Emotion vs Reason
The supremacy of reason as the only way to knowledge and progress, had led to the repression of emotion and feeling. Many factors produced this change. The noisy activity of the town took the place with the simple serenity of the countryside. Also a strong interest in melancholy, associated with meditation and suffering. The rediscovery of the art, architecture, legends and popular traditions of the Middle Ages manifested in the Gothic. The concept of the nature changed. The classical view of the nature as a set of divine laws was replaced by the view of the nature as a real being that have to be descibed like it really is.
The concept of sublime was analysed for the first time by a retorician of the 1st century who identified the sublime with the beautiful. Instead Edmund Burke regarded the beautiful and sublime as opposed , it is linked to the feelings of fear and horror created by what is infinite and terrible. Burke’s theory was developed by Immanuel Kant, he stated that the sublime does not derive like the beautiful from the sensibility and intellect but from the conflict between sensibility and reason.
The egotistical sublime
The pre romantic poets had already shown an interest more in emotional field than in the reason, which in age of enlightenment was the greatest human capacity. So the poets explored “subconscious” levels: dreams, madness, hypnosis.
For Classical ages the child was important only concerning with his future transformation into an adult being.
To a Romantic a child was purer than an adult because he was uncontaminated by civilisation.
The Augustans saw man as a social animal, in the relationship with the society.
The Romantics stressed the individualism: the special qualities of each one. They exalted the atypical and the rebels and all that don’t conform themselves with the civilisation. Rousseau was an exponent belonging to Enlightenment which supported these romantic ideas of individualisation and of corruption and homologation of civilisation.
According to Romantics the human behaviour should be primitive, impulsive and should follow his instincts, in contrast with that governed by reason and by customs of society.
Penetrating into the pictures mode of a romantic work, remote and unfamiliar landscapes were liked.