A History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century

A History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century

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A History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century

A History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The present volume is a sequel to "A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century" (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1899). References in the footnotes to "Volume I." are to that work. The difficulties of this second part of my undertaking have been of a kind just opposite to those of the first. As it concerns my subject, the eighteenth century was an age of beginnings; and the problem was to discover what latent romanticism existed in the writings of a period whose spirit, upon the whole, was distinctly unromantic. But the temper of the nineteenth century has been, until recent years, prevailingly romantic in the wider meaning of the word. And as to the more restricted sense in which I have chosen to employ it, the mediævalising literature of the nineteenth century is at least twenty times as great as that of the eighteenth, both in bulk and in value. Accordingly the problem here is one of selection; and of selection not from a list of half-forgotten names, like Warton and Hurd, but from authors whose work is still the daily reading of all educated readers.

As I had anticipated, objection has been made to the narrowness of my definition of romanticism. But every writer has a right to make his own definitions; or, at least, to say what his book shall be about. I have not . . .

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