French Romanticism refers to the Romantic era in French literature and art from the second half of the 18th century to the first half of the 19th century.
“French Romanticism” means not only the literary movement but also the world view, epoch, school and style. It includes all genres and arts. The temporal classification is approximately between 1750 and 1850.
The present meaning of the word “romantic” differs considerably from the former. In English, “romantic” meant something like “in the Roman manner”, which in turn referred to the “romance”, which referred to a literary genre of the Middle Ages, written in Romansh vernacular rather than Latin, recounting heroes and sentiments. The German Romantics also associated “romantic” above all with “medieval” and “Christian”. In France, the movement of Romanticism was late in gaining ground compared to its neighbors (for reasons explained below).
Romance is generally understood as a shift towards sensitivity, nature, feeling, fantastic, dream, unconscious, sublime, past and exotic. The broad spectrum of these elements illustrates the universal-poetic and liberal orientation of Romanticism: it wants to include all aspects of human nature and rejects both the exclusion of subjectivity through the Enlightenment, the regularity of the classical and the relativization of the individual by the revolution.
At the dawn of the 19th century, a new literary generation took the stage and urged a renewal of literature. After the French Revolution, the individual had lost his place in society, the previous political and religious order had been destroyed, and revolution and Terreur had left traumatic traces. The shedding of the shackles of the Ancien Régimesmeant for the individual both liberation and isolation and despair. Traditionally normative institutions such as the church had lost influence, so writers increasingly saw it as their task to realize a literature that lived up to the conditions of post-revolutionary society and to break with the still-dominant rules of classical music. Already in the Enlightenment a new sensibility had arisen, which was conditioned by the changed situation of the individual in the society. In particular Jean-Jacques RousseauSwarming with nature, his tendency to replace reason with feeling, and his poetic language gave important impulses to the post-revolutionary era. But the possibilities of artistic development under the Napoleonic regime were limited. Napoleon was well aware of the didactic-moralizing effect of literature and blamed the Enlightenment writings for the Revolution and its tribulations. He drew the consequence of supervising the artistic work of the Empire and suppressing oppositional opinions by censorship. His cultural policy was aimed at bringing about a renaissance of the classical period: it promoted literature that continued old themes and forms and repressed the present.
Similar to Germany, there was an uprising against the imitation of antiquity, especially in the late seventeenth century. The discussion began very early in France with the Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes and was carried to other countries. The real breakthrough came with the dramas of Denis Diderot.
Two authors who initially welcomed Napoleon’s reign, but later came into conflict with him, were François-René de Chateaubriand, who was more conservative-aristocratic, and Anne Louise Germaine de Staël, who was the daughter of former Minister of Finance Necker and a Liberal Opinion represented.
Anne Louise Germaine de Staël
Madame de Staël published the writing De la littérature in 1800in which she conceived the idea that the history of a literature can only be understood in the context of its social and moral condition. According to Madame de Staël, political institutions, processes, values at certain times, laws, religions, but also the geographical situation and the climate determine the literature of a people. At that time the French literary public was very frankocentric; French literature was considered to be the most perfect. Madame de Staël now claimed that French literature was only one among many, and that the literatures of the north (especially the English and German) were given priority because they were melancholy and dreamy, philosophical and liberal. She called on the French not to follow the example of the pagan, MediterraneanOrientation towards the ancient and Christian-Germanic culture of the Middle Ages. This was considered a monstrous provocation. Madame de Staël received very unfriendly reviews. In 1803 she was banished because of conspiratorial resistance to Napoleon. She used this time for a long stay in Germany, where she and others. a. August Wilhelm Schlegel, whom she hired as a tutor and took to her castle in Coppet (Switzerland). Coppet became the center of a lively intellectual exchange, where many leaders met and gathered new impulses.
In 1805 Madame de Staël traveled with Schlegel to Italy, where she found inspiration for her novel Corinne (1807). In 1810 her most famous work About Germany (De l’Allemagne), which was immediately banned; Madame de Staël had to go into exile again. In this book she described her impressions of Germany and was enthusiastic about romantic German literature, especially its enthusiasm and seriousness. She summed up that in spite of political powerlessness and outmoded social conditions a modern literature was created in Germany, while France froze in its imitation of the classical period. The book appeared a few years later in France and inspired many young people through the fairytale image of Germany. Romantic received a new meaning and fascination: it was no longer just a synonym for “Christian” and “medieval”, but also for “Germanic”, “folk” and “modern”. De l’Allemagne For decades, Germany’s image of France was to shape and disguise them for so long that their neighboring country was on the verge of becoming a dangerous military force.
