What perhaps no-one in a class will tell you–not a teacher, perhaps not another student (unless such a student is very clever indeed)–is that the two are beautifully compatible. Such a thing these days, is occasionally being referred to as “Romantic Realism.” This is, if you turn the clock back a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago, the actual meaning of the term “romanticism.” However since this word has been co-opted, the term “Romantic Realism” is beginning to replace it. It can also be problematic simply Googling the term “Romantic Realism,” because I am perhaps the only artist, or one of the few, who would so tag any of my work–at least openly. And because it being a true outcast–a true alternative–such work is cautiously or timidly presented as such. There is even quite a lot of venom against it. This venom is quite institutionalised, which is why you are presented with Realism and Romanticism as a dichotomy at school where in fact no such dichotomy exists. This is what one may term a “false dichotomy;” for, where two instances are compatible to so great a degree, no dichotomy exists, except one that is quite deliberately false.
No subjects are taboo to romanticism (romantic realism) but the tenor of such writing is thus, even regarding evil subjects: “Look at this! Isn’t it amazing!! Isn’t it grand how very strange and evil it is!!!) And when writing about that which is good, we show the best it can be–even in a novel wherein such characters fail to closely approach such an ideal. We show, perhaps, or give the impression: “Look at this!! This is how good it can be!!! This is the ideal to pursue.!!!!” Such writing, or art, makes us see, not fantasy, as might be intimated in a modern classroom, but possibility.
Everything I write is along that vein, for example. All that I currently post on-line, however, are sonnets, which might not be so “accessible,” and are not to just anyone’s taste. However if you should take a few moments and google, for example the sculpture of Danielle Anjou. And take a few more moments to find out a bit more about her life–and three fascinating career changes–I think it will be immediately obvious what I mean (and none of the above long-windedness will have been necessary)
In retrospect, I have a link handy here: http://sonnetblog.wordpress.com/tag/fh84y398h/ if you click on the image you find there, it will take you to her site.
And, I should like to apologise, if none of this makes any sense to you, Since I am reblogging this, it is only partly directed toward your entry, even as it is partly directed at those who might be confounded by such a false dichotomy as above I have described, and who might have some kind of sense–as though perhaps, a wordless impression–that “something,” in the way in which this subject is generally viewed or presented “is amiss.” It is to such people who I should like to provide some clarity.
Yeah, I said it. Someone in my class said that people tend to like Romantic writers better because we want an escape. I don’t agree. I think Realism writers can provide just as strong an escape. Romanticism is a part of every day life. People romanticize everything: their car, a presidential candidate, their newest love interest, etc. It is not that Realism is realistic, it just tries to be. And it is not that Romanticism is romantic, it just tries to be.
I think I am arguing the definitions of these works and genres. I see more Romanticism than Realism in my reality, my daily life. So, for me, Realism offers more of an escape.