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Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631198963.2005.x


Although this term may be used in the broad sense of a certain attitude of mind not confined to any one age or cultural tradition, it usually refers to a movement or tendency of thought and sensibility which characterized European literature, art and philosophy during the first half of the nineteenth century. It was to some extent anticipated by intellectual developments back in the eighteenth century (such as in the writings of J.J. Rousseau), but the movement as a whole acquired its identifying features—diverse indeed as these were—in reaction to the ideals of the E nlightenment , against which, in some important respects, it sharply protested. But although romanticism may be seen on a number of counts as the negation of classicism it is conspicuous for what it affirmed rather than for anything it may have been concerned to deny. For the period in question, in its manifold achievements, must be reckoned as one of the most remarkably creative in modern European history. What, then, were its overall aims, and wherein did its unity lie? One has only to pose these questions to perceive a basic problem. For although the movement's objectives can be specified fairly easily, their consistency has been doubted. Thus an erudite and discerning critic, A.O. Lovejoy ([1924] 1948), could descry only ‘a plurality of romanticisms’, without unitary perspective. It is a view, however, which must ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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