Romanticism in Spain

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Encyclopedia Entry

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World Literature in Spanish: An Encyclopedia


The term romanticism refers to a specific literary movement, generally thought to be dominant in Spain from about 1800 to 1850, although it appears both before and after these dates. Frequently characterized as a reaction against Enlightenment reason, rationalism and neoclassical strictures, it also reflected monumental political and social changes that accompanied the process of modernization in Spain. Romanticism originated in late-18th-century Germany and quickly spread throughout the continent and overseas; French romanticism additionally influenced Spain's movement. Characteristics of romantic literature in Spain include an emphasis on the individual and the subjective; emotionality and sentimentalism, especially with regard to love; the privileging of emotions and passion over reason; a resurgence of interest in national themes; an interest in the local and the folkloric; an interest in the exotic, the supernatural, and death; and the use of nature and the natural in literature. Romanticism is also thought to be predominantly a politically liberal phenomenon, as embodied by José de Espronceda (1808-1842) and Mariano José de Larra (1809-1837); however, strongly conservative and religious roots characterize romantic writings of authors like Cecilia Böhl de Faber (1796-1877).


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