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Transcript of Hopeless Romantic
“I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairy tale, I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet, lead her down the stairwell. This ain’t Hollywood, this is a small town, I was a dreamer before you came and let me down. And it’s too late for you and your white horse, to catch me now.” -Taylor Swift, ‘White Horse’. Romanticism is a movement in the arts that began in the late 18th century, encouraging inspiration, subjectivity, and the primary imagination of the individual. It gave way to the creativity of artists based on themselves, not standards set by others. It allows the creator to express their love of nature as well as convey strong emotions. But is there any evidence that romanticism is still apparent in the modern era?
Someone once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” So let’s start from the beginning. Romanticism, unlike the other ‘isms’, isn’t directly political, but more intellectual. The term itself wasn’t used until the 1840’s despite truly beginning in the late 18th century, the movement primarily centering around Literature and Art. In England, words like Byron and Mary Shelley were used to epitomize romanticism. In France, the campaign was led by men such as Victor Hugo, who wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and though it contained no national boundaries, romanticism was especially endemic in Germany, lead by artists such as Goethe and thinkers like Hegel (Source 1). The basic idea of Romanticism is that reason can’t solve everything, and often searched for deeper, subconscious ideals in response to the Enlightenment era. While the Enlightenment, for example, believed that the Middle Ages, otherwise known as the ‘Dark Ages’, was a period of ignorance and irrationality, the romantics idealized the Middle ages as “a time of spiritual depth and adventure” (Source 1).
So how is romanticism apparent in the modern world? When you think of art class, many people imagine a simple room with easels instead of desks, small chairs, paints, art supplies (duh), and people drawing bowls of fruit. However, there are those special individuals who aren’t like the rest. Instead of drawing fruit, a little girl is drawing flowers based on the textures of a strawberry. Another boy may create a painting of a dog with apple fur and a leaf on its head. The teacher looks at every child’s bowl of fruit, then takes notice of these kids. The children are using their minds to create works of art from their imagination, not what they are told to make. This, believe it or not, is an example of romanticism.
Another case of romanticism is located in a 1990’s classic movie almost every little kid grows up knowing. ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ a folktale originally written by french author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (Source 2), is a great example of the clashing forces of nature. The children’s story we know today was adapted and written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, published in 1756. Belle (voiced by Paige O’Hara), being the youthful, innocent heroine, attempts to save the Beast (voiced by Robby Benson) from his predetermined fate, the tale being told from the point of view of the red rose, symbolizing nature. The story itself conveys a message about monstrosity, the beast a mirror of our own anxieties. Maria Tatar, professor of folklore and mythology at Harvard (Source 3), said, “recognizing also that the monster out there isn't necessarily the one to be feared. It could be the one inside of you. If you let go of some of that and you face your fears, you discover that they're not so terrifying or horrifying after all.”
Romanticism is an era that started well before anyone in the present time was born, yet it has still remained as one of the most prominent movements in history. Whether or not it is appreciated or even realized, Romanticism maintains a special place in all of our hearts.
Final Project by Taylor Jernigan