Music Work

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Romanticism (literature), a movement in the literature of virtually every country of Europe, the United States, and Latin America that lasted from about 1750 to about 1870, characterized by reliance on the imagination and subjectivity of approach, freedom of thought and expression, and an idealization of nature. The term romantic first appeared in 18th-century English and originally meant “romancelike”—that is, resembling the fanciful character of medieval romances.

II ORIGINS AND INSPIRATION
By the late 18th century in France and Germany, literary taste began to turn from classical and neoclassical conventions (see Classic, Classical, and Classicism). Inspiration for the romantic approach initially came from two great shapers of thought, French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau and German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

A The Romantic Spirit
Rousseau established the cult of the individual and championed the freedom of the human spirit; his famous announcement was “I felt before I thought.” Goethe and his compatriots, philosopher and critic Johann Gottfried von Herder and historian Justus Möser, provided more formal precepts and collaborated on a group of essays entitled Von deutscher Art und Kunst (Of German Style and Art, 1773). In this work the authors extolled the romantic spirit as manifested in German folk songs, Gothic architecture, and the plays of English playwright William Shakespeare. Goethe sought to imitate Shakespeare's free and untrammeled style in his Götz von Berlichingen (1773; translated 1799), a historical drama about a 16th-century robber knight. The play, which justifies revolt against political authority, inaugurated the Sturm und Drang (storm and stress) movement, a forerunner of German romanticism. Goethe's novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774; translated 1779) was also in this tradition. One of the great influential…...

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