François-René de Chateaubriand
Chateaubriand’s significance lies above all in the development of poetological ideas and the enrichment of the French language through hitherto unknown descriptions of nature. He recognized the importance of the revolution, but saw in it a destruction of the Christian tradition. He himself felt uprooted all his life and was marked by an inexplicable melancholy. In 1798/99 he renewed his Christian faith after severe blows and decided to write an apology of Christianity (which certainly had career reasons, as he had envisaged a civil service career and it was known that Napoleon aspired to the pure institutionalization of the Church). In 1802 Le génie du christianisme appeared, In it he tried to grasp the cause of the effects: from the beauty of natural phenomena he concluded the existence of God. In addition, he did not derive the prominent position of Christianity from its divine origin, but from the attractiveness of the teaching. Only religion can preserve the internal balance of man and create order. The Christian religion inspires the arts through the imagery and beauty of their teaching. The novellas René and Atala were originally intended to appear in the context of this work and illustrate the theses of the Génie, but were then removed and published individually. These works were extremely successful and contributed significantly to the rechristianization.
Breakthrough of Romanticism
After Napoleon’s abdication, during the temporary freedom of expression, the public literary debate and thus the confrontation of the ideological fronts (“les deux Frances”) set in again: on the one hand stood the ultras (royalists or legitimists who wished for a return of the ancien régime) which included young aspiring poets such as Victor Hugo, Alphonse de Lamartine and Alfred de Vigny. Their opponents were the Liberals like Stendhal and Prosper Mériméewho preferred a constitutional monarchy. Ironically, the conservative royalists at first championed a departure from the classic, while the classics were usually among the liberals. Only after the accession to power Charles X. (1824) changed this and the Romantics gradually united in so-called “cénacles” with a liberal attitude.
Lamartine published in 1820 with overwhelming success his romantic poetry collection Méditations, whose novel poetry inspired the youth and their success continued with Hugo Odes (1822). The Académie française, however, sharply attacked the Romantics, calling them “barbarians” and ” sects.” This was followed by a literary exchange, which went down as a bataille romantique in the story and was mainly performed at the theater. In 1823 and 1825 Stendhal wrote the essay Racine et Shakespearein which he attacked the falseness, stiffness, and unnaturalness of classical theater, which he found especially boring. He demanded a romantic drama in prose (instead of the contrived Alexandrian verse) that would break with the classical rules of the three units and thus be able to depict contemporary conflicts and epochs. He equated romanticism with modernity and declared that all great poets were romantics in their day.
In 1827 Hugo wrote the piece Cromwell, whose preface became a manifesto of Romanticism, as it illustrates their theses excellently. In this he also called for a modern drama, setting up the three-period theory, according to which the lyrics of the past, the epic of antiquity and the drama of modern times belongs. Above all, he propagated a “mélange des genres” that combines epic, drama and poetry – all aspects of human nature should be integrated, the beautiful and the ugly as well as the sublime and the grotesque, He praised Christianity because it understood the duality of man, a being composed of two elements (the beautiful and the ugly). Hugo claimed for himself complete poetic freedom. The climax of the confrontation between classics and romantics formed the “Bataille d’Hernani” at the performance of the play Hernani by Hugo, in which supporters of his romantic cénacles the dispute with the opponents fought out loudly in the audience and eventually it carried an overwhelming victory.
The second generation of Romanticism
In 1830, further political and social upheaval took place through the July Revolution; The romantics of the first generation were meanwhile established. While early Romanticism focused on the individual’s position in society and the portrayal of his passionate mental states, the growing social conflicts of industrialization led some of the romantics, such as Victor Hugo and Alphonse de Lamartine, to turn to social problems. The younger poets (“second generation”) like Théophile Gautier, Paul de Musset and Charles Nodier, however, were after the seizure of powerthe bourgeoisie, whom they hated, deeply disappointed. They carried their contempt demonstratively outward through provocative behavior, clothing, etc. The increasing commercialization of art often forced them to engage in journalistic activities to earn money – a circumstance that was repugnant to them. In contrast to the concept of l’art social, they developed a direction of elitist l’art pour l’art, art for the sake of art (and not out of consideration for society). Ultimately, the romantic drama failed, following the failure of Hugo’s Les Burgraves(1843) was unmistakable. On the one hand it could not establish itself among the public, because this was just bourgeois and inclined more to the classical music; on the other hand, censorship did not allow full implementation of contemporary romantic drama (Hugos Marion Delorme and Le roi s’amuse were banned).
