German Romanticism was the dominant intellectual movement of German-speaking countries in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, influencing philosophy, aesthetics, literature and criticism. Compared to English Romanticism, the German variety developed relatively late, and, in the early years, coincided with Weimar Classicism (1772–1805). In contrast to the seriousness of English Romanticism, the German variety of Romanticism notably valued wit, humour, and beauty.
The early German romantics strove to create a new synthesis of art, philosophy, and science, by viewing the Middle Ages as a simpler period of integrated culture; however, the German romantics became aware of the tenuousness of the cultural unity they sought. Late-stage German Romanticism emphasized the tension between the daily world and the irrational and supernatural projections of creative genius. In particular, the critic Heinrich Heine criticized the tendency of the early German romantics to look to the medieval past for a model of unity in art and society.
Cultural and historical background
The feeling, the individuality, the personal experience and the tortured soul are the bases of the romanticism. Romanticism was born in reaction to the monopoly of Enlightenment reason philosophy and in reaction to the classicism inspired by Antiquity. The feelings, the Sehnsucht, the mystery and the secret are now put forward. The optimism of the progress inherent in classicism is opposed by the incapacity to the decision of romanticism.
Break with the world of reason
The romantics represent a break between the world of reason, “figures and figures” and the world of feeling and wonder. What motivates the romantics is the nostalgia for the healing of the world, the union of opposites into a harmonious whole.
Nostalgia (in German die Sehnsucht)
The places that are most likely to bring out these states of mind are the misty valleys, the dark forests, the ruins of medieval abbeys, nature, ancient myths, etc. The central symbol of the Sehnsucht is the Blue Flower which represents the search for the romanticism of inner unity, healing and the infinite: “But the Blue Flower is what everyone seeks without knowing it, that we call him God, eternity or love ”
Back to popular tradition
Unlike the poets of Weimar Classicism, Sturm und Drang and Aufklärung who themselves defined their role, that of educating the people through literature, the poets of Romanticism set themselves the task of bridging the gap between world and individuals. Art allows them to do it. Romantics seek the lost world in tales, legends, popular songs and in the mysticism of the Middle Ages. The truth is not to be found in the intellectual domain but in the natural behavior of the people. Popular dances are a part of romantic music, as is Franz Schubert’s. TheBrothers Grimm collect legends and tales of oral tradition.
This aspect of the world corresponds to a darker aspect, that of pacts with the devil, madness, ghosts, guilt and death that we find in ETA Hoffmann.
Historical background of the Napoleonic Wars, imagination and emancipation of the bourgeoisie
Romanticism developed during the Napoleonic Wars in the late 18th century an era of relative calm where many disputes were settled diplomatically. While the European continent has undergone military campaigns and each country has sought a hero – Napoleon Bonaparte in France, Horatio Nelson in England, General Kutuzovin Russia – the romantics have liberated the imagination. A second important factor was bourgeois culture, which has made intellectual ground fertile for art and literature. Economic development has enabled the burghers to buy more books, musical instruments, attend theaters and attend concerts and operas. In response to this emancipation, the aristocracy closed on itself. Thus among writers and philosophers of the xix th century, there is little aristocrats, unlike the 18th century. On the political level, Romanticism is seen as the counter-current of Enlightenment rationalism.
Contrasting reactions to the French Revolution and the Restoration
The French Revolution, born of the Enlightenment, had been hailed by many European minds. The disappointments will be all the greater with the arrival of Terror then Napoleon. In the micro-states of Central Europe absolutism is not experienced as a tyranny, unlike France. The “tyrant” will be the one who wants to impose on them a centralized and foreign order, which also presents himself as the heir of the Enlightenment. There is a great reversal of ideas opposed by the Enlightenment: mysticism and nationalism. This feeling is reinforced by the wars of liberation against the French occupier.
At the Restoration, new disappointment. The new ideas, which had been allowed to develop in Central Europe to create a feeling of national momentum, were quickly opposed by the states that emerged from the Vienna Congress and their extreme censorship. This induces a feeling of withdrawal, of exaltation of subjectivity, and reinforces the return to Nature of a society supersaturated with culture.
