Gioachino Antonio Rossini was an Italian composer who gained fame for his 39 operas, although he wrote many songs, some chamber music and piano pieces, some sacred music. He set new standards for both comic and serious opera before retiring from large-scale composition while still in his thirties, at the height of his popularity. Born in Pesaro to parents who were both musicians, Rossini began to compose by the age of 12 and was educated at music school in Bologna, his first opera was performed in Venice in 1810. In 1815 he was engaged to manage theatres in Naples. In the period 1810–1823 he wrote 34 operas for the Italian stage that were performed in Venice, Ferrara and elsewhere. During this period he produced his most popular works including the comic operas L'italiana in Algeri, Il barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola, which brought to a peak the opera buffa tradition he inherited from masters such as Domenico Cimarosa, he composed opera seria works such as Otello and Semiramide. All of these attracted admiration for their innovation in melody and instrumental colour, dramatic form.
In 1824 he was contracted by the Opéra in Paris, for which he produced an opera to celebrate the coronation of Charles X, Il viaggio a Reims, revisions of two of his Italian operas, Le siège de Corinthe and Moïse, in 1829 his last opera, Guillaume Tell. Rossini's withdrawal from opera for the last 40 years of his life has never been explained. From the early 1830s to 1855, when he left Paris and was based in Bologna, Rossini wrote little. On his return to Paris in 1855 he became renowned for his musical salons on Saturdays attended by musicians and the artistic and fashionable circles of Paris, for which he wrote the entertaining pieces Péchés de vieillesse. Guests included Franz Liszt, Anton Rubinstein, Giuseppe Verdi and Joseph Joachim. Rossini's last major composition was his Petite messe solennelle, he died in Paris in 1868. Rossini was born in 1792 in Pesaro, a town on the Adriatic coast of Italy, part of the Papal States, he was the only child of Giuseppe Rossini, a trumpeter and horn player, his wife Anna, née Guidarini, a seamstress by trade, daughter of a baker.
Giuseppe Rossini was impetuous and feckless. Stendhal, who published a colourful biography of Rossini in 1824, wrote: Rossini's portion from his father, was the true native heirship of an Italian: a little music, a little religion, a volume of Ariosto; the rest of his education was consigned to the legitimate school of southern youth, the society of his mother, the young singing girls of the company, those prima donnas in embryo, the gossips of every village through which they passed. This was aided and refined by the musical barber and news-loving coffee-house keeper of the Papal village. Giuseppe was imprisoned at least twice: first in 1790 for insubordination to local authorities in a dispute about his employment as town trumpeter. In 1798, when Rossini was aged six, his mother began a career as a professional singer in comic opera, for a little over a decade was a considerable success in cities including Trieste and Bologna, before her untrained voice began to fail. In 1802 the family moved to Lugo, near Ravenna, where Rossini received a good basic education in Italian and arithmetic as well as music.
He studied the horn with his father and other music with a priest, Giuseppe Malerbe, whose extensive library contained works by Haydn and Mozart, both little known in Italy at the time, but inspirational to the young Rossini. He was a quick learner, by the age of twelve he had composed a set of six sonatas for four stringed instruments, which were performed under the aegis of a rich patron in 1804. Two years he was admitted to the recently-opened Liceo Musicale, Bologna studying singing and piano, joining the composition class soon afterwards, he wrote some substantial works while a student, including a mass and a cantata, after two years he was invited to continue his studies. He declined the offer: the strict academic regime of the Liceo had given him a solid compositional technique, but as his biographer Richard Osborne puts it, "his instinct to continue his education in the real world asserted itself". While still at the Liceo, Rossini had performed in public as a singer and worked in theatres as a répétiteur and keyboard soloist.
