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Elements of Romanticism


A movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that marked the reaction to the formalism of the preceding (Neoclassic) period, which valued reason, formal rules, and demanded order in beauty.


Individualism The predominance Idealization of rural

of imagination over reason and formal rules Love of nature Longing for the Past (nostalgia) life Enthusiasm for the wild, irregular, or grotesque in nature Enthusiasm for the uncivilized or natural

The Five Is of Romanticism

Inspiration Intuition (knowledge without reason) Innocence Imagination Individuality

More Characteristics:


in human rights Sentimentality Melancholy Interest in the gothic

Supernatural And Gothic

Supernatural motifs appear throughout literature but are most prominent in the literary genre labeled "Gothic. Frankenstein belongs specifically to the Gothic genre.

Gothic literature derives its name from its similarities to the Gothic medieval cathedrals, which feature a majestic, unrestrained architectural style with often savage or grotesque ornamentation (the word "Gothic" derives from "Goth," the name of one of the barbaric Germanic tribes that invaded the Roman Empire).

The architecture evokes the sense of humanitys division between a finite, physical identity and the often terrifying and bizarre forces of the infinite. The Gothic aesthetic also embodies an ambition to transcend earthly human limitations and reach the divine.


Gothic architecture, Gothic literature focuses on humanitys fascination with the grotesque, the unknown, and the frightening, inexplicable aspects of the universe and the human soul.


Gothic creates horror by portraying human individuals in confrontation with the overwhelming, mysterious, terrifying forces found in the cosmos and within themselves.

Supernatural/Gothic Literary Motifs

A motif is a
repeated theme, image, or literary device. Look for these common supernatural/Gothic motifs in Frankenstein.

The Double or Doppelganger (German for "double-goer"): Defined by Federick S. Frank as "a second self or

alternate identity, sometimes, but not always, a physical twin. The Doppelganger in demonic form can be a
reciprocal or lower bestial self or a Mr. Hyde. Gothic doppelgangers often haunt and threaten the rational psyche of the victim to whom they become attached" (435).

The double motif involves a comparison or contrast between two characters or sets of characters within a work to represent opposing forces in human nature. For example, Dr. Jekyll and his evil double Mr. Hyde are contrasted to represent the battle between the rational, intellectual self (Jekyll) and the irrational, bestial self (Hyde

The double motif suggests that humans are burdened with a dual nature, a soul forever divided.
Double characters are often paired in common relationships, such as twins, siblings, husband/wife, parent/child, hero/villain, creator/creature, etc.

Forbidden Knowledge or Power/ Faust Motif:

Forbidden Knowledge or Power/ Faust Motif:

Forbidden knowledge/power is often the Gothic protagonists goal. The Gothic "hero" questions the universes ambiguous nature and tries to comprehend and control those supernatural powers that mortals cannot understand. He tries to overcome human limitations and make himself into a "god."

Forbidden Knowledge or Power/ Faust Motif:

This ambition usually leads to the heros "fall" or destruction; however, Gothic tales of ambition sometimes paradoxically evoke our admiration because they picture individuals with the courage to defy fate and cosmic forces in an attempt to transcend the mundane to the eternal and sublime.

Satanic Hero/Fallen Man:

The courageous search for forbidden knowledge or power always leads the hero to a fall, a corruption, or destruction, such as Satans or Adams fall. Consequently, the hero in Gothic literature is often a "villain." The hero is isolated from others by his fall and either becomes a monster or confronts a monster who is his double.

Monster/Satanic Hero/Fallen Man:

He becomes a "Satanic hero" if, like Satan, he has courageously defied the rules of Gods universe and has tried to transform himself into a god. Note: the mad scientist, who tries to transcend human limitations through science, is a type of Satanic hero that is popular in Gothic literature (examples include Dr. Jekyll and Frankenstein).

Multiple Narrative/Spiral Narrative Method:

The story is frequently told through a series of secret manuscripts or multiple tales, each revealing a deeper secret, so the narrative gradually spirals inward toward the hidden truth. The narrator is often a first-person narrator compelled to tell the story to a fascinated or captive listener (representing the captivating power of forbidden knowledge). 0Documents/Frankenstein/Background.pdf

Dreams/Visions: Terrible truths are often revealed to characters through dreams or visions. The hidden knowledge of the universe and of human nature emerges through dreams because, when the person sleeps, reason sleeps, and the supernatural, unreasonable world can break through. Dreams in Gothic literature express the dark, unconscious depths of the psyche that are repressed by reason truths that are too terrible to be comprehended by the conscious mind.

Signs/Omens: Reveal the intervention of cosmic forces and often represent psychological or spiritual conflict (e.g., flashes of lightning and violent storms might parallel some turmoil within a characters mind).

Famous Romantics
Literature, Art, Philosophy and Music

Romanticism in Germany

Foundation of Romanticism was from Immanuel Kant (17241804)

Questioned nature of the real world Events are merely based on our internal perceptions

Romanticism in Germany

Von Goethe (17491832)

Faust Character makes a pact with the devil in quest for knowledge Academic outsiders Less-gifted people didnt appreciate their brilliance

English Romantic Poets

Percy Bysshe Shelley

I am the eye which the Universe Beholds itself and knows itself divine; All harmony of instrument or verse, All prophecy, all medicine is mine, All light of art or nature; to my son Victory and praise in its own right belong

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Married Mary Wollstonecraft (named after her mother) Son of aristocrat Died mysteriously in 1822 Encouraged his wife, Mary Shelley, to write fiction

English Romanticism

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) Founder of English Romantic movement Witnessed revolutionary France Inspired by political idealism Bliss was it, in that dawn to be alive.

English Romanticism

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) Withdrew to the English countryside 1799 lived in Lake District (his poetry made it famous)

English Romanticism

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) Led an unconventional life Mysterious and gloomy heroes in his books (Byronic Hero) Very dramatic

English Romanticism

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Fame spread throughout Europe Identified with Greek fight for independence Died in 1824 while training soldiers in Greece

English Romanticism

John Keats (17951821)

Eve of Saint Agnes Ode to a Nightingale Ode to Autumn Died at the age of 26 from tuberculosis

Emotion in Romantic Painting


French troops take over Spain


were driven out and Goya was commissioned to remember the atrocities in Madrid

Theodore Gericault (1791-1824)

Young French liberal Used violent lighting to enhance emotions Used painting to expose scandal

Raft of the Medusa by Gericault

(French government ship, wrecked off the coast of Africa in 1816)

Romantic Music

Music, like painting could release emotion Built on traditions of 18th century masters

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


classical and romantic periods Age 32 realized deafness was incurable Continued to compose despite inability to hear

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


romantic poetry and music Performed in only one public concert

Frederic Chopin

virtuoso Dreamy, brooding, melancholic, and fiery Performed in upper-class drawing rooms

Franz Liszt

child prodigy pianist Greatest showman was the first rock star

Franz Liszt

child prodigy pianist Greatest showman was the first rock star

Victor Berlioz

Fantastique composed entirely on guitar

Richard Wagner

of the Valkryies