The increase in the urban population and the rural exodus created industrialization. After the failure of the revolution of 1848 and 1849, the absolutist system, the states and the institutional weight of the Church remain unchanged. The necessary change can not be accomplished immediately in or with society. This was an opportunity for romantics to flee into melancholy, imagination, flee into unreal and idyllic worlds.
Literary origins of Romanticism
At the beginning of Romanticism we find two kinds of literary currents. On one side, the gothic novels that English read with passion in the second half of the 18th century – the themes are medieval and mystical – stimulated the imagination (there was such reasons as spirits, knights, castles in ruins The English Gothic novel is a genre of popular literature On the other hand, German romanticism is preceded by the current of Sturm und Drang, of a higher literary level, and which, from the end of 18th century to the early nineteenth e, influenced several classic authors likeJohann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich von Schiller in their period Sturm und Drang. The Sturm und Drang addressed the feelings of the reader. Thus the hero of Goethe, in the Sorrows of Young Werther was the model for many young people of the 18th century, some dressing like Werther or committing suicide as the hero of Goethe 3. Schiller’s dramas, notably The Robbers and Don Carlos, depicting the conflict between the individual in search of freedom and power, inflame the minds and prepare them for the fight against tyranny.
Periods of Romanticism
German romanticism is divided into several periods. It begins with the first romanticism called Frühromantik that lasts from 1795 to 1804. This first romanticism is also the most absolute, the most radical. As Julien Gracq notes in a study on Kleist, the first romantics, especially Novalis, demanded nothing more than the immediate redemption of humanity, via poetry. Hence the temptation, inherited from the Enlightenment, to make a great literary synthesis of the world such as the Encyclopaedia of Novalis or Hegel.
The romantic movement will continue with the Hochromantik until 1815 then with the late romanticism until 1848. For the Hochromantik, we distinguish the Circle of Heidelberg and that of Berlin. These phases did not take place at the same time in all cultural domains. Late Romanticism such concern the music at the beginning of the xx th century with Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss.
Style Figures and Features
German romanticism and philosophical reflection
According to Chassard and Weil, the German “theoreticians of Romanticism” proper (around 1796-1835) are Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) on (“the mystical union with God”), Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) (by relation to “the primacy of the absolute self”) and Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling (1775-1854) (for “the soul of the world”), “founder of the romantic philosophy of nature”.
Fichte, “professor at the University of Jena, exerts on the first romantic a real fascination” in “a time of uncertainty” seeing”In the Kantian system a solid frame on which to base morality and the notion of duty”. Thereafter, “Fichte, disappointed by the French Revolution which he had first admired, will write his Speech to the German Nation (Reden an die deutsche Nation, 1807) where he will transpose on a national level his theory of” me ” absolute, “affirming the conquering spiritual mission of the German nation”.
The Heidelberg School, the culmination of German romanticism, is less reflective than the “founders of the doctrine” who represent precursors or “pre-romantic”from the school of Jena.
Between science and philosophy, German idealism and romanticism, Schelling is the dominant figure in the current of Naturphilosophie, which is spreading in Europe. As for Goethe, nature is, according to him, worked by a vivifying and rejuvenating force in which all beings are found; this force “Schelling” almost divine nature brings naturalism of pantheism.
Romanticism and psychology
The unconscious is lived in the literature that makes it appear.
Romanticism and unconsciousness
“The emergence of the unconscious in the well-ordered gardens of reason will upset all Western thought,” writes Jacques Fabry. The author of the article “Romantic Unconscious” in the Germanic World Dictionary explains how “romantic unconsciousness and the philosophy of nature are part of it”. There is an intuitive grasping of the “subject” and the “object” in “a” higher “physics whose dynamic polarity reconciles antagonistic couples”. Novalis and Schelling are quoted first: “Novalis dreams of a synthesis of sciences and Fichteen subjectivism”; Schelling, “with his soul of the world, advocates the identity of nature and spirit. ” With “the Catholic Franz Xaver von Baader ” whose “system is a Theosophical hermeneutics “, the “goal is to make religion a science and science a religion”. For “the very Christian” Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert and his Dream Symbolic (1814), “collective myths, poetic and dreamlike visions unveil the fundamental unity of the physical and psychological data of man”. By Carl Gustav Carus for which”Knowledge of conscious mental life has its key in the unconscious” and distinguishes “absolute unconscious and collective unconscious”, we arrive at an extension in the xx th century to evoke “the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious of Jung “. Through other authors cited, Eduard von Hartmann, influenced by Schopenhauer (“intelligent unconscious and endowed with will”), and “the neo-Romantic Ludwig Klages “, we would approach, according to Fabry, Freud whose “the unconscious lives of repressed desires »that “the conscious wants to ignore”.
