When was Romantic Nationalism? The onset, the long tail, the banal



“The celebration of the nation (defined in its language, history and cultural character) as an inspiring ideal for artistic expression; and the instrumentalization of that expression in political consciousness-raising” – that working definition of Romantic Nationalism raises the question of its historicity. In the following pages I want to reflect on the asymmetry of its historical track record: its sudden onset around 1800, its long, uneven tapering-off from the later 19th century onwards, and its continuing, latent subsistence in the condition of unremarkable ‘banality’. I trust that even for readers unfamiliar with the earlier essay, and with the sources cited there, some characteristics of Romantic Nationalism will emerge from the following discussion of its periodization.

Keywords: nationalism, Romantic Nationalism, nation, banal nationalism, political consciousness

How to Cite: Leerssen, J. (2014) “When was Romantic Nationalism? The onset, the long tail, the banal”, NISE Essays. 2(1). doi: