Term applied to literary and artistic movements of the late 18th and 19th cent., in revolt against Classicism and against philosophical rationalism, with its emphasis on reason. Spurred in part by the libertarian and egalitarian ideals of the French Revolution, the romantics are associated with belief in a return to nature and in the innate goodness of humans, as expressed by Jean Jacques Rousseau; admiration for the heroic and for the individuality and imagination of the artist; exaltation of the senses and emotions over reason and intellect; and interest in the medieval, exotic, primitive, and nationalistic.
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