The Romantic period or Romantic era lasted from the end of the Eighteenth Century towards the mid 19th Century.
Romanticism was a movement which highlighted the importance of:
- The individual emotions, feelings, and expressions of artists.
- It rejected rigid forms and structures. Instead, it placed great stress on the individual, unique experience of an artist/writer.
- Romanticism gave great value to nature, and artists experience within nature. This was in stark contrast to the rapid industrialisation of society in the Nineteenth Century.
- Romanticism was considered idealistic – a belief in greater ideals than materialism and rationalism and the potential beauty of nature and mystical experience.
- Romanticism was influenced by the ideals of the French and American revolution, which sought to free man from a rigid autocratic society. Over time, it also became more associated with burgeoning nationalistic movements, e.g. movement for Italian independence.
Famous Romantic Poets
William Blake (1757 –1827) Poet, artist, and mystic. Blake wrote Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience, The Four Zoas, and Jerusalem. Blake is not considered a classical, romantic poet, but his new style of poetry and mystical experience of nature had a significant influence on the growth of romanticism.
Robert Burns (1759 – 1796) Scottish romantic poet who was influential in the development of romantic poetry. He wrote in both English and Scottish and also contributed to radical politics.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 –1834) English romantic poet and a member of the “Lakes Poets.” Coleridge’s famous poems included The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christabel and Kubla Khan. Coleridge helped to bring to England the concept of German idealism. (an important strand of Romanticism)
Lord Byron (1788 – 1824) English romantic poet, who led a flamboyant, extravagant lifestyle – traveling across Europe. His works included Don Juan, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and She Walks in Beauty.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 –1822) English romantic poet, and friend to John Keats. Famous works include Queen Mab, Prometheus Unbound and Adonais – his tribute to Keats. Shelley was also an atheist and radical political writer.
John Keats (1795 – 1821) English Romantic poet. One of his best-known works is Endymion: A Poetic Romance (1817). Famous poems include; A Thing of Beauty (Endymion), Bright Star, When I Have Fears, Ode To A Nightingale.
Writers of the Romantic period
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832) German poet, playwright, and author. Goethe’s work The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) influential in creating an ideal of a passionate and sensitive main character.
Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet. Scott’s novels gained a global appeal, and he was an important romantic novelist. Notable works include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, and Waverley.
Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851) English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, and travel writer. Shelley wrote Frankenstein (1818). Shelley was a political radical, expressing more support for greater social co-operation than typical of more individualistic romantics.
Honore de Balzac (1799 – 1850) French novelist and short story writer. Balzac was an influential realist writer who created characters of moral ambiguity – often based on his own real-life examples. His greatest work was the collection of short stories La Comédie Humaine.
Alexandre Dumas (1802 – 1870) Author of historical dramas such as The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, and the Marie Antoinette romances. Dumas was a larger than life character and influential writer.
Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885) Perhaps the greatest French author. Noted for his poetry and novels. His novels include Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831. Also became a leading Republican.
Gustave Flaubert (1821 – 1880) Influential French writer who combined both literary realism with aspects of the romantic tradition. He is best known for his novel Madame Bovary (1857).
Writers of the American Romantic Era
Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) American poet and author. Poe is considered an influential member of the American Romantic movement. He wrote fiction, poetry, essays and literary criticism.
Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) American poet. Wrote Leaves of Grass, a groundbreaking new style of poetry. Whitman was a bridge between the movements of transcendentalism and realism.
Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) American female poet. Led secluded lifestyle, and left a legacy of many, short vivid poems, often on themes of death and immortality.
Francisco José de Goya (1746 – 1828) Spanish romantic painter. De Goya combined the classical style of the Old Masters with a new realism, ambiguity and imagination.
John M.W. Turner (1775 – 1851) British landscape artist. Known as the painter of light, Turner was an artistic figure from the Romantic period and one of the precursors to Impressionism.
John Constable (1776 – 1837) English romantic painter. Constable was noted for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale – offering an idealised view of the countryside – one of the ideals of romanticism.
Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863) French romantic painter. Delacroix was influential for pioneering an expressive use of colour, movement, imagination and romantic content. He was influential for the impressionists.
Composers of the Romantic period
Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869) French composer of the Romantic period. Berlioz composed a Requiem for 210 voices Grande messe des morts (Requiem) and Symphonie fantastique.
Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847) German composer of the romantic period. Mendelssohn wrote symphonies, concerti, oratorios, piano music and chamber music. His famous works include Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave) (1830), Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 (1844)
Frederick Chopin (1810 – 1849) Polish-born Classical composer. Important compositions include piano collections, Études, Opp. 10 and 25, and the 24 Preludes, Op. 28. Chopin also wrote numerous polonaises, sonatas, waltzes, impromptus and nocturnes.
Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886) Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist. Liszt was a prominent member of the “New German School” of musicians. Significant compositions include; Piano Sonata in B minor (1853), “Liebesträume No. 3″.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893) Russian composer. Tchaikovsky was the greatest composer of the Romantic period. Compositions include the 1812 Overture, Romeo and Juliet Overture, Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor and ballet compositions – Swan Lake and Nutcracker.
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 – 1921) French composer, conductor and pianist of the Romantic era. Famous works include Second Piano Concerto (1868), the First Cello Concerto (1872), Danse Macabre (1874), the opera Samson and Delilah (1877), the Third Violin Concerto (1880) and The Carnival of the Animals (1887).
Gabriel Faure (1845 – 1924) French composer of the late Romantic period. Faure composed intimate Chamber music and many compositions for the piano. Famous works include choral masterpieces – Pavane and Requiem, and his nocturnes for piano, such as Après un rêve” and “Clair de lune”.
Edvard Greig (1843 – 1907) Norwegian composer. Greig was one of the most notable composers of the Romantic period. Famous works include – Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 16, Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, IV. (In the Hall of the Mountain King) and Peer Gynt Suite No.1
People of the Renaissance (1350s to 1650s) The Renaissance covers the flowering of art and culture in Europe. Primarily in art, but also in science.
People of the Enlightenment (1650s to 1780s) The enlightenment is a period which saw the growth of intellectual reason, individualism and a challenge to existing religious and political structures.
People of the Nineteenth Century (1801-1900) Nineteenth Century saw the economic boom of the industrial revolution and world-wide movements for political change.
Famous Poets – The great poets – William Blake, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, John Keats, Homer, R. Tagore.