Genres of Romanticism with characteristics

Genres of Romanticism

The genres of Romanticism are all artistic manifestations that became popular with the emergence of this cultural movement in Europe at the end of the 18th century. Romanticism was produced to give the arts greater sentiment and sublime features. In addition, it was born to break the norms established by classicism.

The literary expressions that reached the most boom were poetry, prose, and theater. These genres of Romanticism pursued creative freedom and sought to give a different perception of man, life, and nature. On the other hand, the authors gave a predominant place to the traditional values ​​of each nation.

The genres of Romanticism put aside reason to give way to emotions. For example, poetry became enormously expressive, prose became manners and described the most outstanding historical events of the time, while theater broke with the units of time, action and space.

There were many authors who joined the development of the genres of Romanticism with the intention of moving and not educating. Some of the most prominent were Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, José de Espronceda, José Manuel de Larra, Jorge Isaacs, Rosalía de Castro and José Zorrilla.

Genres of Romanticism, representatives and works

The genres of Romanticism that achieved greater recognition were poetry, theater and prose. The most outstanding characteristics of each of them are described below, as well as the most outstanding authors and works are mentioned:

– The poetry

The poetic work that was produced in Romanticism was characterized by exposing two types of content. The first was related to the legends and heroic acts that occurred specifically in medieval times. For its part, the second had to do with the emotional and sentimental. He also enjoyed a creative, subjective and expressive character.

Poetry also stood out for having many rhetorical, linguistic and symbolic resources. One of the most used figures was the metaphor. The feelings of man and his relationship with nature were exalted through exclamations and questions. In addition, the repetition of stanzas was applied throughout the poem to deepen the feelings .

The poetry of Romanticism also stood out for having metric variety in the verses, so the authors dedicated themselves to recovering the silva, the royal octave and romance. In the case of rhyme, the consonant predominated, all through a melancholic and emotional language linked to the feelings and mood of the poet.

Representative authors and works

Some of the most outstanding authors and works of romantic poetry were:

Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

– Odes and ballads (1826).

– The Autumn Leaves (1832).

– The contemplations (1856).

– The punishments (1853).

– The legend of the centuries (1859).

José de Espronceda y Delgado (1808-1842)

– The pelayo (incomplete).

– Poems (1840).

– The student of Salamanca (1837-1840).

– The devil world (1840-1841). Unfinished.

– Song of the pirate (1830).

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870)

– Rimas y leyendas (1871, posthumous edition).

Johann Wolfang von Goethe (1749-1832)

– Prometheus (1774).

– Roman Elegies (1795).

– Venetian Epigrams (1796).

– The Bride of Corinth (1797).

– East and West Divan (1819).

Lord Byron (1788-1824)

– The pilgrimages of Childe Harold (1812-1818).

– The Giaour (1813).

– The Siege of Corinth (1816).

– Manfredo (1817).

– Don Juan (1819-1824). Incomplete.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

– To Elena (1848).

– Annabel Lee (1849).

– Do you want them to love you? (1845).

– The happiest day (1827).

– The Sleeper (1831).

Rosalía de Castro (1837-1885)

– Galician songs (1863).

– Follas novas (1880).

– On the banks of the Sar (1884).

Fragment of The Student of Salamanca

“It was after midnight,

old stories tell,

when in a dream and in silence

gloomy wrapped the earth,

the living dead seem,

the dead leave the grave.

It was the hour when perhaps

fearful voices sound

reports, in which they are heard

unspoken hollow footsteps,

and dreadful ghosts

in the thick darkness

they wander, and the dogs howl… ”.

– Prose

Prose as a genre of Romanticism exposed two aspects of the narrative of great importance, which were the pictures of customs and historical novels. In these two demonstrations the love and respect for the nation was evidenced, as well as the exaltation of the traditions of each region.

For its part, the historical novel was based on the exploits of heroes, the authors raised the freedom of man and his ability to be supportive to help the least favored. The pictures of customs presented the daily life and the most salient aspects of the reality of individuals from different territories.

Examples of representative authors and works

In the prose or romantic narrative the following authors stood out:

José de Espronceda (1808-1842)

– Sancho Saldaña (1834).

– The wooden leg (1835).

Enrique Gil y Carrasco (1815-1846)

– The Lord of Bembibre (1844).

Ramón de Mesonero Romanos (1803-1882)

– Matritenses scenes (1832-1842).

– Matritense panorama: pictures of customs of the capital observed and described by a curious speaker (1835).

– Matritenses scenes and types (1851).

Serafín Estébanez Calderón (1799-1867)

– Andalusian scenes (1846).

Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)

– The three musketeers (1844).

– The Count of Monte Cristo (1845).

– Twenty years later (1845).

– Queen Margot (1845).

– The Viscount of Bragelonne (1848).

– The black tulip (1850).

– The Mohicans of Paris (1854-1859).

– The case of the widow Lafarge (1866).

– Blanca de Beaulieu (1826). The knight Hector de Sainte-Hermine (1869).

Mary Shelley (1791-1851)

– Frankenstein (1818).

– Mathilda (1819).

– Valperga; or Life and adventures of Castruccio, prince of Lucca (1823).

– The last man (1826).

– Perkin Warbeck (1830).

– Lodore (1835).

– Falkner (1837).

Emily Brontë (1818-1848)

– Wuthering Heights (1847).

Jane Austen (1775-1817)

– Sense and sensitivity (1811).

Pride and Prejudice (1813).

– Mansfield Park (1814).

– Emma (1815).

– Persuasion (1818, posthumous edition).

Fragment of Frankenstein  (1818) by Mary Shelley

“… The alterations of life are not nearly as many as those of human feelings. For nearly two years he had worked tirelessly for the sole purpose of bringing life into an inert body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. She had wanted him with a fervor that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had succeeded, the beauty of the dream was fading and disgust and horror washed over me. Unable to bear the sight of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room. Once in my bedroom, I walked around the room without being able to fall asleep ”.

– Theater

The theater within the Romantic movement was almost entirely dramatic. The plays were conceived with the aim of entertaining, distracting and exciting the public. This meant that playwrights set aside the teaching role played by staging in the age of classicism.

However, the theater presented several transformations that gave it special characteristics. Some of them are briefly described below:


The theater of Romanticism stood out for the creative freedom that the playwrights or authors gave to the works. Thus, the basic units of time, space and action were no longer used, which was due to the fact that the plot was more complicated and the actors required more time on stage.

As for the plot, it was usually carried out in three, four or five acts, all of which depended on the complexity of the drama. On the other hand, the theatrical pieces combined tragedy with comic events. At the same time, the dialogues were written in verse and in prose.


The main themes that were dealt with in the plays of the romantic movement had to do with historical content of a legendary character and also with love events marked by social norms. Love, pain, hopelessness, betrayal, disappointment and tragedy were constant arguments.


The theater was characterized by having heroic characters, both female and male. The hero was a physically attractive man and attached to the ideas of love and freedom. On many occasions his experiences led him to tragedy and to fail his loved ones.

For her part, the protagonist or heroine was represented by beauty, sweetness and the fidelity of love. Her romantic essence led her to sacrifices for the loved one and to a life of passion, sadness, anguish and tragedy.


The stagings were characterized by the application of large sets designed to perfection to represent the drama. In general, the scenery showed features typical of the castles of the Middle Ages , in addition the places were dark and gloomy. The plays were accompanied by sound and lighting effects.

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