Aesthetic Poetry

Aesthetic Poetry

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Aesthetic Poetry by Walter Horatio Pater

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22

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Aesthetic Poetry

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Book Excerpt

wept by vast disturbing currents, experienced an excitement of spirit of which one note was a reaction against an outworn classicism severed not more from nature than from the genuine motives of ancient art; and a return to true Hellenism was as much a part of this reaction as the sudden preoccupation with things medieval. The medieval tendency is in Goethe's Goetz von Berlichingen, the Hellenic in his Iphigenie. At first this medievalism was superficial, or at least external. Adventure, romance in the frankest sense, grotesque individualism-- that is one element in medieval poetry, and with it alone Scott and Goethe dealt. Beyond them were the two other elements of the medieval spirit: its mystic religion at its apex in Dante and Saint Louis, and its mystic passion, passing here and there into the great romantic loves of rebellious flesh, of Lancelot and Abelard. That stricter, imaginative medievalism which re-creates the mind of the Middle Age, so that the form, the presentment grows outward [215] from w

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