THIS book is a collection of studies intended to supplement the labors of other scholars in the backgrounds of the English Romantic Movement considered particularly in its revolutionary aspects. No one of the writers who are dealt with in detail has ever been treated with the thoroughness he deserves from the point of view taken here. The choice of each of them has been determined largely by the neglect that has been accorded him. Of such women as Mary Wollstonecraft and such men as Godwin, Paine, Holcroft, Thelwall, and the youthful romantic poets of the 1790's I have foregone details per se, for behold are they not written in many books of which the scholarly reader has a comparatively ready knowledge.
These are literary rather than political or social or historical studies. I have directed my inquiries not primarily towards facts themselves but towards the impact of facts upon the human spirit, or rather towards such expressions of this impact as transmute dead fact into quick thought and turn writing into literature. I have not applied the historical method to the treatment of my material. I have attempted no synthesis of the political or economic ideas of the revolutionary period. The stress has been thrown upon personalities rather than upon movements as such, upon the interpenetration of subject matter and personality rather than upon subject matter itself. My principal object has been to fill in a portion of the background of the great revolutionary writings of the period.
My indebtedness to the great body of writing and research on the French Revolution in relation to England is fully indicated specifically in the notes, and generally in the bibliography. I am under many obligations to the