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Romanticism and

Existentialism
History and Sociocultural
Influences
By Lisa L. Hazelwood

Enlightenment v. Romanticism  Whereas the Enlightenment emphasized reason and deduction. .What is Romanticism?    Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in late 18th century Western Europe. A revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Enlightenment period thought to be influenced by the ideologies and events of the French Revolution. Romanticism focused on imagination and feeling – knowledge through intuition.

was strongly influential in the socialist movement and growth of nationalism. Socialism emerged – rejection of the ruling classes and a belief that people can govern themselves Rousseau. often considered the first romanticist. rather than rulers . and the country's Roman Catholic Church was forced to undergo a radical restructuring. republicanism replaced the absolute monarchy in France.Origins of the Romantic Movement  The French Revolution (1789–1799)    During this time.  The Social Contract questioned the idea that people need government and charged that the people should make the laws directly.

customs. and the arts.Romantic Nationalism    One of Romanticism's key ideas. Proposed that the state derives its political legitimacy from the unity of those it governs. language. and a focus on local customs and traditions. so that each nation had a unique individual quality that would be expressed in laws. which became a central theme of Romantic art and political philosophy. . logic. Led to the development of national languages. folklore.

In 1799. drafted a constitution that made him First Consul and essentially dictator. the French Consulate was formed to rule the new Republic. He eventually crowned himself Emperor in 1804.The Napoleon Empire    Following the Revolution. Napoleon.   In other words… republicanism is dead! Over the course of little more than a decade. the armies of France under his command fought almost every European power and acquired control of most of the western and central mainland of Europe. . one of the three Consuls.

Romantic nationalism helped areas conquered by Napoleon that lost their independence to maintain a national identity.Romantics Response to Napoleon    Romantics had embraced the French Revolution in its beginnings. . Romantics used nationalism to resist against the Napoleon Empire. then found themselves fighting the counter-Revolution in Napoleon’s dictatorship.  Revival of ancient myths. customs and traditions by Romanticist poets and painters helped to distinguish their indigenous cultures from those of the dominant nations.

Romanticism and the Arts  Music      Growing use of folk music Heightened contrasts and emotions Music that tells a story Conveys a sense of individuality and freedom Beethoven. Wagner . Chopin. Schumann.

Mary Shelley. Nathaniel Hawthorne . rationalism) in their works Emergence of folk epics..g.Romanticism and the Arts  Visual Arts and Lit     Focused on emotion and dreams (vs. Lord Byron. legendary work of poetry of defining importance to a certain nation (e. Beowulf). and fairy tales. legends. Goethe. Edgar Allan Poe. The concept of a national epic emerged – an extensively mythologized.

Romanticism focused on the whole of human nature and the irrational components of human beings. .Existentialism v. They can both be considered a resistance to rationalism and reasoning. Romanticism Existentialism was a philosophical movement that occurred     within the Romantic era. Existentialism looked a little deeper than human nature. to the very meaning of our existence. They both value subjectivity over objectivity. However. but was different from Romanticism.  Questions regarding the meaning of life and subjective experience were seen as more important than all other scientific and philosophical pursuits.

Being thrown into existence is the basis for any other thoughts or ideas that humans have or definitions of themselves that they create. In the 19th century.  How did I get into the world? Why was I not asked about it. Idea that human beings are have no choice to come into existence. why was I not informed of the rules and regulations but just thrust into the ranks as if I had been bought by a peddling shanghaier of human beings? How did I get involved in this big enterprise called actuality? Why should I be involved? Isn't it a matter of choice? And if I am compelled to be involved. and decision as fundamental to human existence. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. realized that human nature and human identity vary depending on what values and beliefs humans hold. Is there no manager? To whom shall I make my complaint? – Kierkegaard . where is the manager—I have something to say about this.Existentialism – Who am I?    Existentialism emphasizes action. freedom. the first philosophers considered fundamental to the existentialist movement.

where man is created to fulfill some goal.Sartrean Existentialism    Jean-Paul Sartre. Existence precedes essence – This is a reversal of the Aristotlean premise that essence precedes existence. Sartrean existentialism argues man exists without purpose. finds himself in the world and defines the meaning of his existence. is perhaps the most well-known existentialist and is one of the few to have accepted being called an "existentialist". emerging in the 20th century. Identities are constructed by the individual consciousness only – Sartre argues that no one else. can choose your "identity" for you . including God if he existed.

Responsibility for choices – The individual consciousness is responsible for all the choices he/she makes. Here. There are no objective standards on which to base values. existentialists draw on psychological concepts to investigate feelings such as angst and despair that arise by being in “bad faith”. Sartre claims that to deny the responsibility is to be in “bad faith”. Condemned to be free – Because our actions and choices are ours and ours alone. . we are condemned to be responsible for our free choices. regardless of the consequences.Sartrean Existentialism    Values are subjective – Something is valuable because the individual consciousness chooses to value it.

a person can use it to achieve his or her full potential in life.most anxiety comes from a threat to social. patients are advised to use it as grounds for change.   "Anxiety occurs because of a threat to the values a person identifies with his existence as a self. emotional and moral values the person identifies with himself. Existential psychology –initiated by Rollo May and Carl Rogers.” – May Therapists using an existential approach believe that the patient can harness his or her anxiety and use it constructively.Existentialism and Psychology    Sigmund Freud was affected in many of his theories by Nietzsche.. Instead of suppressing anxiety. By embracing anxiety as inevitable.. Anxiety's importance in existentialism makes it a popular topic in psychotherapy. both of whom were influenced by Kierkegaard. .