Romanticism is a worldview that finds expression over a whole range of cultural fields—not only in literature and art but in philosophy, theology, political theory, and social movements. In Romanticism Against the Tide of Modernity Michael Löwy and Robert Sayre formulate a theory that defines romanticism as a cultural protest against modern bourgeois industrial civilization and work to reveal the unity that underlies the extraordinary diversity of romanticism from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century.
After critiquing previous conceptions of romanticism and discussing its first European manifestations, Löwy and Sayre propose a typology of the sociopolitical positions held by romantic writers-from “restitutionist” to various revolutionary/utopian forms. In subsequent chapters, they give extended treatment to writers as diverse as Coleridge and Ruskin, Charles Peguy, Ernst Bloch and Christa Wolf. Among other topics, they discuss the complex relationship between Marxism and romanticism before closing with a reflection on more contemporary manifestations of romanticism (for example, surrealism, the events of May 1968, and the ecological movement) as well as its future.
Students and scholars of literature, humanities, social sciences, and cultural studies will be interested in this elegant and thoroughly original book.