This includes looking at ourselves. Victor HUGO's characteristic detail, the traits related to time and place. A new emphasis upon the unique, the novel, the particular, and that which is historically localized. The look to Medievalism through the German Romantics brought the concept of civilization alive in ROMANTICISM. As "NOVALIS" further conceived there are two perceptions here : an objectivity or first order of knowledge of Nature and of human beings :: then a subjectivity or second order of knowledge of what human knowledge involves in the first place. The core considerations of what become originally manifested in the broad spectrum or movement we call ROMANTICISM, begin with this poet "NOVALIS" and his friends including : Tieck, Schiller, Schelling, and Goethe. In France there is a cross-current of their activities with Mme de Stael, who was refusing to cooperate with the Napoleonic Regime and finding immense interest through her mutual friendships with "NOVALIS" in the brothers Schlegel. In England this German new wave was embraced by the Unitarian/Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge who went to Germany to study Schelling and the burgeoning awakening that was becoming ROMANTICISM.
Yet there still was a unifying element to all the men of letters and progressive thought manifesting this new Sea Change of consciousness. This singular genius of our "sense of being" was William Shakespeare. The Schlegel brothers translated Shakespeare in Germany as did Ludwig Tieck. Victor HUGO saw Shakespeare as the greatest figure of MODERN letters. In Britain, William HAZLITT and Charles Lamb gave serious exploration to the values in Shakespeare's detailed characterizations of mankind. The full complexity of culture or the momentary perceptions of "happenings' that occur before us, which VOLTAIRE had sought to apprehend, and then also DIDEROT; only slowly became a conscious object to many historians suddenly given keys to their own time machines. The growth of "historicism" began with stand-out figures such as VOLTAIRE, Gibbon, Winkelmann, and Burckhardt. Gibbon wrote great literary history, but he never sought to enter into the thoughts and feelings of an Era he studied in the way CARLYLE or MICHELET did. Seeking to transport their readers as they themselves felt they had been transported to another time and place. Then their was Friederich NIETZSCHE who more than possibally anyone since William Shakespeare himself, did more to inaugurate an approach to annalistically perceive our experience beyond merely 'being' spectators to the actions or forces which manipulate the environments we all live in.