Print this page Share

The Romantic Movement

ISBN: 978-0-631-19471-2
176 pages
September 1994, ©1994, Wiley-Blackwell
The Romantic Movement (0631194711) cover image


The Romantic Movement in Europe was both a revolt and a revival, a philosophy of life as well as of art. In the earliest expressions of romantic theory by Rousseau and Diderot, it is seen as a revolt against rationalism. In Great Britain and Italy it appears as a revolt against classicism, in Spain as a revival of the tradition of the Moorish courts, and in Germany, where it excited the greatest enthusiasm, as both a revolt against rationalism and a revival of the Gothic and Germanic.

Despite the differences of aim and emphasis across Europe, Professor Cranston argues that romaticism was a European phenomenon, as universal as the Renaissance. He isolates its common features - liberty, introspection, and the importance of love; truth in the expression of feeling as much as of thought; nature seen as an object of devotion rather than scientific study; a tolerance of the grotesque coupled with an interest in the exotic, the primitive and the medieval; a concern for the value of intuition over ratiocination; and a preference for audacity over prudence.

The Romantic Movement is part of the common European heritage, and its influence is by no means at an end. The book is the first to describe its philosophy, history, and cultural and artistic manifestations, and the ways these varied across the countries of Europe.

See More

Table of Contents


1. The First Romantics.

2. German Romanticism.

3. English Romanticism.

4. French Romanticism.

5. Italian Romanticism.

6. Spanish Romanticism.

7. Late Romanticism.

Selected Bibliography of Critical Works.


See More

Author Information

Maurice Cranston was Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics. Over a long and distinguished academic career he has taught at Harvard University, Dartmouth College, University of British Columbia, the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington and the European University Institute. His many books include a three-volume biography of Rousseau, as well as John Locke: A Biography, What are Human Rights? and The Mask of Politics. Maurice Cranston died in November 1993.
See More

The Wiley Advantage

* A concise, clear, perceptive account by an outstanding scholar.
* Covers the entire movement - art, music, philosophy, politics, literature - throughout Europe.
See More


"As an historical sketch of the philosophy of European romanticism, the book is exemplary." Financial Times

"Brilliantly lucid as well as useful. Students could not do better than to go to it for an introduction." Scotland on Sunday

"In clear and uncomplicated prose, the book offers a brief survey of different national traditions." European Romantic Review

See More
Back to Top