Will We See Another Romantic Era?

Will We See Another Romantic Era?

Perhaps it's time for Romanticism to make a return.

I've always viewed the Enlightenment as one of Western civilization's greatest achievements. It marked a major change in our perception of the world, redirecting us from faith and feeling towards logic and reasoning. The thinkers that dominated the era—individuals like Locke, Kant, and Bacon—helped pave the way for a rational world in which modern science, technology, medicine, and industry would take hold.

From a political perspective, the Enlightenment put democracy back into practice and absolute monarchies out of fashion. It also had a profound impact on human rights. For the longest time, I viewed it as a spectacular turning point in human history—one that was undeniably beneficial. Of course I was foolish to think anything in history could be so black and white.

As a sophomore-year English major, I've only recently begun to dip my toes into the literary and cultural movement that served as a backlash and counterpoint against the Enlightenment: Romanticism.

Beginning at around the time of the French Revolution in the 1790s and lasting up until the mid 19th century, Romantic writers sought to idolize nature and beauty, emphasizing passion and feeling. They fought against a world that was leading them closer towards cold, unfeeling reason.

Consequently, lyric poetry became the dominant poetic form during the period. In a lyric poem, the speaker will typically, in the first person, try to describe or express emotions surrounding a particular moment.

Romantic artists valued intuition, imagination, and feeling over the rigid and logical structure attached to scientific and mathematical thought. These values are evident in Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Purloined Letter," when a detective, tasked with retrieving an incriminating letter, fails to find it through his formulaic and carefully measured search method. It is only through another character's ability to empathize with the criminal that the location of the letter finally becomes apparent.

In their quest to uncover truth, the Romantics did not bother with revealing the hidden equations and numbers that govern the world. Rather, their focus was on attaining "spiritual truth" and transcendent experiences.

Eventually, like most movements, Romanticism faded away. In the middle of the 19th century, Realism emerged to replace it, never to be seen at such a scale again.

But that was almost 200 years ago. Where is Romanticism now? If I were to summarize how a Romantic artist would view our world today, I would simply reuse the words of Romantic Era poet William Wordsworth in his poem "The World Is Too Much With Us" (1807):

"The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn."

In a traditional 14-line Petrarchan sonnet, Wordsworth expresses frustration at society and how, through its growing materialism, rationality, and industry, our ability to feel and appreciate nature has faded.

In the poem's sestet, the speaker frustratingly concludes that he would rather be a "Pagan," ignorant of reason and technology, than lose his ability to see wonder and beauty in the natural world. In other words, the speaker of the poem would rather revert back to having childlike mystery and grandeur placed into the world more than all of the advancements in industry and in thinking that we have made.

Although this notion is exceedingly radical on its own, if turned down a few notches in extremity, there's a chilling degree of relevance to the modern day.

It’s doubtless that Wordsworth would be horrified by how monstrously out of touch we are with nature now. Not only has new technology separated us even further from it, it’s also potentially destroying it.

I can only imagine the look on Wordsworth's face when he sees a child, holed up in their air-conditioned home on a summer day, playing in a virtual world instead of playing outside. Or what he would think of people walking with their faces in their phones instead of observing the world around them.

It seems the world that Wordsworth describes in his poem is our world—more so than it was his.

Perhaps then, it's time for Romanticism to make a return. If anything it could serve to offset and balance a society that so strictly emphasizes science, technology, and industry.

In the Information Age, our world is seemingly being reduced to ones and zeroes. We're becoming more technologically dependent by the year. The Digital Revolution along with modern materialism/consumerism would be seen as, through the lens of Romanticism, grossly complicating and bloating society and separating us from what is truly important. Furthermore, the Humanities, the subject matter concerned with emotion and the human condition, is losing its relevance in modern education as policymakers are beginning to dismiss it as economically unproductive.

Clearly, popular philosophy is moving further and further away from Romantic ideals, but that's precisely why we might see it pop up again. Maybe, because of these shifting tides, another Romantic movement is inevitable. After all, movements always seem to produce counter-movements. Therefore, it might stand to reason that Romanticism may return once more as backlash, to re-introduce some feeling into a world caught up in reason.

Cover Image Credit: John Trumbull

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To the guy that shot my brother...


To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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23 Things That ~Barely~ Run Through A Girl's Mind During Her First Workout In, Like, Forever

Why did I do this to myself?


It's the beginning of the semester and that means half of the students on campus have decided that we are going to go back to the gym after their workout routine fell through last semester. It's been months since we've stepped foot in the gym, but we are ready to attack it and get fit. That is until we get there and start going.

1. How did I get to the gym? Didn't I walk here? That should count as exercise

2. Why am I here?

3. Are these clothes tighter than they were last time?

4. Why is every single machine full? What am I supposed to do?

5. Is everyone looking at me?

6. I can't remember where anything is here

7. Okay, I am going to set this at the easiest level

8. Can I go home yet?

9. Is 3 minutes long enough? No, darn it.

10. How many calories have I burned? Only 10 are you kidding me!

11. Why is everyone else here going so hard? I look like a slacker

12. I am so sweaty right now

13. Maybe I should get a smoothie as a reward for working out

14. I am literally dying right now. I am about to drop dead

15. Only 5 more minutes to go. I've got this!

16. I don't got this

17. Why do people come here every day?

18. Last minute I'm going to go so hard right now

19. Just kidding that two seconds was good enough. I'm going to cool down for the last 58

20. Hallelujah, praise Jesus, I am done!

21. I am so tired

22. My body is so sore

23. I can't believe I have to walk home now. I've already done my exercising for the day

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