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Title: Rousseau and Romanticism
Author: Babbitt, Irving
Language: English
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Professor of French Literature in Harvard University


Boston and New York
Houghton Mifflin Company

The Riverside Press Cambridge

    _L’imagination dispose de tout._


    _Le bon sens est le maître de la vie humaine._


    _L’homme est un être immense, en quelque sorte, qui peut
    exister partiellement, mais dont l’existence est d’autant plus
    délicieuse qu’elle est plus entière et plus pleine._



          INTRODUCTION                        ix


      II. ROMANTIC GENIUS                     32

     III. ROMANTIC IMAGINATION                70


       V. ROMANTIC MORALITY: THE REAL        187

      VI. ROMANTIC LOVE                      220

     VII. ROMANTIC IRONY                     240

    VIII. ROMANTICISM AND NATURE             268

      IX. ROMANTIC MELANCHOLY                306

       X. THE PRESENT OUTLOOK                353


          BIBLIOGRAPHY                       399

          INDEX                              421


Many readers will no doubt be tempted to exclaim on seeing my title:
“Rousseau and no end!” The outpour of books on Rousseau had indeed in
the period immediately preceding the war become somewhat portentous.[1]
This preoccupation with Rousseau is after all easy to explain. It is
his somewhat formidable privilege to represent more fully than any
other one person a great international movement. To attack Rousseau or
to defend him is most often only a way of attacking or defending this

It is from this point of view at all events that the present work is
conceived. I have not undertaken a systematic study of Rousseau’s life
and doctrines. The appearance of his name in my title is justified,
if at all, simply because he comes at a fairly early stage in the
international movement the rise and growth of which I am tracing, and
has on the whole supplied me with the most significant illustrations of
it. I have already put forth certain views regarding this movement in
three previous volumes.[2] Though each one of these volumes attempts to
do justice to a particular topic, it is at the same time intended to be
a link in a continuous argument. I hope that I may be allowed to speak
here with some frankness of the main trend of this argument both on its
negative and on its positive, or constructive, side.

Perhaps the best key to both sides of my argument is found in the
lines of Emerson I have taken as epigraph for “Literature and the
American College”:

    There are two laws discrete
    Not reconciled,--
    Law for man, and law for thing;
    The last builds town and fleet,
    But it runs wild,
    And doth the man unking.

On its negative side my argument is directed against this undue
emphasis on the “law for thing,” against the attempt to erect on
naturalistic foundations a complete philosophy of life. I define two
main forms of naturalism--on the one hand, utilitarian and scientific
and, on the other, emotional naturalism. The type of romanticism I am
studying is inseparably bound up with emotional naturalism.

This type of romanticism encouraged by the naturalistic movement is
only one of three main types I distinguish and I am dealing for the
most part with only one aspect of it. But even when thus circumscribed
the subject can scarcely be said to lack importance; for if I am right
in my conviction as to the unsoundness of a Rousseauistic philosophy of
life, it follows that the total tendency of the Occident at present is
away from rather than towards civilization.

On the positive side, my argument aims to reassert the “law for man,”
and its special discipline against the various forms of naturalistic
excess. At the very mention of the word discipline I shall be set down
in certain quarters as reactionary. But does it necessarily follow
from a plea for the human law that one is a reactionary or in general
a traditionalist? An American writer of distinction was once heard to
remark that he saw in the world to-day but two classes of persons,--the
mossbacks and the mountebanks, and that for his part he preferred to
be a mossback. One should think twice before thus consenting to seem a
mere relic of the past. The ineffable smartness of our young radicals
is due to the conviction that, whatever else they may be, they are the
very pink of modernity. Before sharing their conviction it might be
well to do a little preliminary defining of such terms as modern and
the modern spirit. It may then turn out that the true difficulty with
our young radicals is not that they are too modern but that they are
not modern enough. For, though the word modern is often and no doubt
inevitably used to describe the more recent or the most recent thing,
this is not its sole use. It is not in this sense alone that the word
is used by writers like Goethe and Sainte-Beuve and Renan and Arnold.
What all these writers mean by the modern spirit is the positive and
critical spirit, the spirit that refuses to take things on authority.
This is what Renan means, for example, when he calls Petrarch the
“founder of the modern spirit in literature,” or Arnold when he
explains why the Greeks of the great period seem more modern to us than
the men of the Middle Ages.[3]

Now what I have myself tried to do is to be thoroughly modern in this
sense. I hold that one should not only welcome the efforts of the
man of science at his best to put the natural law on a positive and
critical basis, but that one should strive to emulate him in one’s
dealings with the human law; and so become a complete positivist. My
main objection to the movement I am studying is that it has failed to
produce complete positivists. Instead of facing honestly the emergency
created by its break with the past the leaders of this movement have
inclined to deny the duality of human nature, and then sought to
dissimulate this mutilation of man under a mass of intellectual and
emotional sophistry. The proper procedure in refuting these incomplete
positivists is not to appeal to some dogma or outer authority but
rather to turn against them their own principles. Thus Diderot, a
notable example of the incomplete positivist and a chief source of
naturalistic tendency, says that “everything is experimental in man.”
Now the word experimental has somewhat narrowed in meaning since the
time of Diderot. If one takes the saying to mean that everything in man
is a matter of experience one should accept it unreservedly and then
plant oneself firmly on the facts of experience that Diderot and other
incomplete positivists have refused to recognize.

The man who plants himself, not on outer authority but on experience,
is an individualist. To be modern in the sense I have defined is not
only to be positive and critical, but also--and this from the time of
Petrarch--to be individualistic. The establishment of a sound type
of individualism is indeed the specifically modern problem. It is
right here that the failure of the incomplete positivist, the man who
is positive only according to the natural law, is most conspicuous.
What prevails in the region of the natural law is endless change and
relativity; therefore the naturalistic positivist attacks all the
traditional creeds and dogmas for the very reason that they aspire to
fixity. Now all the ethical values of civilization have been associated
with these fixed beliefs; and so it has come to pass that with their
undermining by naturalism the ethical values themselves are in danger
of being swept away in the everlasting flux. Because the individual
who views life positively must give up unvarying creeds and dogmas
“anterior, exterior, and superior” to himself, it has been assumed
that he must also give up standards. For standards imply an element of
oneness somewhere, with reference to which it is possible to measure
the mere manifoldness and change. The naturalistic individualist,
however, refuses to recognize any such element of oneness. His own
private and personal self is to be the measure of all things and this
measure itself, he adds, is constantly changing. But to stop at this
stage is to be satisfied with the most dangerous of half-truths.
Thus Bergson’s assertion that “life is a perpetual gushing forth of
novelties” is in itself only a dangerous half-truth of this kind. The
constant element in life is, no less than the element of novelty and
change, a matter of observation and experience. As the French have it,
the more life changes the more it is the same thing.

If, then, one is to be a sound individualist, an individualist with
human standards--and in an age like this that has cut loose from its
traditional moorings, the very survival of civilization would seem to
hinge on its power to produce such a type of individualist--one must
grapple with what Plato terms the problem of the One and the Many.
My own solution of this problem, it may be well to point out, is not
purely Platonic. Because one can perceive immediately an element
of unity in things, it does not follow that one is justified in
establishing a world of essences or entities or “ideas” above the flux.
To do this is to fall away from a positive and critical into a more
or less speculative attitude; it is to risk setting up a metaphysic
of the One. Those who put exclusive emphasis on the element of change
in things are in no less obvious danger of falling away from the
positive and critical attitude into a metaphysic of the Many.[4] This
for example is the error one finds in the contemporary thinkers who
seem to have the cry, thinkers like James and Bergson and Dewey and
Croce. They are very far from satisfying the requirements of a complete
positivism; they are seeking rather to build up their own intoxication
with the element of change into a complete view of life, and so are
turning their backs on one whole side of experience in a way that often
reminds one of the ancient Greek sophists. The history of philosophy
since the Greeks is to a great extent the history of the clashes of the
metaphysicians of the One and the metaphysicians of the Many. In the
eyes of the complete positivist this history therefore reduces itself
largely to a monstrous logomachy.

Life does not give here an element of oneness and there an element of
change. It gives a _oneness that is always changing_. The oneness and
the change are inseparable. Now if what is stable and permanent is felt
as real, the side of life that is always slipping over into something
else or vanishing away entirely is, as every student of psychology
knows, associated rather with the feeling of illusion. If a man
attends solely to this side of life he will finally come, like Leconte
de Lisle, to look upon it as a “torrent of mobile chimeras,” as an
“endless whirl of vain appearances.” To admit that the oneness of life
and the change are inseparable is therefore to admit that such reality
as man can know positively is inextricably mixed up with illusion.
Moreover man does not observe the oneness that is always changing from
the outside; he is a part of the process, he is himself a oneness that
is always changing. Though imperceptible at any particular moment, the
continuous change that is going on leads to differences--those, let us
say, between a human individual at the age of six weeks and the same
individual at the age of seventy--which are sufficiently striking: and
finally this human oneness that is always changing seems to vanish
away entirely. From all this it follows that an enormous element
of illusion--and this is a truth the East has always accepted more
readily than the West--enters into the idea of personality itself. If
the critical spirit is once allowed to have its way, it will not rest
content until it has dissolved life into a mist of illusion. Perhaps
the most positive and critical account of man in modern literature is
that of Shakespeare:

                We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on, and our little life
    Is rounded with a sleep.

But, though strictly considered, life is but a web of illusion and a
dream within a dream, it is a dream that needs to be managed with the
utmost discretion, if it is not to turn into a nightmare. In other
words, however much life may mock the metaphysician, the problem of
conduct remains. There is always the unity at the heart of the change;
it is possible, however, to get at this real and abiding element and
so at the standards with reference to which the dream of life may be
rightly managed only through a veil of illusion. The problem of the
One and the Many, the ultimate problem of thought, can therefore be
solved only by a right use of illusion. In close relation to illusion
and the questions that arise in connection with it is all that we
have come to sum up in the word imagination. The use of this word, at
least in anything like its present extension, is, one should note,
comparatively recent. Whole nations and periods of the past can
scarcely be said to have had any word corresponding to imagination in
this extended sense. Yet the thinkers of the past have treated, at
times profoundly, under the head of fiction or illusion the questions
that we should treat under the head of imagination.[5] In the “Masters
of Modern French Criticism” I was above all preoccupied with the
problem of the One and the Many and the failure of the nineteenth
century to deal with it adequately. My effort in this present work is
to show that this failure can be retrieved only by a deeper insight
into the imagination and its all-important rôle in both literature
and life. Man is cut off from immediate contact with anything abiding
and therefore worthy to be called real, and condemned to live in an
element of fiction or illusion, but he may, I have tried to show, lay
hold with the aid of the imagination on the element of oneness that
is inextricably blended with the manifoldness and change and to just
that extent may build up a sound model for imitation. One tends to
be an individualist with true standards, to put the matter somewhat
differently, only in so far as one understands the relation between
appearance and reality--what the philosophers call the epistemological
problem. This problem, though it cannot be solved abstractly and
metaphysically, can be solved practically and in terms of actual
conduct. Inasmuch as modern philosophy has failed to work out any such
solution, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that modern philosophy is
bankrupt, not merely from Kant, but from Descartes.

The supreme maxim of the ethical positivist is: By their fruits shall
ye know them. If I object to a romantic philosophy it is because I do
not like its fruits. I infer from its fruits that this philosophy has
made a wrong use of illusion. “All those who took the romantic promises
at their face value,” says Bourget, “rolled in abysses of despair and
ennui.”[6] If any one still holds, as many of the older romanticists
held, that it is a distinguished thing to roll in abysses of despair
and ennui, he should read me no further. He will have no sympathy with
my point of view. If any one, on the other hand, accepts my criterion
but denies that Rousseauistic living has such fruits, it has been my
aim so to accumulate evidence that he will be confronted with the task
of refuting not a set of theories but a body of facts. My whole method,
let me repeat, is experimental, or it might be less ambiguous to say if
the word were a fortunate one, experiential. The illustrations I have
given of any particular aspect of the movement are usually only a small
fraction of those I have collected--themselves no doubt only a fraction
of the illustrations that might be collected from printed sources. M.
Maigron’s investigation[7] into the fruits of romantic living suggests
the large additions that might be made to these printed sources from
manuscript material.

My method indeed is open in one respect to grave misunderstanding.
From the fact that I am constantly citing passages from this or that
author and condemning the tendency for which these passages stand,
the reader will perhaps be led to infer a total condemnation of the
authors so quoted. But the inference may be very incorrect. I am
not trying to give rounded estimates of individuals--delightful and
legitimate as that type of criticism is--but to trace main currents as
a part of my search for a set of principles to oppose to naturalism.
I call attention for example to the Rousseauistic and primitivistic
elements in Wordsworth but do not assert that this is the whole
truth about Wordsworth. One’s views as to the philosophical value
of Rousseauism must, however, weigh heavily in a total judgment of
Wordsworth. Criticism is such a difficult art because one must not
only have principles but must apply them flexibly and intuitively. No
one would accuse criticism at present of lacking flexibility. It has
grown so flexible in fact as to become invertebrate. One of my reasons
for practicing the present type of criticism, is the conviction that
because of a lack of principles the type of criticism that aims at
rounded estimates of individuals is rapidly ceasing to have any meaning.

I should add that if I had attempted rounded estimates they would often
have been more favorable than might be gathered from my comments here
and elsewhere on the romantic leaders. One is justified in leaning
towards severity in the laying down of principles, but should nearly
always incline to indulgence in the application of them. In a sense one
may say with Goethe that the excellencies are of the individual, the
defects of the age. It is especially needful to recall distinctions
of this kind in the case of Rousseau himself and my treatment of him.
M. Lanson has dwelt on the strange duality of Rousseau’s nature.
“The writer,” he says, “is a poor dreamy creature who approaches
action only with alarm and with every manner of precaution, and who
understands the applications of his boldest doctrines in a way to
reassure conservatives and satisfy opportunists. But the work for its
part detaches itself from the author, lives its independent life,
and, heavily charged with revolutionary explosives which neutralize
the moderate and conciliatory elements Rousseau has put into it for
his own satisfaction, it exasperates and inspires revolt and fires
enthusiasms and irritates hatreds; it is the mother of violence, the
source of all that is uncompromising, it launches the simple souls
who give themselves up to its strange virtue upon the desperate quest
of the absolute, an absolute to be realized now by anarchy and now by
social despotism.”[8] I am inclined to discover in the Rousseau who,
according to M. Lanson, is merely timorous, a great deal of shrewdness
and at times something even better than shrewdness. The question is
not perhaps very important, for M. Lanson is surely right in affirming
that the Rousseau who has moved the world--and that for reasons I shall
try to make plain--is Rousseau the extremist and foe of compromise;
and so it is to this Rousseau that as a student of main tendencies I
devote almost exclusive attention. I am not, however, seeking to make
a scapegoat even of the radical and revolutionary Rousseau. One of
my chief objections, indeed, to Rousseauism, as will appear in the
following pages, is that it encourages the making of scapegoats.

