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The Romantic Revolution: A History (Modern Library Chronicles) [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Tim Blanning

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2. August 2011 Modern Library Chronicles
From the preeminent historian of Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries comes a superb, concise account of a cultural upheaval that still shapes sensibilities today. Long overshadowed by the contemporaneous American, French, and Industrial revolutions, the Romantic Revolution finally receives its due in Tim Blanning’s bold and brilliant work.

A rebellion against the rationality of the Enlightenment, a rejection of “the Academy” in favor of public opinion, Romanticism was a profound shift in expression that altered the arts and ushered in modernity, even as it championed a return to the intuitive and the primitive. Blanning describes its beginnings in Rousseau’s novel La Nouvelle Héloïse, the biggest bestseller of the eighteenth century, a work that placed the creator—and not the created—at the center of aesthetic activity and led to the virtual worship of creative geniuses by the general public.

Blanning reveals the glamorizing of artistic madness and suicide in Goethe’s novel The Sufferings of Young Werther and the ballet Giselle; the role of sex as a psychological force in Friedrich Schlegel’s novel Lucinde; the importance of mind-altering drugs to the fictional protagonist of Confessions of an English Opium Eater and to the composer Hector Berlioz in his Symphonie fantastique; and the use of naïve, dreamlike imagery in Goya’s paintings of monsters, devils, and witches.

Whether it was the new notion of “sex appeal” in the fames of Paganini, Liszt, and Byron, or the celebration of accessible storytelling in the novels of Walter Scott (the most popular writer of the day), The Romantic Revolution unearths the origins of ideas now commonplace in our culture. It is the best introduction to an essential time whose influence would far outlast the mechanistic “age of the railway” that, in the mid-nineteenth century, replaced it.


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Praise from the United Kingdom
“A splendidly pithy and provocative introduction to the culture of Romanticism.”—The Sunday Times
“It is hard to imagine that [Tim] Blanning could have done more within the 180 page span of his text. . . . He is a master of crisp condensation.”—The Sunday Telegraph
“Full of fascinating sketches and details.”—The Daily Telegraph

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Until his retirement in 2009, Tim Blanning was Professor of Modern European History at the University of Cambridge and remains a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College and of the British Academy. He is general editor of The Oxford History of Modern Europe and the Short Oxford History of Europe series and the author of The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture, which won a prestigious German prize and was short-listed for the British Academy Book Prize, The Pursuit of Glory, and The Triumph of Music. In 2000 he was awarded a Pilkington Prize for teaching by the University of Cambridge.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  10 Rezensionen
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Illuminating and Delightful 11. Mai 2012
Von John Mccarthy - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This delightful text by Tim Blanning, the Professor of Modern European History at Cambridge University, is a delightful introduction to the many ways in which the Romantic Period impacted European culture in its heyday (1750-1850) and, in some ways, continuing down to the present.

First and foremost, Banning presents this period as a dialectical challenge to the reigning Enlightenment Era that preceded it. That era, focused as it was on empirical and scientific advances in mathematics, physics, chemistry, philosophy, etc., left open the gates for a period emphasizing interiority - feelings, emotions, intuitions, the spirit, the soul, genius, charisma, etc.

Romanticism was a reaction against the aridity and soullessness of the Enlightenment, and it expressed itself in poetry, music, literature, and in a new aesthetic of religion and a reevaluation of the medieval period. Symbolically, the Enlightenment was preoccupied with light while the Romantic period was intrigued by darkness. The interior ocean within the soul, rather than the external geographic oceans that bound the continents was the music to which it was attuned.

Its fascination with emotion and spirit led it to a reorientation toward history, a fascination with genius, and a search for the wellsprings of nationalism.

Among its famous artistic representatives were Beethoven, Berlioz, Liszt, Wagner, Wordsworth, Rousseau, Goethe, Stendahl, Poe, etc. All artists that influence us still.
9 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Sturm und drang 20. August 2011
Von Charlus - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
"Every age has its own social context, its own intellectual climate, and takes it for granted, as we take ours. Because it was taken for granted, it is not explicitly expressed in the documents of the time: it has to be deduced and reconstructed." (p.125) Tim Blanning's overarching strength as a historian is his ability to provide readers with this culture and climate, as his approving quote of Hugh Trevor-Roper above.

