When in Rome, do as the Romans do.…be romantic?
The Romantic period was a movement of self-expression and the uprising of the common man. Romance, as we know it today, evolved from stories about the heroic deeds of knights. Before the Romantic period, literary works were formal, more stoic, and were written in Latin. “Romance” (noun) is derived from the use of the Roman language which was the common colloquial language or “vernacular” used by the commoners of the time. In other words, romance evolved from common people and a common language. Isn’t love and romance for everyone?
The Romantic period gave freedom to self-expression. These remain the pillars of romance today. Women still find romantic characteristics alluring in a man because these are traits that the common man doesn’t normally feel comfortable showing.
Romance is intimate, and it requires vulnerability. It requires a man to live with risk. When a man shows himself, and his heart completely, she discovers intimacy and it leads to trust.
5 Romantic Expressions From the Romantic Era:
1. Art: Romance is marked by freedom of expression, and all forms of art broke free from traditional and classic rules. Free verse in poetry became popular in this era. Art arose from feelings vs. calculation.
2. Emotions: In the Romantic era, it became more acceptable to display exactly how one felt, both happiness and sadness. Stoicism has never been romantic.
3. Appreciating Beauty: Not just the beauty of a woman, but beauty found in nature. Stopping to take in a sunset or getting up early to enjoy a sunrise is romantic.
4. Spontaneity: When has the predictable ever been romantic? Going on a road trip with no destination or plans, sending flowers out of the blue, making a candlelight dinner for her for no reason at all…these are the elements of romance.
5. The Heroic: the power of one individual can shape history. The romantic period gave hope to those who felt stuck within a rigid class system. Anyone, not just royalty, could achieve greatness. A central theme of Romantic period literature is the heroism of a knight. A man defied all fears to rescue the princess. Some might call it courage, which means acting with heart. Cour is the Latin root for “heart,” and –age is a Latin suffix meaning “to act with.”
Could this be why women are attracted to men who live on the edge, a man who is fearless, and isn’t concerned about people’s perception of him? The mind is concerned, but the heart doesn’t consider safety or boundaries.
Some might see chivalry and romantic gestures as outdated, but in reality, many of these traditions arose and evolved from the Romantic period, defined by protest against upperclass conventions.
Love and marriage were two different subjects in Middle Age romance. “Marriage meant restriction and convention while love is idealized with chivalry and adventure.” The Romantic period inspired the thought that love gives way to marriage vs. marriage giving way to love. It influenced love and marriage as we know it today.