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Romanticism is an intellectual artistic and philosophical movement that originated in late 18th century Western Europe and redefined the fundamental ways in which people in Western cultures thought about themselves and about their world The term Romanticism derives ultimately from the fictional romances written during the middle ages and involved episodic adventures of a single individualThese were notable for their use of magic and focus on personal characteristics of honor and valor with a sense of lofty idealism In English the term Romantick also embodied experiences of human inadequacy and guilt quite separate from their traditional Christian grounding But in the 18th century the term came to designate a new kind of exotic landscape which evoked feelings of pleasant melancholy The term Romantic as a designation for a school of literature opposed to the Classic was first used by the German critic Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel 1772-1829 at the beginning of the 19th century From Germany this meaning was carried to England and France Romanticism has many beginnings and takes many different forms so that in his essay On the Discrimination of Romanticism1924 A O Lovejoy argued that the word Romantic has come to mean so many things that by itself it means nothing It has ceased to perform the function of a verbal sign 1 One of his solutions was to recommend the use of the word Romanticism in the plural only another was to recommend closer analysis of what Romantic ideas consist of He gave three examples the preference for nature over art and for the primitive over the sophisticated the idea that classic art is limited and Romantic art is infinite and the unquestionably Romantic Chateaubriands belief in art and its rules In his essay The concept of Romanticism in Literary History 1949 Rene Wellek defined the meaning of Romanticism as new designation for poetry opposed to the poetry of neoclassicism and drawing its inspiration and models
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