What are the main characteristics of Romanticism in literature? 

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Romanticism was one of the major movements in literature and the arts in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Europe, Britain, and North America. It defined itself to a large degree as a rebellion against the neoclassicism of the preceding Augustan period and the hyper-Rationalism of the Enlightenment. Rather than valuing symmetry, careful craftsmanship, and formal perfection, the Romantics emphasized intense emotions, individuality, and transcendence. 

In poetry, the Romantics rejected the heroic couplet practiced by the British Augustan poets and the French alexandrine in favor of looser, more irregular forms such as the "ode". Thematically, while Augustan work favored heroic epic, satire, and philosophical essays in verse, the Romantics wrote about nature, farm life (as opposed to a more idealized pastoral with nymphs and shepherds), the supernatural or fantastic, love, and the sublime. 

One consistent theme in Romantic literature is that of the beauty of untamed nature. Another is that of the "Romantic hero", generally a solitary, angst-ridden creative genius, more at home in nature than society. Finally, the Romantics value creative imagination and deep emotion over reason and tradition.

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