Romanticism can be construed as an opposite to "classicism," drawing on Rousseau's notion of the goodness of the natural. Romanticism holds that pure logic is insufficient to answer all questions. Despite a founding French influence, Romanticism was most widespread in Germany and England, largely as a reaction to the French Enlightenment. It also was a response to French cultural domination, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars . The Romanticist emphasis on individualism and self-expression deeply impacted American thinking, especially the transcendentalism of Emerson.
Frankenstein e-text contains the full text of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
Byron’s apocalyptic fantasy and Shelley’s legendary horror story are notable examples of the European literate class’s symbolic response to the colossal social trauma unfolding around them in the Tambora years of 1816-18. In their works of literary imagination, Byron and Shelley found means to represent the experience of the starving and diseased millions who had no voice in the press and parliaments of Europe, but mostly sank into oblivion. Both Shelley’s Frankenstein and Byron’s “Darkness” have been interpreted in a multitude of ways since they were written two hundred years ago, mostly in ways far removed from the historical circumstances of their composition. In our own era of mounting ecological crisis, however, it has become far clearer how much these works owe to a specific volcanic ecology, namely Tambora’s eruption and the subsequent worldwide climate emergency of 1816-18.