Since the use of several words which are commonly employed with a variety of meanings is unavoidable in this book, I wish to indicate the sense in which they appear here. This list need not be memorized or even consulted to enjoy the book. Still, it may prove useful to students of the terminology of criticism.
ROMANTIC. A chronological term referring to the years commonly thought of as "The Romantic Revival" or "Movement," roughly from 1798 ( Lyrical Ballads) to 1832 (death of Sir Walter Scott). In short, "Romantic" is a synonym and an abbreviation for "belonging to the first third of the nineteenth century."
"ROMANTIC." "Sharing, or possessing, or characterized by the distinctive traits, qualities, and beliefs of writers and thinkers of the Romantic period." Thus, a "romantic" poet, in contrast to "academic" writers who followed the standards of the Academies or to "classicists" devoted to the Ancients, was one who consciously (or, perhaps, unconsciously) concerned himself with expressing the spirit of the age. He found the inner or essential spirit of the early nineteenth century by a thorough examination of, or an imaginative participation in, its activities and thoughts. A "romantic" poet shared all four "ideals" which Professor Arthur O. Lovejoy has termed the "essentials of the aesthetic creed of Romanticism" ( 'Nature' as an Aesthetic Norm, MLN, XLIII [ 1927], 450). A fifth "ideal"--Professor Lovejoy 'Nature' in sense t--also belongs to the aesthetic creed of the English poets treated in this study. This is the "ideal" of "Naturgefühl; expression of emotions derived from the contemplation of the sensible world external to man [including works of art, such as statues], especially when this is conceived as a source of moral teaching or as a manifestation of, or means of contact with, some pervasive spiritual Presence . . . but the function of the artist is here conceived to be, not 'imitating' the external world [not describing with factual or informational details], but expressing his subjective response [giving his impressions or sensations] to it or interpreting its supposed inner meaning." See Chapter I, above, pp. 9-10.
ACADEMIC. A chronological term referring to the second half of the eighteenth century. Though Academies of the arts and sciences had