The term Romance causes endless confusion. Tell someone on the street you are a writer of romantic fiction and they will envision broad chested men with golden hair wooing big bosomed women with dark hair. Tell a linguist and she will ask if you write in French or Italian. Tell an English Professor and he will ask if you prefer Keats or Wordsworth (or, perhaps, he will ask if the term signifies anything at all).
Romanticism is little better. Clumped with poets like Shelley, who wrote with energy of thought about individuals and their deep personal values, are intellectuals like Schopenhauer who taught that individuals were controlled by an invisible, powerful will and thus individuals had no personal values.
Romance originally denoted the vernacular language of France as opposed to Latin. In Lyrical Ballads by WIlliam Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, they wrote in their Advertisement to readers that
The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments. They were written chiefly with the view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adopted to the purposes of poetic pleasure.
Their experiment sparked what we now call "The English Romantic movement." Their goal was to attempt to use vernacular language in poetry. This does not mean that they spoke exactly like the Brit on the street. Rather, this literature was of the people but forged through the furnace of the imagination and tempered by reason. It was a whole new language for poetry.
Romanticism is like Liberty in that men have always felt a desire for it, but not until a formal declaration is announced are they capable of fully realizing it. Wordsworth and the early romantics, in their experiment attempted to create that declaration.
Though there are similarities between romanticism and liberty, there are differences too. Most importantly is enforcement. The Declaration of Independence is a political document, which imbued a nation with its cohesive spirit. Liberty can be enforced, or, more aptly, protected through physical force. There can be no liberty when men can use force on their neighbors. Romanticism cannot be protected in the same way. Moreover, political liberty is a prerequisite to aesthetic Romanticism. It is no coincidence that the romantic poet, Lord Byron, died defending Greece's Independence. It is in the veins of a romantic spirit to act such.
Romanticism is a product of the human mind, and thus must not use physical violence but rhetorical devices such as argument, inspiration, marketing, conversation to persuade writers and readers of its value.
Scholars today would argue the early romantics failed in this. After all, the movement is no longer in existence. I do not believe they failed. They were sabotaged. Often, by those very individuals who pretended to defend them.
The only way to create a Declaration of Romanticism is through reading romantic literature. We may declare aloud: Here, in this land, there be Romanticism. But until men and women develop their faculty of judgment, they will be like freed slaves who remain mentally enslaved.
An accurate taste in Poetry, and in all other arts is an acquired talent, which can only be produced by severe thought and a long continued intercourse with the best models of composition.
This is the first job of Troubadour Magazine. To be the Declaration of Romanticism, by cultivating a selection of work for readers and writers to use in order to train the mind, heighten the senses, and entertain the soul.
In Issue 1, you will read the work of two modern romanticists and several elder forefathers. Included in this issue is: