Literature romanticism: what it is, origin, literary development, characteristics, works and authors


What is literary romanticism?

Also known as romanticism literature, it was one of the most important periods of literature and its development, since it managed to spread throughout the European continent, also reaching other continents such as America. It takes place after the neoclassical literature although it shares some of its time with it, since it arises in the XVIII century and ends until the middle of the XIX century. However, many experts state that it is a movement that continues to develop to the present day.

One of the most important characteristics of the literature of romanticism is the frequent presence of themes related to nature, although it also continues to work with Greco-Latin myths, as well as other aspects of the socio-political conditions of the countries in which it developed.

History and origin of the literature of romanticism

The era of literary romanticism arose at the end of the 18th century in Germany, although it did not take long for it to spread to other parts of Europe. Even in Germany, romanticism had several divisions and manifestations that reached the middle of the 19th century. In this first place, two movements emerged, pietism, a spiritual movement, and Sturm und Drang, characterized by following an aesthetic and anti-classical order. It was considered that although Germany becomes the first place, it would be a disintegrated movement of its genesis in this region that is taking shape from its diffusion.

The literature of romanticism will also develop in other countries such as France where it is used as a form of rebellion against technological progress, which replaced the hand of man by the use of the machine, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the authors of the time, among which stood out Victor Hugo, Madame de Staël, Alphonse de Lamartine, Charles Nodier, Alexandre Dumas, Jean-Jacques de Rousseau, among others.

Also in England, the romanticism movement developed along with Germany. In this area, there is a shared melancholy related to country life, but there is also a search for individual freedoms and a search for detachment from liturgical formalisms. In this region, authors who were called “pre-romantic” stand out, among them Thomas Chatterton and James Macpherson. The “graveyard poets” are also identified, authors who begin to work a dark poetry that often mentioned aspects related to the fleeting of life, death, bones, etc., among whom Mary Shelley and Lord Byron stand out.

Other important areas of romanticism literature were Spain, Italy, Russia, United States, Colombia, Argentina, among other Latin American regions such as Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Cuba and Guatemala.

What is literary romanticism

Literary development in the romanticism era 

This stage was fundamental for literary development to the extent that the literature of romanticism sought to rescue the essence of things, so that the writer sought to bring transcendence through the letters to the reader. Consequently, far from alluding to love themes, romanticism was consolidated as a movement rooted in the melancholy awakened by nature and other sources of inspiration.

Main characteristics of literature in the Romantic era 

Among the most important characteristics of this literary epoch we find the following:

Subjects: among the main subjects of interest of the writers it is possible to find pre-industrial subjects among which we find medieval themes, nature and Greco-Latin myths. However, these will not be the only ones developed during this stage.

Search for originality: one of the most important aspects of the literature of romanticism has to do with the concern for achieving originality in their compositions, this as a response opposed to the professionalization of the artist and in general, the alien pretension of turning art into an object destined for commerce. This was due to the fact that many professional writers served a variety of techniques that were sold efficiently.

Artist as intermediary: during this period the artist was conceived as a kind of intermediary between the transcendental and the immanent, so that the writer only created from the inspiration that came into his being. This was another of the ideas with which they sought to oppose the pretended character of the professionalism of writing.

Renaissance of the popular: in the literature of romanticism there is a longing for the origins, as well as an interest in the preservation of the culture and identity of the people, so that this feeling is perceived as a central axis for the inspiration of the works in which the human being can return to the countryside, return to work the field and other activities of their own and origin. This aspect also advocates respecting the value of created things much more than their simple use for economic benefit.

Man and God: during this period there was also an attempt to rescue the relationship between man and God, which sought to avoid intermediaries, formalisms and excessive religiosity, as it opted for a unipersonal relationship. This was mainly because it was considered that the Church and its structure, intended to break the direct relationship that existed between man and God.

Main works of the Romanticism period 

Among the main authors of the literature of Romanticism, philosophers and writers stand out, whose works were decisive for the development of literature at this time and from whom new movements began to emerge according to how Romanticism was worked in each of the regions.

Thus, authors such as Albrecht von Haller, Klopstock, Heinrich von Kleist, playwrights such as Friedrich Schiller, poets such as Karoline von Günderrode, Friedrich Hölderlin, Novalis, as well as the Grimm Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm, E.T. Hoffmann, Georg Buchner, Woyzeck, Adelbert von Chamisso, Joseph von Eichendorff, Heinrich Heine, and in France, authors such as George Sand, Victor Hugo, René de Chateaubriand, Gérard de Nerval, Charles Nodier, Alfred de Musset, Federico Mistral, among others such as Lord Byron, Rousseau, Giácomo Leopardi, Alexandr Pushkin, Edgar Allan Poe, Rafael Pombo, Esteban Echeverría, Manuel Acuña. José Martí, Juan Antonio Pérez and Alberto Blest.