The Romance Heart
The era of Romanticism was a literary movement in the last years of the 18th century. In the modern romantic age, the whole movement was directed toward the feelings and their exploration. Different ages can be characterised with different literary movements that are directed to various aspects of life. For instance, medieval literary works were directed at questions like where we end up and when while pieces of literature of Modern and Renaissance were lead toward humans’ personalities, how one fits in this world and for what purpose. Romantic literary works, on the other hand, were paying attention on what people felt and how deep were their feelings. Most of the times these feelings could be turn even into the romanticized view of this world, its nature, the intimate thinking of everyone. Besides, we should not forget the movement of Romanticism appeared as the opposition toward Enlightenment.
Feelings were presented as the opposition against logic and reason. The age of Romanticism, unlike the age of Enlightenment, placed feelings, emotions, instincts and predictions as the counterbalance with regard to rationalism, logic and reason. In the time when poets and writers of the Enlightenment paid their attention to rules and regulations, or certain subjects and were trying to write about it, the litterateurs of Romanticism made attempts to follow only feelings, instincts and emotions while creating their masterpieces. For instance, Voltaire in his novella Candide presented readers the emotional development of main character. Despite Candide always happened to be in strange incidents, Voltaire showed us how the main hero in his novella from the world of innocence was trapped and turned into the world of experience. Terrified and innocent man in the beginning of the writing piece, Candide turns into the experienced courageous man. Being kicked from his family castle, he felt the taste of real, not always pleasant and happy life. Candide is considered as one of the greatest and the most readable works written by Voltaire. It was highly criticised for its sarcastic tone toward some issues of life in those days, but, nevertheless, some of the romantic authors were highly affected by Voltaire’s novella. For example, it is said that Charles Brown, an American novelist, was strongly affected by Candide,and even his novel Edgar Huntly has very similar themes with Voltaire’s novella.
Another author, whose work embodied not so romantic traditions, but other ones, still is considered to have the notes of Romanticism in it. Goethe’s Faust is one of the major works in the world’s literature, which displays the main features of romantic genre in it. One of such characteristics is Faust’s honourable, praising speeches about nature. Goethe believed that very nature is a great spiritual source of humanity. He was also sure that with reliving the connections with nature that once were lost a man could find its saving from evil. Goethe stated the selfishness and indifference toward love, pure feelings, Mother Nature a man could lose himself, his soul. A very close to the Faust conclusion, one could find in The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy. This story tells us about the man, who being on the edge between life and death, understands what he has lost; that during whole his life he neglected the true feelings, the spiritual core of life and, instead, lived life just full of the material enjoyments. Tolstoy showed us how even being an extraordinary man, who changed many lives; after all, one is still dying like an ordinary human being, moreover with spiritual distress.
All the literary works mentioned above representing Romanticism, paid readers’ attention toward the reality of those days, when people who were just living by the rules and regulations, rejecting every emotion, every pure feeling, were also dying, or continue living with emotional distress, with understanding what they lost in their lives, what they lacked in it.