If I am opposed to Rousseauism because of its fruits in experience, I
try to put what I have to offer as a substitute on the same positive
basis. Now experience is of many degrees: first of all one’s purely
personal experience, an infinitesimal fragment; and then the experience
of one’s immediate circle, of one’s time and country, of the near past
and so on in widening circles. The past which as dogma the ethical
positivist rejects, as experience he not only admits but welcomes. He
can no more dispense with it indeed than the naturalistic positivist
can dispense with his laboratory. He insists moreover on including
the remoter past in his survey. Perhaps the most pernicious of all
the conceits fostered by the type of progress we owe to science is
the conceit that we have outgrown this older experience. One should
endeavor, as Goethe says, to oppose to the aberrations of the hour, the
masses of universal history. There are special reasons just now why
this background to which one appeals should not be merely Occidental.
An increasing material contact between the Occident and the Far East
is certain. We should be enlightened by this time as to the perils
of material contact between men and bodies of men who have no deeper
understanding. Quite apart from this consideration the experience of
the Far East completes and confirms in a most interesting way that of
the Occident. We can scarcely afford to neglect it if we hope to work
out a truly ecumenical wisdom to oppose to the sinister one-sidedness
of our current naturalism. Now the ethical experience of the Far East
may be summed up for practical purposes in the teachings and influence
of two men, Confucius and Buddha.[9] To know the Buddhistic and
Confucian teachings in their true spirit is to know what is best and
most representative in the ethical experience of about half the human
race for over seventy generations.

A study of Buddha and Confucius suggests, as does a study of the great
teachers of the Occident, that under its bewildering surface variety
human experience falls after all into a few main categories. I myself
am fond of distinguishing three levels on which a man may experience
life--the naturalistic, the humanistic, and the religious. Tested by
its fruits Buddhism at its best confirms Christianity. Submitted to the
same test Confucianism falls in with the teaching of Aristotle and in
general with that of all those who from the Greeks down have proclaimed
decorum and the law of measure. This is so obviously true that
Confucius has been called the Aristotle of the East. Not only has the
Far East had in Buddhism a great religious movement and in Confucianism
a great humanistic movement, it has also had in early Taoism[10] a
movement that in its attempts to work out naturalistic equivalents of
humanistic or religious insight, offers almost startling analogies to
the movement I am here studying.

Thus both East and West have not only had great religious and
humanistic disciplines which when tested by their fruits confirm one
another, bearing witness to the element of oneness, the constant
element in human experience, but these disciplines have at times
been conceived in a very positive spirit. Confucius indeed, though a
moral realist, can scarcely be called a positivist; he aimed rather
to attach men to the past by links of steel. He reminds us in this as
in some other ways of the last of the great Tories in the Occident,
Dr. Johnson. Buddha on the other hand was an individualist. He wished
men to rest their belief neither on his authority[11] nor on that
of tradition.[12] No one has ever made a more serious effort to put
religion on a positive and critical basis. It is only proper that I
acknowledge my indebtedness to the great Hindu positivist: my treatment
of the problem of the One and the Many, for example, is nearer to
Buddha than to Plato. Yet even if the general thesis be granted that it
is desirable to put the “law for man” on a positive and critical basis,
the question remains whether the more crying need just now is for
positive and critical humanism or for positive and critical religion.
I have discussed this delicate and difficult question more fully in my
last chapter, but may give at least one reason here for inclining to
the humanistic solution. I have been struck in my study of the past
by the endless self-deception to which man is subject when he tries
to pass too abruptly from the naturalistic to the religious level.
The world, it is hard to avoid concluding, would have been a better
place if more persons had made sure they were human before setting
out to be superhuman; and this consideration would seem to apply with
special force to a generation like the present that is wallowing in
the trough of naturalism. After all to be a good humanist is merely to
be moderate and sensible and decent. It is much easier for a man to
deceive himself and others regarding his supernatural lights than it is
regarding the degree to which he is moderate and sensible and decent.

The past is not without examples of a positive and critical humanism. I
have already mentioned Aristotle. If by his emphasis on the mediatory
virtues he reminds one of Confucius, by his positive method and
intensely analytical temper he reminds one rather of Buddha. When
Aristotle rises to the religious level and discourses of the “life of
vision” he is very Buddhistic. When Buddha for his part turns from the
religious life to the duties of the layman he is purely Aristotelian.
Aristotle also deals positively with the natural law. He is indeed a
complete positivist, and not, like the man of the nineteenth century,
positive according to the natural law alone. The Aristotle that
should specially concern us, however, is the positive and critical
humanist--the Aristotle, let us say, of the “Ethics” and “Politics” and
“Poetics.” Just as I have called the point of view of the scientific
and utilitarian naturalist Baconian,[13] and that of the emotional
naturalist Rousseauistic, so I would term the point of view that I
am myself seeking to develop Aristotelian. Aristotle has laid down
once for all the principle that should guide the ethical positivist.
“Truth,” he says, “in matters of moral action is judged from facts and
from actual life. … So what we should do is to examine the preceding
statements [of Solon and other wise men] by referring them to facts
and to actual life, and when they harmonize with facts we may accept
them, when they are at variance with them conceive of them as mere

It is in this sense alone that I aspire to be called an Aristotelian;
for one risks certain misunderstandings in using the name of
Aristotle.[15] The authority of this great positivist has been invoked
innumerable times throughout the ages as a substitute for direct
observation. Aristotle was not only the prop and mainstay of dogma
for centuries during the Middle Ages, but dogmatic Aristotelianism
survived to no small extent, especially in literature, throughout the
neo-classical period. It was no doubt natural enough that the champions
of the modern spirit should have rejected Aristotle along with the
traditional order of which he had been made a support. Yet if they had
been more modern they might have seen in him rather a chief precursor.
They might have learned from him how to have standards and at the same
time not be immured in dogma. As it is, those who call themselves
modern have come to adopt a purely exploratory attitude towards life.
“On desperate seas long wont to roam,” they have lost more and more
the sense of what is normal and central in human experience. But to
get away from what is normal and central is to get away from wisdom.
My whole argument on the negative side, if I may venture on a final
summing up, is that the naturalistic movement in the midst of which
we are still living had from the start this taint of eccentricity. I
have tried to show in detail the nature of the aberration. As for the
results, they are being written large in disastrous events. On its
constructive side, my argument, if it makes any appeal at all, will
be to those for whom the symbols through which the past has received
its wisdom have become incredible, and who, seeing at the same time
that the break with the past that took place in the eighteenth century
was on unsound lines, hold that the remedy for the partial positivism
that is the source of this unsoundness, is a more complete positivism.
Nothing is more perilous than to be only half critical. This is to
risk being the wrong type of individualist--the individualist who has
repudiated outer control without achieving inner control. “People mean
nowadays by a philosopher,” says Rivarol, “not the man who learns the
great art of mastering his passions or adding to his insight, but
the man who has cast off prejudices without acquiring virtues.” That
view of philosophy has not ceased to be popular. The whole modern
experiment is threatened with breakdown simply because it has not been
sufficiently modern. One should therefore not rest content until one
has, with the aid of the secular experience of both the East and the
West, worked out a point of view so modern that, compared with it, that
of our young radicals will seem antediluvian.




The words classic and romantic, we are often told, cannot be defined
at all, and even if they could be defined, some would add, we should
not be much profited. But this inability or unwillingness to define may
itself turn out to be only one aspect of a movement that from Rousseau
to Bergson has sought to discredit the analytical intellect--what
Wordsworth calls “the false secondary power by which we multiply
distinctions.” However, those who are with Socrates rather than with
Rousseau or Wordsworth in this matter, will insist on the importance
of definition, especially in a chaotic era like the present; for
nothing is more characteristic of such an era than its irresponsible
use of general terms. Now to measure up to the Socratic standard, a
definition must not be abstract and metaphysical, but experimental;
it must not, that is, reflect our opinion of what a word should mean,
but what it actually has meant. Mathematicians may be free at times
to frame their own definitions, but in the case of words like classic
and romantic, that have been used innumerable times, and used not in
one but in many countries, such a method is inadmissible. One must
keep one’s eye on actual usage. One should indeed allow for a certain
amount of freakishness in this usage. Beaumarchais, for example, makes
classic synonymous with barbaric.[16] One may disregard an occasional
aberration of this kind, but if one can find only confusion and
inconsistency in all the main uses of words like classic and romantic,
the only procedure for those who speak or write in order to be
understood is to banish the words from their vocabulary.

Now to define in a Socratic way two things are necessary: one must
learn to see a common element in things that are apparently different
and also to discriminate between things that are apparently similar.
A Newton, to take the familiar instance of the former process, saw a
common element in the fall of an apple and the motion of a planet;
and one may perhaps without being a literary Newton discover a common
element in all the main uses of the word romantic as well as in all
the main uses of the word classic; though some of the things to which
the word romantic in particular has been applied seem, it must be
admitted, at least as far apart as the fall of an apple and the motion
of a planet. The first step is to perceive the something that connects
two or more of these things apparently so diverse, and then it may be
found necessary to refer this unifying trait itself back to something
still more general, and so on until we arrive, not indeed at anything
absolute--the absolute will always elude us--but at what Goethe calls
the original or underlying phenomenon (_Urphänomen_). A fruitful source
of false definition is to take as primary in a more or less closely
allied group of facts what is actually secondary--for example, to fix
upon the return to the Middle Ages as the central fact in romanticism,
whereas this return is only symptomatic; it is very far from being the
original phenomenon. Confused and incomplete definitions of romanticism
have indeed just that origin--they seek to put at the centre something
that though romantic is not central but peripheral, and so the whole
subject is thrown out of perspective.

My plan then is to determine to the best of my ability, in connection
with a brief historical survey, the common element in the various uses
of the words classic and romantic; and then, having thus disposed of
the similarities, to turn to the second part of the art of defining
and deal, also historically, with the differences. For my subject is
not romanticism in general, but only a particular type of romanticism,
and this type of romanticism needs to be seen as a recoil, not from
classicism in general, but from a particular type of classicism.


The word romantic when traced historically is found to go back to
the old French _roman_ of which still elder forms are _romans_ and
_romant_. These and similar formations derive ultimately from the
mediæval Latin adverb _romanice_. _Roman_ and like words meant
originally the various vernaculars derived from Latin, just as the
French still speak of these vernaculars as _les langues romanes_;
and then the word _roman_ came to be applied to tales written in the
various vernaculars, especially in old French. Now with what features
of these tales were people most struck? The reply to this question is
found in a passage of a fifteenth-century Latin manuscript:[17] “From
the reading of certain romantics, that is, books of poetry composed in
French on military deeds which are for the most part fictitious.”[18]
Here the term romantic is applied to books that we should still
call romantic and for the very same reason, namely, because of the
predominance in these books of the element of fiction over reality.

In general a thing is romantic when, as Aristotle would say, it is
wonderful rather than probable; in other words, when it violates the
normal sequence of cause and effect in favor of adventure. Here is
the fundamental contrast between the words classic and romantic which
meets us at the outset and in some form or other persists in all the
uses of the word down to the present day. A thing is romantic when it
is strange, unexpected, intense, superlative, extreme, unique,[19]
etc. A thing is classical, on the other hand, when it is not unique,
but representative of a class. In this sense medical men may speak
correctly of a classic case of typhoid fever, or a classic case of
hysteria. One is even justified in speaking of a classic example of
romanticism. By an easy extension of meaning a thing is classical when
it belongs to a high class or to the best class.

The type of romanticism referred to in the fifteenth-century manuscript
was, it will be observed, the spontaneous product of the popular
imagination of the Middle Ages. We may go further and say that the
uncultivated human imagination in all times and places is romantic in
the same way. It hungers for the thrilling and the marvellous and is,
in short, incurably melodramatic. All students of the past know how,
when the popular imagination is left free to work on actual historical
characters and events, it quickly introduces into these characters
and events the themes of universal folk-lore, and makes a ruthless
sacrifice of reality to the love of melodramatic surprise. For example,
the original nucleus of historical fact has almost disappeared in the
lurid melodramatic tale “Les quatre fils Aymon,” which has continued,
as presented in the “Bibliothèque Bleue,” to appeal to the French
peasant down to our own times. Those who look with alarm on recent
attacks upon romanticism should therefore be comforted. All children,
nearly all women and the vast majority of men always have been, are
and probably always will be romantic. This is true even of a classical
period like the second half of the seventeenth century in France.
Boileau is supposed to have killed the vogue of the interminable
romances of the early seventeenth century which themselves continue
the spirit of the mediæval romances. But recent investigations have
shown that the vogue of these romances continued until well on into the
eighteenth century. They influenced the imagination of Rousseau, the
great modern romancer.

But to return to the history of the word romantic. The first printed
examples of the word in any modern tongue are, it would seem, to be
found in English. The Oxford Dictionary cites the following from F.
Greville’s “Life of Sidney” (written before 1628, published in 1652):
“Doe not his Arcadian romantics live after him?”--meaning apparently
ideas or features suggestive of romance. Of extreme interest is the
use of the word in Evelyn’s “Diary” (3 August, 1654): “Were Sir Guy’s
grot improved as it might be, it were capable of being made a most
romantic and pleasant place.” The word is not only used in a favorable
sense, but it is applied to nature; and it is this use of the word in
connection with outer nature that French and German literatures are
going to derive later from England. Among the early English uses of
the word romantic may be noted: “There happened this extraordinary
case--one of the most romantique that ever I heard in my life and could
not have believed,”[20] etc. “Most other authors that I ever read
either have wild romantic tales wherein they strain Love and Honor to
that ridiculous height that it becomes burlesque,”[21] etc. The word
becomes fairly common by the year 1700 and thousands of examples could
be collected from English writers in the eighteenth century. Here are
two early eighteenth-century instances:

    “The gentleman I am married to made love to me in rapture but
    it was the rapture of a Christian and a man of Honor, not a
    romantic hero or a whining coxcomb.”[22]

    Whether the charmer sinner it or saint it
    If folly grow romantick I must paint it.[23]

The early French and German uses of the word romantic seem to derive
from England. One important point is to be noted as to France. Before
using the word _romantique_ the French used the word _romanesque_ in
the sense of wild, unusual, adventurous--especially in matters of
sentiment, and they have continued to employ _romanesque_ alongside
_romantique_, which is now practically used only of the romantic
school. A great deal of confusion is thus avoided into which we fall
in English from having only the one word romantic, which must do duty
for both _romantique_ and _romanesque_. An example of _romantique_
is found in French as early as 1675;[24] but the word owed its vogue
practically to the anglomania that set in about the middle of the
eighteenth century. The first very influential French example of the
word is appropriately found in Rousseau in the Fifth Promenade (1777):
“The shores of the Lake of Bienne are more wild and romantic than those
of the Lake of Geneva.” The word _romantique_ was fashionable in France
especially as applied to scenery from about the year 1785, but without
any thought as yet of applying it to a literary school.

In Germany the word _romantisch_ as an equivalent of the French
_romanesque_ and modern German _romanhaft_, appears at the end of
the seventeenth century and plainly as a borrowing from the French.
Heidigger, a Swiss, used it several times in his “Mythoscopia
romantica,”[25] an attack on romances and the wild and vain imaginings
they engender. According to Heidigger the only resource against
romanticism in this sense is religion. In Germany as in France the
association of romantic with natural scenery comes from England,
especially from the imitations and translations of Thomson’s “Seasons.”

