What role does the supernatural play in shaping romantic literature?

The supernatural plays a vital role in shaping romantic literature

Romantic literature is a popular term among the readers. There is no denying that understanding romanticism in literature always helps to know literature with a more accurate inner perspective. However, this kind of specific literary movement contains particular rhetoric that includes the author’s supernatural aspect usage.

Literary history all over the world has fascinating antiquity over the period. From the beginning, it has been embracing various kinds of exciting traits according to the need of the changing times. The supernatural aspect is one such exciting trait that plays essential roles in shaping literature or, more specifically the romantic literature. 

Romanticism in literature attained a speedy momentum in the late 18th century. And it gained its strong foothold during the period of the early 19th century. Romanticism appeared as a promising literary movement that heightens the importance of nature and emotion. With emotion, it created the opportunity for artistic freedom.

From the beginning to the middle of the 18th century, readers witnessed a so-called attempt by the writers to explain human nature. However, infuse of romanticism unlocks the beginning of a rebelling era against the so-called old method of writing and expressing thoughts. A new set of authors now preferred to explain human nature with a different perspective. They were no more ready to depend on science only to explain human nature. According to them, emotion is more powerful compared to the known rational thought. And, the form of romantic literature started breathing from here. At the same time, it unlocked the opportunity for infusing supernatural aspects or elements in romanticism.

Now, before discussing the supernatural’s role in shaping romantic literature, it is necessary to understand what supernatural means in the literary world.

For most readers, the supernatural is the identity of a specific genre that some authors have used in writing the contents of their books. Usually, the supernatural genre integrates elements that science can’t explain easily. In a greater context, these elements operate outside the known rational thought. Ghost stories and tales containing supernatural thrillers or horror-related elements are some common examples of supernatural elements in literature. But the question is, do these thrillers and stories belong to the romantic literature genre?

Some people also think that supernatural means the existence of some paranormal or fiction trait. They believe that the supernatural means certain phenomena that don’t belong to the periphery of scientific understanding. However, some readers opine that there could be a scientific explanation someday, even though the chances are very slim at present.

Debates exist all the time regarding the meaning of supernatural from a literary perspective and its significance in shaping romantic literature. A large section believes that fantasy, fiction, and all such things define the nature of the actual supernatural feature. But, when it is about shaping or impacting or molding the romantic literature, some queries must arise from the literary point of view. It is because most people think in a different way when the discussion involves romanticism in literature.

Let’s see how critics analyzed romanticism and how the supernatural was associated with it.

Critics analyzed romanticism in literature, mainly focusing upon its inner profundity. One important thing is even with individual standpoints and different approaches, romanticism with supernatural has a similar outlook. It insists upon the element of strangeness and wonder that emerges as the essence of romantic literature.

Some critics have a different opinion. They look upon romanticism as an incredible or extraordinary development of the imaginative sensibility. Although critics like Grierson thinks romanticism defines “a spirit of revolt.” This approach of Grierson, for sure, illuminates more inner depths regarding supernatural elements and their impact on romantic literature.

On the other hand, a portion of the readers believes differently about the whole thing. They think that romanticism is associated with medievalism. If this opinion is correct, then the association between the supernatural and romantic literature will remain confined to a specific boundary of thinking and discussion.

Romanticism means liberty in imagination, and associating it with supernatural elements means expressing the innermost experience and imagination. 

It is, no doubt, valid that romanticism means liberty in imagination. When in 18th-century romanticism first began its journey in the literary world, readers discovered freedom in creativity or imagination. It appeared as a vital tool to explore a more significant aspect of literature. Authors of this era preferred not to follow the same old path of generalizing every reason in the same way. They started using the supernatural element to emphasize the importance of their inner vision and favored to express their innermost experience and imagination through words.

Authors developed a new way to express their imagination. Their art of expression was not ready to follow the known traditional, national elements. However, their expression gained popularity by attaining mass recognition. In a word, readers were more prone to taste a new mode of expression through an association between romanticism and supernatural element in the literary world.

The existence of supernatural elements shapes romanticism into a spirit that recognizes an exceptional mode of romantic expression.

As already discussed, the supernatural element could emerge in various ways in the literary arena, like ghost stories, fantasy, supernatural thrillers, and horror-related elements. But when it impacts romanticism, then romanticism turns into a spirit. In a word, supernatural element goes deeper into the core content and shapes the mode of expression differently as if there is a historical and aesthetic touch in an author’s words.

Also, this exceptional mode of romantic expression acquires two aspects. One aspect unveils imagination, and the other unlocks a new revolt mode of romantic expression. The imaginative sensibility opens the core aesthetic value breathing in romanticism and shapes romantic literature in a more significant way to inspire a better passion of expression in the future.

Discussing true romanticism is not an easy task, especially when the discussion involves supernatural elements. There is no denying that true romanticism lies in the imaginative venture that comes out from the depths of the soul. It is the inner reality of the human mind.

The biggest thing is such a promising imaginative exploration creates an outline of thinking that looms alluringly in the existing perspective. And, when the supernatural gets infused in it, then the imaginative exploration takes a different turn. It opens up the platform of widening artistry from the authors’ point of view.        

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