Romanticism and Nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe

Ivan T. Berend

in History Derailed

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520232990
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932098 | DOI:
Romanticism and Nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter describes romanticism, which came from Western Europe via Germany and brought the Western European zeitgeist of freedom and nationalism. Romanticism was primarily responsible for introducing the Western values of freedom, liberty, and nation. It became a paramount nation-building movement in the East: a newly created literary language fueled romantic arts, poetry, and drama, which joined forces with music, architecture, and history writing in the struggle for nationhood. The national movement of Central and Eastern Europe began with romantic folklorizing by a handful of intellectuals. Central and Eastern Europe gave birth to new national literatures, music, and art, whose cultural-political impact was almost independent of their international standing. Central and Eastern Europe became a hotbed of various kinds of extremism, wrong political decisions, and internal and international conflicts. Modern journals, coffeehouses, various urban clubs, and aristocratic and bourgeois private salons helped spread the national gospel.

Keywords: romanticism; nationalism; freedom; Germany; Central Europe; Eastern Europe; liberty; national literatures; music; art

Chapter.  19541 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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