In 1810 at the request of the popular tenor Domenico Mombelli he wrote his first operatic score, a two-act operatic dramma serio, Demetrio e Polibio, to a libretto by Mombelli's wife. It was publicly staged in 1812, after the composer's first successes. Rossini and his parents concluded; the main operatic centre in north eastern Italy was Venice. Rossini's first opera to be staged was La cambiale di matrimonio, a on
L'elisir d'amore is a comic opera in two acts by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto, after Eugène Scribe's libretto for Daniel Auber's Le philtre; the opera premiered on 12 May 1832 at the Teatro della Canobbiana in Milan. Written in haste in a six-week period, L'elisir d'amore was the most performed opera in Italy between 1838 and 1848 and has remained continually in the international opera repertory. Today it is one of the most performed of all Donizetti's operas: it appears as number 13 on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide in the five seasons between 2008 and 2013. There are a large number of recordings, it contains the popular tenor aria "Una furtiva lagrima", a romanza that has a considerable performance history in the concert hall. Donizetti insisted on a number of changes from the original Scribe libretto; the best known of these was the insertion of "Una furtiva lagrima" and the duet between Adina and Nemorino in the first act, "Chiedi all'aura lusinghiera".
The melody to the duet "Io son ricco e tu sei bella" in act 2, scene 1 recurs in the final scene of the opera sung by Dulcamara as a solo aria with new scabrous lyrics. The central narrative theme, the triumph of sincerity, is essential to the Romantic outlook. There is personal history in this opera. Donizetti's military service was bought by a rich woman, so that, unlike his brother Giuseppe, he did not have to serve in the Austrian army; the premiere of L'elisir d'amore took place at the Teatro della Canobbiana, Milan, on 12 May 1832. Today, the opera is part of the standard repertory. Place: A small village in the Basque Country Time: The end of the 18th century Nemorino, a poor peasant, is in love with Adina, a beautiful landowner, who torments him with her indifference; when Nemorino hears Adina reading to her workers the story of Tristan and Isolde, he is convinced that a magic potion will help him to gain Adina's love. The self-important Sergeant Belcore appears with his regiment and sets about courting Adina in front of everyone.
Nemorino becomes anxious and, alone with Adina, reveals his love for her. Yet Adina rebuffs him, saying she wants a different lover every day and following her example would do Nemorino better. Nemorino declares; the travelling quack doctor, arrives, selling his bottled cure-all to the townspeople. Nemorino innocently asks Dulcamara. Despite failing to recognise the name "Isolde", Dulcamara's commercial talents enable him to sell a bottle of the cure-all – in reality only cheap wine – to Nemorino, withdrawing all his savings. To make a safe escape, Dulcamara tells Nemorino the potion needs 24 hours to take effect – by which time, the doctor will be long gone. Nemorino drinks the potion in a haste. Emboldened by the "elixir", Nemorino feigns indifference when he encounters Adina, as he expects that the elixir will facilitate his conquest of Adina the following day, she becomes annoyed. Belcore proposes marriage to Adina. Still riled by Nemorino and wishing to give him a lesson, Adina falsely promises to marry Belcore in six days' time.
Yet Nemorino only laughs in response: such confidence is sustained in the belief in the magic potion. However, when Belcore learns that his regiment must leave the next morning, Adina promises to marry him before his departure; this of course panics Nemorino. Adina, invites everyone to the wedding. Adina and Belcore's wedding party is in full swing. Dr. Dulcamara encourages Adina to sing a duet with him to entertain the guests; the notary arrives to make the marriage official. Adina is annoyed to see that Nemorino has not appeared, for the whole deal has been intended only to punish him. While everyone goes to witness the signing of the wedding contract, Dulcamara stays behind, helping himself to food and drink. Having seen the notary, Nemorino depressed, as he believes that he has lost Adina, he frantically begs him for a more powerful, faster-acting elixir. Although Dulcamara is proud to boast of his philanthropy, upon discovering that Nemorino now has no money he changes his tune and marches off, refusing to supply him anything.