In the second half of the eighteenth century the increasingly favorable
use of words like Gothic and enthusiastic as well as the emergence of
words like sentimental and picturesque are among the symptoms of a new
movement, and the fortunes of the word romantic were more or less bound
up with this movement. Still, apart from its application to natural
scenery, the word is as yet far from having acquired a favorable
connotation if we are to believe an essay by John Foster on the
“Application of the Epithet Romantic” (1805). Foster’s point of view is
not unlike that of Heidigger. Romantic, he says, had come to be used
as a term of vague abuse, whereas it can be used rightly only of the
ascendancy of imagination over judgment, and is therefore synonymous
with such words as wild, visionary, extravagant. “A man possessing
so strong a judgment and so subordinate a fancy as Dean Swift would
hardly have been made romantic … if he had studied all the books in Don
Quixote’s library.” It is not, Foster admits, a sign of high endowment
for a youth to be too coldly judicial, too deaf to the blandishments of
imaginative illusion. Yet in general a man should strive to bring his
imagination under the control of sound reason. But how is it possible
thus to prevail against the deceits of fancy? Right knowing, he asserts
very un-Socratically, is not enough to ensure right doing. At this
point Foster changes from the tone of a literary essay to that of a
sermon, and, maintaining a thesis somewhat similar to that of Pascal in
the seventeenth century and Heidigger in the eighteenth, he concludes
that a man’s imagination will run away with his judgment or reason
unless he have the aid of divine grace.


When Foster wrote his essay there was no question as yet in England
of a romantic school. Before considering how the word came to be
applied to a particular movement we need first to bring out more
fully certain broad conflicts of tendency during the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, conflicts that are not sufficiently revealed
by the occasional uses during this period of the word romantic. In
the contrast Foster established between judgment and imagination he
is merely following a long series of neo-classical critics and this
contrast not only seemed to him and these critics, but still seems
to many, the essential contrast between classicism and romanticism.
We shall be helped in understanding how judgment (or reason) and
imagination came thus to be sharply contrasted if we consider briefly
the changes in the meaning of the word wit during the neo-classical
period, and also if we recollect that the contrast between judgment and
imagination is closely related to the contrast the French are so fond
of establishing between the general sense (_le sens commun_) and the
private sense or sense of the individual (_le sens propre_).

In the sixteenth century prime emphasis was put not upon common sense,
but upon wit or conceit or ingenuity (in the sense of quickness of
imagination). The typical Elizabethan strove to excel less by judgment
than by invention, by “high-flying liberty of conceit”; like Falstaff
he would have a brain “apprehensive, quick, forgetive, full of
nimble, fiery, and delectable shapes.” Wit at this time, it should
be remembered, was synonymous not only with imagination but with
intellect (in opposition to will). The result of the worship of wit in
this twofold sense was a sort of intellectual romanticism. Though its
origins are no doubt mediæval, it differs from the ordinary romanticism
of the Middle Ages to which I have already referred in being thus
concerned with thought rather than with action. Towards the end of the
Renaissance and in the early seventeenth century especially, people
were ready to pursue the strange and surprising thought even at the
risk of getting too far away from the workings of the normal mind.
Hence the “points” and “conceits” that spread, as Lowell put it, like
a “cutaneous eruption” over the face of Europe; hence the Gongorists,
and Cultists, the Marinists and Euphuists, the _précieux_ and the
“metaphysical” poets. And then came the inevitable swing away from all
this fantasticality towards common sense. A demand arose for something
that was less rare and “precious” and more representative.

This struggle between the general sense and the sense of the individual
stands out with special clearness in France. A model was gradually
worked out by aid of the classics, especially the Latin classics, as
to what man should be. Those who were in the main movement of the time
elaborated a great convention, that is they _came together_ about
certain things. They condemned in the name of their convention those
who were too indulgent of their private sense, in other words, too
eccentric in their imaginings. A Théophile, for example, fell into
disesteem for refusing to restrain his imagination, for asserting the
type of “spontaneity” that would have won him favor in any romantic

The swing away from intellectual romanticism can also be traced in
the changes that took place in the meaning of the word wit in both
France and England. One of the main tasks of the French critics of the
seventeenth century and of English critics, largely under the lead of
the French, was to distinguish between true and false wit. The work
that would have been complimented a little earlier as “witty” and
“conceited” is now censured as fantastic and far-fetched, as lacking in
judicial control over the imagination, and therefore in general appeal.
The movement away from the sense of the individual towards common sense
goes on steadily from the time of Malherbe to that of Boileau. Balzac
attacks Ronsard for his individualistic excess, especially for his
audacity in inventing words without reference to usage. Balzac himself
is attacked by Boileau for his affectation, for his straining to say
things differently from other people. In so far his wit was not true
but false. La Bruyère, in substantial accord with Boileau, defines
false wit as wit which is lacking in good sense and judgment and “in
which the imagination has too large a share.”[27]

What the metaphysical poets in England understood by wit, according
to Dr. Johnson, was the pursuit of their thoughts to their last
ramifications, and in this pursuit of the singular and the novel they
lost the “grandeur of generality.” This imaginative quest of rarity
led to the same recoil as in France, to a demand for common sense and
judgment. The opposite extreme from the metaphysical excess is reached
when the element of invention is eliminated entirely from wit and it is
reduced, as it is by Pope, to rendering happily the general sense--

    What oft was thought but ne’er so well expressed.

Dr. Johnson says that the decisive change in the meaning of the word
wit took place about the time of Cowley. Important evidences of this
change and also of the new tendency to depreciate the imagination
is also found in certain passages of Hobbes. Hobbes identifies the
imagination with the memory of outer images and so looks on it as
“decaying sense.”[28] “They who observe similitudes,” he remarks
elsewhere, making a distinction that was to be developed by Locke and
accepted by Addison, “in case they be such as are but rarely observed
by others are said to have a good wit; by which, in this occasion, is
meant a good fancy” (wit has here the older meaning). “But they who
distinguish and observe differences,” he continues, “are said to have
a good judgment. Fancy without the help of judgment is not worthy of
commendation, whereas judgment is commended for itself without the help
of fancy. Indeed without steadiness and direction to some end, a great
fancy is one kind of madness.” “Judgment without fancy,” he concludes,
“is wit” (this anticipates the extreme neo-classical use of the word
wit), “but fancy without judgment, not.”

Dryden betrays the influence of Hobbes when he says of the period of
incubation of his “Rival Ladies”: “Fancy was yet in its first work,
moving the sleeping images of things towards the light, there to be
distinguished and either chosen or rejected by judgment.” Fancy or
imagination (the words were still synonymous), as conceived by the
English neo-classicists, often shows a strange vivacity for a faculty
that is after all only “decaying sense.” “Fancy without judgment,”
says Dryden, “is a hot-mouthed jade without a curb.” “Fancy,” writes
Rymer in a similar vein, “leaps and frisks, and away she’s gone; whilst
reason rattles the chain and follows after.” The following lines of
Mulgrave are typical of the neo-classical notion of the relation
between fancy and judgment:

    As all is dullness when the Fancy’s bad,
    So without Judgment, Fancy is but mad.
    Reason is that substantial, useful part
    Which gains the Head, while t’ other wins the Heart.[29]

The opposition established by the neo-classicist in passages of this
kind is too mechanical. Fancy and judgment do not seem to coöperate
but to war with one another. In case of doubt the neo-classicist is
always ready to sacrifice fancy to the “substantial, useful part,”
and so he seems too negative and cool and prosaic in his reason, and
this is because his reason is so largely a protest against a previous
romantic excess. What had been considered genius in the time of the
“metaphysicals” had too often turned out to be only oddity. With this
warning before them men kept their eyes fixed very closely on the
model of normal human nature that had been set up, and imitated it
very literally and timorously. A man was haunted by the fear that he
might be “monstrous,” and so, as Rymer put it, “satisfy nobody’s maggot
but his own.” Correctness thus became a sort of tyranny. We suffer to
the present day from this neo-classical failure to work out a sound
conception of the imagination in its relation to good sense. Because
the neo-classicist held the imagination lightly as compared with
good sense the romantic rebels, were led to hold good sense lightly
as compared with imagination. The romantic view in short is too much
the neo-classical view turned upside down; and, as Sainte-Beuve says,
nothing resembles a hollow so much as a swelling.


Because the classicism against which romanticism rebelled was
inadequate it does not follow that every type of classicism suffers
from a similar inadequacy. The great movement away from imaginative
unrestraint towards regularity and good sense took place in the main
under French auspices. In general the French have been the chief
exponents of the classic spirit in modern times. They themselves feel
this so strongly that a certain group in France has of late years
inclined to use interchangeably the words classicist and nationalist.
But this is a grave confusion, for if the classic spirit is anything
at all it is in its essence not local and national, but universal
and human. To be sure, any particular manifestation of classicism
will of necessity contain elements that are less universal, elements
that reflect merely a certain person or persons, or a certain age and
country. This is a truth that we scarcely need to have preached to us;
for with the growth of the historical method we have come to fix our
attention almost exclusively on these local and relative elements. The
complete critic will accept the historical method but be on his guard
against its excess. He will see an element in man that is set above the
local and the relative; he will learn to detect this abiding element
through all the flux of circumstance; in Platonic language, he will
perceive the One in the Many.

Formerly, it must be admitted, critics were not historical enough.
They took to be of the essence of classicism what was merely its local
coloring, especially the coloring it received from the French of the
seventeenth century. If we wish to distinguish between essence and
accident in the classic spirit we must get behind the French of the
seventeenth century, behind the Italians of the sixteenth century who
laid the foundations of neo-classical theory, behind the Romans who
were the immediate models of most neo-classicists, to the source of
classicism in Greece. Even in Greece the classic spirit is very much
implicated in the local and the relative, yet in the life of no other
people perhaps does what is universal in man shine forth more clearly
from what is only local and relative. We still need, therefore, to
return to Greece, not merely for the best practice, but for the best
theory of classicism; for this is still found in spite of all its
obscurities and incompleteness in the Poetics of Aristotle. If we have
recourse to this treatise, however, it must be on condition that we do
not, like the critics of the Renaissance, deal with it in an abstract
and dogmatic way (the form of the treatise it must be confessed gave
them no slight encouragement), but in a spirit akin to Aristotle’s own
as revealed in the total body of his writings--a spirit that is at its
best positive and experimental.

Aristotle not only deals positively and experimentally with the natural
order and with man so far as he is a part of this order, but he deals
in a similar fashion with a side of man that the modern positivist
often overlooks. Like all the great Greeks Aristotle recognizes that
man is the creature of two laws: he has an ordinary or natural self
of impulse and desire and a human self that is known practically as a
power of control over impulse and desire. If man is to become human he
must not let impulse and desire run wild, but must oppose to everything
excessive in his ordinary self, whether in thought or deed or emotion,
the law of measure. This insistence on restraint and proportion is
rightly taken to be of the essence not merely of the Greek spirit but
of the classical spirit in general. The norm or standard that is to set
bounds to the ordinary self is got at by different types of classicists
in different ways and described variously: for example, as the human
law, or the better self, or reason (a word to be discussed more fully
later), or nature. Thus when Boileau says, “Let nature be your only
study,” he does not mean outer nature, nor again the nature of this or
that individual, but representative human nature. Having decided what
is normal either for man or some particular class of men the classicist
takes this normal “nature” for his model and proceeds to imitate it.
Whatever accords with the model he has thus set up he pronounces
natural or probable, whatever on the other hand departs too far from
what he conceives to be the normal type or the normal sequence of cause
and effect he holds to be “improbable” and unnatural or even, if it
attains an extreme of abnormality, “monstrous.” Whatever in conduct
or character is duly restrained and proportionate with reference to
the model is said to observe decorum. Probability and decorum are
identical in some of their aspects and closely related in all.[30]
To recapitulate, a general nature, a core of normal experience, is
affirmed by all classicists. From this central affirmation derives the
doctrine of imitation, and from imitation in turn the doctrines of
probability and decorum.

But though all classicists are alike in insisting on nature, imitation,
probability and decorum, they differ widely, as I have already
intimated, in what they understand by these terms. Let us consider
first what Aristotle and the Greeks understand by them. The first point
to observe is that according to Aristotle one is to get his general
nature not on authority or second hand, but is to disengage it directly
for himself from the jumble of particulars that he has before his eyes.
He is not, says Aristotle, to imitate things as they are, but as they
ought to be. Thus conceived imitation is a creative act. Through all
the welter of the actual one penetrates to the real and so succeeds
without ceasing to be individual in suggesting the universal. Poetry
that is imitative in this sense is, according to Aristotle, more
“serious” and “philosophical” than history. History deals merely with
what has happened, whereas poetry deals with what may happen according
to probability or necessity. Poetry, that is, does not portray life
literally but extricates the deeper or ideal truth from the flux of
circumstance. One may add with Sydney that if poetry is thus superior
to history in being more serious and philosophical it resembles history
and is superior to philosophy in being concrete.

The One that the great poet or artist perceives in the Many and that
gives to his work its high seriousness is not a fixed absolute. In
general the model that the highly serious man (ὁ σπουδαῖος) imitates
and that keeps his ordinary self within the bounds of decorum is not
to be taken as anything finite, as anything that can be formulated
once for all. This point is important for on it hinges every right
distinction not merely between the classic and the romantic, but
between the classic and the pseudo-classic. Romanticism has claimed
for itself a monopoly of imagination and infinitude, but on closer
examination, as I hope to show later, this claim, at least so far as
genuine classicism is concerned, will be found to be quite unjustified.
For the present it is enough to say that true classicism does not
rest on the observance of rules or the imitation of models but on an
immediate insight into the universal. Aristotle is especially admirable
in the account he gives of this insight and of the way it may manifest
itself in art and literature. One may be rightly imitative, he says,
and so have access to a superior truth and give others access to it
only by being a master of illusion. Though the great poet “breathes
immortal air,” though he sees behind the shows of sense a world of
more abiding relationships, he can convey his vision not directly but
only imaginatively. Aristotle, one should observe, does not establish
any hard and fast opposition between judgment and imagination, an
opposition that pervades not only the neo-classical movement but also
the romantic revolt from it. He simply affirms a supersensuous order
which one can perceive only with the help of fiction. The best art,
says Goethe in the true spirit of Aristotle, gives us the “illusion
of a higher reality.” This has the advantage of being experimental.
It is merely a statement of what one feels in the presence of a great
painting, let us say, or in reading a great poem.


After this attempt to define briefly with the help of the Greeks the
classical spirit in its essence we should be prepared to understand
more clearly the way in which this spirit was modified in neo-classical
times, especially in France. The first thing that strikes one about
the classicism of this period is that it does not rest on immediate
perception like that of the Greeks but on outer authority. The merely
dogmatic and traditional classicist gave a somewhat un-Greek meaning
to the doctrines of nature and imitation. Why imitate nature directly,
said Scaliger, when we have in Virgil a second nature? Imitation thus
came to mean the imitation of certain outer models and the following
of rules based on these models. Now it is well that one who aims at
excellence in any field should begin by a thorough assimilation of the
achievements of his great predecessors in this field. Unfortunately
the neo-classical theorist tended to impose a multitude of precepts
that were based on what was external rather than on what was vital
in the practice of his models. In so far the lesson of form that the
great ancients can always teach any one who approaches them in the
right spirit degenerated into formalism. This formalistic turn given
to the doctrine of imitation was felt from the outset to be a menace
to originality; to be incompatible, and everything hinges at last on
this point, with the spontaneity of the imagination. There was an
important reaction headed by men like Boileau, within the neo-classical
movement itself, against the oppression of the intuitive side of human
nature by mere dogma and authority, above all against the notion that
“regularity” is in itself any guarantee of literary excellence. A
school of rules was succeeded by a school of taste. Yet even to the
end the neo-classicist was too prone to reject as unnatural or even
monstrous everything that did not fit into one of the traditional
pigeon-holes. One must grant, indeed, that much noble work was achieved
under the neo-classical dispensation, work that shows a genuine insight
into the universal, but it is none the less evident that the view of
the imagination held during this period has a formalistic taint.

