The “Road to Romanticism” surveys the entire Romantic era, beginning with the first phase that began with the Storming of the Bastille (1789) through the 1848 Revolutions and uprisings in Europe; and the second phase that coincided with the death of Richard Strauss (1948) and his final compositions, Four Last Songs.
Romanticism represented a revolt against the social and political notions embraced by the philosophes of the 17th and 18th century Enlightenment; therefore, Romantics opposed the scientific rationalization of nature. Whereas the Enlightenment exalted reason, Romanticism revolted against reason and exalted subjectivity; it became an epochal shift of consciousness that emphasized subjective emotions, imagination and the primacy of the individual and basic human sensitivities and feelings.
Romanticism sought a new world order; its expressive ideology was intended to redeem society from the false illusions of Enlightenment promises that led to the French Revolution, Reign of Terror and Napoleonic excesses that had caused despair, resignation and disillusionment.
The Romantic Movement served to awaken society to the failed promises of the Enlightenment and the subsequent inequalities and injustices that remained after the chaos. Humanity was in pain, and the artistic expression of that agony within the genres of the Romantic spirit provided relief and hope; Romantic artists expressed their world-view in their respective oeuvres with truthful emotion and intense drama.
“Road to Romanticism” represents an exhaustive research of the oeuvres and goals of prominent Romantic era artists, writers, painters and composers of the time and analyzes the impact of the Movement in England, France, Germany, Russia, Italy and America.