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To define romanticism is to attempt something which the romantics themselves insist cannot be done. But we can try to identify and then describe it, first pointing out what it is not. One stable element in romanticism has been its consistent rejection of its opposite, classicism. While no great piece of art has ever existed which did not contain elements of both romanticism and classicism, the partisans of these two different points of view have insisted that different emphases made it great. Where classicism emphasised analysis, objectivity harmony, wholeness, meaning, and discipline, romanticism stressed synthesis,subjectivity,disharmony, individuality,suggestiveness. and spontaneity. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section XII: The Post-Enlightenment Period. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.