The Romantic Artist between Popularity and Scholarship
IN THE second half of the 18th century, Romanticism exalted popular literature and culture as an aesthetic –but also political– reaction against the Latin roots and ideals of the European Classicism. However, the so-called “terrorism” of the French Revolution made the democratic spirit of Romanticism more conservative, sophisticated and noble. Hence, the Romantic Movement, under the enormous influence of Friedrich Schiller, worked for a synthesis of popularity and noble scholarship. The same ‘Shilerean’ language of ‘the democratic nobility’ was spoken by Greek authors as D. Solomos, I. Polylas, E. Roidis, G. Kalosgouros, L. Mavilis, K. Palamas and G. Seferis.
Despite its intentions, the democratic nobility of Romanticism gave rise to the anti-popular or anti-democratic attitudes of the modern aestheticism. The conclusion of this paper is that the romantic praise of popular literature led to its distortion and loss, because, as Schiller suggested, the concept of popular literature can only be posed and restored as such outside the realm of popularity itself.
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