Slike stranica

thirty years later Heinrich Heine, in the book in which he will rewrite Mme. de Staël's, will not give such a very different idea of Romanticism." And if, in an analysis of the romantic movement throughout Europe, any single element in it can lay claim to the leading place, that element seems to me to be the return of each country to its national past; in other words, mediævalism.

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A definition loses its usefulness when it is made to connote too much. Professor Herford says that the 'organising conception" of his "Age of Wordsworth" is romanticism. But if Cowper and Wordsworth and Shelley are romantic, then almost all the literature of the years 1798-1830 is romantic. I prefer to think of Cowper as a naturalist, of Shelley as an idealist, and of Wordsworth as a transcendental realist, and to reserve the name romanticist for writers like Scott, Coleridge, and Keats; and I think the distinction a serviceable Again, I have been censured for omitting Blake from my former volume. The omission was deliberate, not accidental, and the grounds for it were given in the preface. Blake was not discovered until rather late in the nineteenth century. He was not a link in the chain of influence which I was tracing. I am glad to find my justification in a passage of Mr. Saintsbury's "History of Nineteenth Century Literature" (p. 13): "Blake exercised on the literary history of his time no influence, and occupied in it no position. . . . The public had little opportunity of seeing his pictures, and less of reading his books. . . . He was practically an unread man."

But I hope that this second volume may make more clear the unity of my design and the limits of my subject.

It is scarcely necessary to add that no absolute estimate is attempted of the writers whose works are described in this history. They are looked at exclusively from a single point of view.

APRIL, 1901.

H. A. B.




Walter Scott.*

It was reserved for Walter Scott, "the Ariosto of the North," "the historiographer royal of feudalism," to accomplish the task which his eighteenth-century forerunners had essayed in vain. He possessed the true enchanter's wand, the historic imagination. With this in his hand, he raised the dead past to life, made it once more conceivable, made it even actual. Before Scott no genius of the highest order had lent itself wholly or mainly to retrospection. He is the middle point and the culmination of English romanticism. His name is, all in all, the most important on our list. "Towards him all the lines of the romantic revival converge." The popular ballad, the Gothic romance, the Ossianic poetry, the

* Scott's translations from the German are considered in the author's earlier volume, "A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century." Incidental mention of Scott occurs throughout the same volume; and a few of the things there said are repeated, in substance though not in form, in the present chapter. It seemed better to risk some repetition than to sacrifice fulness of treatment here.

"The Development of the English Novel," by Wilbur L. Cross, p. 131.

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