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The Nature of LoveCourtly and Romantic$
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Irving Singer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262512732

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262512732.001.0001

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Romantic Pessimism Goethe, Novalis, Schopenhauer, Wagner

Romantic Pessimism Goethe, Novalis, Schopenhauer, Wagner

(p.432) 13 Romantic Pessimism Goethe, Novalis, Schopenhauer, Wagner
The Nature of Love

Irving Singer

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the pessimistic attitude that countered the optimistic approach to romanticism; whatever differences romanticists had, they all believed that happiness in love is worth attaining and can be attained here on earth. Romantic pessimism, throughout the ending of the eighteenth century and most of the nineteenth, has questioned this healthy minded approach to human possibilities. Within many Romantics, these two opposing perspectives exist, and they manifest through ambivalence, inconsistency, or, most often, as an unresolved dialectical opposition. The chapter also delves into the concept of love-death and the process of its formulation in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is worth noting that this idea and the elements supporting it were present from the very beginning. The conflict between optimistic and pessimistic romanticism is, therefore, an old one.

Keywords:   romanticism, romanticists, Romantic pessimism, dialectical opposition, love-death

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