Romanticism, Realism & Naturalism
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THEMES IN FRENCH INTELLECTUAL AND LITERARY HISTORY: ROMANTICISM, REALISM, AND NATURALISM AS A CONTINUUM OF DISCOVERY
Romanticism was a movement away from the values of the Enlightenment. Romanticism embraced the mystic, the emotional, and the horrific as the prisms through which life could be understood, as opposed to relying on the equilibrium and order that characterized the Enlightenment. The literature of the era of Romanticism reflected idyllic conceptions of life expressed in highly emotional contexts. The literature of the era tended to be value-laden with an emphasis on the experiences of individuals.
French literature of the era of Romanticism tended to be favorable toward the political concept of democracy because their idealistic and sentimental bent fostered the idea that human society could have a bright future. Romanticists pursued their visions through imagination and hope.
Francois Rene de Chateaubriand was a believer in political liberalism and constitutional monarchy. His writing also evinced a belief that truth was revealed through an inner realization in every human being that did not rely on the reasoning approach of the Enlightenment. He fostered this approach to understanding through the theme of the Nobel Savage. Anti-intellectualism was a prevalent theme in his writings. He deals with emotions, raw nature, and religion in Rene. (de Chateaubriand, 1962). Chateaubriand is considered to be a precursor of Romanticism. Nevertheless, his writi
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and the Realistic in his literary works. Where Hugo was a Romantic reaching ahead at times toward Realism, however, Balzac was a Realist who occasionally wrote with the emotion and sentimentality of a Romantic. In Le PerF Goriot, Balzac pursues a theme of self-sacrifice. The novel illustrates the futility of self-sacrifice if one is hoping to be rewarded with love and respect from those whom he or she helps. In...