This taint in neo-classicism is due not merely to its dogmatic and
mechanical way of dealing with the doctrine of imitation but also to
the fact that it had to reconcile classical with Christian dogma; and
the two antiquities, classical and Christian, if interpreted vitally
and in the spirit, were in many respects divergent and in some respects
contradictory. The general outcome of the attempts at reconciliation
made by the literary casuists of Italy and France was that Christianity
should have a monopoly of truth and classicism a monopoly of fiction.
For the true classicist, it will be remembered, the two things are
inseparable--he gets at his truth through a veil of fiction. Many of
the neo-classicists came to conceive of art as many romanticists were
to conceive of it later as a sort of irresponsible game or play, but
they were, it must be confessed, very inferior to the romanticists
in the spontaneity of their fiction. They went for this fiction as
for everything else to the models, and this meant in practice that
they employed the pagan myths, not as imaginative symbols of a higher
reality--it is still possible to employ them in that way--but merely in
Boileau’s phrase as “traditional ornaments” (_ornements reçus_). The
neo-classicist to be sure might so employ his “fiction” as to inculcate
a moral; in that case he is only too likely to give us instead of
the living symbol, dead allegory; instead of high seriousness, its
caricature, didacticism. The traditional stock of fiction became at
last so intolerably trite as to be rejected even by some of the late
neo-classicists. “The rejection and contempt of fiction,” said Dr.
Johnson (who indulged in it himself on occasion) “is rational and
manly.” But to reject fiction in the larger sense is to miss the true
driving power in human nature--the imagination. Before concluding,
however, that Dr. Johnson had no notion of the rôle of the imagination
one should read his attack on the theory of the three unities[31] which
was later to be turned to account by the romanticists.

Now the three unities may be defended on an entirely legitimate
ground--on the ground namely that they make for concentration, a prime
virtue in the drama; but the grounds on which they were actually
imposed on the drama, especially in connection with the Quarrel of
the Cid, illustrate the corruption of another main classical doctrine,
that of probability or verisimilitude. In his dealings with probability
as in his dealings with imitation, the neo-classical formalist did
not allow sufficiently for the element of illusion. What he required
from the drama in the name of probability was not the “illusion of a
higher reality,” but strict logic or even literal deception. He was
not capable of a poetic faith, not willing to suspend his disbelief
on passing from the world of ordinary fact to the world of artistic
creation. Goethe was thinking especially of the neo-classical French
when he said: “As for the French, they will always be arrested by their
reason. They do not recognize that the imagination has its own laws
which are and always must be problematic for the reason.”

It was also largely under French influence that the doctrine of
decorum, which touches probability at many points, was turned aside
from its true meaning. Decorum is in a way the peculiar doctrine of the
classicist, is in Milton’s phrase “the grand masterpiece to observe.”
The doctrines of the universal and the imitation of the universal go
deeper indeed than decorum, so much deeper that they are shared by
classicism with religion. The man who aspires to live religiously must
no less than the humanist look to some model set above his ordinary
self and imitate it. But though the classicist at his best meditates,
he does not, like the seeker after religious perfection, see in
meditation an end in itself but rather a support for the mediatory
virtues, the virtues of the man who would live to the best advantage
in this world rather than renounce it; and these virtues may be said
to be summed up in decorum. For the best type of Greek humanist,
a Sophocles let us say, decorum was a vital and immediate thing.
But there enters into decorum even from the time of the Alexandrian
Greeks, and still more into French neo-classical decorum, a marked
element of artificiality. The all-roundness and fine symmetry, the
poise and dignity that come from working within the bounds of the
human law, were taken to be the privilege not of man in general but of
a special social class. Take for instance verbal decorum: the French
neo-classicists assumed that if the speech of poetry is to be noble and
highly serious it must coincide with the speech of the aristocracy. As
Nisard puts it, they confused nobility of language with the language of
the nobility. Decorum was thus more or less merged with etiquette, so
that the standards of the stage and of literature in general came to
coincide, as Rousseau complains, with those of the drawing-room. More
than anything else this narrowing of decorum marks the decline from the
classic to the pseudo-classic, from form to formalism.

While condemning pseudo-decorum one should remember that even a
Greek would have seen something paradoxical in a poem like Goethe’s
“Hermann und Dorothea” and its attempt to invest with epic grandeur the
affairs of villagers and peasants. After all, dignity and elevation
and especially the opportunity for important action, which is the
point on which the classicist puts prime emphasis, are normally
though not invariably associated with a high rather than with a mean
social estate. In general one should insist that the decorum worked
out under French auspices was far from being merely artificial. The
French gentleman (_honnête homme_) of the seventeenth century often
showed a moderation and freedom from over-emphasis, an exquisite tact
and urbanity that did not fall too far short of his immediate model,
Horace, and related him to the all-round man of the Greeks (καλὸς
κἀγαθός). To be sure an ascetic Christian like Pascal sees in decorum
a disguise of one’s ordinary self rather than a real curb upon it, and
feels that the gap is not sufficiently wide between even the best type
of the man of the world and the mere worldling. One needs, however, to
be very austere to disdain the art of living that has been fostered
by decorum from the Greeks down. Something of this art of living
survives even in a Chesterfield, who falls far short of the best type
of French gentleman and reminds one very remotely indeed of a Pericles.
Chesterfield’s half-jesting definition of decorum as the art of
combining the useful appearances of virtue with the solid satisfactions
of vice points the way to its ultimate corruption. Talleyrand, who
marks perhaps this last stage, was defined by Napoleon as “a silk
stocking filled with mud.” In some of its late exemplars decorum had
actually become, as Rousseau complains, the “mask of hypocrisy” and the
“varnish of vice.”

One should not however, like Rousseau and the romanticists, judge of
decorum by what it degenerated into. Every doctrine of genuine worth is
disciplinary and men in the mass do not desire discipline. “Most men,”
says Aristotle, “would rather live in a disorderly than in a sober
manner.” But most men do not admit any such preference--that would be
crude and inartistic. They incline rather to substitute for the reality
of discipline some art of going through the motions. Every great
doctrine is thus in constant peril of passing over into some hollow
semblance or even, it may be, into some mere caricature of itself. When
one wishes therefore to determine the nature of decorum one should
think of a Milton, let us say, and not of a Talleyrand or even of a

Milton imitated the models, like any other neo-classicist, but his
imitation was not, in Joubert’s phrase, that of one book by another
book, but of one soul by another soul. His decorum is therefore
imaginative; and it is the privilege of the imagination to give
the sense of spaciousness and infinitude. On the other hand, the
unimaginative way in which many of the neo-classicists held their
main tenets--nature, imitation, probability, decorum--narrowed unduly
the scope of the human spirit and appeared to close the gates of
the future. “Art and diligence have now done their best,” says Dr.
Johnson of the versification of Pope, “and what shall be added will be
the effort of tedious toil and needless curiosity.” Nothing is more
perilous than thus to seem to confine man in some pinfold; there is
something in him that refuses to acquiesce in any position as final;
he is in Nietzsche’s phrase the being who must always surpass himself.
The attempt to oppose external and mechanical barriers to the freedom
of the spirit will create in the long run an atmosphere of stuffiness
and smugness, and nothing is more intolerable than smugness. Men were
guillotined in the French Revolution, as Bagehot suggests, simply
because either they or their ancestors had been smug. Inert acceptance
of tradition and routine will be met sooner or later by the cry of
Faust: _Hinaus ins Freie!_

Before considering the value of the method chosen by Rousseau and
the romanticists for breaking up the “tiresome old heavens” and
escaping from smugness and stuffiness, one should note that the lack
of originality and genius which they lamented in the eighteenth
century--especially in that part of it known as the Enlightenment--was
not due entirely to pseudo-classic formalism. At least two other main
currents entered into the Enlightenment: first the empirical and
utilitarian current that goes back to Francis Bacon, and some would
say to Roger Bacon; and secondly the rationalistic current that goes
back to Descartes. English empiricism gained international vogue in
the philosophy of Locke, and Locke denies any supersensuous element
in human nature to which one may have access with the aid of the
imagination or in any other way. Locke’s method of precise naturalistic
observation is in itself legitimate; for man is plainly subject to
the natural law. What is not truly empirical is to bring the whole
of human nature under this law. One can do this only by piecing out
precise observation and experiment with dogmatic rationalism. One side
of Locke may therefore be properly associated with the father of modern
rationalists, Descartes. The attempt of the rationalist to lock up
life in some set of formulæ produces in the imaginative man a feeling
of oppression. He gasps for light and air. The very tracing of cause
and effect and in general the use of the analytical faculties--and
this is to fly to the opposite extreme--came to be condemned by the
romanticists as inimical to the imagination. Not only do they make
endless attacks on Locke, but at times they assail even Newton for
having mechanized life, though Newton’s comparison of himself to a
child picking up pebbles on the seashore would seem to show that he had
experienced “the feeling infinite.”

The elaboration of science into a closed system with the aid of logic
and pure mathematics is as a matter of fact to be associated with
Descartes rather than with Newton. Neither Newton nor Descartes, one
scarcely needs add, wished to subject man entirely to the natural law
and the nexus of physical causes; they were not in short determinists.
Yet the superficial rationalism of the Enlightenment was in the main
of Cartesian origin. This Cartesian influence ramifies in so many
directions and is related at so many points to the literary movement,
and there has been so much confusion about this relationship, that we
need to pause here to make a few distinctions.

Perhaps what most strikes one in the philosophy of Descartes is its
faith in logic and abstract reasoning and the closely allied processes
of mathematical demonstration. Anything that is not susceptible of
clear proof in this logical and almost mathematical sense is to
be rejected. Now this Cartesian notion of clearness is fatal to a
true classicism. The higher reality, the true classicist maintains,
cannot be thus demonstrated; it can only be grasped, and then never
completely, through a veil of imaginative illusion. Boileau is reported
to have said that Descartes had cut the throat of poetry; and this
charge is justified in so far as the Cartesian requires from poetry
a merely logical clearness. This conception of clearness was also
a menace to the classicism of the seventeenth century which rested
in the final analysis not on logic but on tradition. This appeared
very clearly in the early phases of the quarrel between ancients and
moderns when literary Cartesians like Perrault and Fontenelle attacked
classical dogma in the name of reason. In fact one may ask if any
doctrine has ever appeared so fatal to every form of tradition--not
merely literary but also religious and political--as Cartesianism.
The rationalist of the eighteenth century was for dismissing as
“prejudice” everything that could not give a clear account of itself
in the Cartesian sense. This riot of abstract reasoning (_la raison
raisonnante_) that prepared the way for the Revolution has been
identified by Taine and others with the classic spirit. A more vicious
confusion has seldom gained currency in criticism. It is true that
the French have mixed a great deal of logic with their conception of
the classic spirit, but that is because they have mixed a great deal
of logic with everything. I have already mentioned their tendency to
substitute a logical for an imaginative verisimilitude; and strenuously
logical classicists may be found in France from Chapelain to
Brunetière. Yet the distinction that should keep us from confusing mere
logic with the classic spirit was made by a Frenchman who was himself
violently logical and also a great geometrician--Pascal. One should
keep distinct, says Pascal, the _esprit de géométrie_ and the _esprit
de finesse_. The _esprit de finesse_ is not, like the _esprit de
géométrie_, abstract, but very concrete.[32] So far as a man possesses
the _esprit de finesse_ he is enabled to judge correctly of the
ordinary facts of life and of the relationships between man and man.
But these judgments rest upon such a multitude of delicate perceptions
that he is frequently unable to account for them logically. It is to
intuitive good sense and not to the _esprit de géométrie_ that the
gentleman (_honnête homme_) of the neo-classical period owed his fine
tact. Pascal himself finally took a stand against reason as understood
both by the Cartesian and by the man of the world. Unaided reason
he held is unable to prevail against the deceits of the imagination;
it needs the support of intuition--an intuition that he identifies
with grace, thus making it inseparable from the most austere form of
Christianity. The “heart,” he says, and this is the name he gives to
intuition, “has reasons of which the reason knows nothing.” A Plato or
an Aristotle would not have understood this divorce between reason and

Pascal seems to get his insight only by flouting ordinary good sense.
He identifies this insight with a type of theological dogma of which
good sense was determined to be rid; and so it tended to get rid of
the insight along with the dogma. Classical dogma also seemed at times
to be in opposition to the intuitive good sense of the man of the
world. The man of the world therefore often inclined to assail both
the classical and the Christian tradition in the name of good sense,
just as the Cartesian inclined to assail these traditions in the name
of abstract reason. Perhaps the best exponent of anti-traditional good
sense in the seventeenth century was Molière. He vindicated nature,
and by nature he still meant in the main normal human nature, from
arbitrary constraints of every kind whether imposed by an ascetic
Christianity or by a narrow and pedantic classicism. Unfortunately
Molière is too much on the side of the opposition. He does not seem
to put his good sense into the service of some positive insight of
his own. Good sense may be of many degrees according to the order of
facts of which it has a correct perception. The order of facts in human
nature that Molière’s good sense perceived is not the highest and so
this good sense appears at times too ready to justify the bourgeois
against the man who has less timid and conventional views. So at
least Rousseau thought when he made his famous attack on Molière.[34]
Rousseau assailed Molière in the name of instinct as Pascal would have
assailed him in the name of insight, and fought sense with sensibility.
The hostility of Rousseau to Molière, according to M. Faguet, is that
of a romantic Bohemian to a philistine of genius.[35] One hesitates to
call Molière a philistine, but one may at least grant M. Faguet that
Molière’s good sense is not always sufficiently inspired.

I have been trying to build up a background that will make clear
why the reason of the eighteenth century (whether we understand
by reason logic or good sense) had come to be superficial and
therefore oppressive to the imagination. It is only with reference
to this “reason” that one can understand the romantic revolt. But
neo-classical reason itself can be understood only with reference to
its background--as a recoil namely from a previous romantic excess.
This excess was manifested not only in the intellectual romanticism of
which I have already spoken, but in the cult of the romantic deed that
had flourished in the Middle Ages. This cult and the literature that
reflected it continued to appeal, even to the cultivated, well on into
the neo-classical period. It was therefore felt necessary to frame a
definition of reason that should be a rebuke to the extravagance and
improbability of the mediæval romances. When men became conscious
in the eighteenth century of the neo-classical meagerness on the
imaginative side they began to look back with a certain envy to the
free efflorescence of fiction in the Middle Ages. They began to ask
themselves with Hurd whether the reason and correctness they had won
were worth the sacrifice of a “world of fine fabling.”[36] We must not,
however, like Heine and many others, look on the romantic movement as
merely a return to the Middle Ages. We have seen that the men of the
Middle Ages themselves understood by romance not simply their own kind
of speech and writing in contrast with what was written in Latin, but
a kind of writing in which the pursuit of strangeness and adventure
predominated. This pursuit of strangeness and adventure will be found
to predominate in all types of romanticism. The type of romanticism,
however, which came in towards the end of the eighteenth century
did not, even when professedly mediæval, simply revert to the older
types. It was primarily not a romanticism of thought or of action,
the types we have encountered thus far, but a romanticism of feeling.
The beginnings of this emotional romanticism antedate considerably
the application of the word romantic to a particular literary school.
Before considering how the word came to be thus applied we shall need
to take a glance at eighteenth-century sentimentalism, especially at
the plea for genius and originality that, from about the middle of the
century on, were opposed to the tameness and servile imitation of the



Romanticism, it has been remarked, is all that is not Voltaire. The
clash between Rousseau and Voltaire is indeed not merely the clash
between two men, it is the clash between two incompatible views of
life. Voltaire is the end of the old world, as Goethe has put it,
Rousseau the beginning of the new.