Belcore emerges, musing about why Adina has put off the wedding and signing of the contract. He asks his rival why he is depressed; when Nemorino says he needs cash, Belcore suggests joining the army, as he'll receive funds on the spot. Belcore tries to excite Nemorino with tales of military life, while Nemorino only thinks of getting the potion and thus winning Adina, if only for a day before departure. Belcore produces a contract. Nemorino vows to rush and buy more potion, while Belcore muses about how sending Nemorino off to war has so dispatched his rival. After the two men have left, Giannetta gossips with the women of the village. Swearing them all to secrecy, she reveals that Nemorino's uncle has just died and left his nephew a large fortune. However, neither Nemorino nor Adina is yet aware of this. Nemorino enters, having spent his military signing bonus on – and consumed – a large amount of the fake elixir from Dr. Dulcamara. Hoping to share hi
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was a Scottish historical novelist, poet and historian. Many of his works remain classics of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Old Mortality, The Lady of the Lake, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor. Although remembered for his extensive literary works and his political engagement, Scott was an advocate and legal administrator by profession, throughout his career combined his writing and editing work with his daily occupation as Clerk of Session and Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire. A prominent member of the Tory establishment in Edinburgh, Scott was an active member of the Highland Society, served a long term as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and was a Vice President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland; as Encyclopædia Britannica argues: "Scott gathered the disparate strands of contemporary novel-writing techniques into his own hands and harnessed them to his deep interest in Scottish history and his knowledge of antiquarian lore.
The technique of the omniscient narrator and the use of regional speech, localized settings, sophisticated character delineation, romantic themes treated in a realistic manner were all combined by him into a new literary form, the historical novel. His influence on other European and American novelists was immediate and profound, though interest in some of his books declined somewhat in the 20th century, his reputation remains secure." Walter Scott was born on 15 August 1771. He was the ninth child of a Writer to the Signet and Anne Rutherford, his father was a member of a cadet branch of the Scott Clan, his mother descended from the Haliburton family, the descent from whom granted Walter's family the hereditary right of burial in Dryburgh Abbey. Via the Haliburton family, Walter was a cousin of the pre-eminent contemporaneous property developer James Burton, a Haliburton who had shortened his surname, of his son, the architect Decimus Burton. Walter subsequently became a member of the Clarence Club, of which the Burtons were members.
Five of Walter's siblings died in infancy, a sixth died when he was five months of age. Walter was born in a third-floor flat on College Wynd in the Old Town of Edinburgh, a narrow alleyway leading from the Cowgate to the gates of the University of Edinburgh, he survived a childhood bout of polio in 1773 that left him lame, a condition, to have a significant effect on his life and writing. To cure his lameness he was sent in 1773 to live in the rural Scottish Borders at his paternal grandparents' farm at Sandyknowe, adjacent to the ruin of Smailholm Tower, the earlier family home. Here he was taught to read by his aunt Jenny, learned from her the speech patterns and many of the tales and legends that characterised much of his work. In January 1775 he returned to Edinburgh, that summer went with his aunt Jenny to take spa treatment at Bath in England, where they lived at 6 South Parade. In the winter of 1776 he went back to Sandyknowe, with another attempt at a water cure at Prestonpans during the following summer.
In 1778, Scott returned to Edinburgh for private education to prepare him for school, joined his family in their new house built as one of the first in George Square. In October 1779 he began at the Royal High School of Edinburgh, he was now well able to explore the city and the surrounding countryside. His reading included chivalric romances, poems and travel books, he was given private tuition by James Mitchell in arithmetic and writing, learned from him the history of the Church of Scotland with emphasis on the Covenanters. After finishing school he was sent to stay for six months with his aunt Jenny in Kelso, attending the local grammar school where he met James and John Ballantyne, who became his business partners and printed his books. Scott began studying classics at the University of Edinburgh in November 1783, at the age of 12, a year or so younger than most of his fellow students. In March 1786 he began an apprenticeship in his father's office to become a Writer to the Signet. Whilst at both high school and university, Scott had become a friend of Adam Ferguson, the son of Professor Adam Ferguson who hosted literary salons.
