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The early romanticism


The early romanticism is characterized by three undertrends:

-The medieval revival:
The romanticists started to be interested in the middle ages that was completely rejected by the Enlightenment and by the neoclassical period. They recovered medieval themes linked to the popular origins (the word “romanticism” indicate the “romance” that is what was created after the fall of the Roman empire: the national culture). This trend manifests itself in three literary and cultural expressions:
-the “Ossian songs: the trend of finding manuscript of medieval poets. The Ossian songs were the songs of a scotch bard which talk about legends and heroes of a medieval past.
-the rise of the gothic novel: the gothic novel is characterized by the presence of ghosts and also of a virgin girl who is persecuted by a villain who want to kidnap her and of an heroes. Normally this kind of story are settled in castles, in monasteries, in dark places. The feeling that characterize this type of novel is called “awe” that means a compresence of attraction and repulsion at the same time.

-the revival of the ballad: the ballad is an old medieval form which became one of the favorite poetic form of the romanticists. They refused the neoclassical poetry because they wanted to go back to the middle age and discover the national origins.

- The aesthetic of sublime:
The aesthetic of sublime is a philosophical concept of beauty which change the classical idea of beauty from objective beauty to subjective beauty, from beauty as perfection of poetic form to beauty based on emotions ( for example the emotional reaction to a piece of art or to a landscape or to a storm). The most important author of the aesthetic of sublime is Edmund Burke who wrote the “Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful”.

-The graveyard school of poetry:
This type of poetry interested the relationship between life and death. The poems of the graveyard school of poetry are all characterized by a very sad atmosphere and they are dedicated usually to the night, to the darkness. One of the most important poems of the graveyard school of poetry is the “Elegy written in a country churchyard” written by Thomas Gray.

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