"Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer" von Caspar David Friedrich
“the Wanderer over the nebula sea” of Caspar David Friedrich

romance designates a literary and art-historical epoch between 1795 and 1848. Further the term designates romance with the adjective romantically the characteristic of a thing to fulfill the heart with love z. B. into „romantic love “, „romantic music “or „a romantic letter “.

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the term comes originally of „into lingua romana “, into Roman language, thus in the appropriate countries in the people language written writings. They formed the contrast to the before usual, in „lingua latina “(latin) written writings. Out “lingua romana” the expression developed „for novel “, which came from the French also to us and became too romantic.

Romance means thus prevention of the antique one and of classical models. That is, romantic authors are opened for topics from its own culture and history and turn off from classical forms, which explains the preference for fragmentary way of writing. The turn to the own culture means at the same time a stronger turn to saying - and myth world of the Middle Ages.

The representatives of the classical period felt particularly attacked and designated by the magazines of the romantics substantial their literature as fantastisch or even as diseased.


of the romantics goes out from a break, to that the world split into the world of the reason, the “numbers and figures” (new fact-read), and the world of the feeling and the marvelous one. Driving Kraft of the German romance is a longing after the healing of the world, after the unification from contrasts to a harmonious whole one. Leading places and Manifestationen of this longing are fog-imposed forest valleys, medieval monastery - ruins, old myths and fairy tale, nature etc. A central symbol for this longing or their goal is the blue flower. The longing is directed toward something indefinite or unattainable. For this reason it is never satisfied and can be durably enjoyed and realized over their sake.

Contrary to the task of the poets Weimar classical period and clearing-up /storm and urge, i.e. the education of the people by the literature , the poets saw the romance their task in the healing of the tear, which goes through the world and thus through the individuals, mystisch superelevated to that in the term of the “poet priest”. A possibility for it offers the art, because “the world lifts on to sing meets you only the magic word” (Eichendorff).

The romantics searched lost gone world in the works from the “childhood of humans”, thus in the fairy tales and legends, in the Volksliedern, in the Mystizismus of the Middle Ages. „Protects “not in the intellectual one one saw, but in as natural and truly regarded behavior of the simple people. People dances e.g. flowed. into the romantic music (z. B. Franz thrust ore). The brothers Grimm collected the legends and fairy tales of the verbal people excessive quantity.

However „the other world saves “also dangers. This Nachtseite of the romance, coined/shaped of devil pacts, insanity, ghosts, debt and death, is to z. B. particularly pronouncedly with E. T. A. Hoffmann.

The romance is to be understood also as return flow for clearing-up (reason) and therefore in the political area this very day a current term.

A new view on the romance made Arno possible Schmidt; concentrated to read for instance by program in its dialogue over Ludwig Tieck: ‹FIFTEEN›. Of the miracle child of the Sinnlosigkeit (1959). In: Works. Saving fields expenditure. Group of works of II, volume 2, S. 285-333. Zurich: Haffmans 1990.

Historical background

in the organization of the society large pagings took place, the new machine world led to urbanization and migration from the land, a former idyll were for the romantics at it to be disappeared by the industrialization.

The failed revolution in Germany, after the model of the French revolution, with that the absolutist system, the condition company as well as the power of the church to exist remained, showed that the change of the “system” no more could not take place in or with the society.

The romantics with their individualistischen basic adjustment saw this as a reason, in order to flee and from the social life to a large extent back pull themselves in their seal in melancholy, into fantastische, unreal, idyllische worlds (escape from the reality).

Style means and characteristic

  • psyche

the Unterbewusstsein are realized in the literature and show up.

  • Open forms

neither form nor contents are fixed. Thus songs, narrations, fairy tales and poem are into one another mixed. Poetry, science and philosophy are interconnected.

  • Progressive universal poetry

Schlegel coined/shaped critics in the romance the term of the progressive universal poetry as a literature theoretician and -. In the literature now no more should not be given as in the classical period determined patterns for the Erschaffung of a literary work, but one regarded the artist as a freely creating genius. The Regelpoetik and the demands of the three aristotelischen units of space, time and actions lost at meaning, on the contrary the novel became the subjective playing field of the author. A goal was it - after Schlegel - philosophy, Prosa, Poetik, to represent Genialität and criticism with one another connecting. From these new constellations a fragmentary character with incomplete action strands resulted. Schlegel wanted to stress thereby the becoming process of the seal and meant that the unfinished condition of a seal of arbitrariness and liberty of the poet follows.

  • Irony

the author stands over its work. It can destroy caused tendencies, pictures or stories abruptly and over-crept changes.

A special case of romantic irony are self references on the work. If e.g. in plays the hero into a hopeless situation turns out, but is safe to survive with the reason “one dies nevertheless not in the middle in the third act”, is this a case of romantic irony.

The subject of the romantic longing is the absolute, a condition of waived alienation, which Rousseau had described before as “natural state” (état naturel) and to which an unreflected “naive” world understanding and world relationship correspond. This condition however became unattainable modern humans and can be not adequately represented also by the art, which is based on reflection. Each attempt it to represent, seizes necessarily too briefly. The romantic work of art, which is to contain its own criticism, can become only fair this insight, by preventing itself ironically and its own “falsehood” (Scheinhaftigkeit) to look places. I.e. its central display item is a longing, a whose goal is unknown, and each attempt to make this goal descriptive is doomed to failure. This paradox must to become fair, bear the art, wants it their task.

  • Tradition and the Middle Ages

old person of works are collected and again animated. The Middle Ages are considered as ideal and become gentleman light. Badly remain unconsidered for this time.

Sections of the romance

one differentiates between early romance (approx. 1795-1804), high romance (approx. 1804-1815) and late romance (approx. 1815-1848). In the center the idea of the feeling and the Fantasie is located. With respect to the high romance one differentiates between the Heidelberger circle and the citizen of Berlin circle.