Scott met the blind poet Thomas Blacklock, who lent him books and introduced him to James Macpherson's Ossian cycle of poems. During the winter of 1786–87 the 15-year-old Scott met Robert Burns at one of these salons, for what was to be their only meeting; when Burns noticed a print illustrating the poem "The Justice of the Peace" and asked who had written the poem, only Scott knew that it was by John Langhorne, was thanked by Burns. Scott describes this event in his memoirs where he whispers the answer to his friend Adam who tells Burns Another version of the event is described in Literary Beginnings When it was decided that he would become a lawyer, he returned to the university to study law, first taking classes in moral philosophy and universal history in 1789–90. After completing his studies in law, he became a lawyer in Edinburgh; as a lawyer's clerk he made his first visit to the Scottish Highlands directing an eviction. He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1792, he had an unsuccessful love suit with Williamina Belsches of Fettercairn, who married Scott's friend Sir William Forbes, 7th Baronet.
As a boy and young man, Scott was fascinated by the oral traditions of the Scottish Borders. He was an obsessive collector of stories, developed an innovative method of recording what he heard at the feet of local story-tellers using carvings on twigs, to avoid
The well-made play is a dramatic genre from nineteenth-century theatre first codified by French dramatist Eugène Scribe. Dramatists Victorien Sardou, Alexandre Dumas and Emile Augier wrote within the genre, each putting a distinct spin on the style; the well-made play was a popular form of entertainment. By the mid-19th century, however, it had entered into common use as a derogatory term. Henrik Ibsen and the other realistic dramatists of the 19th century built upon its technique of careful construction and preparation of effects in the genre problem play. "Through their example", Marvin Carlson explains, "the well-made play became and still remains the traditional model of play construction." In the English language, that tradition found its early 20th-century codification in Britain in the form of William Archer's Play-Making: A Manual of Craftmanship, in the United States with George Pierce Baker's Dramatic Technique. The form has a strong Neoclassical flavour, involving a tight plot and a climax that takes place close to the end of the play.
The well-made play retains the shape of Aristotle's ideal Greek-tragedy model outlined in his Poetics. The well-made play can be broken down into a specific set of criteria. First, the story depends upon a key piece of information kept from some characters, but known to others. Most of the story takes place before the action of the play begins, making the beginning of the play a late point of attack. Exposition during act one explains actions that precede the opening scene, generates the audience's sympathy for the hero over their rival; the plot moves forward in a chain of actions. The pace builds towards a climactic obligatory scene; this scene contains peripeteia. A dénouement follows, in which all remaining plot points are resolved. A recurrent device that the well-made play employs is the use of letters or papers falling into unintended hands, in order to bring about plot twists and climaxes; the letters bring about an unexpected and climactic reversal of fortune, in which it is revealed that someone is not who they pretend to be.
Mistaken or mysterious identity as a basis for plot complications is referred to as quid pro quo. Eugene Scribe contributed over opera libretti to the dramatic literature canon. Thirty-five of these works are considered well-made-plays. History of French Neoclassic form lays a critical foundation for Scribe, who draws upon devices determined by the French Academy to create his dramatic structure. French Neoclassicism conceives of Verisimilitude, or the appearance of a plausible truth, as the aesthetic goal of a play. In 1638, the French Academy codified a system by which dramatists could achieve Verisimilitude in a verdict on the Le Cid debate; the monarchy enforced the standards of French Neoclassicism with a system of censorship under which funding and practice permits were issued to a limited number of theater companies. This system underwent small modifications, but remained the same up until the French Revolution; until restrictive laws inhibited the growth of new practices with the exception of those advocated by a few intrepid dramatists such as Voltaire and Beaumarchais.
After the French Revolution, adherence to the form became an artistic choice instead of a political necessity. Although Scribe drew upon Neoclassic devices, he used them in original ways that would not have been acceptable without new popular forms, such as those developed at the Boulevard theatres. In order to work around the formal monopoly of the Comédie Française in the middle of the 18th century, theater troupes experimenting with new dramatic forms sprang up along the Boulevard du Temple, their aim was to escape the censors, please the public. Popular reception of the boulevard theatres' explorations helped to crack the edifice of Neoclassic form. After the French Revolution, French theater opened to the influence of practices that had meanwhile developed in other places around Europe. Scribe's development of a form that could be used to turn out new material suited the demands of a growing middle class theater audience. Scribe's influence on theater, according to Marvin J. Carlson, "cannot be overestimated".