Freud and German romanticism
The article “German Romanticism and Psychoanalysis” by Madeleine and Henri Vermorel in the International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis (Dir A. de Mijolla) 8 begins with the evocation of a text by Thomas Mann written in 1929 9 as is cited as a bibliographic reference by both authors. In this text, report H. and M. Vermorel, Mann holds romanticism for the “most revolutionary and radical movement of the German spirit”. According to them, romanticism would be “with Jewishness and the Enlightenment “, one of the “major sources of Freud’s inspiration “.
H. and M. Vermorel summarize in their article of the International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis how “we find in psychoanalysis, a century after all the themes cleared by medicine and romantic science: the dream and its” psychic value “, the drive, the repression whose emergence is a source of ” disturbing strangeness ” (Schelling) – the unheimlich being a central concept of romanticism and psychoanalysis -, the secularized interpretation by Schleiermacher and even applied by him to the word, without forgetting the Witzan alloy of Jewish thought and romantic irony, of which Jean-Paul and Schlegel are the theoreticians on whom Freud relies, in the company of Henri Heine “. They insist on the latter, Heine, the “defrocked romance, ” which Freud often cites as his “model” of the “atheist Jew,” unbeliever’s brother “of Spinoza, one of the sources of the romantics”.
Freud, in 1924, “alludes to romanticism as a prehistory of psychoanalysis”, finally add H. and M. Vermorel in the conclusion of their article, while Ludwig Binswanger “points Freud’s fidelity to the concept of nature as” mythical essence “, echoing the judgment of Thomas Mann who ” appreciates psychoanalysis as a romanticism that has become scientific “. Freud also often quotes Goethe, particularly as a symbolic representation supporting his psychoanalytic theories.
A progressive universal poetry
Frédéric Schlegel has marked as a theoretician of the movement the concept of progressive universal poetry which he develops in the fragment 116 of the Athenäum. The artist must be considered as a free genius of his creation. Aristotelian units of place, time, and action lose their importance. The novel is the place of the subjectivity of the author. The goal is to mix philosophy, poetry, genius Help page on homonymy and criticism. The fragmentary character becomes one of the characteristics of romantic works. Schlegel thus wishes to emphasize the process of creation that follows the arbitrary and the poet’s freedom.
Neither form nor content are frozen. Songs, stories, stories and poems are mixed. Poetry, science and philosophy are interconnected.
The romantic irony
The author stands above his work. He is master of what he writes. Romantic irony refers to self-references at work. When the hero of a play is in danger and he says for example “But we do not die in the middle of the third act! ” This is an example of romantic irony.
According to Chassard and Weil, some romantics “use as a brake the weapon of irony” in order to “avoid being overwhelmed by the irrational”: to “the synthesis of classicism: reason / feeling”, lucidity substitutes “Another association: irony / magic, which gives German romanticism its specificity”
Tradition and the Middle Ages
The romanticism of the Hochromantik collects popular poetry. The tales of the Grimm brothers and the collection of Knaben Wunderhorn are the most famous examples. However, as soon as they were published, the literary work that the authors did on these stories was criticized.
The Middle Ages is celebrated as an ideal. The art and architecture of this era are appreciated, protected and collected.
The Blue Flower
The reason for the trip
The mirror motif
The reason for the look-alike
Fabulous beings like fairies and ghosts
The criticism of the petty bourgeois
Mystification and celebration of the Middle Ages
Concerns of romance
The basic themes of romance are feeling, passion, individuality and individual experience as well as soul, especially the tortured soul. Romanticism emerged as a reaction to the monopoly of the rational philosophy of the Enlightenment, which was characterized in Germany above all by Immanuel Kant, and to the rigor of the antique-inspired classicism. The focus is on sensations such as longing, mystery and mystery. The forward-looking rationalism and optimism of the Enlightenment becomes a recourse to the individual and numinouscompared. These characteristics are indicative of the romantic art and the appropriate attitude towards life.