Romanticism in French art
The quarrel of classics and romantics was not only literary; it also occurred in art, and the parallelism is remarkable between the two domains, artistic and literary.
The Empire Art
Literary Romanticism was announced at the beginning of the century by the Genie du Christianisme (1802). Almost at the same time (1804), the Jaffa de Gruppos de Gros had announced artistic romanticism. But on both sides it had only been a bugle call without immediate echo; the real movement was to occur only fifteen years later, at a second call. In the meantime, “the art empire” of Pierre Guerin and Gerard was what was in literature the poetry of Delille, Fontanes and Nepomucene Lemercier. David’s aesthetic, erected as a narrow and peculiar pedagogy,Consulate an official stamp, and art, like literature, complied more and more with the personal taste of Napoleon.
At first the taste of Roman art dominated, and a whole generation set about building, carving and painting in the style of the arch-of-triumph of Septimius Severus and the bas-reliefs of Trajan’s column..
Later, when the master had erected the Roman eagle over all the nations of Europe, the field of this art, already so limited, narrows again, and the official art borrowed all its themes from the imperial cycle. Hence these allegories, even more cold than those of the Old Regime, this prodigality of warlike attributes, that taste of the dry, the stiff and the tense which, from the Emperor ‘s proclamations, passed through all the decorative motifs. Everything is now with trophies, helmets and swords, and even on the geometrical lines of the mahogany furniture lines, the gilded copper metal all military, shine in sphinx, obelisks and pyramidions.
Warning Signs of an Upcoming Transformation
Yet art, like literature, could not escape the influence of new breaths. Among David’s own students, more than one was attempting a marriage between the ancient form and the modern feeling, between the classical and the romantic;
such as Girodet in his Funeral of Atala (1808), especially Prud’hon in his dramatic canvas of Justice and Divine Vengeance pursuing crime (1808). Dark energy of the composition, gestures of the characters having nothing of agreed nor expected, subordination of the drama of action to the drama of light, all the romanticism was in this painting, followed soon of a Christ in the cross of the most poignant expression.
The romantic revolution
The exhibition of the Raft of the Méduse de Géricault at the Salon of 1819 is the signal of the romantic assault against the cold and formal works of “heroic art”. This canvas of a young artist, unknown the day before, throws terror into the classical camp. The Academicians are at bay. Behind Géricault, they feel scolding a youth battalient, restive rule.
In 1822, indeed, Delacroix exposes Dante and Virgil to hell, a work full of ardor and a prestigious color, which brings to an end the anger of the classics and affirms the success of the new painting. In vain will Géricault fall at thirty-three in 1824; Delacroix succeeds him as flag-bearer of the new school, of which La Bataille de Nancy is an excellent example.
Two dates mark the last and triumphal stages, 1824 and 1827:
In the Salon of 1824, next to the Massacre de Scio de Delacroix; a smashed canvas, brushed by some furious nemesis, the phalanx of innovative artists was shining bright: Ary Scheffer with a national subject, The Death of Gaston de Foix; Eugene Devéria with a romantic Madonna; Champmartin with his Massacre des Innocents colorful; Léopold Robert with this Neapolitan improviser who seems inspired by Corinne de Germaine de Staël.
In 1827, the victors finished crushing “David’s tail”. Delacroix exhibits his dazzling Sardanapale, Louis Boulanger his Mazeppa, Ary Scheffer his painful Souliot women, while Decamps, in his first exotic paintings, prelude to the conquest of the East. By cons, it is true, the Apotheosis of Homer by Ingres included in the same room; but Apotheosis revealed an unexpected Ingres, touched by art nouveau. As for the paintings of the last classics, the Wattelet and the Turpin de Crisse, the comparison turned to their confusion.
Thus romantic painting triumphed all along the line. In three strides, she was at the goal. She distanced literature, which was still waiting for her manifesto; but she helped to hatch this manifesto, she prepared for it the public spirit.
Report of romantic art and literature
Romantic art, like literature, took first and foremost the opposite of classical art. It was a reaction against the prior art formula, and this reaction was the logical consequence of that individualism which, breaking the narrow molds of ancient doctrines, had created modern thought. In art as in literature, it was necessary to recognize that the old rules did not rest on any solid foundation, and that the only vital agent was freedom. And artistic romanticism, like literary romanticism, proclaimed that “all that has life has right”.
