UTEL [ History of English | English Composition | Literary Authors | Literary Works | Literary Criticism ]
Glossary [ Main Entries | Key Words | Index of Names ]


Glossary of Literary Theory
by Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown


A movement of the late eighteenth century and the nineteenth century that exalts individualism over collectivism, revolutionism over conservatism, innovation over tradition, imagination over reason, and spontaneity over constraint. According to romanticism, art is essentially self-expression, a spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions. A work of art should exemplify organic form so that the parts and the whole are vitally interdependent. Romanticism strives to heal the cleavage between subject and object, "to make the external internal, the internal external, to make nature thought, and thought nature" (Samuel Taylor Coleridge). As a political idea, Romanticism stresses the innate goodness of human beings and the evil of the institutions that trammel and stultify human creativity.

© Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown,
University of Toronto
Hypertext and HTML by Christopher Douglas
University of Toronto English Library
Director: Ian Lancashire.
Last modified: March 31, 1997