Ages.
The decisive factor for the history of poetics and aesthetics is a new concept of the artist's productivity, developed primarily by Novalis and Friedrich Schlegel. Novalis transfers the idea of the productivity of the mind from the philosophy of Kant and Fichte to the field of aesthetics and writes: “We only know something - insofar as we express it - i. e. can do. The more finished and varied we can produce something, the better we know it […]. ”And so Novalis now also defines art in a nutshell:“ Art - ability to produce clearly and freely […]. ”We live here The hour of birth of a new production aesthetic that replaces the traditional doctrine of imitation. “According to Novalis, it is 'only the mind' that 'poetizes' objects. The artist himself, not nature, produces the beautiful. "
The proponents of classicism , which was oriented towards antiquity, felt in some cases massively attacked by the magazines of the romanticists and described the romantic as fantastic or also as pathological - the latter, however, especially with regard to French romanticism. In general, “classic” and “romantic” must also be understood as subsequent assignments; the representatives of the classical did not see themselves as “classics”, but felt obliged to classical ideals or idealizations, just as the “romantics” saw in the “romantic poetry” a goal, but not necessarily saw themselves as the realizer.
"Romanticism" in today's usage
In common parlance today, the words romanticism and romantic mostly designate a sentimental state of wealth of feelings, perhaps also of longing. Words such as “romantic hours” or “romantic wine bar” are typical. For a "romantic affair", the word romance has become established, which originally referred to the literary genre romance . This word also reflects the development of the romantic idea from the historical epoch to the present day.
A rough distinction can be made between three phases of the development of Romanticism in Europe and a period of subsequent bloom: first of all, the pre-Romanticism from around 1740/50 to the French Revolution . T. coincides with the age of sensitivity and radicalizes its moods and the cult of the ego; Early Romanticism with its cult of genius and heroes, partly directed against the Enlightenment, but often also fueled by pan-European-transnational ideas, which can be applied from the French Revolution to the beginning of Napoleon's rule over Europe, and the phase of High Romanticism in time after 1804. In that year Napoleon had the potential heir to the throne, the Duc d'Enghien, kidnapped and executed and raised to the rank of emperor, which led to the failure of revolutionary hopes and strengthened national, conservative and religious currents. After the Wars of Liberation and the Congress of Vienna in 1815, a phase of late Romanticism followed up to the July Revolution of 1830 or 1835: In particular, after the Karlsbad Decisions in 1819, the Romantics took refuge in melancholy and in fantastic, unreal or Biedermeier worlds against the background of their rather individualistic basic attitude in order to largely withdraw from social life in an escapist manner or to turn to a small-town idyll. Her themes are primarily love and nature. Romanticism also found epigones later , especially in the Romance countries. In Latin America, it does not begin in some cases until around 1830.
Romanticism can be traced back to two literary directions popular at the time. First of all, their English roots must be taken into account. Here the discovery of the picturesque landscapes is important, as emphasized by Joseph Addison in his famous Spectator essay on "Imagination". The night and grave poetry of the English from 1740 is just as much a requirement of Romanticism as the Gothic Revival . As part of this rediscovery of Gothic and the Middle Ages, the focus was initially on garden art, and later also on literature. Horace Walpole is a central figure here. He began in 1747 with the conversion of his country estate Strawberry Hill on the Thames into a neo-Gothic castle monastery and in 1764 wrote the first horror novel The Castle of Otranto . On the one hand, it is about the horror literature of the second half of the 18th century - in England and Germany people loved reading horror novels.
On the other hand, the literary tendency of Sturm und Drang , which was carried by many writers in the German-speaking world at the end of the 18th century, must be taken into account. While horror novels are more likely to be classified as trivial literature , the works of the Sturm und Drang movement were represented, among others. a. through Johann Wolfgang Goethe's epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther and Friedrich Schiller's drama Die Räuber , on a higher literary level. The historically backward looking horror literature stimulated the imagination, motifs were often ghosts, knights, enchanted and half-collapsed castles. In addition to Schlegel and Novalis, the poet Ludwig Tieck was also one of the formative personalities of early German romanticism, whose origins can be seen in Jena .
