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Define 5 “I”s of Romantic period?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The five "i's" of Romanticism are imagination, individualism, inspiration, intuition/instinct, and innocence.

The Romantics were, on one level, reacting against Enlightenment rationalism and science. They wanted to explore the imaginative, and what they called the fancy: the world of the supernatural, of fairies, of spirits, of spells and enchantments. They had a fascination with the Middle Ages as a period of faith in the magical.

The idea of the lone, individual artist, suffering in a tower to write his works of genius was developed by the Romantics. They believed the deepest artistic impulses were unique to a single artistic genius whose imagination functioned at a deeper level than the average person's. Coleridge explores this in his poem "Kubla Khan,"in which the average person's pretty imagination in the first stanza is contrasted to the cataclysmic explosion of dangerous and possibly demonic creativity in the poet genius.

The Romantics believed that art had to be inspired by deeply felt emotion recalled in tranquility. They wanted to capture and record moments of inspiration. Inspiration described moments of deep connection with God and nature and moments of more than ordinary awareness.

If imagination in the Romantics was a way to counter rationalism so was reliance on intuition or instinctive knowledge: what we know without having to be taught. Wordsworth, for example, thought he learned more intuitively through being in nature than from the books he read at Cambridge. He also described people as being born trailing clouds of glory from God, a kind of inborn intuitive knowledge we gradually lose.

The Romantics also celebrated the idea of innocence. They were in love with idea that humans are born innately good and only later corrupted by society. They celebrated the innocence of the child, of the common person, and of the Noble Savage. This ran against commonplace religious beliefs that argued that people were born with original sin.

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Tim Mbiti eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Romanticism emphasized on intuition and suggested that as individuals we should not only rely on conscious reasoning but also act on information from our instincts.

Romanticism lay emphasis on innocence and preferred it in its artistic expressions. This is because it was an era that tried to escape the issues brought forth by industrialization which they considered a betrayal.

Romanticism also placed emphasis on individualism. Romantics considered themselves unique and that this uniqueness is present in every individual. They clearly avoided mass mentality and considered the differences that make each individual special.

Romanticism emphasized on the use of imagination which they considered an important source of knowledge. Imagination was considered more important than facts and reason that were established at the time. This provided an avenue to challenge the status quo.

Romanticism received its inspiration from nature. Romanticist believed in nature’s ability to provide deeper meaning and knowledge, given that nature protects individual freedoms and offers an opportunity for expression of the same.