Romantic Era

From Citizendium
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is developing and not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
Timelines [?]
This editable Main Article is under development and subject to a disclaimer.

See also Romanticism

The Romantic Era or Romanticism started in roughly the second half of the 18th century in Western Europe. It saw a shift from the Enlightenment ideals of reason and order to an emphasis on individualism, imagination and emotion. This new movement manifested itself in most forms of art, especially painting, music and literature. The period was also marked by an increase in nationalistic fervour.

John Masefield wrote: "The convulsion known as the Romantic Movement was urged by many longings in millions of minds, some, perhaps, only eager to destroy existing authorities, many hungry for freedom to use the inventive faculties special to each human soul, and many others hungering and thirsting for the mystical experiences of religion. The results of these longings may be seen in the French Revolution and its sequent wars; in the free invention of the vast variety of commerce; in many devout lives and the passion of the Oxford Movement."[1]


In literature, the Romantic Era may be said to have begun in Germany with Schiller and Goethe, and ended in France when Baudelaire began the slide into decadence.

A particular feature of its literary manifestation was a new view of childhood, as something more than a period previous to adulthood. Children began to feature as significant characters. In some cases they were idealised, in others realistically portrayed. Literature was increasingly written for them.


In music, starting points are usually in the early 19th century and finishing points in the early 20th.



For a list of leading figures of the Romantic Era, see Romantic Era/Related Articles.

Some influential or landmark works are shown in the Timelines subpage.


  1. Masefield J. Thanks Before Going. William Heinemann. 1947