Dark romanticism means different things to different people. Although, it is usually referred to as anti-transcendentalism which is used to describe some gothic fiction. The fiction focused on the darkness of the human soul and accepted that there was sin and evil in the world. Dark romanticism conveyed many of the mechanics of the romantic authors in terms of writing style. The prominent figures of Dark romanticism were Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and some Emily Dickerson. The influences from literary and philosophical circles were The Bible, Tragic Drama, Shakespeare, “Byronic” rebellion and Calvinism.
Romanticism has varies definitions.
- It is referred to as the period when artists paid tribute to the lord.
- Romanticism is a considered to intangible to define. An example is what Baudelaire, French romanticist wrote, To say the word Romanticism is to day modern art, that is intimacy, spirituality, color, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by every means available to the arts.
- Romanticism is also considered a time when the market economy influenced authors for the first time.
- Romanticism is simply Eastern religion that rejects reason in favor of mysticism.
Dark romanticism seems to have sprung up as a reaction to industrial society and Transcendentalists. The prominent figures in the Transcendentalists movement were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman. The basic beliefs of the transcendentalists are:
- They idolized the individual over the society.
- They valued intuition and emotion over reason.
- They put emphasis on looking inward for the truth.
- That God’s spirit is within you already and in everything else.
- God is the universe.
- One turns inward to look for God, religion is considered personal.
- Self-reliance is stressed.
- The world within itself contains the laws and meaning of our existence.
- Man is damaged goods.
The main theory of Dark romanticism is that the self is the only thing that can be known or verified. There are certain characteristics of Dark romanticism.
- There is the focus on the tragic.
- The belief in sin and evil.
- An attention paid to the mysteries of life.
- Does not emphasize the cynical.
- A reverence for human nature, and all its struggles.