The romanticist locates a rupture that has divided the world into the world of reason, the “numbers and figures” (Novalis), and the world of feeling and wonder. The driving force of German Romanticism is an endless yearning for the healing of the world, for the bringing together of opposites into a harmonious whole. Symbolic places and manifestations of this longing are misty forest valleys, medieval monastery ruins, ancient myths and fairy tales, nature etc. The central symbol of this longing and its goal is the Blue Flower, which unlike any other motive is the romantic search for inner unity, healing and infinity embodies.
“But the blue flower is what everyone seeks without knowing it, call it God, eternity or love.”
– Ricarda Huch
In contrast to the self-imposed task of the poets of the Weimar Classics as well as of Sturm und Drang and Enlightenment, for example the education of the people by literature, the poets of the Romanticism saw their task in the healing of the rift, through the world and thus through the Individuals goes. According to them, art offered a possibility, mystically exaggerated in the concept of the “poet-priest”, because “the world starts to sing / you only meet the magic word” (Eichendorff).
The Romantics sought the lost world in works from the “childhood of men”, that is, in fairy tales and legends, in folk songs and in the mysticism of the Middle Ages and its idealized, estranged, loyal order. Also in exotic countries impulses were searched. The “true” was not seen in the intellectual, but in the behavior of the common people, regarded as natural and truthful. The music of the Romantic era included folk dances, such as Franz Schubert’s. The Brothers Grimmcollected the legends and myths of the oral tradition. However, dangers were also seen in this “other world”. The night side of the romance, marked by devil pacts, madness, ghosts, guilt and death, is especially evident in ETA Hoffmann.
With Caspar David Friedrich, his own direction in painting developed early on. One of the most famous paintings in this context is the image Wanderer above the sea of fog, which was created in the years 1818-1819.
The adolescent Richard Wagner read the Romantics in the extensive library of his uncle, for example ETA Hoffmann. Inspired by the late romantic, especially of themes from the age of knights and knights, he had written the plan for his first opera under the title The wedding. He composed the text and began composing the first numbers of this “Night Piece of Blackest Color” (R.W.), whose exaggerated Schauerromantik with his sister Rosalie but little arrived. As a result, Wagner destroyed the draft text, parts of the score remained.
Through the music of Wagner, Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss, the influences of Romanticism extend into the 20th century. Despite the temporal distance to the other artists of the epoch, the music of Strauss is based on the Wagnerian tone language and returned in his later works even to a more classical style.
Representatives of Romanticism
Franz Xaver von Baader, Carl Gustav Carus, Gustav Fechner, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottfried Herder, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Franz Mesmer, Karl Philipp Moritz, Adam Müller, Novalis, Jean Paul, Johann Wilhelm Ritter, Friedrich Schelling, Friedrich Schlegel, Friedrich Schleiermacher,Arthur Schopenhauer, Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert, Germaine de Stael, Heinrich Steffens, Ludwig Tieck, Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler
Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Richard Strauss, Richard Wagner, Carl Maria von Weber, Mahler, Bruckner, Beethoven, Liszt, Hugo Wolf
Friedrich Hölderlin, Ernst Moritz Arndt, Bettina von Arnim, Achim von Arnim, August Ferdinand Bernhardi, Clemens Brentano, Adelbert von Chamisso, Joseph von Eichendorff, Friedrich de La Motte-Fouque, the Grimm brothers, Karoline von Günderrode, Wilhelm Hauff, ETA Hoffmann, Isidorus Orientalis, Heinrich von Kleist, Ernst August Friedrich Klingemann, Sophie Mereau, Adam Müller,Wilhelm Müller, Novalis, John Paul, Max von Schenkendorf, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Auguste Schlegel, Frédéric Schlegel, Ernst Schulze, Ludwig Tieck, Ludwig Uhland, Rahel Varnhagen, Dorothea Veit, Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, Werner Zacharias, Karl Friedrich Gottlob Wetzel
Philipp Otto Runge, Caspar David Friedrich, Johann Friedrich Overbeck, Franz Pforr, Carl Kolbe Wilhelm, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Carl Spitzweg.
Christian Daniel Rauch
Source from Wikipedia