Almost everyone agrees with the statement that Chivalry died a natural death with its progenitor, The Empire. The once statement of eloquence and bare essentiality of the polished society now stands antiquated and just used for comical relief by couples with healthy sense of humour.
The sun eventually set on the Empire and with it, Chivalry floated away into oblivion. Right next to it stands its cousin, 'Romance'. For some, an old concept, for some an expression of love, Romance lies on the cusp of cultural extinction. Like Chivalry faced Feminism and lost, will Romance loose to text messages?
Named after a time span that will be remembered forever as “19th Century Romanticism”, Romanticism essentially is the extreme glorification and almost apotheosis of concept of Love.The society that gave birth to Romanticism was very conservative. Society promoted pre-marital abstinence and post marital loyalty and monogamy. Divorces were very uncommon and marriage was a divine union. In spite of such restrictions (Rather because of them) Love sprouted its first cotyledons here. The first expression of pure love in a polished and civilised society against the very will of the same came forward. Poets and authors like Alexander Pope, Sir Walter Scott, Jane Austen, and Lord Byron etc were the pioneers and/or main characters of the period. They have left incredibly rich and extremely valuable set of books, poems and personal letters.An era filled with Lovers, Love stories (some happy, some sad), Love letters and the ultimate expression of Love. The proverbial cupid was actually nursed by this era.They laid the foundation of a long century of culture. Romanticism and Chivalry became the synonyms of the western civilisation and anyone not conforming to them automatically became “uncivilised”.
Though Love is predominantly the component of Romance and Romanticism, it is not the only part. Romanticism encompasses a sense of drama into the literally and the music world.The stories were dramatic and if seen from 21st century goggles they can be interpreted as “pretentious” and “corny”. Life in the era and the time that followed was filled with sudden events of happiness, sorrow, anger and denial of all above. The lives of people were like a soap opera seen from the 21st century. There is no doubt reality is the basis for many characters in this era. People made sure their feeling were conveyed through elaborate and heart warming gestures. Lovers had more to do than count dates until they can get laid, and poets had more to do than write about someone beating shit out of them.
With Feminism came the rejection of Chivalry and declaration of feminine Independence. Women declared that they were capable of opening doors and pulling chairs by themselves.They put their money where their mouth is, helping out in the world wars eventually destroying all myths and magic that surrounded Chivalry. When a woman mends a car by herself, she pretty much sure can open few doors. Can the same be the fate of Romance? When a woman is capable of sending and receiving texts, emails, phone calls, tweets, FB messages etc, are Love letters irrelevant? Is Romance on a Life support waiting for us to yank the plug?
In the world where you can gain a lover by advertising for one, how much scope does romance have? Men over the years have been groomed to believe that women are to be wooed and courted which seems the natural way about it. The ways and means have always changed with time but the emotion and the very act has almost been the same but is it now becoming antiquated to woo someone? In a world where poetry is laughed at and long public declarations of love called embarrassing, are we becoming intolerant to Romance? In a society that believes in a simple, understated and private love, what role will the grandiose and baroque Romanceplay? The very next generation will have to make the decision on Romance’s ICU condition. Will the girls that grew up hearing stories of handsome princes on white horses suddenly abandon all their childhood dreams and for good realise that there is no real Abercrombie and Fitch model on a spotless horse coming to rescue them?
This maybe a logical step in the equality amongst the genders but I can’t help but feel bad for the loss of such a valued and charming phase of life. Romance is supposed to last a life time not for first three dates. Whatever decision that takes place, we will always have the treasure of the Books that recall a time when life was simple, people liked each other for many reasons apart from how hot they are, a time when star crossed lovers made love stories that are immortal. Someday an eighty year old me will sit on a rocking chair lamenting the loss of Romance, reading Sir Walter Scott’s Coronach
Like the dew on the mountain,
Like the foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
Thou art gone and for ever.
Oblivious to the fact that Romance lives, as long as I breathe....
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