Carlson observes that, unlike other influential theater thinkers, Scribe did not write prefaces or manifestos declaiming his ideas. Scribe influenced theater, with craftsmanship, he honed a dramatic form into a reliable mould that could be applied not only to different content, but to different content from a variety of playwrights. Carlson identifies a single instance of Scribe's critical commentary from a speech Scribe gave to the Académie française in 1836. Scribe expressed his view of what draws the audiences to theater: "not for instruction or improvement, but for diversion and distraction, that which diverts them most is not truth, but fiction. To see again what you have before your eyes daily will not please you, but that, not available to you in every day life - the extraordinary and the romantic."Although Scribe advocated for a theater of amusement over didacticism, other writers, beginning with Alexandre Dumas, adopted Scribe's structure to create didactic plays. In a letter to a critic, Dumas fils states,"... if I can find some means to force people to discuss the problem, the lawmaker to revise the law, I shall have done more than my duty as a writer, I shall have done my duty as a man.".
Dumas' thesis plays are plays written in the well-made style that take clear mora
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery and sometimes dance or ballet; the performance is given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor. Opera is a key part of the Western classical music tradition. Understood as an sung piece, in contrast to a play with songs, opera has come to include numerous genres, including some that include spoken dialogue such as musical theater, Singspiel and Opéra comique. In traditional number opera, singers employ two styles of singing: recitative, a speech-inflected style and self-contained arias; the 19th century saw the rise of the continuous music drama. Opera originated in Italy at the end of the 16th century and soon spread through the rest of Europe: Heinrich Schütz in Germany, Jean-Baptiste Lully in France, Henry Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century.
In the 18th century, Italian opera continued to dominate most of Europe, attracting foreign composers such as George Frideric Handel. Opera seria was the most prestigious form of Italian opera, until Christoph Willibald Gluck reacted against its artificiality with his "reform" operas in the 1760s; the most renowned figure of late 18th-century opera is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who began with opera seria but is most famous for his Italian comic operas The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, as well as Die Entführung aus dem Serail, The Magic Flute, landmarks in the German tradition. The first third of the 19th century saw the high point of the bel canto style, with Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini all creating works that are still performed, it saw the advent of Grand Opera typified by the works of Auber and Meyerbeer. The mid-to-late 19th century was a golden age of opera and dominated by Giuseppe Verdi in Italy and Richard Wagner in Germany; the popularity of opera continued through the verismo era in Italy and contemporary French opera through to Giacomo Puccini and Richard Strauss in the early 20th century.
During the 19th century, parallel operatic traditions emerged in central and eastern Europe in Russia and Bohemia. The 20th century saw many experiments with modern styles, such as atonality and serialism and Minimalism. With the rise of recording technology, singers such as Enrico Caruso and Maria Callas became known to much wider audiences that went beyond the circle of opera fans. Since the invention of radio and television, operas were performed on these mediums. Beginning in 2006, a number of major opera houses began to present live high-definition video transmissions of their performances in cinemas all over the world. Since 2009, complete performances are live streamed; the words of an opera are known as the libretto. Some composers, notably Wagner, have written their own libretti. Traditional opera referred to as "number opera", consists of two modes of singing: recitative, the plot-driving passages sung in a style designed to imitate and emphasize the inflections of speech, aria in which the characters express their emotions in a more structured melodic style.
