Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Dark Romanticism

"The passions which belong to self-preservation turn, on pain and danger; they are simply painful when their causes immediately affect us; they are delightful when we have an idea of pain and danger, without being actually in such circumstances;"-Edmund Burke

    The meaning of Dark Romanticism seems to vary. Apparently, there is no exact, widespread and unitary definition. First, we must notice that Romanticism is not properly defined either. Some suggest that Romanticism was a period when artists merely praised the Christian Lord. Others suggest that Romanticism must be felt - it can not be understood in any other way. Baudelaire, the french dark romanticist wrote: "To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art--that is, intimacy, spirituality, colour, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by every means available to the arts." Others suggest that Romanticism was a period when the market economy for the first time influenced authors. From the dictionary we understand that something darkly romantic might be both sentimental and evil, visionary and blind, imaginative and hidden, gloomy and poetic, unpractical and ignorant, unknown and extravagant, fantastic and sad. Dark Romanticism is obviously a matter of contradictions
    Dark Romanticism is often defined as a historical, literary phenomenon. In the late 18th century, authors reacted against the Age of Enlightenment and it's blind-materialism and faith in reason. The artists reacted against classicism and preached - in contrast to the Age of Enlightenment - feeling andimagination. In-between the Age of Enlightenment and the Romantic era, Burke wrote the famous words. Horror and terror tales became popular. Authors reacted against both classicism and the Gothic novels. They wrote about the tragic dimension of human life. The genre Dark Romanticism was born. Famous names are Blake, Baudelaire, Poe and Stoker.



So, what are the characteristics of Dark Romanicism?

The main theory of Dark romanticism is that the self is the only thing that can be known or verified. There are certain characteristics of Dark romanticism.
  • There is the focus on the tragic.
  • The belief in sin and evil.
  • An attention paid to the mysteries of life.
  • Does not emphasize the cynical.
  • A reverence for human nature, and all its struggles.

Retrieved from http://www.articleworld.org/index.php/Dark_romanticism 

Famous Authors
(and one of their many works)

-Washington Irviring "Sleepy Hollow"
-William Cullen Bryant "The Murdered Traveller"
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow "The Cross of Snow"
-Oliver Wendell Holmes  "Departed Days"
-James R. Lowell "The Street"
-John Greenleaf Whittier "At Eventide"
-Edgar Allan Poe "The Raven"
-Nathaniel Hawthorne "Address to the moon"