Thursday, April 24, 2014

R: Romantic

The word 'romantic' has a lot of different meanings.

Romantic as in romantic comedy

Romantic as in romance languages

Romantic as in from the romantic era

Romantic as in romanticizing something

Romantic as in the literary genre of "A Romance"

Romantic as in romantic ideals

At first glance some of these different versions of the word appear to have nothing to do with each other but if you go back to the literal meaning of the word --from Rome --they follow a very natural progression of ideas. Let me unscramble the above for you.

Romance languages

Languages apart from Latin that were spoken in Rome. In written form Latin was used for sacred texts and later for scientific or philosophical writing. Other writings mean primarily for entertainment were written in the more vernacular romance languages which leads us directly into . . .

A Romance

Stories and collections of stories like Orlando Furioso, Le Morte d'Arthur, and even though it was written in English which is not a romance language, The Faery Queen. These were the forerunners of novels written with heightened emotions and strange coincidences. Collectively they represented a certain kind of idea which progressed to . . .

Romantic ideals or philosophy

These deal largely with the glorification of nature, emotions, and the common people. Ideas that were manifest in earlier romances. These ideas go hand in hand with . . .


Seeing something ordinary or common place as spectacular and meaningful

and also led to . . .

The Romantic Era

Keats. Shelly (both of them). Byron. Blake. Burns. Wordsworth. Gothic novels. Debussy. Some of the world's greatest geniuses were a part of this wave of romantic ideas in literature and music. It was largely an ideological revolt against the industrial revolution and encouraged, probably for the first time in the history of western thought, listening the the heart rather than the head. Which leaves us with our more common place concept of the word . . .

Romantic comedies and bold romantic gestures

These encourage heart over head. They take something ordinary --a person or the need to procreate --and turn it into something meaningful.

And so all forms of Romantic are connected in the great circle of words.


  1. Great post!

    Please visit my blog,

    I'm also participating in the A-Z Challenge, and my theme focuses on books and the title of the book that I post about will begin with the letter of the day!

  2. Where would we be without Romance?!