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Romanticism and Realism, The Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution

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#1
The Individual

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"During the Industrial Revolution, an intellectual and artistic hostility towards the new industrialization developed. This was known as the Romantic movement. Its major exponents in English included the artist and poet William Blake and poets William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. The movement stressed the importance of "nature" in art and language, in contrast to "monstrous" machines and factories; the "Dark satanic mills" of Blake's poem."

"It was partly a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature, and was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature."

"Many intellectual historians have seen Romanticism as a key movement in the Counter-Enlightenment, a reaction against the Age of Enlightenment. Whereas the thinkers of the Enlightenment emphasized the primacy of deductive reason, Romanticism emphasized intuition, imagination, and feeling, to a point that has led to some Romantic thinkers being accused of irrationalism."

And Ayn Rand held Romanticism as the highest school of art despite all these? Can anyone explain why?

Additionally, "The confines of the Industrial Revolution also had their influence on Romanticism, which was in part an escape from modern realities; indeed, in the second half of the 19th century, "Realism" was offered as a polarized opposite to Romanticism."

"The term "romanticism", however, is often affiliated with emotionalism, to which Objectivism is completely opposed. Historically, many romantic artists were philosophically subjectivist. Most Objectivists who are also artists subscribe to what they call romantic realism, which is how Ayn Rand labeled her own work."
(Wikipedia)

Aren't Romanticism and Realism opposites?

Edited by The Individual, 25 October 2009 - 07:58 AM.


#2
Eiuol

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Aren't Romanticism and Realism opposites?


Rand defined "romanticism" in a different way than most people, as she did a lot of words. I don't know why she didn't just create a new term, though.
"Soldiers: don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder!" -Charlie Chaplin

#3
The Individual

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From the Ayn Rand lexicon, "Romanticism is the conceptual school of art. It deals, not with the random trivia of the day, but with the timeless, fundamental, universal problems and values of human existence. It does not record or photograph; it creates and projects. It is concerned—in the words of Aristotle—not with things as they are, but with things as they might be and ought to be."

"What the Romanticists brought to art was the primacy of values, an element that had been missing in the stale, arid, third- and fourth-hand (and rate) repetitions of the Classicists’ formula-copying. Values (and value-judgments) are the source of emotions; a great deal of emotional intensity was projected in the work of the Romanticists and in the reactions of their audiences, as well as a great deal of color, imagination, originality, excitement and all the other consequences of a value-oriented view of life. This emotional element was the most easily perceivable characteristic of the new movement and it was taken as its defining characteristic, without deeper inquiry.

Such issues as the fact that the primacy of values in human life is not an irreducible primary, that it rests on man’s faculty of volition, and, therefore, that the Romanticists, philosophically, were the champions of volition (which is the root of values) and not of emotions (which are merely the consequences)—were issues to be defined by philosophers, who defaulted in regard to aesthetics as they did in regard to every other crucial aspect of the nineteenth century.

The still deeper issue, the fact that the faculty of reason is the faculty of volition, was not known at the time, and the various theories of free will were for the most part of an anti-rational character, thus reinforcing the association of volition with mysticism."

As far as I know, Romanticism stressed strong emotion as a source of aesthetic experience. Romanticism is meant to reach beyond the rational into emotional isn't it? And therefore it can come across as unrealistic which is what the Realists opposed.

Edited by The Individual, 25 October 2009 - 09:07 AM.


#4
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Someone might be anti-industrial in their view but may have the right ideas about aesthetics. So, he might produce a play that uses a truly powerful aesthetic, but pushes a bad world-view. Rand was talking about the aesthetic approach of the Romantic artists, not their world-view itself.

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#5
AMERICONORMAN

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Ayn Rand held the 'romantic principle' as she called it very early in life, she grasped it first hand. Gradually as she read french novels she began to recognize the principe in the romantic movement in fiction. In addition, when she read Aristotle's poetics she saw it stated, "what could be and should be."

