Monday, April 20, 2009

Enlightenment vs. Romanticism

While going over the Enlightenment and the main idea of the importance of reason during class, I couldn't help but think how important it is to understand the difference between the Enlightenment and Romanticism.

Romanticism was in general a reaction against the Enlightenment, which I think is something many can't grasp. Romantics valued intense emotion, and overdone characteristics. The romantics lived in a very unrestrained world, while the Enlightenment thinkers valued more of tradition. The enlightenment showed the strong importance of reason while romanticism showed more imagination and enjoyment. I think it's important to understand the difference between the two movements and it's brilliant influence.


  1. These are very good points and the list of differences between the two periods goes on and on. Romantics loved the mysterious and the indefinable characteristics that do not have mathematical or scientific explantations. Romanticism was a reaction against the Enlightenment and their emphasis on reason and intellect. Romantics emphasized the creativity of the individual mind that followed no rules. Poetry, paintings, and music were all influenced by the Romantic period.

  2. I think that the Romantics loved the mysterious, indefinable, and unclassifiable characteristics. While the I feel the people from the Enlightenment were more about basic morality, reason, and knowledge. Romanticism was in part a reaction against the Enlightenment emphasis on reason and intellect at the expense of passion and intuition. Therefore, Romantics value emotional intensity, and extremism. While they rejected the classical idea of universal standards in art. The Enlightenment valued freedom for the common people, self governance, and natural rights with the central emphasis on liberty. These qualities are what I feel most clearly define the differences between The Enlightenment, and Romanticism.

  3. Looking at the Romanticism movement, one could say it was more of a liberal reaction to the politics and happenings of the time. It transformed literature, poetry, drama, opera, and art. Romantics were open to creative freedom, spontaneity, and the obscure while the Enlightenment thinkers focused on that which was real, based in reason and factual. The Enlightenment was open to all those who had the ability to attend some fore of formal education leaving it to the elite to head this movement. Romanticism on the other hand was far more widespread among the classes and spread quite rapidly across all of Europe. The art and literature of the time were a reaction to elitist qualities of the Enlightenment era.