Romanticism(also known as theRomantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1780 to 1848. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualismas well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to theIndustrial Revolution,the aristocratic social and political norms of theAge of Enlightenment, and the scientificrationalizationof nature—all components ofmodernity.It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact onhistoriography,education,the social sciences, and the natural sciences.It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencingliberalism,radicalism,conservatismandnationalism.
The movement emphasized intense emotion as an authentic source of aestheticexperience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension,horror and terror, and awe—especially that experienced in confronting the new aesthetic categories of thesublimityand beauty of nature. It elevatedfolk artand ancient custom to something noble, but also spontaneity as a desirable characteristic (as in the musicalimpromptu). In contrast to theRationalismandClassicismof theEnlightenment, Romanticism revivedmedievalismand elements of art and narrative perceived as authentically medieval in an attempt to escape population growth, earlyurban sprawl, andindustrialism.