However these phases did not run in all culture sections completely synchronously; the late romance in the music pulls itself for example up to the end 19. Century.

By the romance the youth movement, those is affected at the beginning 20. Century developed. In more recent time individual characteristics are to subculture also in the Dark Wave - or Gothic -, without in both cultures lastly specified a direct successor of the romance would be to be seen.

Motives of the romance

of scenes of the romance

  • of cemeteries
  • ruins and old castles
  • of dark forests
  • mountain inside and caves
  • original, idealized natural landscapes
  • natural - supernatural - Märchenhaftes

representative of the romance

new fact-read
  • philosophy

Johann God-dear spruce, Friedrich William Joseph of Schelling as a creator of the German idealism as a metaphysical Wegbereiter of the romance.

  • Music (style of the romance most typical as „language beyond the language the “)

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Hector Berlioz, Johannes Brahms, Hugo wolf, Frédéric Chopin, EDP pool of broadcasting corporations Grieg, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Franz Liszt, Modest mash ensuring ski, Franz thrust ore, Robert Schumann, smelling pool of broadcasting corporations bunch, Hans Pfitzner, Pjotr Iljitsch Tschaikowski, smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Wagner, Carl Maria von Weber, Gustav meals, Anton Bruckner, Niccolò Paganini

  • literature

Friedrich Hölderlin as founders of the romantic seal in the German linguistic area, Ernst Moritz Arndt, Bettina of Arnim, Ludwig Achim of Arnim, August Ferdinand Bernhardi, Clemens Brentano, Adelbert of Chamisso, Joseph of Eichendorff, Friedrich de la moth Fouqué, Joseph Görres, Jakob Grimm, William Grimm, Karoline of Günderrode, William Hauff, Heinrich Heine, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Isidorus Orientalis, Heinrich of Kleist, Ernst August Friedrich blade man, Sophie Mereau, Adam von Müller, Wilhelm Mueller, Novalis, Jean Paul, Friedrich Schleiermacher, August William of Schlegel, Friedrich by Schlegel, Ernst Schulze, Ludwig Tieck, Ludwig UHL and, Rahel Varnhagen, Dorothea Veit, William Heinrich Wackenroder, Zacharias Werner, Karl Friedrich God praise Wetzel, Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki, Zygmunt Krasiński, Cyprian Kamil Norwid.

  • Painting

Caspar David Friedrich, Eugène Delacroix, William Blake, Johann Heinrich Füssli, Philipp Otto Runge, Piotr Michałowski, Joseph mark lord William Turner, walter Schliephacke.

Also Karl Friedrich Schinkel supplied with a set of landscape designs and painting as well as to architectural designs, which were obviously inspired by the romance. Starting from years there was the 1870er in the painting a current, which is called Neoromantik. Among it rank among other things From Moritz of shrink and the historical-scenes painter Julius Schnorr of Carolsfeld.

  • Jurisprudence

Friedrich Carl von Savigny as joint founders of the historical right school.

  • Religion

John Henry Newman as joint founders of the Oxford movement.

Classical period and romance in the comparison

  • classical period

props after completion, peace, firm order, clarity, measure and harmony

  • romance

urge after infinity, passionate-moved, dark one, measurement and irregular oneBlowing up wools of all borders.

  • Classical period

props after objectivity, classification, law, reason, equilibrium, after valid and closed form. Exact distinction between lyric poetry, Epik and drama TIC; renunciation, demands self-restraint, moral strength of will; fantastic, Verworrenes, unclear rejects; strives for harmony between feeling and understanding; requires exact border setting to let it be based is enough to investigate the investigate-cash the impenetrable however on itself.

  • Romance

breaks the classical borders, wants rule of the freely creative fantasy (is more important than “noble” form and high-mental contents); wants borders to blow up: Borders of the understanding, borders between science and poetry and between the individual seal kinds - props after a “universal poetry”, which is at the same time science, religion and seal and lyrically, episch, dramatic and musical; wants borders between dream and reality to down-tear; the whole world wants to romantisieren „“and demands complete subjectivity, individualizing, liberty and independence and an world-open, eternally incomplete sealing type; Preference for the fantastic, marvelous one, unconscious one, Übersinnliche

the romance became the European spirit movement and seized, outgoing from Germany, all countries of Europe. It affected philosophy, seal, arts, religion, science, politics and society.


  • Helmut digs (Hrsg.): Romance manual. Stuttgart: Kröner 1994
  • Detlef Kremer: Romance, Stuttgart: Metzler 2003
  • Hans Steffen (Hrsg.): The German romance. Goettingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1989
  • Silvio Vietta (Hrsg.): The literary early romance. Goettingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1983
  • Theodore Tsiolkovskiy: The office of the poets. The German romance and its institutions. Munich: dtv 1994
  • Manfred franc: Introduction to the earlyromantic aesthetics. Frankfurt A. M.: Suhrkamp 1989
  • Ders.: Cold heart. Infinite travel. New mythology. Frankfurt A. M.: Suhrkamp 1989
  • Karl Heinz drill: The criticism of the romance. Frankfurt A. M.: Suhrkamp 1989
  • Ders.: The romantic letter. Frankfurt A. M.: Suhrkamp 1989
  • Gerda Heinrich: Historicalphilosophical positions of the German early romance. Kronberg/Ts.: Scriptor 1977
  • Eberhard Roters: Beyond of Arkadien. The romantic landscape. Cologne: DuMont 1995
  • kind of hitting a corner Klessmann: The German romance. Cologne: DuMont 1979
  • Carl Schmitt: Political romance, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot 1919, 1925, 1968

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Wiktionary: Romance - word origin, synonyms and translations


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