Romantic Age thought in Europe took the political nationalism of the Enlightenment and French Revolution to a more intense cultural level, especially in those language groups that did not yet have their nation-states. From west to east across Europe, among peoples as diverse as the Irish, Finns, Czechs, Germans, Italians, and Russian Jews, it followed a remarkably similar development. Special concern with epic, legend, and folktale led to the use and celebration of folk motifs in literature, art, and music. Vernacular languages were reformed and standardized, sometimes to the extent that it approached linguistic invention. Some of its institutions and patterns - the German Tumverein, Danish Folkehpjskole, the Finnish “Historicgeographic method,” the Folk or “Open-air” Museums that began with Stockholm’s Skansen, to name a few - were more exportable than others, both to other European cultures and to the wider world outside Europe. A powerful movement, this new folk consciousness had the potential for evil as well as good, as many participants in these movements noted in debate among themselves. This paper is an attempt to present that overall pattern, and to sift through it for conclusions as to the reasons for its effectiveness, and (if possible) to arrive at some universal standard for judging just when the ethical line between the use and abuse of folk consciousness is crossed.
"The Role of Folk Consciousness in the Modern State: Its Efficacy, Use and Abuse,"
Storytelling, Self, Society: Vol. 6
, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/storytelling/vol6/iss1/5