The 19th Century : Romanticism in Art and Literature

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, oil painting by Caspar David Friedrich, 1818.
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, oil painting by Caspar David Friedrich, 1818.

Definition of Romanticism

Romanticism (also the Romantic era or the Romantic period) is an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850.

Romanticism is 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 is a reaction to the ideas of the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature.

The meaning of romanticism has changed with time. In the 17th century, "romantic" meant imaginative or fictitious due to the birth of a new literary genre : the novel. Novels, that is to say texts of fiction, were written in vernacular (romance languages), as opposed to religious texts written in Latin.

In the 18th century, romanticism is eclipsed by the Age of Enlightenment, where everything is perceived through the prism of science and reason.

In the 19th century, "romantic" means sentimental : lyricism and the expression of personal emotions are emphasized. Feelings and sentiments are very much present in romantic works.

Thus, so many things are called romantic that it is difficult to see the common points between the novels by Victor Hugo, the paintings by Eugène Delacroix or the music by Ludwig Von Beethoven.

The romantic international

Romanticism is not limited to one country, it was an international vision of the world.

The romantic international started in Germany at the end of the 18th century with "Storm and Stress". The two most famous poets are Goethe and Schiller and many philosophers such as Fichte, Schlegel, Schelling and Herder.

Romanticism was then adopted in England. Poets are divided in two generations :

  • first generation : William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
  • second generation : George Byron, Percy Shelley, John Keats.

Romanticism reached France at the beginning of the 19th century with François-René de Chateaubriand - Atala (1801), René (1802), Le Génie du Christianisme (1802) - and Germaine de Staël : De l'Allemagne (1813).

Romanticism was a renewal, a revolution is artistic forms in paintings, literature and theatre. In Germany and Russia, romanticism created the national literature. It influenced the whole vision of art.

It was also the origin of contemporary ideas : modern individualism, the vision of nature, the vision of the work of art as an isolated object.

Joseph Mallord William Turner – The Fighting Téméraire (1836)
Joseph Mallord William Turner – The Fighting Téméraire (1836)

Political dimension : the birth of Romanticism

Romanticism represents a break with the universalistic outlook of the Enlightenment. Reason is something universal and the Enlightenment found its models in classical France and Rome : all men are the same because there are all reasonable. Romanticism if a fragmentation of consciousness, with no universalistic ideas left.

The French Revolution was characterized by universalistic ideas such as all men are created equal. It corresponds to the philosophy of the Enlightenment. The nation is born out of a social contract : it means that you are free to choose to belong to one nation or another. It is different in Germany where you don't choose your country, that is where you were born (organic nation).

There's a difference between the first and second generation of poets. British poets were rather progressive and close to dissenters. The French Revolution was full of hope of equality but it quickly changed when in 1793, it gave way to the Terror and the beheading of the King.

The first generation of British romantic poets

Only William Blake remained a radical, unlike Wordsworth and Coleridge. There was an incredible pressure in England at the time. The Prime Minister, Pitts, suspended the Habeas Corpus and adopted the Sedition Act, which was meant to prevent the freedom of press. It turned away the first generation from their ideals.

Blake wrote a visionary, imaginary poetry, really difficult to understand. Wordsworth and Coleridge were reactionary to the French Revolution. Wordsworth turned away from the excesses of the revolution and wrote a simple poetry in a democratic style. Coleridge was inspired by the Middle Ages and German thought, and was a reactionary Christian nationalist.

The second generation of British romantic poets

The second generation remains more radical but the political climate was so oppressive that the radicals left England or made more indirect political comments.

The Mask of Anarchy by Shelley was inspired by the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. In Prometheus Unbound, a man fights against political and religious oppression.

Romanticism was connected with politics of the time. Romantic poets could be either conservative or progressive, depending on their vision of the world.

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Happy Valley saison 2

Voici la seconde saison d'Happy Valley.

Happy Valley saison 2 photo

Dix-huit mois après les évènements de la première saison, Catherine reprend le travail et a reçu une médaille, la Queen's Police Medal (QPM), qui récompense sa bravoure lorsqu'elle a sauvé Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy) des mains de Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), qui est en prison à vie.

Lorsque la mère de Royce est retrouvée assassinée, Catherine se retrouve impliquée dans une série de meurtres. Alors qu'elle cherche à prouver son innocence, on lui demande d'enquêter sur une opération de trafic de personnes liée aux meurtres en série.

Pendant ce temps, le Detective Superintendent Andy Shepard (Vincent Franklin) et la Detective Inspector Jodie Shackleton (Katherine Kelly) commencent à suspecter qu'une des victimes du tueur en série a en réalité été tuée par quelqu'un d'autre.

Le petit-fils de Catherine, Ryan, est approché par quelqu'un, ce qui va engendrer toute une série de réactions chez Catherine.

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TEOREM - Le Soleil de Bacchus

J'ai découvert la chanson Le Soleil de Bacchus du groupe TEOREM sur radio Nova l'autre jour :

Sous l'soleil de Bacchus
Je bois l'vin du calice
Mes pensées s'cumulussent
Je vois des fleurs de lys

Sous l'soleil de Bacchus
Je bois l'vin du calice
Mes pensées s'cumulussent
J'deviens le roi du vice

Je nage mon frère dans les vignes du seigneur
Depuis des millénaires je savoure cette liqueur
Petit Jésus en culotte de velours
Viens à moi que je te savoure
Si la vie est trop triste
J'ai un r'mède efficace
Voici le sang du Christ
La boisson qui décrasse
Faites place à l'artiste
Qui va boire la tasse
J'vais entrer en piste
Va y avoir d'la casse

Refrain

J'en ai un coup dans la musette
J'ai abusé sur l'anisette
J'ai les dents du fond qui baignent
Excès de liqueur de châtaigne
J'en ai un coup dans l'pif
Trop de téquila paf
J'ai claqué tous mes biff's
Ma bourse a pris une baffe
Fais moi un tarif
Pour la dernière carafe
Car il arrive que j'griffe
Gare au soûlographe

Refrain

Ce soir manque de bol
J'ai mal aux amygdales
Y m'faut mon vitriol
Pour être prêt pour le bal
On va s'en mettre plein l'col
On va s'lester la cale
Dégoupille la picole
Pour les bacchanales
Mon nez d'vient écarlate
Sous l'effet d'l'eau bénite
Hop derrière la cravate
Je soigne ma trachéite
J'ai le gosier qui m'gratte
Et j'crois qu'il faut faire vite
Mec prépare ton picrate
Et ta tireuse d'élite

Refrain

Pas d'eau dans mon vin
Mais je dis oui à l'eau de vie
Pas d'mousse dans mon bain
J'la bois en fin d'après-midi

Les paroles sont de Rémi Libéreau, la musique est composé par le duo Rémi Libéreau et Curtis Efoua.

Le champ lexical de la boisson est plutôt intéressant et recherché : on retrouve même des expressions qui ne sont plus utilisées au quotidien alors qu'elles étaient courantes il y a quelques années encore.

Joli travail sur le texte et les références culturelles.

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