Vocal duets and other ensembles occur, choruses are used to comment on the action. In some forms of opera, such as singspiel, opéra comique and semi-opera, the recitative is replaced by spoken dialogue. Melodic or semi-melodic passages occurring in the midst of, or instead of, are referred to as arioso; the terminology of the various kinds of operatic voices is described in detail below. During both the Baroque and Classical periods, recitative could appear in two basic forms, each of, accompanied by a different instrumental ensemble: secco recitative, sung with a free rhythm dictated by the accent of the words, accompanied only by basso continuo, a harpsichord and a cello. Over the 18th century, arias were accompanied by the orchestra. By the 19th century, accompagnato had gained the upper hand, the orchestra played a much bigger role, Wagner revolutionized opera by abolishing all distinction between aria and recitative in his quest for what Wagner termed "endless melody". Subsequent composers have tended to follow Wagner's example, though some, such as Stravinsky in his The Rake's Progress have bucked the trend.
The changing role of the orchestra in opera is described in more detail below. The Italian word opera means "work", both in the sense of the labour done and the result produced; the Italian word derives from the Latin opera, a singular noun meaning "work" and the plural of the noun opus. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the Italian word was first used in the sense "composition in which poetry and music are combined" in 1639. Dafne by Jacopo Peri was the earliest composition considered opera, it was writt
The Académie française is the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution, it was restored as a division of the Institut de France in 1803 by Napoleon Bonaparte, it is the oldest of the five académies of the institute. The Académie consists of forty members, known informally as les immortels. New members are elected by the members of the Académie itself. Academicians hold office for life. Philippe Pétain, named Marshal of France after the victory of Verdun of World War I, was elected to the Academy in 1931 and, after his governorship of Vichy France in World War II, was forced to resign his seat in 1945; the body has the task of acting as an official authority on the language. Its rulings, are only advisory, not binding on either the public or the government; the Académie had its origins in an informal literary group deriving from the salons held at the Hôtel de Rambouillet during the late 1620s and early 1630s.
The group began meeting at Valentin Conrart's house. There were nine members. Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister of France, made himself protector of the group, in anticipation of the formal creation of the academy, new members were appointed in 1634. On 22 February 1635, at Richelieu's urging, King Louis XIII granted letters patent formally establishing the council; the Académie française has remained responsible for the regulation of French grammar and literature. Richelieu's model, the first academy devoted to eliminating the "impurities" of a language, was the Accademia della Crusca, founded in Florence in 1582, which formalized the dominant position of the Tuscan dialect of Florence as the model for Italian. During the French Revolution, the National Convention suppressed all royal academies, including the Académie française. In 1792, the election of new members to replace those who died was prohibited, they were all replaced in 1795 by a single body called the Institut de France, or Institute of France.
Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul, decided to restore the former academies, but only as "classes" or divisions of the Institut de France. The second class of the Institut was responsible for the French language, corresponded to the former Académie française; when King Louis XVIII came to the throne in 1816, each class regained the title of "Académie". Since 1816, the existence of the Académie française has been uninterrupted; the President of France is patron of the Académie. Cardinal Richelieu adopted this role. King Louis XIV adopted the function when Séguier died in 1672. From 1672 to 1805, the official meetings of the Académie were in the Louvre; the remaining academies of the Institut de France meet in the Palais de l'Institut. The Académie française has forty seats, each of, assigned a separate number. Candidates make their applications for a specific seat, not to the Académie in general: if several seats are vacant, a candidate may apply separately for each. Since a newly elected member is required to eulogize his or her predecessor in the installation ceremony, it is not uncommon that potential candidates refuse to apply for particular seats because they dislike the predecessors.
Members are known as les Immortels because of the motto, À l'immortalité, on the official seal of the charter granted by Cardinal Richelieu. One of the Immortels is chosen by her colleagues to be the Académie's Perpetual Secretary; the Secretary is called "Perpetual" because the holder serves for life, although he or she may resign, may thereafter be styled as Honorary Perpetual Secretary. The Perpetual Secretary acts as a chief representative of the Académie; the two other officers, a Director and a Chancellor, are elected for three-month terms. The most senior member, by date of election, is the Dean of the Académie. New members are elected by the Académie itself; when a seat becomes vacant, a person may apply to the Secretary if she or he wishes to become a candidate. Alternatively, existing members may nominate other candidates. A candidate is elected by a majority of votes from voting members. A quorum is twenty members. If no candidate receives an absolute majority, another election must be performed at a date.