One is not to suppose, however, that Voltaire was a consistent champion
of the past. He is indeed with all his superficial clearness one of the
most incoherent of writers. At the same time that he defended classical
tradition he attacked Christian tradition, spreading abroad a spirit of
mockery and irreverence that tended to make every traditional belief
impossible. The “reason” to which he appeals has all the shallowness
that I have noticed in the “reason” of the eighteenth century. Though
he does not fall into the Cartesian excess of abstract reasoning, and
though the good sense that he most often understands by reason is
admirably shrewd within certain bounds, he nevertheless falls very
far short of the standards of a true classicism. He delights in the
philosophy of Locke and has little sense for Greek philosophy or for
the higher aspects of Greek literature. He is quite lacking in the
quality of imagination that is needful if one is to communicate with
what is above the ordinary rational level. So far from being capable of
high seriousness, he is scarcely capable of ordinary seriousness. And
so the nobility, elegance, imitation, and decorum that he is constantly
preaching have about them a taint of formalism. Perhaps this taint
appears most conspicuously in his conception of decorum. A man may be
willing to impose restrictions on his ordinary self--and every type of
decorum is restrictive--if he is asked to do so for some adequate end.
The end of the decorum that an Aristotle, for example, would impose is
that one may become more human and therefore, as he endeavors to show
in a highly positive fashion, happier. The only art and literature that
will please a man who has thus become human through the observance of
true decorum is an art and literature that are themselves human and
decorous. Voltaire for his part wishes to subject art and literature
to an elaborate set of restrictions in the name of decorum, but these
restrictions are not joined to any adequate end. The only reward he
holds out to those who observe all these restrictions is “the merit
of difficulty overcome.” At bottom, like so many of the Jesuits from
whom he received his education, he looks upon art as a game--a very
ingenious and complicated game. The French muse he compares to a
person executing a difficult clog dance on a tight rope, and he argues
from this comparison, not that the French muse should assume a less
constrained posture, but that she should on the contrary be exemplary
to the nations. No wonder the romanticists and even Dr. Johnson
demurred at Voltaire’s condemnation of Shakespeare in the name of this
type of decorum.

Voltaire is therefore, in spite of all his dazzling gifts, one of
the most compromising advocates of classicism. Pope also had eminent
merits, but from the truly classical point of view he is about as
inadequate as Voltaire; and this is important to remember because
English romanticism tends to be all that is not Pope. The English
romanticists revolted especially from the poetic diction of which Pope
was one of the chief sources, and poetic diction, with its failure
to distinguish between nobility of language and the language of the
nobility, is only an aspect of artificial decorum. However, the revolt
from poetic diction and decorum in general is not the central aspect of
the great movement that resulted in the eclipse of the wit and man of
the world and in the emergence of the original genius. What the genius
wanted was spontaneity, and spontaneity, as he understood it, involves
a denial, not merely of decorum, but of something that, as I have said,
goes deeper than decorum--namely the doctrine of imitation. According
to Voltaire genius is only judicious imitation. According to Rousseau
the prime mark of genius is refusal to imitate. The movement away from
imitation, however, had already got well started before it thus came
to a picturesque head in the clash between Rousseau and Voltaire, and
if we wish to understand this movement we need to take a glance at its
beginnings--especially in England.

There are reasons why this supposed opposition between imitation and
genius should have been felt in England more keenly than elsewhere. The
doctrine of imitation in its neo-classical form did not get established
there until about the time of Dryden. In the meanwhile England had had
a great creative literature in which the freedom and spontaneity of the
imagination had not been cramped by a too strict imitation of models.
Dryden himself, though he was doing more than any one else to promote
the new correctness that was coming in from France, felt that this
correctness was no equivalent for the Elizabethan inspiration. The
structure that he and his contemporaries were erecting might be more
regular, but lacked the boldness and originality of that reared by the
“giant race before the flood”:

    Our age was cultivated thus at length;
    But what we gained in skill we lost in strength.
    Our builders were with want of genius cursed;
    The second temple was not like the first.[37]

This contrast between the imitator and the inspired original was
developed by Addison in a paper (“Spectator,” 160) that was destined
to be used against the very school to which he himself belonged.
For Addison was in his general outlook a somewhat tame Augustan.
Nevertheless he exalts the “natural geniuses” who have something
“nobly wild and extravagant” in them above the geniuses who have been
“refined by conversation, reflection and the reading of the most polite
authors”; who have “formed themselves by rules and submitted the
greatness of their natural talents to the corrections and restraints of
art.” “The great danger in these latter kind of geniuses, is lest they
cramp their own abilities too much by imitation, and form themselves
altogether upon models, without giving full play to their own natural
parts. An imitation of the best authors is not to compare with a good
original; and I believe we may observe that very few writers make an
extraordinary figure in the world, who have not something in their way
of thinking or expressing themselves that is peculiar to them, and
entirely their own.”

Another main influence that was making against the doctrine of
imitation was also largely of English origin. This was the idea of
progress through scientific observation and experiment. As a result
of this type of positivism, discovery was being added to discovery.
Science was kindling man’s imagination and opening up before him what
he really craves, the vista of an endless advance. Why should not
literature likewise do something new and original instead of sticking
forever in the same rut of imitation? In its Greek form the doctrine
of imitation was, as I have tried to show, not only flexible and
progressive, but in its own way, positive and experimental. But in
modern times the two main forms of imitation, the classical and the
Christian, have worked within the limits imposed by tradition and
traditional models. The imitation of models, the Christian imitation
of Christ, let us say, or the classical imitation of Horace, may
indeed be a very vital thing, the imitation of one soul by another
soul; but when carried out in this vital way, the two main forms of
imitation tend to clash, and the compromise between them, as I have
already said, resulted in a good deal of formalism. By its positive
and critical method science was undermining every traditional belief.
Both the Christian and the classical formalists would have been the
first to deny that the truths of imitation for which they stood could
be divorced from tradition and likewise put on a positive and critical
basis. The fact is indubitable in any case that the discrediting of
tradition has resulted in a progressive lapse from the religious and
the humanistic to the naturalistic level. An equally indubitable fact
is that scientific or rationalistic naturalism tended from the early
eighteenth century to produce emotional naturalism, and that both forms
of naturalism were hostile to the doctrine of imitation.

The trend away from the doctrine of imitation towards emotional
naturalism finds revolutionary expression in the literary field in such
a work as Young’s “Conjectures on Original Composition” (1759). Addison
had asserted, as we have seen, the superiority of what is original in
a man, of what comes to him spontaneously, over what he acquires by
conscious effort and culture. Young, a personal friend of Addison’s,
develops this contrast between the “natural” and the “artificial” to
its extreme consequences. “Modern writers,” he says, “have a choice
to make. … They may soar in the regions of liberty, or move in the
soft fetters of easy imitation.” “An original may be said to be of a
vegetable nature; it rises spontaneously from the vital root of genius;
it grows, it is not made; imitations are often a sort of manufacture,
wrought up by those mechanics, art and labor, out of preëxistent
materials not their own.” “We may as well grow good by another’s
virtue, or fat by another’s food, as famous by another’s thought.”
One evidence that we are still living in the movement of which Young
is one of the initiators is that his treatise will not only seem to
most of us a very spirited piece of writing--that it certainly is--but
doctrinally sound. And yet it is only one of those documents very
frequent in literary history which lack intrinsic soundness, but which
can be explained if not justified as a recoil from an opposite extreme.
The unsoundness of Young’s work comes out clearly if one compares
it with the treatise on the “Sublime” attributed to Longinus which
is not a mere protest against a previous excess, but a permanently
acceptable treatment of the same problem of genius and inspiration.
Longinus exalts genius, but is at the same time regardful of culture
and tradition, and even emphasizes the relation between inspiration and
the imitation of models. Young insinuates, on the contrary, that one
is aided in becoming a genius by being brainless and ignorant. “Some
are pupils of nature only, nor go further to school.” “Many a genius
probably there has been which could neither write nor read.” It follows
almost inevitably from these premises that genius flourishes most in
the primitive ages of society before originality has been crushed
beneath the superincumbent weight of culture and critics have begun
their pernicious activities. Young did not take this step himself, but
it was promptly taken by others on the publication of the Ossianic
poems (1762). Ossian is at once added to the list of great originals
already enumerated by Addison--Homer, Pindar, the patriarchs of the
Old Testament and Shakespeare (whom Young like the later romanticists
opposes to Pope). “Poetry,” says Diderot, summing up a whole movement,
“calls for something enormous, barbaric and savage.”

This exaltation of the virtues of the primitive ages is simply
the projection into a mythical past of a need that the man of the
eighteenth century feels in the present--the need to let himself
go. This is what he understands by his “return to nature.” A whole
revolution is implied in this reinterpretation of the word nature.
To follow nature in the classical sense is to imitate what is normal
and representative in man and so to become decorous. To be natural in
the new sense one must begin by getting rid of imitation and decorum.
Moreover, for the classicist, nature and reason are synonymous. The
primitivist, on the other hand, means by nature the spontaneous play
of impulse and temperament, and inasmuch as this liberty is hindered
rather than helped by reason, he inclines to look on reason, not as the
equivalent but as the opposite of nature.

If one is to understand this development, one should note carefully
how certain uses of the word reason, not merely by the neo-classicists
but by the anti-traditionalists, especially in religion, tended to
produce this denial of reason. It is a curious fact that some of those
who were attacking the Christian religion in the name of reason, were
themselves aware that mere reason, whether one understood by the word
abstract reasoning or uninspired good sense, does not satisfy, that
in the long run man is driven either to rise higher or to sink lower
than reason. St. Evremond, for example, prays nature to deliver man
from the doubtful middle state in which she has placed him--either
to “lift him up to angelic radiance,” or else to “sink him to the
instinct of simple animals.”[38] Since the ascending path, the path
that led to angelic radiance, seemed to involve the acceptance of
a mass of obsolete dogma, man gradually inclined to sink below the
rational level and to seek to recover the “instinct of simple animals.”
Another and still more fundamental fact that some of the rationalists
perceived and that militated against their own position, is that the
dominant element in man is not reason, but imagination, or if one
prefers, the element of illusion. “Illusion,” said Voltaire himself,
“is the queen of the human heart.” The great achievement of tradition
at its best was to be at once a limit and a support to both reason
and imagination and so to unite them in a common allegiance. In the
new movement, at the same time that reason was being encouraged by
scientific method to rise up in revolt against tradition, imagination
was being fascinated and drawn to the naturalistic level by scientific
discovery and the vista of an endless advance that it opened up. A main
problem, therefore, for the student of this movement is to determine
what forms of imaginative activity are possible on the naturalistic
level. A sort of understanding was reached on this point by different
types of naturalists in the course of the eighteenth century. One
form of imagination, it was agreed, should be displayed in science,
another form in art and literature.[39] The scientific imagination
should be controlled by judgment and work in strict subordination to
the facts. In art and literature, on the other hand, the imagination
should be free. Genius and originality are indeed in strict ratio to
this freedom. “In the fairy land of fancy,” says Young, “genius may
wander wild; there it has a creative power, and may reign arbitrarily
over its own empire of chimeras.” (The empire of chimeras was later to
become the tower of ivory.) This sheer indiscipline of the literary
imagination might seem in contrast with the discipline of the
scientific imagination an inferiority; but such was not the view of the
partisans of original genius. Kant, indeed, who was strongly influenced
in his “Critique of Æsthetic Judgment” by these English theorists,[40]
inclined to deny genius to the man of science for the very reason that
his imagination is so strictly controlled. The fact would seem to be
that a great scientist, a Newton let us say, has as much right to be
accounted a genius as Shakespeare. The inferiority of the genius of a
Newton compared with that of a Shakespeare lies in a certain coldness.
Scientific genius is thus cold because it operates in a region less
relevant to man than poetic genius; it is, in Bagehot’s phrase, more
remote from the “hearth of the soul.”

The scientific and the literary imagination are indeed not quite so
sharply contrasted by most of the theorists as might be inferred
from what I have said; most of them do not admit that the literary
imagination should be entirely free to wander in its own “empire of
chimeras.” Even literary imagination, they maintain, should in some
measure be under the surveillance of judgment or taste. One should
observe, however, that the judgment or taste that is supposed to
control or restrict genius is not associated with the imagination.
On the contrary, imagination is associated entirely with the element
of novelty in things, which means, in the literary domain, with the
expansive eagerness of a man to get his own uniqueness uttered. The
genius for the Greek, let us remind ourselves, was not the man who was
in this sense unique, but the man who perceived the universal; and as
the universal can be perceived only with the aid of the imagination,
it follows that genius may be defined as imaginative perception of the
universal. The universal thus conceived not only gives a centre and
purpose to the activity of the imagination, but sets bounds to the free
expansion of temperament and impulse, to what came to be known in the
eighteenth century as nature.

Kant, who denies genius to the man of science on grounds I have already
mentioned, is unable to associate genius in art or literature with this
strict discipline of the imagination to a purpose. The imagination
must be free and must, he holds, show this freedom not by working
but by playing. At the same time Kant had the cool temper of a man
of the Enlightenment, and looked with the utmost disapproval on the
aberrations that had marked in Germany the age of original genius (_die
Geniezeit_). He was not in the new sense of the word nor indeed in any
sense, an enthusiast. And so he wished the reason, or judgment, to
keep control over the imagination without disturbing its free play;
art is to have a purpose which is at the same time not a purpose. The
distinctions by which he works out the supposed relationship between
judgment and imagination are at once difficult and unreal. One can
indeed put one’s finger here more readily perhaps than elsewhere on the
central impotence of the whole Kantian system. Once discredit tradition
and outer authority and then set up as a substitute a reason that is
divorced from the imagination and so lacks the support of supersensuous
insight, and reason will prove unable to maintain its hegemony. When
the imagination has ceased to pull in accord with the reason in the
service of a reality that is set above them both, it is sure to become
the accomplice of expansive impulse, and mere reason is not strong
enough to prevail over this union of imagination and desire. Reason
needs some driving power behind it, a driving power that, when working
in alliance with the imagination, it gets from insight. To suppose
that man will long rest content with mere naked reason as his guide
is to forget that “illusion is the queen of the human heart”; it is
to revive the stoical error. Schiller, himself a Kantian, felt this
rationalistic rigor and coldness of his master, and so sought, while
retaining the play theory of art, to put behind the cold reason of
Kant the driving power it lacked; for this driving power he looked not
to a supersensuous reality, not to insight in short, but to emotion.
He takes appropriately the motto for his “Æsthetic Letters” from
Rousseau: _Si c’est la raison qui fait l’homme, c’est le sentiment qui
le conduit_. He retains Kant’s play theory of art without even so much
offset to this play as is implied in Kant’s “purposiveness without
purpose.” The nobility of Schiller’s intentions is beyond question.
At the same time, by encouraging the notion that it is possible to
escape from neo-classical didacticism only by eliminating masculine
purpose from art, he opens the way for the worst perversions of the
æsthete, above all for the divorce of art from ethical reality. In art,
according to Schiller, both imagination and feeling should be free and
spontaneous, and the result of all this freedom, as he sees it, will be
perfectly “ideal.” His suspicion of a purpose is invincible. As soon as
anything has a purpose it ceases to be æsthetic and in the same measure
suffers a loss of dignity. Thus the æsthetic moment of the lion, he
says, is when he roars not with any definite design, but out of sheer
lustiness, and for the pure pleasure of roaring.

