Romanticism, the Gothic novel, and Wuthering Heights
Romanticism refers to an artistic and intellectual movement that began in the late eighteenth century in Europe. Generally, Romanticism was a reaction against the dry rationality of the Enlightenment period, it focused on the sublimity of nature, it and stressed strong emotion as the source of beauty, art, and knowledge.
The Romantic literary movement was heavily influenced by the German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and a group of German Romantic writers who emerged during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Emily Brontë was likely exposed to and influenced by the German Romantics when she and Charlotte studied literature and the German language in Brussels at a private school.
A group of British Romantic poets emerged in England during 1798 to 1832, which included William Wordsworth, Lord Byron and John Keats. These writers influenced literature throughout the nineteenth century. The Brontës were also familiar with the writings of these British Romantic poets.
Romance is a term with many meanings. In the Middle Ages, a romance was a tale in prose or poetry dealing with the adventures of a knight and filled with chivalric deeds and courtly love. In the nineteenth century, a romance was a prose narrative telling a fictional story that dealt with its subjects and characters in a symbolic, imaginative, and non-realistic way. Typically, a romance would deal with plots and people that were exotic, remote in time or place from the reader, and obviously imaginary. Hawthorne's The House of Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter, with their exaggerated characters, its overtones of the supernatural, and their symbolic intertwining of the past and present, are examples of the romance.
****Romanticism generally is defined as an approach that differs from classicism in many important ways.
Romantic thought places higher emphasis on emotion than on rationality;