For the first time, natural life was graying and enfeebled art; for the first time, art left the studio’s greenhouse to live the common atmosphere and breathe the air of the times. In search of rejuvenation, he addressed himself to all that could infuse him with a new sap: to history, freshly exhumed; to the new literature, adorned with its strange brilliance; to fabulous worlds, real or imaginary; to the dreams of the East, to Germanic fictions.
The harmonious prose of Chateaubriand, his exotic visions, his America, his Germania, his Celtic bards, his cathedrals, his “Christianity of bells”, awaken in the artists a soul they did not know, and that they go apply to translate. Atala, Rene, the Genius of Christianity, the Martyrs, are for Girodet and its emulators an inexhaustible mine of artistic themes.
For its part, M me de Stael discovered enthusiasm, installed as king in the field of the mind, and makes the excitement synonymous with inspiration. On the other hand, pushing the idea of the Genie du Christianisme, she invites our artists to turn away from Antiquity to look for subjects that belong to our own history or our own religion; she throws them into life, pushes them towards Germany and Italy.
Literature and art are one at this time, so much cohesion is great between the various forms of thought, which has not been seen here since the Middle Ages.
Victor Hugo, who came later and launched his manifesto when Géricault and Delacroix have already won the decisive battle, assures the positions of the romantic art by reinforcing with a doctrinal authority the effects that the painters had instinctively found, and seals the definitive agreement of literature and art on the essential principle that all that is in nature is in art.
To these French influences are added foreign influences. Faust, barely translated by Albert Stapfer, finds in Delacroix a masterful illustrator. The same Delacroix draws with both hands in Shakespeare, along with Chasseriau and many others. As for Hoffmann, whose Fantastic Tales have hallucinated a whole generation, his humor goes into the teeming frontispieces of Nanteuil and the compositions of Gigoux and Johannot.
The quarrel of the drawing and the color: Ingres and Delacroix
The misfortune of romantic art was that it quickly fell from inspiration to routine. As early as 1827, Jal, in his account of the Salon, utters the cry of alarm; more studies, the painting is dropped, the composition soft, the science null; “Color is no more, in the majority of innovators, an intimate feeling, than the drawing was in the students of the school of style.”
Artists have only changed conventions; they adopted only the easiest ones. It is then that the relaxation of the studies arouses to romanticism the useful adversary who will show the necessity of a solid teaching. Ingres (1781-1867) designated himself for this role with the Apotheosis of Homer. “This work openly restored in 1827 all that the new school affected to despise. It was no longer, it is true, David’s painting in the style of bas-relief, the false Greek, the academic emphasis; it was the Roman school reinstated as an example, Raphael appointed as the master to follow, the laws of composition put into effect, the drawing advocated as the soul of painting, the color treated as an accessory, the elevation of style and thought assigned as the supreme goal of the art “(Rocheblave).
Then the famous quarrel of drawing and color breaks out. Is art in the drawing? Is it in color? Is the line more expressive than the effect? Is it more accurate? It is the eternal dissension of the draftsman and the painter, the cold observer and the passionate colorist. Without trying to settle it here, we can say that the misunderstanding that separated Ingres and Delacroix stems less from the truth or the error of the theories they support than from the opposition of their temperaments. One is cold, the other passionate; one methodical and thoughtful, the other enthusiastic and of first movement; one seeks pure beauty, but being able to purify it, it freezes it; the other does not seek so far, and if it does not reach the majestic and serene beauty,
And for thirty years continues between these two men a striking antithesis, since the Apotheosis of Homer opposed to the Taking of Constantinople by the Crusaders, until the Apotheosis of Napoleon and the Triumph of peace, exposed at the same time in 1854! Each of them reflects on one of the great faces of art. However, if one considers the works more than the ideas, the power more than the doctrine, no doubt: the Oedipus draftsman guessing the enigma of the Sphinx and the SourceWith all its science and precision, it is not worth the incomparable creator Delacroix. “Deep thinker, tormented soul, Delacroix is alone romanticism made art. With the tip of his brush, he moves humanity to the heart. He really, alone in his time, the gift of magic, of evocation to Shakespeare, is that he creates these forms painful, terrible, like his Medea, which snatched Victor Hugo this cry: “Be proud, you are irresistibly ugly! ” or that he writes the legend of centuries in his own way in such pages as the Battle of Taillebourg” (Rocheblave).
The romantic sculpture
While in painting the dispute arose between drawing and color, in sculpture the question arose between the antique and the modern. Our sculptors also wanted a rejuvenation.
