The term romantic can be regarded, from various points of view. Most frequently, it is associated with the love relations, amour, high feelings and emotions. This term can be used for the description of both objects and personalities. For example, a romantic book presupposes the story with the love elements, the emergence of corresponding feelings and mood. Similarly, we can speak about the romantic person, who is capable of creating the respective atmosphere and devote him/her to feelings and emotions, rather than logics and common sense.
However, the term romantic is not connected only with love. In general, romantic is the opposition to logical, intellectual or scientific. It worships the genuine feelings, freedom, nature and imagination. This concept is used to denote some spiritual heights or flights of fancy, as well. When judging of the etymology of the word, it is possible to notice that its primary meaning was concerned with the evaluation and admiration of natural phenomena. Respectively, romantic can be used as the opposition to the urban or social.
In addition, the notion of romantic is closely connected with the beliefs into supernatural and mystic creatures. Romantic outlook is mostly concerned with the acceptance of magical and mystical occasions and objects, rather than with the realistic image of the world. From this point of view, romantic is the opposition to the realistic. It confesses the ideas of the mysteriousness, enigmas and miracles. Romantic perception of the world differs from the logical one as it expands far beyond the scientific researches or intellectual confirmations. Thereby, it is possible to say that romantic is the synonym to imaginary, fictional or even virtual.
All of the above mentioned features have found their bright reflection in the ideas of the 19th century. Not surprisingly, this period is called the era of Romanticism. It is essential to mention that 19th century should not be solely associated with the obsession with romances and love relationships. The concept of Romanticism embraces much more profound aspects and interpretations.
First of all, we should mention that romanticism followed the Age of Enlightenment. That was the era of reason, science and intellect. This period denied the existence of any miracles of supernatural powers, believing solely in the human mind and intellect. That was the period of science development and growth. However, soon after, the humanity felt a demand to reveal its feelings, gain more freedom and explore new horizons, as well. The concept of romanticism perfectly fitted its needs in seeking self-identity and revealing personal talents. In fact, Romanticism was the logical end of the intellectual era, which provided the contemporary society with new opportunities and philosophy.
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The period of 19th century has created a new type of hero. As M. Ferber states, this hero is free, independent, and confident in personal abilities, able to accept any challenge and tackle any obstacle on the way to general fairness and justice. The romantic hero worships the universe and the god in the form of natural environment. This is the main source of inspiration and encouragement for the romantics of 19th century. In addition, that period refused the ideas of the dominant role of the human society, referring mostly to the original settings. All these peculiarities contributed to the acceptance of romanticism as the dominant philosophy and artistic movement of the 19th century. Without doubts, romanticism fully expressed the social requirements in independence, authenticity, fearlessness and openness to the future challenges.
Nowadays, considering the modern situation of social development, the humanity does not feel such a drastic demand in the romanticism. It possesses new methods and tendencies for the expression of collective and personal consciousness and awareness. Nevertheless, we cannot say that romanticism is completely absent, in the contemporary society. It exists, although it forms and content are different from those, typical for the 19th century.
The modern romanticism is usually referred to as neo-romanticism. The name was given in order to emphasize on the differences of the modern romantic outlook and the original one. The existence of this individual movement witnesses about the existence of distinctive differences between the romanticism of the19th century and modern era.
Modern romanticism finds its reflection in the lyrical songs, romance-novels, manifestations of tender and sympathy and respect toward the others. It continues to evaluate the beauty and importance of the natural environment and prefer it to the urban settings and city life. In addition, this term is used to denote the artistic movements, mainly in the sphere of fine arts and music.
Furthermore, modern romanticism is the rejection of the avant-garde and postmodernism. It stresses on the importance to preserve the original traditions and focuses on the classical representation of reality in the art works. Therefore, romanticism finds it reflection not in the philosophy of modern life, but just in its cultural aspect.
It is a commonly accepted opinion that men and women treat romance, in different ways. Thus, according to popular beliefs, women are more interested in the romantic feelings and relationships, in comparison with the men. Similarly, they are more likely to admire the type of a romantic hero and behave, correspondingly. Partially, this stereotype has a grain of truth. However, if we analyze the issue more profoundly, it is possible to assume that the concept of romanticism does not change, according to the gender perceptions of the world.
In fact, romanticism is a complicated outlook, which is spread in various fields of social life. The treatment of romantic ideas depends not on the gender differences, but also on the educational, economic, religious and cultural ones. Therefore, the gender identity is not the main factor, contributing to the comprehension and treatment of romanticism.
Many scientists tried to investigate the perception of romanticism in various cultures. Thus, according to the recent studies, the treatment of romanticism tends to vary among different cultures. The researchers admit that national mentality, cultural peculiarities, ethnical traditions and customs strongly influence the philosophy of romanticism and adapt it, according to their demands and needs. As a result, the attitude toward romanticism and its interpretation can considerably differ in distant cultures.
S. Seepersad and others argue that US population is more devoted to romantic feelings and manifestations, in comparison with the Korean ones. The difference consists in the demand in the romantic relationships and their displays, in the everyday life. Thus, the researchers have come up with the conclusions that American culture treats the romance more precisely and responsibly, than the Korean one. In the latter, the concept of romanticism does not play a dominant role in the expression of its cultural characteristics.
In addition, every culture develops its unique image of the idealized hero. This image depends on the social situation, historical context, noticeable events and mentality. From this point of view, it is not surprising that various cultures treat romanticism differently. This is a logical outcome of the cultural diversity and variety.
All in all, we can conclude that the concepts of romanticism and romantic are rather blurred and unclear. Their definitions are not stable and tend to change, according to the historical development and cultural diversity. Nevertheless, the core of romanticism, which confesses the idea of personal freedom, love and worship of nature, remains constant, despite the social and historical context.