Gaarder's Romanticism: Meaning and Interpretation

The Romanticism is a movement commonly known as Romantic Movement, which begins in the very beginning of the 19th century and flourished in the middle of the 19th century. It was a movement in philosophy and literature as a reaction to the previous age of reason of Kant.

Jostein Gaarder (Born in 1952)

The age of reason had certain norms and values on literature: it was believed that literature is the product of mind so reason, logic, intellect, talent, wit etc were the catch terms is the age or reason similarly it was also considered that a writer is a god gifted man born to be the writer.

Literature was considered as the product of complex human mind so it should have complex language with satire, irony and metaphorical elements. The complete literature of the age of reason was beyond the city life. Romanticism is the reaction of the age of reason that has brought new ideas, norms and values that were different from the values of the previous age. Instead of mind, Romanticism gave importance to heart, so literature was considered as the product of human heart. The catch terms in the romanticism were passion, emotion, feelings, yearning, dream, fantasy, etc.

Similarly, romantic writers and philosophers rejected the city life and accepted the rustic countryside natural human life. As the romantic writers were influenced by Rousseau, slogan 'back to nature', they adopted natural life as the subject matter of their study. Similarly, they have also changed the language; literature instead of complete ironic and satiric language, they used simple and common language spoken by the ordinary people of the countryside. So Romanticism was developed as a reaction to the age of reason.

There were certain romantic philosophers and writers. Navalis Beet haven and Schiller are the well-known romantic philosophers. Blake, Words worth, Coleridge, Shelley and Byron are the well romantic writers or poets. These philosophers as well as the writers had certain norms and values, which are called philosophy or elements of romanticism. They are also called bases or equalities of romanticism. They are worshiper of nature. Among the elements of romanticism, worship of nature is the most important and common to the philosophers as well as writers. The romantic philosophers as the writers gave organization to nature because in their view nature has greatness and big life with in it, giving importance to nature and found fresh and blood in nature. Schiller the well-known romantic philosophers said 'Nature is visible spirit while spirit is invisible nature'. It means human heart and nature are similar. The only difference is that nature is visible heart while heart is invisible nature.

Romantic poet also gives high importance to nature. They had their own opinion and view about nature. For William Blake nature is mysterious and contradictory. To understand nature we need sixth sense organ, which is spiritual perception in the words of Plato. Words Worth gets everything is nature the role of the parents to give love and the role of the characteristics to teach him how to create a literature. For Coleridge, nature is super natural world, and for Keats and Shelley the suffering and misery is the theme of nature under Romanticism. Byron expressed unfulfilled sexuality as the subject matter of Romanticism.

Like nature worship, ego worship is the philosophy of the Romanticism. The Romantic writers were guided by self-egotism who considered themselves equal with God. They claimed that god is the creator of the universe and the earth and writers are creators like God. They gave high importance to the individualism of the Renaissance humanism. Similarly, romantic Philosopher and writers believed on the omnipresence of God, which was also believed by the Renaissance philosophers known as pantheism. It is another similarity between renaissance and romanticism. But romantic philosophers and writers were more ambition because sometimes they considered writers more powerful then God. They claimed that God has created only one universe but writers possess the power of crediting more than one universal in literature.

 Another philosophy of Romanticism is maximum imagination, which is like the daydreaming; Wordsworth lost himself in the day dreaming with imagination so that he could create literature. But Romantic writers were not only day dreamers but also they used dream as the subject of literature. Coleridge used the vision of dream as the subject matter of his poetry. He was so much interested in mystery of super nature, so his dreams are also connected with super naturalism. Romanticism was developed in two modes: universal Romanticism and national Romanticism.

Universal Romanticism was wider than national Romanticism because it appealed the universality of the human heart. It made emotions, feelings and passion of the human heart as the subject matter of literature so that universal Romanticism captured all humans’ feelings on the world. The poems of Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley are universal romantic poet’s, which applies our emotions and feeling. On the other hand, national Romanticism was not as wide as universal Romanticism because it was limited in the territory of a nation. The culture, religion, language of a nation is the subject matter of national romanticism. It began in Germany with the collection of fairy tales by Grimm Brothers.