romanticism

Bettina von Arnim and the Romantic Era’s Zeitgeist

Bettina von Arnim and the Romantic Era’s Zeitgeist

On April 4, 1785, German romantic author Elisabeth Catharina Ludovica Magdalena Brentano, better known as Bettina von Arnim was born. Moreover, she was a writer, publisher, composer, singer, visual artist, an illustrator, patron of young talent, and a social activist. She was the archetype of the Romantic era’s zeitgeist and the crux of many creative relationships of canonical artistic figures. Best known for the company she kept, she numbered among her closest friends…
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The Literary Decadence of Arthur Machen

The Literary Decadence of Arthur Machen

On March 3, 1863, Welsh author and mystic Arthur Machen was born. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction. His novella The Great God Pan (1890) has garnered a reputation as a classic of horror. Stephen King has called it “Maybe the best horror story in the English language“. “For, usually and fitly, the presence of an introduction is held to imply that there is something of…
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Georg Büchner – Forerunner of Naturalism and Expressionism

Georg Büchner – Forerunner of Naturalism and Expressionism

On February 19, 1837, German dramatist, revolutionary, natural scientist, and writer Georg Büchner passed away at age 23. His literary achievements, though few in number, are generally held in great esteem in Germany and it is widely believed that, had it not been for his early death, he might have joined such central German literary figures as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe [5] and Friedrich Schiller [6] at the summit of their profession. I admit, I…
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Hector Berlioz and the Symphonie Fantastique

Hector Berlioz and the Symphonie Fantastique

On December 11, 1803, French romantic composer Hector Berlioz was born. He is best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts (Requiem). Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works, and conducted several concerts with more than 1,000 musicians. “Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.” — Hector…
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The Scandalous Love Affairs of George Sand

The Scandalous Love Affairs of George Sand

On July 1, 1804, French novelist and memoirist Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupi better known under her pseudonym George Sand was born. She was one of the most successful female writers of the nineteenth century, but equally well known for her much publicized romantic affairs with a number of artists, including the composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin and the writer Alfred de Musset. “I have an object, a task, let me say the word, a…
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Georg Friedrich Philipp von Hardenberg aka Novalis

Georg Friedrich Philipp von Hardenberg aka Novalis

On March 25, 1801, poet, author, and philosopher of early German Romanticism Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, better known under his pen name Novalis passed away. In spite of his early death at age 28, Novalis left behind a complex philosophical legacy that encompasses discussions of subjectivity and self-consciousness, issues in epistemology, moral theory, political philosophy, problems of interpretation, philosophy of history, philosophy of religion, the proto-existentialist experience of the finality…
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Probably the best known composer of the world – Ludwig van Beethoven

Probably the best known composer of the world – Ludwig van Beethoven

On December 17, 1770, German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven was born. He is considered a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. Born as the eldest of three children in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven displayed his musical…
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August Wilhelm Schlegel and his Shakespeare Translations

August Wilhelm Schlegel and his Shakespeare Translations

August Wilhelm Schlegel (1767 – 1845) On September 8, 1767, German poet, translator, and critic August Wilhelm Schlegel was born, who became a foremost leader of German Romanticism. He is best known for his translations of Shakespeare‘s works into German. August Wilhelm Schlegel attended the school in Hannover, followed by the University of Göttingen, where he enrolled in 1787. At first, he studied theology, changing to classical philology and aesthetics later on.…
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William Makepeace Thackeray’s deft Skewering of Human Foibles

William Makepeace Thackeray’s deft Skewering of Human Foibles

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) On July 18, 1811, English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray was born. He was famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society. During the Victorian era, Thackeray was ranked second only to Charles Dickens, but he is now much less read and is known almost exclusively for Vanity Fair, which has become a standard fixture in university courses and has been repeatedly adapted for movies…
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The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

Madame de Staël (1766-1817) On July 14, 1817, French woman of letters of Swiss origin Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, commonly known as Madame de Staël, passed away. She was one of Napoleon’s principal opponents. Celebrated for her conversational eloquence, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life of her times. Her works, both critical and fictional, made their mark on the history of European Romanticism. She was a remarkable woman,…
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