After the French Revolution, the world entered what was known as the Romantic era. While it was a rather universal change in ideology, texts in particular saw a very drastic change from those found earlier. Where the Enlightenment era advocated equality, the Romantics preached individuality and originality. The Enlightenment texts generally were very formal and used lofty language. This was changed with Romanticism, as “romances were medieval tales of knighthood and adventure and ballads of the common people” (Longman 3). Basically, they were a return to the long forgotten past, similar to an adult reminiscing of his childhood. I found this interesting, as it relates heavily to the ideals of Rousseau, a prolific writer in the Age of Enlightenment. He believed people were more innocent during their early years. Rousseau was also very influenced by the idea of nature. I believe it can be argued that Rousseau was not only an important figure in the Enlightenment, but also in Romanticism. His work, The Social Contract, is primarily looked at for its views regarding Enlightenment and issues of freedom that eventually led to the French Revolution. I believe The Social Contract can also be seen as a bridge not only to the French Revolution, but to Romanticism as well. Rousseau’s ideals and thoughts on nature and freedom should cement him as a pioneer of the Romantic movement.
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