Random Studies in the Romantic Chaos

Random Studies in the Romantic Chaos

Random Studies in the Romantic Chaos

Random Studies in the Romantic Chaos

Excerpt

As my title suggests, the grouping of these essays is more or less arbitrary. They express the result of desultory labors in the field of Romanticism, and in consequence, are offered as individual studies rather than as links in a continuous argument. Indeed it has been my endeavor to avoid, as much as possible, the partisan attitude. Despite its evident inadequacies, its sins and its follies, the fact remains that we owe something to Romanticism. Any critic, therefore, who overlooks, whether wittingly or not, that debt, who persists in directing our attention to the seamy side only of the movement, is as fallible in his way as the descendants of Rousseau are in theirs.

Impartiality is, of course, far from easy to achieve, and I make no claim to have attained it in this book; I have simply done my best in each case to give the Romanticist his due. If I have been too severe in some instances, the fault is one of judgment rather than of spleen. I believe that the classicists evolved, in matters of art, certain principles whose observance is the sine qua non of high achievement. I may be mistaken in this (I know that all devotees of Romanticism will think so), but at least I can claim that my application of these standards to Romanticism has been free from acrimony. I do not find the Rousseauist a monster of moral obliquity for his failure to observe the classicists' formula. I do not even find him "ex-

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