Romanticism Essay

1325 words - 5 pages

Romanticism and Rationalism Romanticism began in the mid-18th century and reached its height in the 19th century. The Romantic literature of the nineteenth century holds in its topics the ideals of the time period, concentrating on emotion, nature, and the expression of "nothing." The Romantic era was one that focused on the commonality of humankind and, while using emotion and nature; the poets and their works shed light on people's universal natures. Romanticism as a movement declined in the late 19th century and early 20th century with the growing dominance of Realism in the literature and the rapid advancement of science and technology. However, Romanticism was very impressionative on most individuals during its time. Rationalism or Realism was erected during the mid 19th century. Realism are ideas that are brought up in philosophical thinking. The realistic movement of the late 19th century saw authors accurately depict life and it's problems. Realists attempted to give a comprehensive picture of modern life by presenting the entire picture. They did not try to give one view of life but instead attempted to show the different classes, manners, and stratification of life. The Rationalist recognizes that they must master their own destiny, using their unique powers of reason and the scientific method to solve problems. Such authors that represent these two eras are Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, William Wordsworth and Charles Darwin. Romantics believed that one needed to understand nature to understand oneself. In other words, only through nature could one discover who they are. Emerson shows this in his writing called "Nature". In the exert "…man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature." This depicts Emerson's feelings toward nature; view nature as you view yourself. If one views nature as caring and compassionate, one will also see themselves as caring and compassionate. Similarly if you understand nature you will know yourself better. As one gains wisdom from nature, one begins to realize that understanding is a gate way to the divine as well as to oneself. Other writers also agreed with this notion of nature. In the essay "Walden" by Thoreau, Thoreau had left society to move into a shelter outside of his town. By living on only the necessities he lived his life as simple as he could, thus finding the divine within himself. By being separate from society and being one with yourself are the only ways one can find the divine. Thoreau felt by doing this society would have a harder time to mold him into what it wanted him to think. Thoreau left a life of luxury for "voluntary poverty". Even though he was "poorer in his outward riches" he was wealthy in his "inward riches". A good number of romantic views of Nature suggested using Nature as ones tool to learn. This is evident in William Wordsworth's poem "The Tables Turned. In the poem "The Tables...

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