A decisive impulse was Friedrich Schleiermacher's book: " On Religion. Speeches to the educated among their despisers ”, which gave the romantics a new religious impulse. Friedrich Schlegel wrote in 1798: "The revolutionary desire to realize the kingdom of God is [...] the beginning of modern history [...]". The sentence stands at the beginning of a new religiously charged aesthetic that has shaped not only literature since the Romantic era, but also painting - such as the art of the Nazarenes - as well as the musical aesthetics of Richard Wagner . Madame de Staël opened the door to German romanticism in France too. The ethical, aesthetic and emotional aspects of the Catholic religion were glorified by many German and French romantics such as Clemens Brentano or François-René de Chateaubriand ; however, not all of them became supporters of restorative conservatism such as Heinrich von Kleist . As the leader of a democratic party, Victor Hugo campaigns for human rights and human dignity . In England, news of the Welfare Committee's reign of terror led William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge to distance themselves from the revolution and to feel more committed to religious and patriotic goals.
The basic themes of romance are feeling, passion, individuality and individual experience as well as soul , especially the tormented soul. Romanticism emerged as a reaction to the monopoly of the rational philosophy of the Enlightenment , which is opposed to nature, and to the strict rules of classicism inspired by antiquity . In the foreground are sensations such as longing, mystery and mystery. The future-oriented rationalism and optimism of the Enlightenment are contrasted with a recourse to the individual and the numinous . These characteristics are characteristic of romantic art and the corresponding attitude to life.
Romanticism spread on a massive scale when, at the end of the 18th century, after an era of relative calm in which many conflicts had been settled through diplomatic channels, the French Revolution and Napoleon suddenly swept the European continent with wars . Heroes such as Napoleon in France or Admiral Nelson in England were wanted , and romantic desires sparked the imagination. Another factor was the increased education of the citizens, which prepared the ground for art and literature. The economic upswing and the associated higher prosperity enabled citizens to buy more books, musical instruments, theater and concert tickets. The new machine world also promoted urbanization and rural exodus , an assumed security of the past was in the process of dissolution for the romantics.
As a reaction to this development and emancipation, the aristocracy closed itself off to the new social tendencies and forms. In the 19th century there are hardly any aristocrats among the writers and philosophers, a domain of the aristocrats in the 18th century.
Stylistic devices and characteristics
The unconscious of the human psyche is lived out and comes to the fore. This is addressed to the reader, listener and viewer with various stylistic devices. The result is works that incorporate various artistic directions, for example the setting of poems by Robert Schumann ( Liederkreis after Heinrich Heine for a voice and piano op. 24) or the combination of literature and music by Gustav Mahler and Richard Wagner.
Mixture of the genera
Universal progressive poetry
As a literary theorist and critic, Friedrich Schlegel coined the term “progressive universal poetry ” (fragment of the Athenaeum 116). In literature, as in the classical period, certain schemes for the creation of a literary work should no longer be given, but the artist was viewed as a freelance genius . The rule poetics and the demands of the three Aristotelian units of space, time and action lost their importance, rather the novel became the author's subjective playing field. The aim was - according to Schlegel - to present philosophy, prose , poetry, genius and criticism in a way that connects them. These new constellations resulted in a fragmentary character with unfinished storylines. Schlegel wanted to emphasize the process of creation of poetry and meant that the unfinished state of a poem follows the arbitrariness and freedom of the poet.
The author stands above his work. It can abruptly destroy and superhumanly change moods, images or stories that have been brought about.
Self-references to the work are a special case of romantic irony . If z. For example, in plays the hero finds himself in a hopeless situation but is certain that he will survive on the grounds that “You don't die in the middle of the fifth act”, this is a case of romantic irony.
The subject of romantic longing is the absolute , a state of abolished alienation , which Rousseau had previously described as a “ state of nature ” ( état naturel ) and to which an unreflected, “naive” understanding and relationship of the world corresponds. This state, however, has become inaccessible to modern man and cannot be adequately represented even by art that is based on reflection. Any attempt to portray it necessarily falls short. The romantic work of art, which is supposed to contain its own criticism , can only do justice to this insight by ironically suppressing itself and displaying its own illusiveness. I.e. his central subject is a longing, the aim of which is unknown, and any attempt to make this aim clear is doomed to failure. Art must be able to endure this paradox if it is to do its job justice.
Tradition and the Middle Ages
Collections of so-called folk poetry were created for the first time during the Romantic period . The best-known examples are Grimm's fairy tales and the collection of songs, Des Knaben Wunderhorn . Immediately after publication, however, the literary treatment (fining) was criticized by the authors, who thereby left their role as chroniclers far behind. This fact brings the collected texts closer to the art fairy tales and poetry of their contemporaries than actually intended.
