PRINT January 1980



SOME CRITICS FIND CLASSICISM in a grain of sand and Romanticism in a wildflower. In doing his journalistic best to report diligently on so-called Romantic phenomena, Hugh Honour creates a highly wrought textbook for students, but one that is not going to convince scholars of anything.1

In the first half of this century, as Jacques Barzun reminds us in his Classic, Romantic, and Modern (1961), there was a lashing out against Romanticism, seen as neo-primitivistic and nationalistic. Then there was an attempt, by Barzun and others, to understand and rehabilitate and vivify our sense of the Romantics as more than purveyors of “split religion.” And today we seem to have come to another crisis—the too easy acceptance of the word Romanticism itself and the encyclopedic overview.

There is something Polyannaish about this new view. Everything fits, even the contradictions; even the hallucinations

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