One may assume safely the æsthetic attitude, or what amounts to the
same thing, allow one’s self to be guided by feeling, only on the
assumption that feeling is worthy of trust. As appears in the very
motto he took for his “Æsthetic Letters” Schiller was helped to this
faith in man’s native goodness by Rousseau. We need to pause for a
moment at this point and consider the background of this belief which
finds not only in Schiller but in Rousseau himself, with whom it is
usually associated, a rather late expression. The movement that took
its rise in the eighteenth century involves, we should recollect, a
break not with one but with two traditions--the classical and the
Christian. If the plea for genius and originality is to be largely
explained as a protest against the mechanical imitation and artificial
decorum of a certain type of classicist, the assertion of man’s natural
goodness is to be understood rather as a rebound from the doctrine of
total depravity that was held by the more austere type of Christian.
This doctrine had even in the early centuries of the faith awakened
certain protests like that of Pelagius, but for an understanding of
the Rousseauistic protest one does not need to go behind the great
deistic movement of the early eighteenth century. God, instead of
being opposed to nature, is conceived by the deist as a power that
expresses his goodness and loveliness through nature. The oppressive
weight of fear that the older theology had laid upon the human spirit
is thus gradually lifted. Man begins to discover harmonies instead
of discords in himself and outer nature. He not only sees virtue
in instinct but inclines to turn virtue itself into a “sense,” or
instinct. And this means in practice to put emotional expansion in the
place of spiritual concentration at the basis of life and morals. In
studying this drift towards an æsthetic or sentimental morality one
may most conveniently take one’s point of departure in certain English
writers of deistic tendency, especially in Shaftesbury and his disciple
Hutcheson. Considered purely as an initiator, Shaftesbury is probably
more important than Rousseau. His influence ramifies out in every
direction, notably into Germany.

The central achievement of Shaftesbury from a purely psychological
point of view may be said to be his transformation of conscience from
an inner check into an expansive emotion. He is thus enabled to set
up an æsthetic substitute not merely for traditional religion but for
traditional humanism. He undermines insidiously decorum, the central
doctrine of the classicist, at the very time that he seems to be
defending it. For decorum also implies a control upon the expansive
instincts of human nature, and Shaftesbury is actually engaged in
rehabilitating “nature,” and insinuating that it does not need any
control. He attains this expansiveness by putting æsthetic in the
place of spiritual perception, and so merging more or less completely
the good and the true with the beautiful. He thus points the way very
directly to Rousseau’s rejection of both inner and outer control
in the name of man’s natural goodness. Once accept Shaftesbury’s
transformation of conscience and one is led almost inevitably to look
on everything that is expansive as natural or vital and on everything
that restricts expansion as conventional or artificial. Villers wrote
to Madame de Staël (4 May, 1803): “The fundamental and creative idea
of all your work has been to show primitive, incorruptible, naïve,
passionate nature in conflict with the barriers and shackles of
conventional life. … Note that this is also the guiding idea of the
author of ‘Werther.’” This contrast between nature and convention is
indeed almost the whole of Rousseauism. In permitting his expansive
impulses to be disciplined by either humanism or religion man has
fallen away from nature much as in the old theology he has fallen
away from God, and the famous “return to nature” means in practice
the emancipation of the ordinary or temperamental self that had been
thus artificially controlled. This throwing off of the yoke of both
Christian and classical discipline in the name of temperament is the
essential aspect of the movement in favor of original genius. The
genius does not look to any pattern that is set above his ordinary
spontaneous ego and imitate it. On the contrary, he attains to the
self-expression that other men, intimidated by convention, weakly

In thus taking a stand for self-expression, the original genius is in
a sense on firm ground--at least so far as the mere rationalist or
the late and degenerate classicist is concerned. No conventions are
final, no rules can set arbitrary limits to creation. Reality cannot be
locked up in any set of formulæ. The element of change and novelty in
things, as the romanticists are never tired of repeating, is at once
vital and inexhaustible. Wherever we turn, we encounter, as a romantic
authority, Jacob Boehme, declares, “abysmal, unsearchable and infinite
multiplicity.” Perhaps not since the beginning of the world have two
men or indeed two leaves or two blades of grass been exactly alike.
Out of a thousand men shaving, as Dr. Johnson himself remarked, no
two will shave in just the same way. A person carries his uniqueness
even into his thumbprint--as a certain class in the community has
learned to its cost. But though all things are ineffably different
they are at the same time ineffably alike. And this oneness in things
is, no less than the otherwiseness, a matter of immediate perception.
This universal implication of the one in the many is found even more
marked than elsewhere in the heart of the individual. Each man has
his idiosyncrasy (literally his “private mixture”). But in addition
to his complexion, his temperamental or private self, every man has
a self that he possesses in common with other men. Even the man who
is most filled with his own uniqueness, or “genius,” a Rousseau, for
example, assumes this universal self in every word he utters. “Jove
nods to Jove behind us as we talk.” The word character, one may note,
is ambiguous, inasmuch as it may refer either to the idiosyncratic or
to the universal human element in a man’s dual nature. For example, an
original genius like William Blake not only uses the word character
in a different sense from Aristotle--he cannot even understand the
Aristotelian usage. “Aristotle,” he complains, “says characters are
either good or bad; now Goodness or Badness has nothing to do with
Character. An apple tree, a pear tree, a horse, a lion are Characters;
but a good apple tree or a bad is an apple tree still, etc.” But
character as Aristotle uses the word implies something that man
possesses and that a horse or tree does not possess--the power namely
to deliberate and choose. A man has a good or bad character, he is
ethical or unethical, as one may say from the Greek word for character
in this sense (ἦθος), according to the quality of his choice as it
appears in what he actually does. This distinction between a man’s
private, peculiar character (χαρακτήρ) and the character he possesses
when judged with reference to something more general than his own
complexion is very similar to the French distinction between the _sens
propre_ and the _sens commun_.

The general sense or norm that is opposed to mere temperament and
impulse may rest upon the ethos of a particular time and country--the
traditional habits and customs that the Rousseauist is wont to dismiss
as “artificial”--or it may rest in varying degrees upon immediate
perception. For example, the Ismene and Antigone of Sophocles are
both ethical; but Ismene would abide by the law of the state, whereas
Antigone opposes to this law something still more universal--the
“unwritten laws of heaven.” This insight of Antigone into a moral order
that is set not only above her ordinary self but above the convention
of her time and country is something very immediate, something
achieved, as I shall try to show more fully later, with the aid of the

It is scarcely necessary to add that such a perfect example of the
ethical imagination as one finds in Antigone--the imagination that
works concentric with the human law--is rare. In actual life for
one Antigone who obeys the “unwritten laws of heaven” there will
be a thousand Ismenes who will be guided in their moral choices by
the law of the community. This law, the convention of a particular
place and time, is always but a very imperfect image, a mere shadow
indeed of the unwritten law which being above the ordinary rational
level is, in a sense to be explained later, infinite and incapable
of final formulation. And yet men are forced if only on practical
grounds to work out some approximation to this law as a barrier to the
unchained appetites of the individual. The elements that enter into
any particular attempt to circumscribe the individual in the interests
of the community are very mixed and in no small measure relative. Yet
the things that any group of men have come together about--their
conventions in the literal meaning of the word--even the tabus of a
savage tribe, are sure to reflect, however inadequately, the element
of oneness in man, the element which is opposed to expansive impulse,
and which is no less real, no less a matter of immediate experience,
than the element of irreducible difference. The general sense therefore
should never be sacrificed lightly to the sense of the individual.
Tabu, however inferior it may be to insight, deserves to rank higher
after all than mere temperament.[41]

The original genius proceeds upon the opposite assumption. Everything
that limits temperamental expansion is dismissed as either artificial
or mechanical; everything on the contrary that makes for the
emancipation of temperament, and so for variety and difference, he
welcomes as vital, dynamic, creative. Now, speaking not metaphysically
but practically and experimentally, man may, as I have said, follow two
main paths: he may develop his ethical self--the self that lays hold
of unity--or he may put his main emphasis on the element within him
and without him that is associated with novelty and change. In direct
proportion as he turns his attention to the infinite manifoldness of
things he experiences wonder; if on the other hand he attends to the
unity that underlies the manifoldness and that likewise transcends him,
he experiences awe. As a man grows religious, awe comes more and more
to take the place in him of wonder. The humanist is less averse from
the natural order and its perpetual gushing forth of novelties than the
man who is religious, yet even the humanist refuses to put his final
emphasis on wonder (his motto is rather _nil admirari_). To illustrate
concretely, Dr. Johnson can scarcely conceal his disdain for the
wonderful, but being a genuinely religious spirit, is very capable of
awe. Commenting on Yalden’s line

    Awhile th’ Almighty wondering stood,

Dr. Johnson remarks: “He ought to have remembered that Infinite
Knowledge can never wonder. All wonder is the effect of novelty upon
Ignorance.” Granted the justness of the remark, Johnson seems inclined
at times to forget how wide is the gap in this respect between us
and the Almighty and therefore to be unduly hostile to the element
of wonder. To take the opposite case, it is not easy to discover in
either the personality or writings of Poe an atom of awe or reverence.
On the other hand he both experiences wonder and seeks in his art
to be a pure wondersmith. It is especially important to determine a
man’s attitude towards himself in this matter of awe and wonder, in
other words to determine whether he is taken up first of all with that
element in his own nature which makes him incomprehensibly like other
men or with that element which makes him incomprehensibly different
from them. A man, the wise have always insisted, should look with
reverence but not with wonder on himself. Rousseau boasts that if not
better than other men, he is at least different. By this gloating
sense of his own otherwiseness he may be said to have set the tone for
a whole epoch. Chateaubriand, for instance, is quite overcome by his
own uniqueness and wonderfulness. At the most ordinary happenings he
exclaims, as Sainte-Beuve points out, that such things happen only to
him. Hugo again is positively stupefied at the immensity of his own
genius. The theatricality that one feels in so much of the art of this
period arises from the eagerness of the genius to communicate to others
something of the amazement that he feels at himself. René’s first
concern is to inspire wonder even in the women who love him. “Céluta
felt that she was going to fall upon the bosom of this man as one falls
into an abyss.”

In thus putting such an exclusive emphasis on wonder the Rousseauistic
movement takes on a regressive character. For if life begins in
wonder it culminates in awe. To put “the budding rose above the rose
full-blown” may do very well for a mood, but as an habitual attitude
it implies that one is more interested in origins than in ends; and
this means in practice to look backward and downward instead of forward
and up. The conscious analysis that is needed if one is to establish
orderly sequences and relationships and so work out a kingdom of ends
is repudiated by the Rousseauist because it diminishes wonder, because
it interferes with the creative impulse of genius as it gushes up
spontaneously from the depths of the unconscious. The whole movement is
filled with the praise of ignorance and of those who still enjoy its
inappreciable advantages--the savage, the peasant and above all the
child. The Rousseauist may indeed be said to have discovered the poetry
of childhood of which only traces can be found in the past, but at what
would seem at times a rather heavy sacrifice of rationality. Rather
than consent to have the bloom taken off things by analysis one should,
as Coleridge tells us, _sink back_ to the devout state of childlike
wonder. However, to grow ethically is not to sink back but to struggle
painfully forward. To affirm the contrary is to set up the things that
are below the ordinary rational level as a substitute for the things
that are above it, and at the same time to proclaim one’s inability to
mature. The romanticist, it is true, is wont to oppose to the demand
for maturity Christ’s praise of the child. But Christ evidently praises
the child not because of his capacity for wonder but because of his
freedom from sin, and it is of the essence of Rousseauism to deny the
very existence of sin--at least in the Christian sense of the word.
One may also read in the New Testament that when one has ceased to be
a child one should give up childish things, and this is a saying that
no primitivist, so far as I am aware, has ever quoted. On the contrary,
he is ready to assert that what comes to the child spontaneously is
superior to the deliberate moral effort of the mature man. The speeches
of all the sages are, according to Maeterlinck, outweighed by the
unconscious wisdom of the passing child. Wordsworth hails a child of
six as “Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!” (It is only fair to Coleridge
to say that he refused to follow Wordsworth into this final abyss of
absurdity.[42]) In much the same way Hugo pushes his adoration of
the child to the verge of what has been termed “solemn silliness”
(_niaiserie solennelle_).

