A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century

A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century

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A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century by Henry A. Beers

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1899

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A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century

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Book Excerpt

called a romantic writer is chiefly that, in opposition to the literary tradition of the last century, he loved strange adventure and sought it in the Middle Age."

Here again the essayist is careful to explain that there are certain epochs which are predominately romantic. "Outbreaks of this spirit come naturally with particular periods: times when . . . men come to art and poetry with a deep thirst for intellectual excitement, after a long ennui." He instances, as periods naturally romantic, the time of the early Provençal troubadour poetry: the years following the Bourbon Restoration in France (say, 1815-30); and "the later Middle Age; so that the medieval poetry, centering in Dante, is often opposed to Greek or Roman poetry, as romantic to classical poetry."

In Pater's use of the terms, then, classic and romantic do not describe particular literature, or particular periods in literary history, so much as certain counterbalancing qualities and tendencies which run through the literatures o

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