The Romantic RevolutionBook - 2010
Three great revolutions rocked the world around 1800. The first two - the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution - have inspired the greatest volume of literature. But the third - the romantic revolution - was perhaps the most fundamental and far-reaching. From it derive virtually all the cultural axioms of the modern world: the stress on genius, originality and individual expression; the dominance of music; the obsession with sexuality, dreams and the subconscious; the public as patron; the worship of art and artists.
Tim Blanning traces the evolution of romanticism from Rousseau's conversion-experience on the road to Vincennes in 1749. Contrary to received wisdom, Blanning argues that the 18th century was an intensely religious age, but one increasingly dissatisfied with organised religion. Art and artists began to fill this void. By the mid-19th century, realism had made a comeback but fin-de-siecle and post-modernism reasserted the romantic agenda.