I had assigned the class to do some additional reading on Romanticism, and put each student in charge of introducing a poet and a representative poem. Here are some of the interesting comments and questions they had.
♦ Zorrilla was “financially unwise” and must have had a magnetic personality, to attract all those women looking as he did. Everything went poorly for him because he made “terrible life choices” but he was completely dedicated to poetry; poetry was the only thing he made sure to do consistently and correctly; this set of priorities is typically Romantic.
♦ Romanticism is a very good movement because it reacts against and offers relief from the dehumanization that was the Industrial Revolution. It supports the individuality of the individual and encourages people and life to become more artistic.
♦ Transcendentalists in English appear to have esthetics, philosophical interests, and broader life or societal objectives related to those of the Spanish Romantics. What is the precise difference?
♦ Ask anyone on the street what art is and what its function should be, and they will give a Romantic answer. Go into any contemporary gallery and look at the art, and you will see that it has many Romantic characteristics. What is the meaning of this?
♦ Did Romanticism ever end? Are we not still in it now? Why do later movements repudiate it when they are so obviously participating in it to a strong degree? Would it not be more proper to call these other movements offshoots of Romanticism?