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The Romantic Movement

The Romantic Movement

Maurice Cranston

ISBN: 978-0-631-19471-2 September 1994 Wiley-Blackwell 176 Pages


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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.


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.


"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

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