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Ana Paula Legg


Eduardo Marks de Marques
English Literature III
30 January 2017
Romanticism for All
Romanticism, as many other artistic movements, has shown to be a means to an
end. Although artistic movements happen differently all over the world, they seem to
share some common grounds. Whenever the political, social, or financial scenarios take a
great step ahead in history, art somehow makes an effort to either represent these changes
or promote them. In the XIX century, Romanticism, in quite distinguished areas of the
globe, was used to represent a new concept of life and art, dealing with the most
individual feelings of mankind and, at the same time, promoting a sense of belonging
within entire nations. Even though communication and travelling functioned in a
different speed than the modern times, people would still spread ideas and concepts
throughout the Earth. The ideal of Romanticism was no different, as it finds its firsts
glimpses in Europe, having such a strong effect that, eventually, even the Brazilian artists
put the ideals into practice. Even though culture, language, and political scenario will
differ from country to country, there is a reason why movements in different regions of
the globe will be referred to by the same definition, and that is because, no matter the
community, the main ideals pervading these movements are shared by the ones who
promote them. The dissemination of Romanticism was no different, it was spread one
way or another throughout nations, each having their own historical reasons and
peculiarities, but sharing the same needs to change, to evolve, to adapt, to belong. This

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essay intends to examine the relations pervading Romanticism in England, Germany and
Brazil, as they present themselves, differently the same.
In order to understand the relations between Romanticism in Europe and South
America regarding England, Germany and Brazil, an overview of their social political
contexts, as well as the ideals pervading Romanticism and the language used to represent
these changes is essential, as Romanticism was promoted within these countries as a
means to reflect such contexts and, to a point, influence them To be a poet meant a
tremendous responsibility the poet had the key to the hidden misteries of the heart, of
life itself; the poet was not a mere embellisher of everyday life, but the man who gave life
its meaning (Burgess,15). Being everyday life the object of poets, as stated by
Burgues, meant that whatever happened was in the hands of such artist to change it, to
promote it or to rebel against it. In that sense, the political and social transformations
happening in these three countries would be fundamental to explain and understand the
Romanticism movement.
When the first glimpse of Romanticism appeared in England, industrialization had
changed the landscape and the way of life for many English men. With the advent of the
Industrial Revolution, cities had become more populated and the fear of the mechanical
environments and dehumanization of mankind lead many important artists to a
melancholic feeling, a need to revisit the past. Worried about the effects such revolution
might have in peoples lives, great artists, such as William Wordsworth, turned their
backs on the mass, mechanical, modern world, to portray and promote the simple life, the
life in the country. Nature and individuals were the most precious elements for these

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artists, who represented through their art works, as incisively as they could, an ideal
world.
Nonetheless, Wordsworth was not only concerned about the elements representing
and influencing everyday life, but also about the language used to do so. He was
insistent that the language of poetry should be the language of ordinary men and women,
found at its unspoilt the speech of rural people (Burgess 15). He wanted the common
people to be able to read this ideal world, so in Lyrical Ballads, he prompted principles,
which would not only orientate productions in England, but later on, set the parameters
for Romanticists all over the world.
While in England, the causes of the Romanticism movement were deeply attached
to the sense of nation, Germany had its own battles to fight. Karl Frederich Schlegel and
Johann Wolfgan Von Goethe were concerned about elevating the moral values of the
nation, opposing them to the French Illuminist context Ali, na elevao moral do
homem se edificariam, atravs da arte, as bases para uma sociedade verdadeiramente
livre, visto que na conduo do poder, j estariam as pessoas espiritualmente preparadas
(Silveira118). They wanted to promote a world where art would provide readers with
knowledge, in contrast to the realist ideals promoted through the positivism: o sentido
moral no romntico est submerso na elevao progressiva, na fora criadora, no impulso
de vida que era marca caracterstica do Sturm und Drang (Silveira 124). They saw in the
Romanticism aesthetics the foundations to create an ideal world, where men would be
able to reflect upon their deep connection to nature. In a sense, Schelegel, Goathe,
Wordsworth and - as later refered to - Guimares searched for the human element in the
society, the return to fundamental principles and values to base these new societies upon.

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In the mean time, in Brazil Romanticism, later considered by many authors the
one genuine starting point of Brazilian literature, the scenario for a new way of
interpreting a new world was beginning to set. People were finding a sense of nation,
once the political independence from Portugal had been established, or believed to have
been established. Regardless the realness of the independence extent Brazil had from
Portugal in 1822, Brazilian artists could not wait to find a way of separating this new
nations culture from the Portugal domination, and language, for that matter, was one of
these artists concerns. The sense of nationalism pervaded many forms of art, but in
literature, significant changes would have to take place.
Ironically, it was the Europeans who brought elements to encourage such feeling
of Literary freedom in Brazil, for it was through the French that the concept of
Romanticism first appeared in the country, duly adapted to the local needs, of course.
Ferdinand Denis first introduced the movement ideals in Brazil, leading the way to a way
of doing literature, among other arts. Romanticism meant turning the nations eyes to the
Indian, the land, the nationalism Os brasileiros deviam portanto concentrar-se na
descrio da sua natureza e costumes, dando alce a ndio, o habitante primitivo e por isso
mais autntico, segundo Denis (Candido 21). The ideals of Romanticism were then
made clear in Brazil, taking part in many artistic productions, including literature.
At any rate, English, German, and Brazilian Romanticism represented freedom,
an idealistic freedom, from the government, from the rationalism, from the machines
through literature and other forms of art. It was through the expressions of art that the
idealism would be able to grow in these nations.

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As for the written art representation, the language was meant for the common
people in both Brazil and England, where people were supposed to be responsible for
building new ideals and new nations participao poltica do cidado, que deveria tomar
a iniciativa de estabelecer o bom governo (Candido 13), which basically meant people
would have to be educated to undertand this new world and have the power to transform
it. Such movement appropriated these two countries and Germany, though for different
political reasons, the effects and the intents were quite similar. Generally speaking,
Romanticism was all about having people to look at the world and themselves differently,
either searching for the humanity lost in machines, for the sense of nationalism though its
native people, or the rebellion against positivistic behavior.
Thus, it was not only the philosophy behind literary compositions that suffered
the impact of this new movement. The language itself took some turns. In England, artists
tried to work with the language in such a way that common people could have access to
literary work and this was important in the sense that people, as said, would and should
participate in the construction of these new ideals, which meant they needed to
understand the ideas presented as art. In Germany, the language was seen as a means to
educate the people, and in Brazil, finding a new language to express what was once part
of Portugal became a matter of honor. However, in Brazil, the language was somewhat a
cry for independence, giving place to new words and expressions which would distance
the language from the language spoken by Portuguese. Even so, texts lead poets to be
more creative, more inventive, free to express the world in ways they thought appropriate
to transform these nations.

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As Wordsworth had done in his Lyrical Ballads, Domingo Jos Gonalves de
Guimares, in Suspiros Poticos e Saudades, would set the tone for what Romanticism
should be about in Brazil in terms of ideals and the language: Algumas palavras acharo
neste livro que nos dicionrios portugueses se no deparam; mas as lnguas vivas se
enriquecem com o progresso da civilizao e das cincias, e uma nova ideia pede um
novo termo (Guimaraes 2) . Such principles would only corroborate to the fact that
Brazil was searching for literary evolution and independence from Portugal. Even if
brought by European principles, the nation was finally heading to what would become a
sense of independence and self-value.
As previously stated, the fact that Romanticism has received the same title over
these three countries should be, in itself, evidence enough to indicate that yes, there were
many things in common with these movements, regardless geographical, political, and
social issues. It was just a matter of defining which points those would be.
Therefore, one can understand Romanticism, in one way or another, as being an
experience lived intensively by these three different countries in terms of philosophy and
language, even if with different political, social and economical scenarios, for the
rebellion against oppressive ideas has always been a background for them. Also, even if
Romanticism may have seemed, to any extent, a going back in time in terms
representations, the constant reference to the past and melancholic feelings, the main
objective behind these movements was, in fact, to take a step ahead and create a sense of
freedom, nationalism, opposition, self-value and maybe even justice - for all.

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Work Cited
Burgess, Anthony. English Literature: survey for Students. Harlow: Longman, 1996.
Book
Cndido, Antnio. O Romantismo no Brasil. So Paulo: Humanitas, 2002. PDF file.
Magalhes, Domingo Jos Gonalves. Suspiros Poticos e Saudades. Fundao
Biblioteca Nacional. n.d. Web 27 Apr. 2015.
<http://objdigital.bn.br/Acervo_Digital/Livros_eletronicos/suspiros_poeticos.pdf.
Silveira, Roberison . Para Pensar a Unidade do Primeiro Romantismo Alemo.
Existncia e Arte, Jan. Dez. 2012: 114-138. PDF file.