To set up the spontaneity of the child as a substitute for insight,
to identify wonder with awe, romance with religion, is to confuse the
very planes of being. There would appear to be a confusion of this kind
in what Carlyle takes to be his own chief discovery, in his “natural
supernaturalism.”[43] The natural order we must grant Carlyle is
unfathomable, but it is not therefore awful, only wonderful. A movement
of charity belongs as Pascal says to an entirely different order.[44]

The spiritual order to which Pascal refers lifts a man so far as he
perceives it out of his ordinary self and draws him to an ethical
centre. But the Rousseauist tends, as I have said, to repudiate
the very idea of an ethical centre along with the special forms in
which it had got itself embedded. Every attempt, whether humanistic
or religious, to set up some such centre, to oppose a unifying and
centralizing principle to expansive impulse, seems to him arbitrary
and artificial. He does not discriminate between the ethical norm or
centre that a Sophocles grasps intuitively and the centrality that the
pseudo-classicist hopes to achieve by mechanical imitation. He argues
from his underlying assumption that the principle of variation is alone
vital, that one’s genius and originality are in pretty direct ratio
to one’s eccentricity in the literal meaning of the word; and he is
therefore ready to affirm his singularity or difference in the face of
whatever happens to be established. This attitude, it is worth noting,
is quite unlike that of the humorist in the old English sense of the
word, who indulges his bent and is at the same time quite unconcerned
with any central model that he should imitate and with reference to
which he should discipline his oddities. The idiosyncrasy of the
Rousseauist is not, like that of the humorist, genial, but defiant.
He is strangely self-conscious in his return to the unconscious. In
everything, from his vocabulary to the details of his dress, he is
eager to emphasize his departure from the norm. Hence the persistent
pose and theatricality in so many of the leaders of this movement, in
Rousseau himself, for instance, or in Chateaubriand and Byron. As for
the lesser figures in the movement their “genius” is often chiefly
displayed in their devices for calling attention to themselves as the
latest and most marvellous births of time; it is only one aspect in
short of an art in which the past century, whatever its achievement in
the other arts, has easily surpassed all its predecessors--the art of

One needs always to return, however, if one is to understand the
romantic notion of genius, to a consideration of the pseudo-classic
decorum against which it is a protest. The gentleman or man of the
world (_honnête homme_) was not, like the original genius, anxious
to advertise himself, to call attention to his own special note
of originality, since his primary concern was with an entirely
different problem, with the problem, namely, not of expressing but
of humanizing himself; and he could humanize himself, he felt, only
by constant reference to the accepted standard of what the normal
man should be. He refused to “pride himself on anything”; he was
fearful of over-emphasis, because the first of virtues in his eyes
was a sense of proportion. The total symmetry of life to which the
best type of classicist refers back his every impulse, he apprehends
intuitively with the aid of his imagination. The symmetry to which the
pseudo-classicist refers back his impulses has ceased to be imaginative
and has become a mere conformity to an outer code or even to the rules
of etiquette; and so, instead of a deep imaginative insight, he gets
mere elegance or polish. The unity that a purely external decorum of
this kind imposes on life degenerates into a tiresome sameness. It
seems an unwarranted denial of the element of wonder and surprise.
“Boredom was born one day of uniformity,” said La Motte Houdard, who
was himself a pseudo-classicist; whereas variety as everybody knows
is the spice of life. The romanticist would break up the smooth and
tiresome surface of artificial decorum by the pursuit of strangeness.
If he can only get his thrill he cares little whether it is probable,
whether it bears any relation, that is, to normal human experience.
This sacrifice of the probable to the surprising appears, as I said
at the outset, in all types of romanticism--whether of action or
thought or feeling. The genuine classicist always puts his main
stress on design or structure; whereas the main quest of every type
of romanticist is rather for the intense and vivid and arresting
detail. Take, for instance, the intellectual romanticism that prevailed
especially in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. In
the “witty and conceited” poets of this period the intellect is engaged
in a more or less irresponsible vagabondage with the imagination as its
free accomplice. The conceits by which a poet of this type displays his
“ingenuity” (genius) are not structural, are not, that is, referred
back to any centre. They stand forth each separately and sharply from
the surface of the style (hence known to the French as “points”), and
so arrest the reader by their novelty. Their rareness and preciousness,
however, are intended to startle the intellect alone. They do not
have and are not intended to have any power of sensuous suggestion.
The Rousseauistic romanticist, on the other hand, so far from being
“metaphysical,” strives to be concrete even at the risk of a certain
materialism of style, of turning his metaphors into mere images. Like
the intellectual romanticist, though in a different way, he wishes to
break up the smooth and monotonous surface of life and style, and so he
sets up the cult of the picturesque. To understand this cult one needs
to remember the opposite extreme of artificial symmetry. One needs to
recall, for example, the neo-classicist who complained of the stars
in heaven because they were not arranged in symmetrical patterns, or
various other neo-classicists who attacked mountains because of their
rough and irregular shapes, because of their refusal to submit to the
rule and compass. When beauty is conceived in so mechanical a fashion
some one is almost certain to wish to “add strangeness” to it.

The cult of the picturesque is closely associated with the cult of
local color. Here as elsewhere romantic genius is, in contradistinction
to classical genius which aims at the “grandeur of generality,” the
genius of wonder and surprise. According to Buffon, who offers the
rare spectacle of a man of science who is at the same time a theorist
of the grand manner, genius is shown in the architectonic gift--in
the power so to unify a subject as to keep its every detail in proper
subordination to the whole. Any mere wantoning of the imagination
in the pursuit of either the precious or the picturesque is to be
severely repressed if one is to attain to the grandeur of generality.
Buffon is truly classic in relating genius to design. Unfortunately
he verges towards the pseudo-classic in his distrust of color, of the
precise word and the vivid descriptive epithet. The growing verbal
squeamishness that so strikes one towards the end of the neo-classic
period is one outcome of artificial decorum, of confusing nobility of
language with the language of the nobility. There was an increasing
fear of the trivial word that might destroy the illusion of the grand
manner, and also of the technical term that should be too suggestive
of specialization. All terms were to be avoided that were not readily
intelligible to a lady or gentleman in the drawing-room. And so it
came to pass that by the end of the eighteenth century the grand
manner, or elevated style, had come to be largely an art of ingenious
circumlocution, and Buffon gives some countenance to this conception of
classic dignity and representativeness when he declares that one should
describe objects “only by the most general terms.” At all events the
reply of the romantic genius to this doctrine is the demand for local
color, for the concrete and picturesque phrase. The general truth at
which the classicist aims the Rousseauist dismisses as identical with
the gray and the academic, and bends all his efforts to the rendering
of the vivid and unique detail. Of the readiness of the romantic genius
to show (or one is tempted to say) to advertise his originality by
trampling verbal decorum under foot along with every other kind of
decorum, I shall have more to say later. He is ready to employ not only
the homely and familiar word that the pseudo-classicist had eschewed
as “low,” but words so local and technical as to be unintelligible to
ordinary readers. Chateaubriand deals so specifically with the North
American Indian and his environment that the result, according to
Sainte-Beuve, is a sort of “tattooing” of his style. Hugo bestows a
whole dictionary of architectural terms upon the reader in his “Nôtre
Dame,” and of nautical terms in his “Toilers of the Sea.” In order to
follow some of the passages in Balzac’s “César Birotteau,” one needs
to be a lawyer or a professional accountant, and it has been said that
in order to do justice to a certain description in Zola one would need
to be a pork-butcher. In this movement towards a highly specialized
vocabulary one should note a coöperation, as so often elsewhere,
between the two wings of the naturalistic movement--the scientific and
the emotional. The Rousseauist is, like the scientist, a specialist--he
specializes in his own sensations. He goes in quest of emotional
thrills for their own sake, just as Napoleon’s generals, according to
Sainte-Beuve, waged war without any ulterior aim but for the sheer lust
of conquest. The vivid images and picturesque details are therefore
not sufficiently structural; each one tends to thrust itself forward
without reference to the whole and to demand attention for its own sake.

The pursuit of the unrelated thrill without reference to its
motivation or probability leads in the romantic movement to a sort of
descent--often, it is true, a rapturous and lyrical descent--from the
dramatic to the melodramatic. It is possible to trace this one-sided
emphasis on wonder not merely in vocabulary but in the increasing
resort to the principle of contrast. One suspects, for example, that
Rousseau exaggerates the grotesqueness of his youthful failure as a
musical composer at Lausanne in order that his success in the same
rôle before the king and all the ladies of the court at Versailles may
“stick more fiery off.” The contrast that Chateaubriand establishes
between the two banks of the Mississippi at the beginning of his
“Atala” is so complete as to put some strain on verisimilitude. One
may note in this same description, as a somewhat different way of
sacrificing the probable to the picturesque, the bears drunk on wild
grapes and reeling on the branches of the elms. To prove that it was
possible on some particular occasion to look down the vista of a forest
glade on the lower Mississippi and see it closed by a drunken bear does
not meet the difficulty at all. For art has to do, as was remarked long
ago, not with the possible but the probable; and a bear in this posture
is a possible but scarcely a probable bear.

To return to the principle of contrast: Hugo dilates upon his puniness
as an infant (“abandoned by everybody, even by his mother”) in order
to make his later achievement seem still more stupendous.[45] The
use of the antithesis as the auxiliary of surprise, the abrupt and
thrilling passage from light to shade or the contrary, finds perhaps
its culminating expression in Hugo. A study of this one figure as it
appears in his words and ideas, in his characters and situations and
subjects, would show that he is the most melodramatic genius for whom
high rank has ever been claimed in literature. The suddenness of Jean
Valjean’s transformation from a convict into a saint may serve as a
single instance of Hugo’s readiness to sacrifice verisimilitude to
surprise in his treatment of character.

Closely allied to the desire to break up the monotonous surface of
“good form” by the pointed and picturesque style in writing is the rise
of the pointed and picturesque style in dress. A man may advertise
his genius and originality (in the romantic sense of these terms) by
departing from the accepted modes of costume as well as from the
accepted modes of speech. Gautier’s scarlet waistcoat at the first
performance of Hernani is of the same order as his flamboyant epithets,
his riot of local color, and was at least as effective in achieving
the main end of his life--to be, in his own phrase, the “terror of the
sleek, baldheaded bourgeois.” In assuming the Armenian garb to the
astonishment of the rustics of Motiers-Travers, Rousseau anticipates
not merely Gautier but innumerable other violators of conventional
correctness: here as elsewhere he deserves to rank as the classic
instance, one is tempted to say, of romantic eccentricity. La Bruyère,
an exponent of the traditional good-breeding against which Rousseauism
is a protest, says that the gentleman allows himself to be dressed by
his tailor. He wishes to be neither ahead of the mode nor behind it,
being reluctant as he is in all things to oppose his private sense to
the general sense. His point of view in the matter of dress is not so
very remote from that of a genuine classicism, whereas the enthusiast
who recently went about the streets of New York (until taken in by
the police) garbed as a contemporary of Pericles is no less plainly a
product of Rousseauistic revolt.

Chateaubriand’s relation to Rousseauism in this matter calls for
special comment. He encouraged, and to some extent held, the belief
that to show genius and originality one must be irregular and
tempestuous in all things, even in the arrangement of one’s hair. At
the same time he preached reason. His heart, in short, was romantic,
his head classical. Both as a classicist and a romanticist he was ready
to repudiate on the one hand his master Rousseau, and on the other
his own disciples. As a romantic genius he wished to regard himself
as unique and so unrelated to Rousseau. At the same time he also
looked upon it as a sort of insolence for any of his own followers to
aspire to such a lonely preëminence in grief as René. As a classicist
he saw that great art aims at the normal and the representative, and
that it is therefore absurd for people to pattern themselves on such
morbid and exceptional characters as René and Childe Harold. Most
of the romanticists indeed showed themselves very imitative even in
their attempts at uniqueness, and the result was a second or third
hand, or as one is tempted to say, a stale eccentricity. In their mere
following of the mode many of the French romanticists of 1830 were
ready to impose a painful discipline upon themselves[46] in order to
appear abnormal, in order, for instance, to acquire a livid Byronic
complexion. Some of those who wished to seem elegiac like Lamartine
rather than to emulate the violent and histrionic revolt of the Conrads
and Laras actually succeeded, we are told, in giving themselves
consumption (hence the epithet _école poitrinaire_).

In outer and visible freakishness the French romanticists of 1830
probably bore away the palm, though in inner and spiritual remoteness
from normal human experience they can scarcely vie with the early
German romanticists. And this is doubtless due to the fact that in
France there was a more definite outer standard from which to advertise
their departure, and also to the fact that the revolt against this
standard was so largely participated in by the painters and by writers
like Gautier who were also interested in painting. Chateaubriand
writes of the romantic painters (and the passage will also serve to
illustrate his attitude towards his own disciples): “[These artists]
rig themselves up as comic sketches, as grotesques, as caricatures.
Some of them wear frightful mustaches, one would suppose that they
are going forth to conquer the world--their brushes are halberds,
their paint-scratchers sabres; others have enormous beards and hair
that puffs out or hangs down their shoulders; they smoke a cigar
volcanically. These cousins of the rainbow, to use a phrase of our old
Régnier, have their heads filled with deluges, seas, rivers, forests,
cataracts, tempests, or it may be with slaughters, tortures and
scaffolds. One finds among them human skulls, foils, mandolins, helmets
and dolmans. … They aim to form a separate species between the ape and
the satyr; they give you to understand that the secrecy of the studio
has its dangers and that there is no safety for the models.”

These purely personal eccentricities that so marked the early stages in
the warfare between the Bohemian and the philistine have as a matter
of fact diminished in our own time. Nowadays a man of the distinction
of Disraeli or even of Bulwer-Lytton[47] would scarcely affect, as
they did, the flamboyant style in dress. But the underlying failure
to discriminate between the odd and the original has persisted and has
worked out into even extremer consequences. One may note, as I have
said, even in the early figures in the movement a tendency to play to
the gallery, a something that suggests the approach of the era of the
lime-light and the big headline. Rousseau himself has been called the
father of yellow journalists. There is an unbroken development from
the early exponents of original genius down to cubists, futurists and
post-impressionists and the corresponding schools in literature. The
partisans of expression as opposed to form in the eighteenth century
led to the fanatics of expression in the nineteenth and these have
led to the maniacs of expression of the twentieth. The extremists in
painting have got so far beyond Cézanne, who was regarded not long ago
as one of the wildest of innovators, that Cézanne is, we are told, “in
a fair way to achieve the unhappy fate of becoming a classic.” Poe
was fond of quoting a saying of Bacon’s that “there is no excellent
beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” This saying
became known in France through Baudelaire’s rendering of Poe and was
often ascribed to Poe himself. It was taken to mean that the stranger
one became the nearer one was getting to perfect beauty. And if we
grant this view of beauty we must admit that some of the decadents
succeeded in becoming very beautiful indeed. But the more the element
of proportion in beauty is sacrificed to strangeness the more the
result will seem to the normal man to be, not beauty at all, but rather
an esoteric cult of ugliness. The romantic genius therefore denounces
the normal man as a philistine and at the same time, since he cannot
please him, seeks at least to shock him and so capture his attention
by the very violence of eccentricity.

The saying I have quoted from Bacon is perhaps an early example of the
inner alliance between things that superficially often seem remote--the
scientific spirit and the spirit of romance. Scientific discovery has
given a tremendous stimulus to wonder and curiosity, has encouraged a
purely exploratory attitude towards life and raised an overwhelming
prepossession in favor of the new as compared with the old. Baconian
and Rousseauist evidently come together by their primary emphasis on
novelty. The movement towards a more and more eccentric conception
of art and literature has been closely allied in practice with the
doctrine of progress--and that from the very dawn of the so-called
Quarrel of Ancients and Moderns. It is scarcely possible to exaggerate
the havoc that has been wrought by the transfer of the belief that
the latest thing is the best--a belief that is approximately true
of automobiles--from the material order to an entirely different
realm.[48] The very heart of the classical message, one cannot repeat
too often, is that one should aim first of all not to be original,
but to be human, and that to be human one needs to look up to a sound
model and imitate it. The imposition of form and proportion upon one’s
expansive impulses which results from this process of imitation is,
in the true sense of that much abused word, culture. Genuine culture
is difficult and disciplinary. The mediation that it involves between
the conflicting claims of form and expression requires the utmost
contention of spirit. We have here a clue to the boundless success
of the Rousseauistic doctrine of spontaneity, of the assertion that
genius resides in the region of the primitive and unconscious and is
hindered rather than helped by culture. It is easier to be a genius
on Rousseauistic lines than to be a man on the terms imposed by the
classicist. There is a fatal facility about creation when its quality
is not tested by some standard set above the creator’s temperament;
and the same fatal facility appears in criticism when the critic does
not test creation by some standard set above both his own temperament
and that of the creator. The romantic critic as a matter of fact
confines his ambition to receiving so keen an impression from genius,
conceived as something purely temperamental, that when this creative
expression is passed through his temperament it will issue forth as a
fresh expression. Taste, he holds, will thus tend to become one with
genius, and criticism, instead of being cold and negative like that of
the neo-classicist, will itself grow creative.[49] But the critic who
does not get beyond this stage will have gusto, zest, relish, what you
will, he will not have taste. For taste involves a difficult mediation
between the element of uniqueness in both critic and creator and that
which is representative and human. Once eliminate this human standard
that is set above the temperament of the creator and make of the critic
in turn a mere pander to “genius” and it is hard to see what measure
of a man’s excellence is left save his intoxication with himself; and
this measure would scarcely seem to be trustworthy. “Every ass that’s
romantic,” says Wolseley in his Preface to “Valentinian” (1686)
“believes he’s inspired.”

