Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Loss of Traditional Meaning and Why that is OK

Romanticism is alive and well, dead (too). At least, in the traditional sense of the movement that delves into the philosophical and distinctly characterized nature of the term, its modern iteration is much less (traditionally) ¨thoughtful¨ as it is (modernly) ¨provoking¨ candy to the mind´s eye. Traditional Romanticism is very much rooted in individual and the emotional catharsis of the individual, almost always in the context or presence of the natural world. This is the basis for the poems and artistic expression that defined the era in American history, and while not what characterizes Romanticism in the present day, it's unfair to say that deviation or adaptation of its meaning to a changing world is a loss of its values entirely.

 Modern romanticism is much less thoughtful than its original form but that is not to say it is any less endearing or ¨valid¨. It may be true that in such a modern world of easily accessed distractions, one doesn't take time to admire the morning lilys that clings to the yard fence, but they receive their dose of the romantic by other means. As the pen and paper are to the 19th century American be the tablet and big screen to the modern one; our sense of the romantic is displayed to us on the big screen. It's seeing long panning shots of a Hawaiin sunset against the admiring waves below that reflect it respectfully that stirs something within us. The entice of seeing the main hero and heroine kissing under a jeweled sky and kindly obtuse moon that warms us as much as the loving projection of emotion before us. It's those moments that flutter the heart with some sense of longing; something that fills with a sense of profound love and reciprocation to the natural world's fruitfulness; it is something that fills us with a sense of nostalgia for something we perhaps never had. It is my belief that this same flutter of the heart, no, of the inner self, that resonates in tune of some provocative and warming display of humanity, nature, and the longing to experience that is the same expression that Transcendental America inspired in the hearts of those in the 19th century.

Are we less creative, more narrow-minded if our sense of wonder and freedom with the natural world is spoon fed to us? I do not think so. Adaptability and individual applicability is something that even the most conservative of Romantics would say is a crucial characteristic of the movement. Romanticism is meant to grasp the reader, the artist, the poet, with the enlightenment of its expression. If we cannot but be shown it on the big screen or television, then so let the romantic spirit live on changing, adapting, and provoking the hearts of those who embrace it.


  1. I totally agree with your idea that Romanticism has changed greatly over time and is even more different now with media and new distractions. I think you thoughts that we still can enjoy Romantic ideas is also true but I think if we were to be more with nature and not just thoughts of nature we would have more passion and drive than we do now, though really who knows.

  2. Eloquently put Bennett. I like how you touched upon the more modern outlets of the same feelings that something like a poem written in Romanticism's prime would have given.