I can't tell you what is romantic in painting, or music, or sculpture. But fiction I am more familiar with. In fiction the clearest statement would be Victor Hugo's work and particularly his preface to his play Cromwell. Romanticism was something new in rebellion of Classicism. Some say that Goethe's The Sorrow of Young Werther (which I haven't read) is the first romantic work. But recently an Objectivist identified that Schiller's The Robbers is really the first romantic work in fiction.

There are two distinctive characteristics: The man is in control of his destiny and that he has free will over his values. I am not too familiar with specimens of Classicism, but I am familiar with Romanticism contrasted to Naturalism (which was a reaction to Romanticism). Naturalism clearly does not project the metaphysical view about man's destiny and free will. But Classicists were known to follow rigid rules allegedly borrowed from Aristotle that was detrimental to the originality of the work.

Is man pulled forward by his own values, or pushed forward by some deterministic power (outside or inside himself)? If you took a look at the works then known as Romantic from Hugo, Dumas, Schiller, and Rostand, you would see this principle at work.

A fiction work could advocate altruism as a moral ideal and condemn Capitalism and still be romantic and romantic-realist. It is the metaphysical view that is the key.

Ayn Rand is a Romantic because of this metaphysical principle found in her work. I would say she is a Realist because she is studying men according to the correct epistemology and therefore drawing men by essentials as she sees them in today's world, on this earth. Naturalists wanted to write about their time, to define it, and paint it as a scientific record. There is something important about writing for their time. Ayn Rand says that only Victor Hugo achieved it in the closest way to her with Les Miserables. Ayn Rand and Victor Hugo in this context are doing what the Naturalists or Realists are doing but their method is more accessible to all men.

As for the poets, I haven't studied them enough. Do they project free will? I do know that many of the Romantics are doing something different and new with their poetry. To what extent do their poetry allow for a metaphysical view? Perhaps it is in their style mainly.

Ayn Rand's stories clearly project values, the characters do exert their free will.

I wrote something sometime ago trying to define Romantic Realism:
Thread on Romantic Realism

Edited by AMERICONORMAN, 25 October 2009 - 09:29 AM.

"Roark felt the wrench he had tried so often to fight ... what should have been possible and was closed to him ... Then, without reason, he thought of Dominique Francon. She had no relation to the things in his mind; he was shocked only to know that she could remain present even among these things." (The Fountainhead, pg. 222).

"... But his hands betrayed what he wanted to hide. His hands reached out, ran slowly down the beams and joints. The workers in the house had noticed it. They said: 'that guy's in love with the thing. He can't keep his hands off." (The Fountainhead, pg. 130).


http://josegainza.blogspot.com/

#6
AMERICONORMAN

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THE IDEA OF MIGHT BE AND OUGHT TO BE RELATED TO THE METAPHYSICAL ISSUE OF VOLITION


It applies to the actions and character of men. A keen observer may sit in a city square and watch peolple for months, interviewing people, classifying them by common characteristics, surveying them, and lists his types. But this limited locale, though hundreds of men have been observed, does not speak well enough for all mankind. Our observer if he wanted to make these observed types representative of all mankind, would be in error. The onion is deeper than that. One thing distinctive in the characterization of romantic writers is that their characters are unusual, strange, outcasts, even ugly and monstrious, and they are usually representative of a certain moral creed which they seek to uphold. Without categorizing characters according to moral values, something deterministic has to account for their actions and the course of their life. You can easily see this in the phenomenon of the two murderous scoundrels in Zola's Therese Raquin. Thus a Cyrano can walk into a theatre, kick everyone out, fight a duel while reciting poetry, and fight a hundred men at once; a Howard Roark can stand up to his Dean, get kicked out of a prestigious school, go work for a renowned failure, go work in a granite quarry, and fall in love with a woman who wants to destroy him; a billionaire Thomas Crown can steal a Monet and fall in love with the lead investigator set to put him away. These characters are fantastic, but they are possible, they 'might be'. It soon follows that if there is so much possibility in the realm of behaviour for men, how should men choose to act. Romantic works tend to answer this question. If a writer adheres to the romantic principle, he embraces the issue of free will which makes so much choices possible in the first place.
"Roark felt the wrench he had tried so often to fight ... what should have been possible and was closed to him ... Then, without reason, he thought of Dominique Francon. She had no relation to the things in his mind; he was shocked only to know that she could remain present even among these things." (The Fountainhead, pg. 222).

