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Literary, artistic, and philosophical movement that began in Europe in the 18th century and lasted roughly until the mid-19th century. In its intense focus on the individual consciousness, it was both a continuation of and a reaction against the Enlightenment. Romanticism emphasized the individual, the subjective, the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, and the transcendental. Among its attitudes were a deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature; a general exaltation of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect; a turning in upon the self and a heightened examination of human personality; a preoccupation with the genius, the hero, and the exceptional figure; a new view of the artist as a supremely individual creator; an emphasis on imagination as a gateway to transcendent experience and spiritual truth; a consuming interest in folk culture, national and ethnic cultural origins, and the medieval era; and a predilection for the exotic, the remote, the mysterious, the weird, the occult, the monstrous, the diseased, and even the satanic. See alsoclassicism and Transcendentalism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Romanticism, visit Britannica.com.
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