The Middle Ages are considered an ideal and are glorified. Art and architecture of this era are valued, cared for and collected. The evils and grievances of this time are ignored. Knight associations were even founded based on old models, e.g. B. the Wildenstein knighthood on blue earth .
Motifs and symbols of romance
Various characteristic circles of motifs can be found in Romanticism.
Longing and love
The blue flower is considered to be the central symbol of romance . The poet Novalis uses this symbol of longing and striving for the infinite as well as synergy , i.e. H. the merging of sensory perceptions and levels of knowledge, in his fragmentary novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen .
The motif of longing is expressed both in poetry and in music - for example by Frédéric Chopin and Robert Schumann - and in painting - for example by Caspar David Friedrich . Related to this are the hiking and travel motifs as well as the motives of wanderlust - for example also in Charles Dickens and idleness , used for example in the novel From the life of a good-for-nothing or in the intuition and presence of the writer Joseph von Eichendorff .
The night motif was also popular in Romanticism, as it embodied the amalgamation of sensory impressions propagated by the Romantics particularly well. E.g. the famous poem Mondnacht by Eichendorff or the poem Ritt im Mondschein by Achim von Arnim , where the motif of night is also appropriately combined with that of love.
This group of motives also includes the motifs of connection with nature (albeit in an idealized form), cf. the poem Nacht und Winter by Adelbert von Chamisso , in which the ego sees its moods reflected in nature. The isolation of the human being is often depicted in view of the sublime infinity of creation, such as in Caspar David Friedrich's picture The Monk by the Sea (1808/10).
The mirror motif also belongs to another typical group of motifs of the epoch, namely that of the uncanny and numinous . Above all, ETA Hoffmann took on this topic. The collections of folk tales and legends, for example by the Brothers Grimm, are also located here, cf. Snow white . ETA Hoffmann z. B. used the popular motif of the doppelganger (in Elixirs of the Devil , 1815).
Scenes in Romanticism are often cemeteries, ruins (Schauerromantik or Black Romanticism ) or old castles, dark forests, moors, a mountain interior or caves and other natural landscapes. What is depicted is often either of a nature-magical character, supernatural, or fairytale-like. The uncanny was shown in 1919 in the essay of the same name by Sigmund Freud as characterized by "judgment uncertainty". This fluctuation can - depending on the case - be related to the characters in the poetry or to the reception behavior of the reader or listener in view of the uncanny in the depiction. This finds particularly strong musical expression in the opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner.
Political motives: flight from the world, nationalism and social criticism
Actually typical for the Romantics was rather a turning away from current events, which was expressed in an escape from the world , an escape into the private sphere and a turn to the past.
On the other hand, the Romantics were also influenced by nationalist currents emerging at the same time. Both were combined in the veneration and idealization of the German Middle Ages and - especially in national romanticism - in the search for the identity of the social community perceived as a nation.
Heinrich Heine occupies a special position in German Romanticism. What was only vaguely indicated by others, he intensified into an explicit social criticism of German conditions, especially in Germany. A winter fairy tale .
Classic and romantic in comparison
- Striving for perfection, calm, fixed order, clarity, measure and harmony
- Striving for objectivity, typification, law, reason, balance, for valid and closed form; exact distinction between lyric, epic and drama; calls for renunciation, self-restraint, moral willpower; rejects the fantastic, the confused, the unclear; strives for harmony between feeling and mind; requires precise setting of boundaries - it is enough to explore what can be explored, but to let the unsearchable rest.
- The urge for infinity, passionately moved, dark, excessive and irregular wanting to burst all boundaries
- Break the classic boundaries; wants the domination of free creative imagination , which is more important than “noble” form and highly spiritual content; wants to break boundaries: boundaries of understanding, boundaries between science and poetry and between the individual genres of poetry - striving for a "universal poetry" that is science, religion and poetry and lyrical, epic, dramatic and musical at the same time; wants to tear down the boundaries between dream and reality; wants to “romanticize” the whole world and demands complete subjectivity, individualization, freedom and independence and a cosmopolitan, eternally unfinished form of poetry; Preference for the dreamlike, wonderful, unconscious, supernatural.
Romantic writer in Europe and North America
Romanticism became a European intellectual movement and spread to all European countries. It influenced philosophy, poetry, the arts, religion, science, politics and society.
Influences and Effects of Romanticism
Romanticism as a spiritual movement found its way into the cultural history of Europe and Germany in many ways, also with regard to the different social movements in Germany in the 20th century. Their tense and often controversial influence on modern society can be proven to this day.
