German Romanticism Term Paper

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German Romanticism

Romanticism is nothing but a philosophical movement that started as a result of the increased growth of nationalism, the war of liberation and the reforms in the literary and cultural realms. In philosophy, the term is also related to emotionalism. The German romanticism is found as different from most of the other romanticism that spread across the world. The political revolution that happened during the 19th century is the vital reason for the birth of Romanticism. Napoleon is regarded as the prime factor in bringing out the revolution. He was considered as the champion of the revolution, because the armies of France demolished the old order that prevailed in Germany.

We should not forget that Germany, more than any other country, had suffered very much from the conception of The Holy Roman Empire. During earlier centuries German monarchs tried to establish themselves as Roman emperors. Wherever the armies went, the old order that existed there destructed and people tasted the joy of freedom that came as a result of this breakdown. But they could not establish a society on the basis of liberty, equality and fraternity. And this defeat, in not able to create a society of their own interest, paved the way for a new movement and it was called as Romanticism and the writers and philosophers of this period were called as romantic writers and romantic philosophers.

The most influential philosophers in Germany, during that time, were J.G Herder, Fichte and Hamann and their works put seeds of growth in the movement of Romanticism in Germany. With these men, this movement of romanticism not just found a place in the literary and Aesthetic fields, but it went beyond that and became a comprehensive global view. The History of German romanticism can be traced back to the pietism of the 17th and 18th century and the Sturm und Drang period
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of German literature (1770's). This sturm and drang or storm and stress movement takes its name from a play by F.M. von Klinger. Though Rousseau's ideas considered as a major stimulus of the movement, the real essence it got only after the philosophical influence of Herder and others. During the 18th century, feeling started to be considered as more important, more significant than reason both in literature and in Ethics. (Romanticism and Freemasonry)

In the work of Johann Gottfried von Herder he had extolled the romantic spirit as manifested in the German folk songs. (Romanticism and Freemasonry) In his work "on the origin of language" he held that language and poetry are spontaneous necessities of human nature, rather than supernatural endowments. He was one of the illuminated minds, which has the potential to glow by itself, and though he was not a disciple of any one, he was very much influenced by the philosophy of Kant and also he was in sympathy with the men who were trying to break the period of form and tradition. He was considered as one of the cultural leaders, and his writings were revolutionary in its stress on the problems of man in contemporary society. Self-determination, he emphasized as a must for all people and in Herder's work we can find a theoretical justification for the pursuit of cultural and political autonomy.

Johann Georg Hamann was Germany's most famous poet philosopher. During 19th century, his writings were occasionally studied and regarded as the father of German classicism and also of Romanticism. Joseph Nadler, who regarded as an exponent in Hamman's writings, writes "Hamman is the man who infected his century with his spirit and completely changed it. That awakening of the inner man around 1760, which found its artistic expression in classic-romantic culture, arose from Hamann. The enigmatic power which this rare man radiated forth into his entire age is among the insoluble secrets of the history of human thought and spirit." (Johann Georg Hamann (1730-1788), Preacher…

Sources Used in Documents:


Fichte's Beginnings (1762-1794)" Retrieved at Fichte's philosophical vocation accessed on 03/22/2004

Myers, Ellen. "Johann Georg Hamann (1730-1788), Preacher of Christ in the Wilderness of the Enlightenment" The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy Retrieved at Accessed on 03/22/2004

Romanticism and Freemasonry" Retrieved at Accessed on 03/22/2004

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