"... But his hands betrayed what he wanted to hide. His hands reached out, ran slowly down the beams and joints. The workers in the house had noticed it. They said: 'that guy's in love with the thing. He can't keep his hands off." (The Fountainhead, pg. 130).


http://josegainza.blogspot.com/

#7
The Individual

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Is Romanticism against Reason?

#8
whYNOT

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Is Romanticism against Reason?

Only in the narrowest, conventional usage I believe. As in the artists and poets listed here above who resented the men of science for 'removing the magic and mystery' from Nature, by observing and studying it.
Keats' poem "Unweaving the Rainbow", was one such attack - on Isaac Newton - for identifying the light spectrum. A rainbow would never be the same again, he bemoaned.
Richard Dawkins' book by the same title, is an excellent refutation of this: now that Man knows and understands far more, he posits, beauty and art will have even greater impact.

I always enjoyed the quote by John Constable - (although a Naturalist painter) - "We see nothing, until we truly understand it."
Almost O'ist !

For me, Rand took back the word 'Romanticism' from art critics, to recover its complete meaning of what Man can, and should, be, at his highest capability. She has been called a Romantic Realist, but this sounds a little limiting; what about a "Rational Romanticist" ?

#9
The Individual

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Only in the narrowest, conventional usage I believe. As in the artists and poets listed here above who resented the men of science for 'removing the magic and mystery' from Nature, by observing and studying it.
Keats' poem "Unweaving the Rainbow", was one such attack - on Isaac Newton - for identifying the light spectrum. A rainbow would never be the same again, he bemoaned.
Richard Dawkins' book by the same title, is an excellent refutation of this: now that Man knows and understands far more, he posits, beauty and art will have even greater impact.

I always enjoyed the quote by John Constable - (although a Naturalist painter) - "We see nothing, until we truly understand it."
Almost O'ist !

For me, Rand took back the word 'Romanticism' from art critics, to recover its complete meaning of what Man can, and should, be, at his highest capability. She has been called a Romantic Realist, but this sounds a little limiting; what about a "Rational Romanticist" ?

I was thinking along the same line too. Why didn't Rand gave her brand of Romanticism another name? And I was thinking of "Rational Romanticist" too.

#10
volco

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Romantic Realism is what she called it.
Industrialization had a very revolutionary impact in people's life to the point that it would have been absurd for no observer to point out. But I re-started this thread to go to the sources and share this short work by one of the poets listed above.

The Necessity of Atheism
By Percy Shelley

Quod clarâ et perspicuâ demonstratione careat pro vero habere mens omnino nequit humana.

BACON de Augment. Scient.

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As a love of truth is the only motive which actuates the Author of this little tract, he earnestly entreats that those of his readers who may discover any deficiency in his reasoning, or may be in possession of proofs which his mind could never obtain, would offer them, together with their objections to the Public, as briefly, as methodically, as plainly as he has taken the liberty of doing. Thro' deficiency of proof.

AN ATHEIST.

A close examination of the validity of the proofs adduced to support any proposition, has ever been allowed to be the only sure way of attaining truth, upon the advantages of which it is unnecessary to descant; our knowledge of the existence of a Deity is a subject of such importance that it cannot be too minutely investigated; in consequence of this conviction, we proceed briefly and impartially to examine the proofs which have been adduced. It is necessary first to consider the nature of Belief.

