“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Changes in society, beginning in the 18th century and continuing into our own time, underlie the Romantic Movement. It starts as a reaction against the intellectualism of the Enlightenment, against the rigidity of social structures protecting privilege, and against the materialism of an age which, in the first stirring of the Industrial Revolution, already shows signs of making workers the slaves of machinery and of creating squalid urban environments. Unlike classicism or the baroque, romanticism has no definable standards. Indeed rejection of rules is almost a touchstone of the romantic temperament. As a result a mood which pervades much of western life during the past two centuries is hard to define except in terms of opposites. The romantic temperament responds to emotion rather than reason, is excited by mystery rather than persuaded by clarity, listens more intently to the individual conscience than to the demands of society, and prefers rebellion to acceptance. In this book, I tried to explain the journey of Romantic Movement towards nature, beauty, imagination, idealization of women and rejection of industrialization.