American Romanticism

(1820-1865)

Origin and Characteristics

Romanticism began as a movement in Europe (in Germany), but was influential in America from 1820 to the end of the Civil War, when Realism began to replace it in importance. It is marked by a freedom from the authority, forms, and conventions typical in the Neoclassical literature which preceded it. Emphasis on reason (remember the Enlightenment and Benjamin Franklin's writings) was replaced with emphasis on the imagination and emotions, while the neoclassic emphasis on authority was superseded by an emphasis on individuality.