“The romantic is part of a living culture, but romantic politics is dangerous. For romanticism, which is a continuation of religion with aesthetic means, the same applies as for religion: it must resist the temptation to reach for political power. Imagination to power! - that was probably not such a good idea. "
Neo-Romanticism and Symbolism
The Goth music scene that emerged in the 1980s sees itself in the tradition of Romanticism, which is also reflected in the lyrics of the songs.
- Romantic music
- List of romantics
- Black romance
- Nazarenes (art)
- German idealism
- Jena and Berlin early romanticism
- Heidelberg romance
- English romance
- French romance
- German forest
- Pile building romance
- MH Abrams : Mirror and Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Tradition of Criticism . Translated and introduced by Lore Iser. Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Munich 1978, ISBN 3-7705-1469-6 .
- Isaiah Berlin: The Roots of Romanticism. Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-8270-0142-0 .
- Andreas Beyer : The art of classicism and romanticism. Beck'sche Reihe, CH Beck, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-60762-2 .
- Andreas Beyer (ed.): Classic and Romantic. History of the fine arts in Germany, Volume 6, Prestel Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-7913-3123-2
- Christian Baier : Romantics . Edition Splitter, Vienna 2006, ISBN 3-901190-99-6 .
- Marianne Bernhard (Ed.): German Romanticism. Hand drawings. Herrsching: Pawlak, undated [Volume 1: Carl Blechen (1798–1840) to Friedrich Olivier (1791–1859); Volume 2: Friedrich Overbeck (1789–1869) to Christian Xeller (1784–1872)], ISBN 3-8077-0009-9 .
- Karl Heinz Bohrer : The Critique of Romanticism . Frankfurt a. M .: Suhrkamp 1989, ISBN 978-3-518-11551-0 .
- Ders .: The romantic letter . Frankfurt a. M .: Suhrkamp 1989, ISBN 3-518-11582-0 .
- Elmar Dod: The Reasonable Imagination in Enlightenment and Romanticism. A comparative study of Schiller's and Shelley's aesthetic theories in their European context. (Studies on German Literature Vol. 84) Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag 1985
- Dietrich von Engelhardt : Medicine of Romanticism. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , pp. 903-907, in particular pp. 903 f. ( Requirements in context ).
- Ernst Fischer : Origin and Nature of Romanticism . Frankfurt a. M .: Sendler 1986, ISBN 3-88048-076-1 .
- Manfred Frank : Introduction to early romantic aesthetics . Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a. M. 1989, ISBN 3-518-11563-4 .
- Gerald Gillespie, Manfred Engel , Bernard Dieterle (Eds.): Romantic Prose Fiction. John Benjamin, Amsterdam 2008 (= A Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages, XXIII), ISBN 978-90-272-3456-8 .
- Rudolf Haym: The romantic school, a contribution to the history of the German spirit (1870). 2nd edition 1906. Online , accessed September 28, 2013.
- Peter Hacks : Zur Romantik , Konkret Literatur Verlag, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 978-3-89458-198-5 .
- Günter Hartmann: The ruin in the landscape garden: Their importance for early historicism and landscape painting of the Romantic period = Green Series 3. Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft , Worms 1981. ISBN 978-3-88462-007-6
- Heinrich Heine : The romantic school . Made in 1832/35. Partial prints in: L'Europe littéraire (Paris), spring 1833, first printing under the title Zur Geschichte der neueeren Schöne Literatur in Deutschland , Paris (Heideloff and Campe) 1833, expanded and under the final title, Hamburg (Hoffmann and Campe) 1836. Online at Zeno.org.
- Gerda Heinrich: Historical-philosophical positions of the German early romanticism . Librarian, Kronberg / Ts. 1977.
- Inge Hoffmann-Axthelm: Ghost family. Studies on the sociability of early romanticism . Academic Publishing Society, 1973.
- Jürgen Klein: The Gothic Novel and the Aesthetics of Evil. WB, Darmstadt 1975.
- Jürgen Klein: Byron's romantic nihilism. Salzburg 1979.
- Jürgen Klein: Beginnings of the English Romanticism 1740–1780. Heidelberg lectures. Carl Winter University Press, Heidelberg 1986.
- Jürgen Klein / Fred Burwick (eds.): The Romantic Imagination: Literature and Art in England and Germany. Rodopi, Amsterdam / Atlanta 1996.
- Jürgen Klein: Black romance . Peter Lang, Frankfurt a. M./Bern/New York 2005.
- Detlef Kremer: Romanticism , Stuttgart: Metzler 2003.
