THE ROMANTIC AGE
This period began with the American War of Independence in 1775. This war was fought over a democratic issue: the right of Britain to impose taxes on people who hadn't representation in Britain’s parliament. Their refusal was symbolized by the famous ‘’Boston tea party’’. The colonists cry ‘’no representation, no taxation’’.
America’s declaration of independence followed in 1776. The American and French revolutions represent serious challenges to the political and social order of Europe. These affirm a most freedom of thought, and the ideals like fraternity, freedom, equality. The industrial revolution was very important, because it caused a change of mentality: this revolution marked the shift from manual labor to new manufacturing method; the invention of spinning jenny (loom) and steam engine by James Watt caused the birth of factory. Before, the most part of the economic system was rural, after it became industry: in fact, the factories were set in the suburbs of the cities.
The consequences were: a big migration, so a bad urbanization; unemployment; the increase of criminality, because not everyone found a job; exploitation of children and women, because they work more and cost less. So, there was a part of population who lived in poor condition, and to avoid to live in the streets, the government built the slums, or ghettoes.
Romanticism was a literary and artistic movement which began as a reaction against the extreme rationality prevailing during the Augustan Period. In fact, about culture there are many features: for example, the cultural movement ‘’sturm und drang’’ that means ‘’passion and storm’’, affirms the importance of sensibility, the importance of emotions, feelings, so, the dominance of emotion over reason. About history, philosophers investigate about their origins, and there was a renewed interest for Nature, so, a forest of symbolism to interpret and to imitate. Also, in this period there was a consciousness to belong a national group. So, this period was marked by the importance that the artists gave to the nature, and the importance of the nationalism, and the importance of emotions over reason. Another important aspect is that literature isn’t addressed to a small part of society, but language is simpler, and so, interest increases.
Another important aspect is the imagination. For the romantic artists imagination was fundamental, because they thought that poetry was impossible without it: in fact, poets are conscious of a capacity to create imaginary worlds. The romantic artists put themselves at the center of their work, and they rejected the society, and they prefer to stay in isolation and in wild areas for exalt the more acculturated and picturesque aspects of nature.