It seems existentialism and romanticism are both literary movements which (1) see a man as irrational, and (2) search for meaning in an individual's life. Can we say that these movements are essentially the same, but happened in different times? For example, is authenticity of an individual equally important to both?

Can we say that Pushkin was existentialist, the same as Dostoyevsky?

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    Is this a homework question? If so, it would help to know a bit about the context of the class in which it was given.
    – cmw
    Jul 21, 2022 at 21:02
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    @cmw This is an independent research. I am trying to place somewhere "Little tragedies" by Pushkin. In my view, they fit in the Kierkegaard 's type of existentialism nicely. But how did Pushkin get it? If there is no big difference between Kierkegaard and Romanticism it would explain it.
    – Marina
    Jul 21, 2022 at 23:47
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    Thanks for the background. There is a huge difference between the two, but I do find it interesting how you highlighted the two connected points. I'm not an expert on this topic, so I'll sit it out for now and maybe offer up some thoughts if no one answers you soon.
    – cmw
    Jul 22, 2022 at 1:08
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    Both "Existentialism" and "Romanticism" are very wide terms with lots of different meanings. The romanticism of Goethe is very different to that of Poe or Shelley. It makes more sense to say so-and-so had some existentialist elements, rather than saying they were an existentialist (after all, even Kierkegaard was a Christian above being an existentialist). Asking "do they have equal focus" or "are they essentially the same" is difficult because of this variety: some romanticism focuses on the individual while other is far more political or social, but still has other romantic traits.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 22, 2022 at 15:04
  • @Stuart I asked what is the difference. If it was easy, I would not ask.
    – Marina
    Jul 22, 2022 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


Both Romanticism and Existentialism are movements, meaning they characterize some fashion, prevalent worldview of certain time period. Romanticism is associated more with art, while Existentialism is associated with philosophy. Both terms characterize the respective time period. The terms are rather vague. For example, we read in Wikipedia^ "The labels existentialism and existentialist are often seen as historical conveniences in as much as they were first applied to many philosophers long after they had died." If we consider main ideas of these two movements, we see lots of common themes between them. First of all, they both belong to irrationalism. And this complex of ideas comes from ancient East and from European Antiquity (see Socrates, for example). These ideas are perennial, but every new follower adds something new to them. The difference between two existentialists (like Nietzsche and Kierkegaard) may be bigger than a difference between an existentialist and a romanticist. So, to understand a writer, it may be less helpful to identify the movement where he belongs, than to identify his prevalent worldview, main ideas. Both Pushkin and Dostoevsky, for example, did not fit in a particular movement, a particular thought fashion. They both were trailblazers, not followers of a fashion.

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    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Nov 1, 2022 at 12:45
  • Anonymous downrating without any explanation makes the community to look even worse than an absence of an answer on a reasonable question.
    – Marina
    Nov 1, 2022 at 19:01
  • I answered my question, you did not. Now, you can go ahead with your "powerful" downgrading. What else can you do at this point?
    – Marina
    Nov 1, 2022 at 19:02
  • I didn't downvote your answer but I can't help noticing that the flaws in your go deeper than the lack for supporting information pointed out by the first comment. One issue is the oversimplified presentation of both romanticism and existentialism; another is the non-sequitur "both reacted against rationalism so they belong to irrationalism" (assuming that only two positions exist rather than a wide range between two extremes). In addition, the claim that romanticism was influenced by the "ancient East" does not convince me at all.
    – Tsundoku
    Nov 2, 2022 at 12:35
  • "One issue is the oversimplified presentation of both romanticism and existentialism; another is the non-sequitur "both reacted against rationalism so they belong to irrationalism" "
    – Marina
    Nov 3, 2022 at 13:07

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