Definition of romanticism in US English:



  • 1A movement in the arts and literature that originated in the late 18th century, emphasizing inspiration, subjectivity, and the primacy of the individual.

    Romanticism was a reaction against the order and restraint of classicism and neoclassicism, and a rejection of the rationalism which characterized the Enlightenment. In music, the period embraces much of the 19th century, with composers including Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, and Wagner. Writers exemplifying the movement include Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats; among romantic painters are such stylistically diverse artists as William Blake, J. M. W. Turner, Delacroix, and Goya

    Often contrasted with classicism
    • ‘Literary romanticism and cultural nationalism informed the historical consciousness of regional raconteurs like Hall who looked for American themes within the history of the West.’
    • ‘He exaggerates both romanticism's sense of the expansive subject and modernism's sense of the subject suspended within a complex web of signs.’
    • ‘Was it this, the sense of art as supreme sacrifice, which appealed so strongly to Western romanticism and the avant-garde?’
    • ‘The nineteenth century brought romanticism and realism.’
    • ‘British romanticism transformed the landscape aesthetic towards seeing mountains as sublime and picturesque.’
    • ‘It is this embattled romanticism that surfaces in Orwell's text in the form of paranoia.’
    • ‘Her argument about romanticism - which is one of the primary thrusts of the book - is based on the period's celebration of inwardness and the notion of an essential authorial subject.’
    • ‘Marx detested romanticism, emotionalism, sentimentalism and humanitarianism of any kind.’
    • ‘As the natural art of commemoration, sculpture took heart from romanticism, which fostered the remembrance of piety, power, talent, loyalty, or valour.’
    • ‘In common with other early nineteenth century literature, Emily Brontë's novel contains elements of romanticism, gothic, and fantasy.’
    • ‘The strange thing about his enthusiasm was that it was for one of the great works of 20th century romanticism and by the greatest romantic writer of the century.’
    • ‘I'm fascinated by the period of early romanticism, when the composers of the time continued to inhabit some classical conventions but work outwards from within those.’
    • ‘Balanced between neoclassicism and romanticism, the composition appears at once rigidly stable yet inherently fluid.’
    • ‘Throughout his life he read voraciously about the great figures of European romanticism and symbolism.’
    • ‘This involved a step from classicism towards romanticism - which was also a shift from civilisation towards barbarism.’
    • ‘However, Symphony #1 holds up quite well to the Haydn and Mozart models, and the 2nd Symphony is close to being a masterpiece of early romanticism.’
    • ‘Though natural history does not privilege the individual moment of perception in quite the way that romanticism does, it does rely on a process of imaginative synthesis.’
  • 2The state or quality of being romantic.

    ‘her sisters would temper that romanticism with a large pinch of realism’
    • ‘He also had a certain romanticism and thrill about him which made me feel breathless and like I was ten feet above the ground, floating in the air.’
    • ‘‘There was a romanticism about it and a mystery,’ he says.’
    • ‘Maggie saw it, too, and with all the romanticism in a young woman's heart, she welcomed it.’
    • ‘It's got a certain romanticism, the radio does.’
    mawkishness, over-sentimentality, sentimentalism, emotionalism, overemotionalism
    View synonyms