The Imagination as a Means of Grace: Locke and the Aesthetics of Romanticism

The Imagination as a Means of Grace: Locke and the Aesthetics of Romanticism

The Imagination as a Means of Grace: Locke and the Aesthetics of Romanticism

The Imagination as a Means of Grace: Locke and the Aesthetics of Romanticism

Excerpt

The "crisis of the European consciousness" which occurred in the centuries after Copernicus produced in every aspect of culture changes so great and so deep that we are, even yet, far from capable of understanding them fully. This book deals with one of those changes: the revolution in the conceptions of art and of the artist. I concentrate on a central aspect of that change: the emergence of a new idea of the creative imagination. This process might be described as the epitome of the romantic revolution.

On one side, in the later eighteenth century, is Samuel Johnson, reiterating the classical definition of the imaginative faculty, which had been repeated for centuries: the practice of poetry is "an art of uniting pleasure with truth by calling imagination to the help of reason" (Lives of the English Poets). At the other extreme, in Johnson's own time, a host of theorists and poets were proclaiming that only so far as poetic imagination is divorced from the reason, only as the poetic creation produces an effect indefinable and sui generis, related to feeling and not to thought, can it do its proper work. A knowledge of this revolution is fundamental to any real understanding of what has happened in literature since the eighteenth century.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.