But romanticism in sculpture did not appear until quite late, around 1830, and lasted little. Until then the artists, not daring to break with the traditional canon, were only trying to accentuate the movement of the lines or to give them more flexibility: the quadriga of the Carrousel of Bossio, the Spartacus of Foyatier, the Runner of Marathon of Cortot still shows only a shy route to freedom.
The truly romantic sculptors betray themselves to their subjects: modern literature, the Middle Ages and the Bible provide them almost all. Jehan Du Seigneur exposes in 1831 a furious Roland naked and epileptic, and in 1833 a Quasimodo and Esmeralda; Étex gives in 1833 a shaggy Cain, and a Francoise of Rimini; Preah, the type of the romantic sculptor, with his truculent chisel, has funereal finds, like his famous Mask of silence, or Shakespearean effects like the drowned Ophelia of the Marseille museum; Drouet[Which one?] Sculpts in 1836 a Chactas curious by the search of the ethnic particularities; the same year, Rude exploded on the Arc de Triomphe his Marseillaise screaming the hymn of liberty, quivering sculpture of life, one of the greatest sculptural pages of the century; at the same time, Barye creates an animal sculpture that no nation possesses.
But the romantic sculptor is David d’Angers (1788-1856), the artist exalted by Vigny, celebrated by Hugo, and so closely united to the Cenacle that he left in marble the effigy of all its members. Romantic, he was of heart and mind, he who, from the living room of 1824, delivered Delacroix the romantic fight with his Death of Bonchamp, still classic by the nude, but romantic by the accent and gesture; he who stood in marble or cast bronze Victor Hugo, Balzac, Goethe, Gericault, Lamartine and Gautier.
The romantic architecture
The architecture could not entirely escape the influences that had transformed painting and sculpture. In this field, more rigid and less amenable to immediate transformations, romanticism had the effect of showing the drought and sterility of academic architecture, and bringing about the resurrection of French architecture in the Middle Ages. art called ” Gothic “, which is the most logical and homogeneous art that the world has known since the time of Pericles. What was in Notre-Dame de Paris only a poetic instinct and romantic admiration, turned into a science, a fertile doctrine. Making Notre-Dame a building site where he took up piece by piece all the workings ofcathedral, Viollet-le-Duc demonstrated that the work of architecture is a complete organization, which must adapt to the times, places, customs, needs, found the methods of our old builders, who were the logic and the very perfection, and inaugurated this vast restoration movement which allowed our great cathedrals and old castles to regain all their imposing beauty.
At the same time as our painters and sculptors, Shakespeare, Goethe, Schiller, Byron, Chateaubriand, Victor Hugo, opened new horizons for our musicians.
Italian music had sunk by excess of virtuosity. Mehul and Cherubini had ceased to please. The quarrel of Gluckists and Piccinnistes had turned in favor of the Germans and their rich harmonic and instrumental combinations: Beethoven at the beginning of the xix th century and Weber and Schubert, extended indefinitely the power of music.
In France, this new music was inaugurated by Berlioz (1803-1869), whose Fantastic Symphony and the Damnation of Faust, with their rich sonorities, brilliant orchestration, sometimes soft and poetic rhythms, sometimes impetuous and tormented, created the French symphonic school.
Abroad, romanticism coincided with the emergence of national music, nourished by popular folklore: as well as Chopin and Liszt, but, later, Grieg and Rachmaninov.
The romantic ballet
The romantic period is characterized by many innovations in the world of ballet:
The dancer is now mounted on points that lengthen the lines and transform the gait. She wears a white tutu, a narrow bodice and wears a wreath of white roses in her hair. The ballerina is light, airy, supernatural and has an immaterial grace. The white ballet was born and dancers as famous as Carlotta Grisi, Marie Taglioni and Fanny Elssler captivate the spectators in immortal works such as La Sylphide (1832) and Giselle (1841). The romantic ballet will find a theorist in the person of Carlo Blasis who will write in 1830 hisComplete manual of the dance.
The success of white ballet will be relatively short and yet, like the literary movement that gave it birth, he quickly runs to the middle of the xix th century.
