The Romantic era, which lasted from the late 18th century to the mid-19th century, was marked by an emphasis on emotions, imagination, and individualism. Romantic writers, such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Lord Byron, believed in the power of the imagination and often wrote about nature, love, and the supernatural. However, the Realist writers of the mid-19th century rejected the Romanticism of the previous era and sought to depict life as it really was, without romanticizing or idealizing it. In this essay, we will explore the aspects of Romantic writing that Realist writers disapproved of.
The Focus On The Supernatural:
One of the aspects of Romantic writing that Realist writers disapproved of was the focus on the supernatural. Romantic writers often wrote about ghosts, witches, and other supernatural creatures. They believed that the supernatural was a way to explore the unknown and the mysterious. However, Realist writers rejected this approach and instead focused on the realities of everyday life. They believed that the supernatural was a distraction from the real issues of society and that it had no place in literature.
For example, in the novel "Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert, the protagonist Emma is fascinated by the romantic novels of her time, which are full of supernatural elements. However, her infatuation with these novels leads her to make unrealistic and foolish decisions, which ultimately lead to her downfall. Flaubert uses Emma's fascination with the supernatural to critique the Romantic ideals of his time.
The Idealization Of Love:
Another aspect of Romantic writing that Realist writers disapproved of was the idealization of love. Romantic writers often portrayed love as an all-consuming passion that could overcome any obstacle. They believed that love was the most important thing in life and that it could transform even the most ordinary of people. However, Realist writers rejected this idealization of love and instead depicted it as it really was: messy, complicated, and often unfulfilling.
For example, in the novel "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy, the protagonist Anna falls in love with Count Vronsky and begins an affair with him. However, their love is not the perfect, all-consuming passion that Romantic writers often depicted. Instead, their affair is fraught with jealousy, guilt, and societal pressures. Tolstoy uses their relationship to critique the Romantic ideal of love and to show how it can lead to tragedy in the real world.
The Use Of Excessive Sentimentality:
Another aspect of Romantic writing that Realist writers disapproved of was the use of excessive sentimentality. Romantic writers often used flowery language, exaggerated emotions, and sentimental imagery to create a sense of heightened emotion in their readers. However, Realist writers believed that this approach was manipulative and unrealistic. They believed that literature should reflect the real world, and that excessive sentimentality had no place in it.
For example, in the short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce, the protagonist Peyton Farquhar is about to be hanged by Union soldiers during the American Civil War. As he awaits his execution, he reflects on his life and experiences a range of emotions, including fear, regret, and nostalgia. However, Bierce does not use flowery language or sentimental imagery to convey these emotions. Instead, he uses stark, realistic descriptions to create a sense of tension and foreboding. This approach is typical of Realist writing and reflects the Realist belief that literature should reflect the real world.
In conclusion, Realist writers disapproved of several aspects of Romantic writing, including the focus on the supernatural, the idealization of love, and the use of excessive sentimentality
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