Showing posts with the label Romanticism

What Is "Romantic Irony"?

Schlegel coined the term
These days, the concept of "romantic irony" is particularly difficult to grasp for a number of reasons.  In the first place, the phrase was coined by Friedrich Schlegel, the German romanticist, who was vague and aphoristic in defining the concept. The Meaning of "romantic"
Additionally, what Schlegel meant by "romantic" is a subject of debate.  According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:What Schlegel meant by the term “romantic” and its apparent cognate "Roman" (usually translated as “novel,” but having among the Romantics a much wider sense) has long been disputed. [ . . .], Schlegel saw the historical origins of “the romantic” in the wide mixture of forms and genres that characterized medieval literature and took it as the point of departure for a genre-transcending notion that allows even Shakespeare's plays or Dante's Commedia to be Romane. Romantic Irony
From a present-day perspective, "romant…

Understanding Romanticism

Romance: that form of literature where desires can be fulfilled unencumbered To understand Romanticism it is useful to begin with the traditional cliché image of a man and a woman gazing deeply into one another’s eyes over a candle-light dinner.

More pedantically, the literary theorist Northrop Frye defined romance as that mode of literature in which the laws of nature and reality are somewhat suspended and a hero can therefore perform miraculous feats. Underlying both of these notions (Frye’s mode and what the rest of us describe as “romantic”) is Frye’s idea that all culture is about giving form to human desire. Our expectations of the chivalrous knight of Arthurian Legend and the courtly-love tradition have more in common with modern notions of romantic love than is at first apparent.

Though rarely acknowledged, the knight who slays a dragon and the perfect lovers are both examples of reality and nature overwhelmed by our imaginings of human desires being fulfilled.

The word "…