When a proposition is offered to the mind, it perceives the agreement or disagreement of the ideas of which it is composed. A perception of their agreement is termed belief; many obstacles frequently prevent this perception from being immediate; these the mind attempts to remove in order that the perception may be distinct. The mind is active in the investigation, in order to perfect the state of perception which is passive; the investigation being confused with the perception has induced many falsely to imagine that the mind is active in belief, that belief is an act of volition, in consequence of which it may be regulated by the mind; pursuing, continuing this mistake they have attached a degree of criminality to disbelief of which in its nature it is incapable; it is equally so of merit.

The strength of belief like that of every other passion is in proportion to the degrees of excitement.

The degrees of excitement are three.

The senses are the sources of all knowledge to the mind, consequently their evidence claims the strongest assent.

The decision of the mind founded upon our own experience, derived from these sources, claims the next degree.

The experience of others, which addresses itself to the former one, occupies the lowest degree. --

Consequently no testimony can be admitted which is contrary to reason; reason is founded on the evidence of our senses.

Every proof may be referred to one of these three divisions; we are naturally led to consider what arguments we receive from each of them to convince us of the existence of a Deity.

1st, The evidence of the senses. -- If the Deity should appear to us, if he should convince our senses of his existence; this revelation would necessarily command belief; -- Those to whom the Deity has thus appeared, have the strongest possible conviction of his existence.

Reason claims the 2nd. place -- it is urged that man knows that whatever is, must either have had a beginning or existed from all eternity; he also knows that whatever is not eternal must have had a cause. -- Where this is applied to the existence of the universe, it is necessary to prove that it was created; until that is clearly demonstrated, we may reasonably suppose that it has endured from all eternity. -- In a case where two propositions are diametrically opposite, the mind believes that which is less incomprehensible; it is easier to suppose that the Universe has existed from all eternity, than to conceive a being capable of creating it. If the mind sinks beneath the weight of one, is it an alleviation to increase the intolerability of the burthen? -- The other argument which is founded upon a man's knowledge of his own existence, stands thus. -- A man knows not only that he now is, but that there was a time when he did not exist; consequently there must have been a cause. But what does this prove? We can only infer from effects causes exactly adequate to those effects; -- But there certainly is a generative power which is effected by certain instruments; we cannot prove that it is inherent in these instruments, nor is the contrary hypothesis capable of demonstration: we admit that the generative power is incomprehensible, but to suppose that the same effect is produced by an eternal, omniscient, Almighty Being, leaves the cause in the [same] obscurity, but renders it more incomprehensible.

The 3rd. and last degree of assent is claimed by Testimony -- it is required that it should not be contrary to reason. -- The testimony that the Deity convinces the senses of men of his existence can only be admitted by us, if our mind considers it less probable that these men should have been deceived, than that the Deity should have appeared to them -- our reason can never admit the testimony of men, who not only declare that they were eye-witnesses of miracles but that the Deity was irrational, for he commanded that he should be believed, he proposed the highest rewards for faith, eternal punishments for disbelief -- we can only command voluntary actions, belief is not an act of volition, the mind is even passive. From this it is evident that we have not sufficient testimony, or rather that testimony is insufficient to prove the being of a God; we have before shewn that it cannot be deduced from reason, -- they who have been convinced by the evidence of the senses, they only can believe it.

From this it is evident that having no proofs from either of the three sources of conviction: the mind cannot believe the existence of a God. It is also evident that as belief is a passion of the mind, no degree of criminality can be attached to disbelief; they only are reprehensible who willingly neglect to remove the false medium thro' which their mind views the subject.

It is almost unnecessary to observe, that the general knowledge of the deficiency of such proof, cannot be prejudicial to society: Truth has always been found to promote the best interests of mankind. -- Every reflecting mind must allow that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity. Q.E.D.

source: http://www.neuroticp.../prose/atheism/
"If you understand something in only one way, then you don't really understand it at all"


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