In this superb introduction to the Romantic Movement, Blanning carries the reader from its earliest intimations, with Rousseau's rejection of the Enlightenment's philosophes and the cult of Rationalism with his own cult of the individual, through his disciples in Germany such as Goethe and Herder, then up to England and the Romantic poets. Art, music and literature are represented and the latter part of the books touches upon the work of various artists in different media. The second section of the book, after the first lays out the historical background, explores the dark unconscious of Romanticism including dreams, madness and the heroes and anti-heroes of the movement. The third section deals with the idea of language being representational of a national identity, the "rediscovery" of history and the use of myth.

Blanning has to be one of the most readable historians writing today, as his majestic The Pursuit of Glory proves, and he is clearly familiar with both the primary and secondary sources of this period. Thus his seemingly effortless synthesis of materials is readily explained. And as the Modern Library Chronicles series forces its authors to be succinct, there are no longuers in this history and occasional flashes of wit. (Investigating the origin of the phrase "art for art's sake", Blanning concludes "this was a German idea, turned into a slogan by an Englishman and recorded by a Frenchman"). (p.47)

There are few faults to be found. While Blanning categorizes certain composers as Romantic, he never fully explains what makes their music so. And his coverage of various writers and painters can appear arbitrary. But his strengths far outweigh any quibbles and he has written an entertaining, brief and very informed book.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen To understand the earthquake that was romanticism 26. September 2012
Von Kirk McElhearn - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
It's hard in less than 200 pages to go into a great deal of detail, but in this book, Blanning manages to sketch out the why and how of romanticism. Why this "movement" began, as a reaction against the Enlightenment, but also as an outgrowth of societal and political change. How romanticism spread, through the most important countries - Germany, France and England - and how new modes of production led to the diffusion of romantic ideas.

For the romantic movement is more than just an artistic movement, even though it covered the major forms of art: music, literature and painting. Many of the causes of its spread were due to new structures, institutions and technologies. Romantic music was spawned in part by the change from patronage to public support for musicians, both in performance and in publication, and to performances both in concert halls and in salons. Literature spread through the many changes in technology that made printing and books cheaper. And images circulated in the form of lithographs and other types of prints that were developed in the early 19th century.

Romanticism is, at heart, about the imagination, about feeling, about art for art's sake, about the individual being the most important element in the world. Beethoven is the best example of the romantic artist, with Schubert a close second. But romanticism had many forms, from the near-transcendence of Beethoven's late works, or of Schubert's finest songs, to the development of characters in literature, such as in Hugo and Balzac. The rise of tourism - notably to the Alps and the Rhine - led to a new appreciation of nature, and a discovery of other lands and worlds. All in all, the romantic movement is probably the greatest cultural and artistic revolution of our time, and this book, in less than 200 pages, sketches the main figures and themes.

While this book is just an introduction, it gives plenty of suggestions of books to read, music to listen to, and art to see to better understand just how powerful this period was. This is a revolution that has not ended; our arts and culture are still influenced by the ideas of the romantics. And this book helps grasp just how important this period was.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Great opening, and then.... 18. Februar 2012
Von Jon Godfrey - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The first 40 or 50 pages were a terrific introduction to the movement, filled with ideas about the transition from Enlightenment thinking to something much more exciting. But just when my expectations were soaring, the next 130 pages devolved into what could best be described as filler, certainly full of facts about the movement--the players and their various works--but lacking the necessary perspective. I have to wonder whether this book was instigated by a presentation somewhere, or an extended periodical article. Did the author's lack of enthusiasm for the project, perhaps, entice him to merely repeat his original shorter work, and then merely assemble facts for the last two-thirds of the book? It certainly reads that way.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Bill Arning 29. August 2014
Von Bill Arning - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
A very useful if impossible to successfully accomplish overview of Romanticism. I sought out this book because I was in a deep study of Richard Wagner and realized when people referred to his romanticism versus his modernity I was unable to define the terms adequately. The contradictions at the heart of romanticism are fascinating and the overall cheesiness of so much of it - the historical dramas and nationalism are pretty funny. Blanning's broad scope is admirable if exhausting.
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