I had never even heard the term “Romanticism” until recently, but surprisingly it turned out not to be a completely alien concept. Now after learning a lot about it thanks to Mr. Macknight, handouts, a podcast, and a wonderful presentations, I think of Romanticism as kind of being divided into two parts. One side is like the political, rebellious, individualistic ideas, and the other side is all about nature, freedom, beauty, etc. I’m not too familiar with the political aspect of Romanticism, but from what I’ve learned, I do find the natural side of Romanticism to be pretty interesting.
While researching for the Romanticism presentation, specifically about John Keats, I kept coming across beauty, nature, etc. I was really impressed by the fact that he could write about nature in such an idealistic way. Reading Keats poetry and other Romantic work, I saw another side of nature. Instead of a tree just being a tree or a bush just being a bush, Romantics describe nature in a way that I find imaginary or even “otherworldly.” But then again, all of nature being described does actually exist in reality, just that it’s not always seen from that point of view. I especially felt that way when reading John Keats’s poem “Beautiful Lady Without Pity” (the translated name).
Also, I think Romantic ideas are relevant to today; it’s just that it isn’t normally referred to as Romanticism. Nature, freedom, and individualism are pretty familiar ideas, it’s just that I had no idea there was a time where writing, painting, or speaking about those ideas was actually unheard of. It’s really hard to imagine artists (such as writers, painters, etc.) only creating work within the rules of Neo-Classism. I think that defeats the purpose of art, since isn’t it supposed to be all about expressing yourself?
I think I enjoyed learning about Romanticism, because not only was it an eye-opener that at one point way back in history there wasn’t a concept of intuition and emotion over reason; but also it’s interesting how “evolved” Romanticism vs. Neo-Classism can be seen today (for example, the hippie vs. the businessman), which also makes it easier to understand.