Núria Perpinyà thinks that we have at least ten different perceptions of medieval period. This book analyses the Romantic visions of the Middle Ages and their visionary resurrections. The views indicate the chivalrous, religious, nationalist and fantastic aims of European Romantics. The discourse of failure represented by ruins counterpoints the epic discourse of chivalry's success. Ruins are more than the embellishment of a minor genre (the Picturesque); they are the source of contemporary ugliness and fragmentarism of Avant-garde. In the 20th and 21st centuries, ruins were associated with destruction whereas in the 18th and 19th centuries, they represented melancholy.
Ruins, Nostalgia and Ugliness is a comparative research of Reception Aesthetics. In this essay Núria Perpinyà observes the synchronies and differences between European Romantic writers by comparing them with contemporary musicians and painters, which are not determined by their nations, but by their aesthetics and ideologies, whose common denominator is exaggeration. Romantic medievalism is not based on eroticism or scholasticism, but on chivalry, folklore, politics, religion, mystery and populism.
Núria Perpinyà is Reader of Literary Theory in Lleida University, Catalonia, Spain.