The transformation of romantic art
The year 1836 marks a stop in the fortune of the romantic art: a scene of Hamlet of Delacroix is refused at the Salon. Backed by the Academy of Fine Arts, Ingreseventually got his hands on the jury. Besides, artistic romanticism, which started earlier than literary romanticism, decomposes before it. Because, like him, artistic romanticism was composed of several elements, different to the point of hostility, and which, agglutinated by encounter, but not fused together, had to win each one to isolate oneself, to detach oneself from the mass. Sense of the past, sense of the present, science, color, search for the characteristic, discovery of the “natural” nature, love of the “local color”, all these discoveries of the romanticism in dissolution, will create in art new combinations: art « middle note “of Paul Delaroche, orientalism of Delacroix who, out of school, continues his ascent of, Jewish Noce, Fanatics Tangier) Sandy Theodore Rousseau, from Millet and Corot, which lead to the realism of Courbet and the impressionism of Manet.
The romantic works themselves are very different; but they share a heightened sensitivity, an enthusiasm for nature, a subjectivism that puts the “ego” at the center of attention, melancholy and a turn to the past.
In the early romanticism can still be seen a strong uncertainty in genre questions: Chateaubriands René and Atala are difficult to classify récits between novel and novel and the 1804 published letter novel Oberman of Étienne Pivert de Senancour even denies in the preface to be a novel. The plot in René and Atala is not very complex, but rather reflects the emotionally agitated state of the heroes. In Oberman It is impossible to speak of an action at all: the protagonist writes to a (possibly imaginary) recipient who remains as obscure as other characters. While Oberman travels to Switzerland, he gives himself philosophical reflections, which he perpetuates in his letters.
Nevertheless, or perhaps because of this, the heroes of the works in question exemplify the typically romantic hero: both Oberman and René are struck by a “tristesse d’une vague profonde”, an inexplicable melancholy that drives them from one place to another, making them despair and damned to inaction. The cause of this mental state is the “times du siècle”, the disease of the century, triggered by the Revolutionary trauma, the unresolved conflicts of society.
Chateaubriand wanted to illustrate with René and Atala the theses of Génie du christianisme: they illustrate the contrast between the modern human condition and the harmony that only the Christian faith can convey. Only submission to Christian norms can give the individual a useful place in society. There are also some contradictions: the condemnation of René’s “times du siècle” by the Père Souel takes place too casually to appear essential and Christianity causes a tragedy at Atala, even if this is blamed as fanaticism. Typically romantic in René, Atalaand Oberman are the rapturous descriptions of nature, the evocation of certain moods that underline the emotional state of the characters (for example, the service is accompanied by the sunrise, the agony of Atalas with a terrible thunderstorm, etc.).
Another topic pursued by Madame de Staël in Corinne. It describes the adaptation problems of an extremely gifted young woman, who is superior to her environment in every respect and finds no opportunity, under the pressure of society, to combine her claim to artistic activity with a fulfilled love life. The main characters each serve as representatives of a specific political-cultural model: Corinne stands for Catholicism, Italy and freedom, whereas Lord Oswald embodies the admittedly politically liberal but spiritually repressive England. The novel does not only tell the tragic love story of the two young people, but also familiarizes with the culture, religion, morality of Italy, which are then compared by philosophical considerations with the culture of England and France. This conception consequently requires a departure from the “roman personnel” and is narrated in the third person.
Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris (1831) is the best-known and perhaps most misunderstood work of French Romanticism, due to the title later changed in other countries The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, which led to the concentration of attention on the figure of Quasimodo. In contrast to the romantic theater, where Hugo could not sufficiently realize his ambitions, Notre Dame reflectsquite exactly reflects the ideas of the “Préface de Cromwell”. The rejection of the classic is evident in the first part, as the audience prefers the fool parade as Gringoires boring classical piece pursued. The mingling of the sublime and the grotesque, the beautiful and the ugly is personified, for example, by the juxtaposition of the deformed bellman and the graceful Esmeralda. But the cathedral is the actual protagonist of the novel: it unites all characters and forms the threshold between the end of the Middle Ages and the dawn of modern times. It is the first novel that puts the masses of the people at the center of the action; the inhuman clergy (Claude Frollo) is symbolically punished by the fall into death. Above all, the novel is a plea for Gothic architecture, which in the early 19th century of theVandalism was threatened. Due to the great success of Notre Dame de Paris, the public interest in the cathedral increased and it could be saved from decay.
Romanticism and Realism
Under the influence of positivism and the advance of the sciences developed parallel to the romanticism from 1830 a realistic current in the literature, which rejected metaphysical speculation and thus also the unreal emotional world of the Romantics and their subjectivism. Nevertheless, romanticism has the merit of actively addressing the needs of its time and of promoting detachment from traditional traditions. The romance was thus an important step on the way to modern literature.
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