- Eberhard Roters: Beyond Arcadia. The romantic landscape . Cologne: DuMont 1995.
- Rüdiger Safranski : Romanticism. A German affair . Hanser, Munich 2007. ISBN 3-446-20944-1 .
- Rüdiger Safranski (Ed.): Romanticism - what else in the bad weather? Romantic texts . Hanser, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-446-20886-5 .
- Helmut Schanze (ed.): Romantic manual. Kröner, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-520-83101-5 .
- Carl Schmitt : Political Romanticism . Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1919, 1925, 1968.
- Gerhard Schulz : Romanticism: History and Concept. CH Beck, Munich 3rd edition 2008.
- Hermann Timm: The holy revolution. The religious totality concept of early romanticism. Schleiermacher - Novalis - Friedrich Schlegel, Frankfurt am Main 1978.
- Silvio Vietta (ed.): The literary early romanticism . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1983.
- Winfried Wehle / K. Maurer: Romanticism - departure into the modern age. Romance Studies Colloquium V, Munich 1991.
- Benno von Wiese : Romance. Texts selected for the present . Verlag Carl Ueberreuter, Vienna-Heidelberg, ISBN 3-8000-3007-1 .
- Harm-Peer Zimmermann : Aesthetics of the Enlightenment: On the revision of Romanticism with a folkloric intention Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2001.
- Friedrich Kluge , Alfred Götze : Etymological dictionary of the German language . 20th ed., Ed. by Walther Mitzka , De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1967; Reprint (“21st unchanged edition”) ibid 1975, ISBN 3-11-005709-3 , p. 606 ( romantic ).
- example, referring to Petrarch in Critical Fragments No. 119: “He is also romantic, not lyrical”, d. H. it is more like a novel in sonnets.
- Novalis: Schriften , Volume 2, p. 589.
- Novalis: Schriften , Volume 2, p. 585.
- Silvio Vietta: The early romanticism. In: Wolfgang Bunzel (Ed.): Romanticism. Epoch, authors, works. Darmstadt 2010, p. 13.
- Cf. Dieter Borchmeyer: On the typology of the classical and romantic. In: Walter Hinderer (Ed.): Goethe and the age of romanticism. Würzburg 2002 ( Foundation for Romantic Research ; 21), p. 19–29, here p. 19 f.
- The dictionary of German colloquial language by Heinz Küpper (6th, so far last edition 1997, quoted here from the edition in the Digital Library, Volume 36, Berlin 2004) summarizes it in more detail: “Flucht in eine Welt des Schöne Schein; Sentience; newfangled inwardness that takes refuge in the standards of the past; spun-maudlin antiquity; Inclination to emotional illusion as a defense against the harsh everyday reality. ”This colloquial usage is historically classified as follows:“ Appeared towards the end of the First World War at the latest and mainly used in hits and films; after 1945 revived as a longing striving for an ideal world in the midst of the rubble landscape; after 1960 penetrated again among the young people who, after the years of emotional disenchantment, are looking to create new space for their emotions. "
- Duden universal dictionary, electronic edition 2006: "episodic love affair [which appears to be particularly romantic due to the external circumstances]". Küpper: "short-term, emotional love affair", according to H. Schulz, O. Basler: Deutsches Fremdwörterbuch, 3rd volume, 1977, pp. 481–482.
- As in Wieland, Schlegel ( Luzinde ), Eichendorff, Hoffmann, Heine often used with erotic allusions. In music, on the other hand, romance is a less bound (sentence) form - according to the romantic idea of artistic freedom; see. Mozart, Robert Schumann.
- G. Hoffmeister: The historical perspective. In: German and European Romanticism. Metzler Collection (realities on literature). Stuttgart 1978, pp. 23-62.
- These events outraged numerous intellectuals in France and Germany contributed to the end of the hero cult; see. Jakob Koeman: The Grimmelshausen Reception in the Fictional Literature of German Romanticism. Amsterdam, Atlanta 1993, p. 212 ff.
- Ernst Behler u. a. (Ed.): Friedrich Schlegel. Critical edition. 1. Dept. Vol. II, p. 201
- Charles Dickens : David Copperfield in the Gutenberg-DE project
- Joseph von Eichendorff : From the life of a good-for-nothing in the Gutenberg-DE project
- Joseph von Eichendorff : Awareness and Present in the Gutenberg-DE project
- Adelbert von Chamisso : Night and Winter in the Gutenberg-DE project
- Heinrich Heine : Germany. A winter fairy tale in the Gutenberg-DE project