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The Romantic Revolution [Kindle Edition]

Tim Blanning
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A compelling and persuasive account of how the Romantic Movement permanently changed the way we see things and express ourselves.

Three great revolutions rocked the world around 1800. The first two - the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution - have inspired the greatest volume of literature. But the third - the romantic revolution - was perhaps the most fundamental and far-reaching. From Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Burns, to Beethoven, Wagner, Berlioz, Rossini and Liszt, to Goya, Turner, Delacroix and Blake, the romantics brought about nothing less than a revolution when they tore up the artistic rule book of the old regime.

This was the period in which art acquired its modern meaning; for the first time the creator, rather than the created, took centre-stage. Artists became the high priests of a new religion, and as the concert hall and gallery came to take the place of the church, the public found a new subject worthy of veneration in paintings, poetry and music. Tim Blanning's sparkling, wide-ranging survey traces the roots and evolution of a cultural revolution whose reverberations continue to be felt today.

Product Description


Splendidly provocative (Dominic Sandbrook SUNDAY TIMES)

Music, art, literature and politics are interwoven with assured erudition and clarity (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

The pan-European sweep of this concise, absorbing study takes the reader far beyond the familiar home-grown poets. (INDEPENDENT)

Vivid, readable ... This brief survey is an elegant introduction to the emergence of an outlook that was revolutionary but is now the norm. (Judith Rice GUARDIAN)

Wide-ranging and expertly researched ... a thought provoking study (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

A compelling and persuasive account of how the Romantic Movement permanently changed the way we see things and express ourselves.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5696 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0753828650
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (20 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AJ20KN6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #254,392 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning achievement & perfect introduction 18 Sept. 2010
By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A while ago I read Blanning's The Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648-1815 (Penguin History of Europe) and was completely bowled over by the learning and originality, all of it delivered in a seemingly effortless style and manner. This book, though on a completely different subject matter, is certainly no less an achievement. In the short span of just 186 pages (not counting the notes, list for further reading and index) Blanning masterly summarizes this most fascinating of subjects: Romanticism.

In the introduction Blanning argues that, besides the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, the Romantic Revolution was as (if not more) important, and just as radical and far-reaching. He then sets out to prove his point in a very logical framework. Chapter I ('the crisis of the age of reason') deals with the beginnings of romanticism, the radical shift it caused from a mimetic to an expressive aesthetic, how it led to the cult of the artist genius (which is still very much alive today), and these same artists' dual relation with their public.

In chapter II ('the dark side of the moon') he covers the romantics' fascination with all aspects of the human experience so alien to the Enlightenment: dreams and nightmares, madness, the 'wonder-world of the night'. In chapter III ('language, history and myth') he turns his attention to how romanticism sparked a renewed interest in (national) history, folk tales and folk lore, and how each nation searched (and found, if necessary using forgeries) their own 'golden age, often set in medieval times.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction 5 Dec. 2011
By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER
There are several good short introductions to Romanticism (by J.L.Talmon, H.G.Schenk and Rupert Christiansen - to name only the ones on my shelves), but now this excellent short text of just 186 pages joins them. It is particularly rich in short but well-chosen excerpts from a wide range of the writings of the time. It covers all the usual themes, but there are also a passages about less familiar aspects or episodes. I had not previously been conscious of the Romantic cult of the Night as opposed to the Enlightenment's cult of the Light. We learn about a little-known Czech epic forged by one Vaclav Hanka, which for the Czech imagination was as influential as that other forgery by James Macpherson - the poems of Ossian - was for Europe in general and for Scotland in particular. There is the story of the British handing over to the Turks the Greek town of Parga in 1818, "well-reported" at the time but which hardly figures in the history books today: it was a tragic episode which contributed to the role that Greece played in the Romantic imagination.

In his short last chapter Blanning deals with the apparent death of Romanticism as Realism in art and literature took over and materialism asserted itself - but that death was only apparent; and the reaction to that world took the form of the neo-Romanticism of Symbolism, and of a new romantic obsession with death and night and sex. Blanning shows that even thereafter the swing of the pendulum (he sees it as dialectical development - I prefer to see it as co-existence) had not come to a end.

Blanning has packed an enormous amount into his short space, and it is only the last thirty pages or so which I thought were a little too hectic.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Primer 31 Dec. 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The best thing about this book is its length. For a history book by a professional historian, it is laudably short. The book gets its points across clearly and with precision. As something to dip into for the desperate, essay writing sixth former or undergraduate looking for an idea or quote, it would be hard to better.

For those looking for a more comprehensive purview of the romantic movement and its effect on society, it leaves a lot to be desired. There seems to be a whole chapter missing - the one that deals with romantic theories of science. These had a powerful influence on the biological sciences in particular.

The chapter on the romantics' interest in language, history and myth is the high point of the book. This is taken forward into the complex, almost incomprehensible positioning of the romantics in contemporary politics - a sort of reactionary liberalism, loosely tied to an idealised pastoral volk and terrified of the urban mob.

The influence of the romantics on contemporary political thinking and on social policies is not covered; it is treated as an almost exclusively artistic movement. Again romantic thinking on what constituted a "people" revolutionised concepts of nationhood, which had reverberations beyond the nineteenth century into the twentieth.

The book ends with the classical-romantic "dialectic" continuing all the way up to the present day. This further confuses the definition of the word "romantic". To support the book's arguments, quotes seem to be selected at random across the period 1760-1880. I could have used a little more rigour around the definition of the term, but perhaps that deserves a (longer) book by itself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great intro
An easy-to-read introduction to the romantic movement and the prevailing culture of the time period in question. Just enough detail to whet the appetite.
Published 10 months ago by gd
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine overview of the Romantic period
It’s hard in less than 200 pages to go into a great deal of detail, but in this book, Tim Blanning manages to sketch out the why and how of romanticism. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Kirk McElhearn
4.0 out of 5 stars how romantic
Again an excellent book by Britain's bestest historian Tim Blanning. A very compact (186 pages) overview of how good art degenerated into bad art at the close of the 18th century. Read more
Published 14 months ago by M. Baerends
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating topic and a great read. Loved it.
"The Romantic Revolution" is after "Pursuit of Glory", Tim Blanning's second book that blew me away. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Basileus
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting basic book
This book is good but does not explore in any real depth, however a good supplement to denser tomes on the period.
Published 23 months ago by Tosca
5.0 out of 5 stars I've not read a better book on the Romantic Style.
The author sets out the basic tension between Classicism and Romanticism clearly. He shows the period's on-going influence on our ideas of and reactions to art and artists. Read more
Published on 18 Mar. 2011 by John H. Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Brodsky
If God existed and he, she or it wrote history, it would look like this. Amongst Blanning's divine characteristics this reviewer noted; the lyrical buoyancy of his prose, total... Read more
Published on 29 Dec. 2010 by Brodsky
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