Romanticism

Every time I’m wounded, I bleed in romantic colours.

Romanticism (or the Romantic Era or the “‘Romantic Period”‘) was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution.[1] In part, it was a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature.[2] It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography,[3] education[4] and natural history.[5]

The movement validated strong emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as trepidation, horror and terror and awe—especially that which is experienced in confronting the sublimity of untamed nature and its picturesque qualities, both new aesthetic categories. It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, made of spontaneity a desirable character (as in the musical impromptu), and argued for a “natural” epistemology of human activities as conditioned by nature in the form of language and customary usage.

Romanticism reached beyond the rational and Classicist ideal models to elevate a revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived to be authentically medieval, in an attempt to escape the confines of population growth, urban sprawl, and industrialism, and it also attempted to embrace the exotic, unfamiliar, and distant in modes more authentic than Rococo chinoiserie, harnessing the power of the imagination to envision and to escape.

The modern sense of a romantic character may be expressed in Byronic ideals of a gifted, perhaps misunderstood loner, creatively following the dictates of his inspiration rather than the standard ways of contemporary society.

Although the movement was rooted in the German Sturm und Drang movement, which prized intuition and emotion over Enlightenment rationalism, the ideologies and events of the French Revolution laid the background from which both Romanticism and the Counter-Enlightenment emerged. The confines of the Industrial Revolution also had their influence on Romanticism, which was in part an escape from modern realities; indeed, in the second half of the 19th century, “Realism” was offered as a polarized opposite to Romanticism.[6] Romanticism elevated the achievements of what it perceived as heroic individualists and artists, whose pioneering examples would elevate society. It also legitimized the individual imagination as a critical authority, which permitted freedom from classical notions of form in art. There was a strong recourse to historical and natural inevitability, a zeitgeist, in the representation of its ideas.

– Definition courtesy of Wikipedia

When I say I’m a romantic, it conjures the expression, ‘There are no atheists in the foxholes’. In said foxhole, if you’re not religious, then you’re a romantic. The only occasion that we seem to get any more time, any respite from the relentless swing of the pendulum, is when we’re in pain. In common experience, a lot of this pain is inflicted through love. My response has always been to write about it.

I posted a previous love letter and had forgotten all about this one until quite recently. I wrote this straight off the top of my head and was really surprised by it at the time. Regardless of the quality (perversely, as creator, it is the one aspect of the act which is closed to me,) I like the structure. I have no idea why all this went together like it did; it just made sense at the time. Writing provides a kind of lancet for the pressure and made me feel as if I had managed to produce something definitive outside myself, which became a kind of landmark beside the road as I was carried past in the carriage.

‘Eternity is in love with the productions of time,’ as I think I quoted William Blake in the ‘Devil’s Music’ post.

Three Days Til Christmas – Version 2.0 – 29/01/05

At 3:30AM, she sent a text message. “I’ll always love my big one.”

I sent back, “No more txt – it hurts too much.”

“Ok”.

Then I sent, “Yesterday I lay down on the couch with my arms around myself and cried.”

“I’m crying now.”

I replied, “I’m dreaming of making love to you, my darling”.

To which there was no reply.

I was hard so I started jerking off. I closed my eyes and I felt a ravine open in my chest. I felt the scars lifting and her slipping underneath them. I imagined her red hair sparkling against the pillow and the slope of her nose and the way a sigh trickles down it; the shapeless words her body uses when it’s speaking through her mouth. The shape of her eyes when she saw me. Her skin and the way she touched me with the length of it.

For the first time in three years, the depression came on yesterday. She has opened up that potential, all that space for hurt. The kind you have to see a doctor for; the hurt that exhausts but doesn’t let me sleep. That makes my thought a laminate of dread which runs from pain to fear. But the cliché about how great love risks great pain opens into a dimension of intimate meaning that looks in my head like the ocean underwater when it’s filled with sunlight. If I close my eyes, I can see her body naked under the sheet, perfect as the plan of God written in the undulations of a field. 

Still no answer. She morphed into some generic blonde and then she was gone. 

It’s Christmas in three days. If I can get the key, I’ll go to the boxing gym and work on my jab. You have to work your legs to let your torso rotate; the power is in the hip and shoulder, not the arm. I’ve been having problems with my wrist buckling against the heavy bag when it swings to, but I was thinking while lying awake that if I angle my knuckles more, it’ll create a stronger line from my shoulder and through my arm. I love the way the inertia of the target speaks to you; when your form is correct the opposing forces are joined and neither body retreats. Rather, the stronger penetrates the weaker.  

I am searching for the moment of fusion between project and object that is broken by movement, like the breaking of a kiss to breathe.

I was discussing philosophy with Rodney Hall the other week; I don’t read it and I’m really not interested, for a couple of reasons. Rodney bought up an idea which he quoted from Vico, that why or how the world works is none of our business; the one thing that is valid human concern is historiography – because we have created it. When I write these things, when they are literally wrung out of me, I believe them to be true.

Because they are fragments of my history.

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3 Responses to “Romanticism”

  1. Great post Jarrod, feels real.

  2. Avid reader Says:

    I think this blog will speak to a lot of people,especially the paragraph that starts “for the first time in three years”. I have so many thoughts running through my head after reading this,sadly I lack the eloquence to untangle them at this point in time. Your writing holds power,emotion. It’s superb.

  3. juliehock66 Says:

    …the breaking of a kiss to breathe. Beautiful, and a summary of so much of life lived with awareness.

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