A comparison of romanticism and the enlightenment era

However, Postmodernism registers about equal skepticism towards both Romanticism and the Enlightenment, questioning the reality of Romantic concepts like authenticity, naturalness, and truth, while also questioning the usefulness of Enlightened concepts like progress, value, and objectivity. The more anvilicious Romanticist works may feature such characters, portraying characters that are supposed to be epitomes of logic as shallow caricatures, who ironically are not very logical.

Difference Between Romantics and Enlightenment Thinkers

Despite attacking the optimists, Voltaire offers no solution to the problems. Instead, they valued tradition the more. The Enlightenment saw a universe that was mechanical and run by fixed laws. The question arises what is Romanticism? In contrast to this, the Romantics stressed the capacity of the individual to create new meanings and values.

Another significant difference is religion and the role of God. Candide offers us the saddest themes disguised under the merriest of jokes, the joking being of that philosophical variety which is peculiar to M.

William Blake, the other principal early Romantic painter in England, evolved his own powerful and unique visionary images. The difference is in how their beliefs are handled. The mechanical conception of human life as envisioned by philosophes during enlightenment was severely criticized by the romantic era poets, philosophers, and writers etc.

A second short fall of the Enlightenment was the French Revolution.

Romanticism & Enlightenment

It should be noted that what is considered Democracy as we live it today where everyone can vote, no discrimination to minorities, no slavery and exploitation of other people is quite different from what many Enlightened and Romantic writers thought vis-a-vis democracy Enlightenment thinkers were content with limited suffrage, while Voltaire would probably insist that a secular France remain anti-semitic with the exception of Rousseau, Diderot, Condorcet and a few others.

Musical Romanticism was marked by emphasis on originality and individuality, personal emotional expression, and freedom and experimentation of form. After all civilization is hypocritical and deluded about how noble it is, and ignorant and blind of the harm it unleashes in the name of "progress" for the very few.

They stressed inward conviction and juxtaposed it to judgments oriented to externalized standards.


The first phase of the Romantic movement in Germany was marked by innovations in both content and literary style and by a preoccupation with the mystical, the subconscious, and the supernatural. First, it questioned the possibility of apprehending truth through the methods employed by science; second, it retrieved categories that had no place in a world that is experienced as fact; and third, it redefined notion of truth emphasizing the capacity of the individual to create new meaning and values.

Here lies another difference between the two movements. While the philosophes of enlightenment era had criticized faith as the distorting agent to reason, the romantic thinkers denounced reason and scientific rationalism, as they crush emotion. While the philosophes regarded history as mere evidences of human ignorance, romantics viewed history as unique entity and valued native cultures and local traditions.

Yet we are a part of it and therefore if we give ourselves to our deepest yearnings we will be part of the creative part of the universe. The Enlightenment had dismissed these categories as subjective, and unable to grasp objective truth, but Rousseau held them to be crucial to the understanding of the self and society.

The final phase of musical Romanticism is represented by such late 19th-century and early 20th-century composers as Gustav MahlerRichard StraussSir Edward Elgarand Jean Sibelius.

If Copernicus is the most easily identifiable figure to mark the start of the Enlightenment then it is the German philosopher Immanuel Kant who can most readily be identified as the start of the Romantic Revolution.

Further, he emphasized the role of the individual and maintained that the creative originality of the artist is better able to capture the truth of the external world. It must be noted that Enlightenment-inspired revolutions, especially the French and the Russian one, had the idea of creating "a new man" which they meant to be a citizen with values and references entirely different from the past, but which in the eyes of critics amounted to be similar to treating man as tabula rasa with new values inserted like a program given to a robot.

Caspar David Friedrichthe greatest German Romantic artist, painted eerily silent and stark landscapes that can induce in the beholder a sense of mystery and religious awe. Hence, Voltaire uses the book to satirize the foolishness of optimism.

Enlightenment Vs Romanticism

Though romanticism officially started by the Lyrical Ballads jointly penned by Wordsworth and Coleridge inpoets like William Blake made cracks to classicism towards the end of the18th century. In the end it was the philosopher David Hume that took reason to its ultimate skeptical end.

The idea that truth is an object of construction and creation rather than discovery was subsequently developed by Nietzsche to provide a critique of the Enlightenment and even its Romantic critics.

The mostly British Enlightenment acknowledges wholeheartedly that humans especially the working classes and colonized barbarians are incredibly selfish, materialistic, pleasure-obsessed, aggressive, impulsive, short-sighted, miserable, and otherwise Voltaire also satirizes religion.

Enlightenment advocates will usually believe that "widespread ignorance causes Dystopia" sometimes bringing up the era that they called the " Dark Ages " and squabble about how education will save us all from it. Both the movements endeavored to shatter the established norms and authority.

Sigmund Freud who saw himself in the Enlightened tradition argued that Humans Are Flawed and since actions are driven by unconscious decisions, attempts at order, at home or in society will fail, but by being honest with oneself, and self-critical, and being more tolerant of human weakness, it would be possible to contain and prevent chaos.

Enlightenment tries its best to combine the two Romanticists say the Enlightenment basically went He Who Fights Monsters and is slowly sacrificing Liberty for Prosperity see the bit about Crapsack World below. Scale of Scientific Sins: The Enlightenment Philosophers attempted to discover the world, i.Compare the Apollonian/Enlightenment style of Neo-Classicism with the Dionysian/Romantic neo-Gothic revival, or, say, the Apollonian/Enlightenment style of Stanley Kubrick with the Dionysian/Romantic style of Steven Spielberg.

By the end of the 18th century itself the Enlightenment faced a challenge from a group of intellectuals who were identified as Romantics. Related Articles: Essay on the Views of Enlightenment Thinkers on “Science” Difference Between Romantics and Enlightenment Thinkers.

The Romantic rebellion was, in many ways, the ‘other’, that. Enlightenment vs Romanticism Romanticism Era Originated in Europe during the late 18th century. A reaction to the industrial revolution and the scientific reasoning that the Age of Enlightenment brought.

Romantic thinkers and writers especially admire the life sciences and earth sciences, biology, botany, geology. Enlightenment's view on science Enlightenment science had concentrated on phsics. Overall, the Romanticism and Realism era has produced some of the greatest works of art, music, literature, and theories.

As you inspect both eras, you can easily see how they play off each other. Romanticism was the product of resisting the Enlightenment and taking a stance for the arts. One of the most prominent differences between the two schools of thought is that while enlightenment thinkers showed more importance and concern towards reason in their writings and speeches, the romanticism thinkers showed a lot of concern and significance to imagination.

From the Enlightenment to the Romantic Revolution Download
A comparison of romanticism and the enlightenment era
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