The election is valid only if the protector of the Académie, the President of France, grants his approval. The President's approbation, however, is only a formality. (There was a controversy about the candidacy of Paul Morand, whom Charles de Gaulle opposed in 1958. Morand was elected ten years and he was received without the customary visit, at the time of inve
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical, it was a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most in the visual arts and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, the social sciences, the natural sciences, it had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism and nationalism. The movement emphasized intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension and terror, awe—especially that experienced in confronting the new aesthetic categories of the sublimity and beauty of nature.
It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, but spontaneity as a desirable characteristic. In contrast to the Rationalism and Classicism of the Enlightenment, Romanticism revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived as authentically medieval in an attempt to escape population growth, early urban sprawl, industrialism. Although the movement was rooted in the German Sturm und Drang movement, which preferred intuition and emotion to the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the events and ideologies of the French Revolution were proximate factors. Romanticism assigned a high value to the achievements of "heroic" individualists and artists, whose examples, it maintained, would raise the quality of society, it promoted the individual imagination as a critical authority allowed of freedom from classical notions of form in art. There was a strong recourse to historical and natural inevitability, a Zeitgeist, in the representation of its ideas. In the second half of the 19th century, Realism was offered as a polar opposite to Romanticism.
The decline of Romanticism during this time was associated with multiple processes, including social and political changes and the spread of nationalism. The nature of Romanticism may be approached from the primary importance of the free expression of the feelings of the artist; the importance the Romantics placed on emotion is summed up in the remark of the German painter Caspar David Friedrich, "the artist's feeling is his law". To William Wordsworth, poetry should begin as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings", which the poet "recollect in tranquility", evoking a new but corresponding emotion the poet can mold into art. To express these feelings, it was considered the content of art had to come from the imagination of the artist, with as little interference as possible from "artificial" rules dictating what a work should consist of. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and others believed there were natural laws the imagination—at least of a good creative artist—would unconsciously follow through artistic inspiration if left alone.
As well as rules, the influence of models from other works was considered to impede the creator's own imagination, so that originality was essential. The concept of the genius, or artist, able to produce his own original work through this process of creation from nothingness, is key to Romanticism, to be derivative was the worst sin; this idea is called "romantic originality". Translator and prominent Romantic August Wilhelm Schlegel argued in his Lectures on Dramatic Arts and Letters that the most phenomenal power of human nature is its capacity to divide and diverge into opposite directions. Not essential to Romanticism, but so widespread as to be normative, was a strong belief and interest in the importance of nature; this in the effect of nature upon the artist when he is surrounded by it, preferably alone. In contrast to the very social art of the Enlightenment, Romantics were distrustful of the human world, tended to believe a close connection with nature was mentally and morally healthy.
Romantic art addressed its audiences with what was intended to be felt as the personal voice of the artist. So, in literature, "much of romantic poetry invited the reader to identify the protagonists with the poets themselves". According to Isaiah Berlin, Romanticism embodied "a new and restless spirit, seeking violently to burst through old and cramping forms, a nervous preoccupation with perpetually changing inner states of consciousness, a longing for the unbounded and the indefinable, for perpetual movement and change, an effort to return to the forgotten sources of life, a passionate effort at self-assertion both individual and collective, a search after means of expressing an unappeasable yearning for unattainable goals"; the group of words with the root "Roman" in the various European languages, such as "romance" and "Romanesque", has a complicated history, but by the middle of the 18th century "romantic" in English and romantique in French were both in common use as adjectives of praise for natural phenomena such as views and sunsets, in a sense close to modern English usage but without the amorous connotation.
The application of the term to literature first became common in Germany, where the circle around the Schlegel brothers, critics August and Friedrich, began to speak of romantische Poesie in the 1790s, contrasting it with "classic" but in terms of spirit rather than dating. Friedrich Schlegel wrote in his Dialogue on Poetry, "I seek and find the romantic among th