An important aspect of the romantic theory of genius remains to be
considered. This theory is closely associated in its rise and growth
with the theory of the master faculty or ruling passion. A man can
do that for which he has a genius without effort, whereas no amount
of effort can avail to give a man that for which he has no native
aptitude.[50] Buffon affirmed in opposition to this view that genius is
only a capacity for taking pains or, as an American recently put it, is
ten per cent inspiration and ninety per cent perspiration. This notion
of genius not only risks running counter to the observed facts as to
the importance of the native gift but it does not bring out as clearly
as it might the real point at issue. Even though genius were shown
to be ninety per cent inspiration a man should still, the classicist
would insist, fix his attention on the fraction that is within his
power. Thus Boileau says in substance at the outset of his “Art of
Poetry” that a poet needs to be born under a propitious star. Genius
is indispensable, and not merely genius in general but genius for the
special kind of poetry in which he is to excel. Yet granting all this,
he says to the poetical aspirant, bestir yourself! The mystery of grace
will always be recognized in any view of life that gets at all beneath
the surface. Yet it is still the better part to turn to the feasibility
of works. The view of genius as merely a temperamental overflow is as
a matter of fact only a caricature of the doctrine of grace. It suits
the spiritual indolence of the creator who seeks to evade the more
difficult half of his problem--which is not merely to create but to
humanize his creation. Hawthorne, for example, is according to Mr.
Brownell, too prone (except in the “Scarlet Letter”) to get away from
the clear sunlight of normal human experience into a region of somewhat
crepuscular symbolism, and this is because he yielded too complacently
and fatalistically to what he conceived to be his genius. The theory
of genius is perhaps the chief inheritance of the New England
transcendentalists from romanticism. Hawthorne was more on his guard
against the extreme implications of the theory than most other members
of this group. It remains to be seen how much the exaltation of genius
and depreciation of culture that marks one whole side of Emerson will
in the long run tell against his reputation. The lesser New England men
showed a rare incapacity to distinguish between originality and mere
freakishness either in themselves or in others.

It is fair to say that in lieu of the discipline of culture the
romantic genius has often insisted on the discipline of technique;
and this has been especially true in a country like France with its
persistent tradition of careful workmanship. Gautier, for example,
would have one’s “floating dream sealed”[51] in the hardest and most
resisting material, that can only be mastered by the perfect craftsman;
and he himself, falling into a confusion of the arts, tries to display
such a craftsmanship by painting and carving with words. Flaubert,
again, refines upon the technique of writing to a point where it
becomes not merely a discipline but a torture. But if a man is to
be a romantic genius in the fullest sense he must, it should seem,
repudiate even the discipline of technique as well as the discipline of
culture in favor of an artless spontaneity. For after all the genius
is only the man who retains the virtues of the child, and technical
proficiency is scarcely to be numbered among these virtues. The German
romanticists already prefer the early Italian painters because of their
naïveté and divine awkwardness to the later artiste who had a more
conscious mastery of their material. The whole Pre-Raphaelite movement
is therefore only one aspect of Rousseau’s return to nature. To later
primitivists the early Italians themselves seem far too deliberate.
They would recover the spontaneity displayed in the markings on
Alaskan totem poles or in the scratchings of the caveman on the
flint. A prerequisite to pure genius, if we are to judge by their own
productions, is an inability to draw. The futurists in their endeavor
to convey symbolically their own “soul” or “vision”--a vision be it
noted of pure flux and motion--deny the very conditions of time and
space that determine the special technique of painting; and inasmuch
as to express one’s “soul” means for these moderns, as it did for the
“genius” of the eighteenth century, to express the ineffable difference
between themselves and others, the symbolizing of this soul to which
they have sacrificed both culture and technique remains a dark mystery.

An eccentricity so extreme as to be almost or quite indistinguishable
from madness is then the final outcome of the revolt of the original
genius from the regularity of the eighteenth century. The eighteenth
century had, one must confess, become too much like the Happy Valley
from which Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, sought an egress. It was fair
to the eye and satisfied all man’s ordinary needs, but it seemed at the
same time to hem him in oppressively, and limit unduly his horizons.
For the modern man, as for the prince in Johnson’s tale, a regular
round of assured felicities has counted for nought as compared with the
passion for the open; though now that he has tasted strange adventures,
the modern man will scarcely decide at the end, like the prince, to
“return to Abyssinia.” I have already spoken of the rationalistic and
pseudo-classic elements in the eighteenth century that the romantic
rebels found so intolerable. It is impossible to follow “reason,” they
said in substance, and also to slake one’s thirst for the “infinite”;
it is impossible to conform and imitate and at the same time to be free
and original and spontaneous. Above all it is impossible to submit
to the yoke of either reason or imitation and at the same time to be
imaginative. This last assertion will always be the main point at issue
in any genuine debate between classicist and romanticist. The supreme
thing in life, the romanticist declares, is the creative imagination,
and it can be restored to its rights only by repudiating imitation. The
imagination is supreme the classicist grants but adds that to imitate
rightly is to make the highest use of the imagination. To understand
all that is implied in this central divergence between classicist
and romanticist we shall need to study in more detail the kind of
imaginative activity that has been encouraged in the whole movement
extending from the rise of the original genius in the eighteenth
century to the present day.



I have already spoken of the contrast established by the theorists of
original genius in the eighteenth century between the different types
of imagination--especially between the literary and the scientific
imagination. According to these theorists, it will be remembered, the
scientific imagination should be strictly subordinated to judgment,
whereas the literary imagination, freed from the shackles of imitation,
should be at liberty to wander wild in its own empire of chimeras,
or, at all events, should be far less sharply checked by judgment.
It is easy to follow the extension of these English views of genius
and imagination into the France of Rousseau and Diderot, and then
the elaboration of these same views, under the combined influence of
both France and England, in Germany. I have tried to show that Kant,
especially in his “Critique of Judgment,” and Schiller in his “Æsthetic
Letters” (1795) prepare the way for the conception of the creative
imagination that is at the very heart of the romantic movement.
According to this romantic conception, as we have seen, the imagination
is to be free, not merely from outer formalistic constraint, but from
all constraint whatever. This extreme romantic emancipation of the
imagination was accompanied by an equally extreme emancipation of the
emotions. Both kinds of emancipation are, as I have tried to show,
a recoil partly from neo-classical judgment--a type of judgment
which seemed to oppress all that is creative and spontaneous in man
under a weight of outer convention; partly, from the reason of the
Enlightenment, a type of reason that was so logical and abstract that
it seemed to mechanize the human spirit, and to be a denial of all
that is immediate and intuitive. The neo-classical judgment, with its
undue unfriendliness to the imagination, is itself a recoil, let us
remember, from the imaginative extravagance of the “metaphysicals,” the
intellectual romanticists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,
and also, if we take a sufficiently wide view, from the Quixotic type
of romanticism, the romanticism of action, that we associate with the
Middle Ages.

Now not only are men governed by their imaginations (the imagination,
as Pascal says, disposes of everything), but the type of imagination
by which most men are governed may be defined in the widest sense
of the word as romantic. Nearly every man cherishes his dream, his
conceit of himself as he would like to be, a sort of “ideal” projection
of his own desires, in comparison with which his actual life seems
a hard and cramping routine. “Man must conceive himself what he is
not,” as Dr. Johnson says, “for who is pleased with what he is?” The
ample habitation that a man rears for his fictitious or “ideal” self
often has some slight foundation in fact, but the higher he rears
it the more insecure it becomes, until finally, like Perrette in
the fable, he brings the whole structure down about his ears by the
very gesture of his dream. “We all of us,” La Fontaine concludes in
perhaps the most delightful account of the romantic imagination in
literature, “wise as well as foolish, indulge in daydreams. There is
nothing sweeter. A flattering illusion carries away our spirits. All
the wealth in the world is ours, all honors and all women,”[52] etc.
When Johnson descants on the “dangerous prevalence of imagination,”[53]
and warns us to stick to “sober probability,” what he means is the
dangerous prevalence of day-dreaming. The retreat of the Rousseauist
into some “land of chimeras” or tower of ivory assumes forms almost
incredibly complex and subtle, but at bottom the ivory tower is only
one form of man’s ineradicable longing to escape from the oppression
of the actual into some land of heart’s desire, some golden age of
fancy. As a matter of fact, Rousseau’s imaginative activity often
approaches very closely to the delights of day-dreaming as described
by La Fontaine. He was never more imaginative, he tells us, than
when on a walking-trip--especially when the trip had no definite
goal, or at least when he could take his time in reaching it. The
_Wanderlust_ of body and spirit could then be satisfied together.
Actual vagabondage seemed to be an aid to the imagination in its escape
from verisimilitude. One should note especially Rousseau’s account of
his early wandering from Lyons to Paris and the airy structures that
he raised on his anticipations of what he might find there. Inasmuch
as he was to be attached at Paris to the Swiss Colonel Godard, he
already traced for himself in fancy, in spite of his short-sightedness,
a career of military glory. “I had read that Marshal Schomberg was
short-sighted, why shouldn’t Marshal Rousseau be so too?” In the
meanwhile, touched by the sight of the groves and brooks, “I felt in
the midst of my glory that my heart was not made for so much turmoil,
and soon without knowing how, I found myself once more among my beloved
pastorals, renouncing forever the toils of Mars.”

Thus alongside the real world and in more or less sharp opposition to
it, Rousseau builds up a fictitious world, that _pays des chimères_,
which is alone, as he tells us, worthy of habitation. To study his
imaginative activity is simply to study the new forms that he gives
to what I have called man’s ineradicable longing for some Arcadia,
some land of heart’s desire. Goethe compares the illusions that man
nourishes in his breast to the population of statues in ancient Rome
which were almost as numerous as the population of living men. The
important thing from the point of view of sanity is that a man should
not blur the boundaries between the two populations, that he should not
cease to discriminate between his fact and his fiction. If he confuses
what he dreams himself to be with what he actually is, he has already
entered upon the pathway of madness. It was, for example, natural
for a youth like Rousseau who was at once romantic and musical, to
dream that he was a great composer; but actually to set up as a great
composer and to give the concert at Lausanne, shows an unwillingness to
discriminate between his fictitious and his real world that is plainly
pathological. If not already a megalomaniac, he was even then on the
way to megalomania.

To wander through the world as though it were an Arcadia or enchanted
vision contrived for one’s especial benefit is an attitude of
childhood--especially of imaginative childhood. “Wherever children
are,” says Novalis, “there is the golden age.” As the child grows and
matures there is a more or less painful process of adjustment between
his “vision” and the particular reality in which he is placed. A little
sense gets knocked into his head, and often, it must be confessed, a
good deal of the imagination gets knocked out. As Wordsworth complains,
the vision fades into the light of common day. The striking fact about
Rousseau is that, far more than Wordsworth, he held fast to his vision.
He refused to adjust it to an unpalatable reality. During the very
years when the ordinary youth is forced to subordinate his luxurious
imaginings to some definite discipline he fell under the influence of
Madame de Warens who encouraged rather than thwarted his Arcadian bent.
Later, when almost incurably confirmed in his penchant for revery, he
came into contact with the refined society of Paris, an environment
requiring so difficult an adjustment that no one we are told could
accomplish the feat unless he had been disciplined into the appropriate
habits from the age of six. He is indeed the supreme example of the
unadjusted man, of the original genius whose imagination has never
suffered either inner or outer constraint, who is more of an Arcadian
dreamer at sixty perhaps than he was at sixteen. He writes to the
Bailli de Mirabeau (31 January, 1767):

    “The fatigue of thinking becomes every day more painful to me.
    I love to dream, but freely, allowing my mind to wander without
    enslaving myself to any subject. … This idle and contemplative
    life which you do not approve and which I do not excuse,
    becomes to me daily more delicious; to wander alone endlessly
    and ceaselessly among the trees and rocks about my dwelling,
    to muse or rather to be as irresponsible as I please, and as
    you say, to go wool-gathering; … finally to give myself up
    unconstrainedly to my fantasies which, thank heaven, are all
    within my power: that, sir, is for me the supreme enjoyment,
    than which I can imagine nothing superior in this world for a
    man at my age and in my condition.”

Rousseau, then, owes his significance not only to the fact that he was
supremely imaginative in an age that was disposed to deny the supremacy
of the imagination, but to the fact that he was imaginative in a
particular way. A great multitude since his time must be reckoned among
his followers, not because they have held certain ideas but because
they have exhibited a similar quality of imagination. In seeking to
define this quality of imagination we are therefore at the very heart
of our subject.

It is clear from what has already been said that Rousseau’s imagination
was in a general way Arcadian, and this, if not the highest, is perhaps
the most prevalent type of imagination. In surveying the literature of
the world one is struck not only by the universality of the pastoral
or idyllic element, but by the number of forms it has assumed--forms
ranging from the extreme of artificiality and conventionalism to the
purest poetry. The very society against the artificiality of which
Rousseau’s whole work is a protest is itself in no small degree a
pastoral creation. Various elements indeed entered into the life of
the drawing-room as it came to be conceived towards the beginning
of the seventeenth century. The Marquise de Rambouillet and others
who set out at this time to live in the grand manner were in so
far governed either by genuine or by artificial decorum. But at the
same time that the creators of _le grand monde_ were aiming to be
more “decent” than the men and women of the sixteenth century, they
were patterning themselves upon the shepherds and shepherdesses of
D’Urfé’s interminable pastoral “l’Astrée.” They were seeking to create
a sort of enchanted world from which the harsh cares of ordinary life
were banished and where they might be free, like true Arcadians, to
discourse of love. This discourse of love was associated with what
I have defined as intellectual romanticism. In spite of the attacks
by the exponents of humanistic good sense (Molière, Boileau, etc.)
on this drawing-room affectation, it lingered on and still led in
the eighteenth century, as Rousseau complained, to “inconceivable
refinements.”[54] At the same time we should recollect that there is
a secret bond between all forms of Arcadian dreaming. Not only was
Rousseau fascinated, like the early _précieux_ and _précieuses_, by
D’Urfé’s pastoral, but he himself appealed by his renewal of the main
pastoral theme of love to the descendants of these former Arcadians
in the polite society of his time. The love of Rousseau is associated
not like that of the _précieux_, with the intellect, but with the
emotions, and so he substitutes for a “wire-drawn and super-subtilized
gallantry,” the ground-swell of elemental passion.[55] Moreover, the
definitely primitivistic coloring that he gave to his imaginative
renewal of the pastoral dream appealed to an age that was reaching the
last stages of over-refinement. Primitivism is, strictly speaking,
nothing new in the world. It always tends to appear in periods of
complex civilization. The charms of the simple life and of a return
to nature were celebrated especially during the Alexandrian period
of Greek literature for the special delectation no doubt of the most
sophisticated members of this very sophisticated society. “Nothing,” as
Dr. Santayana says, “is farther from the common people than the corrupt
desire to be primitive.” Primitivistic dreaming was also popular
in ancient Rome at its most artificial moment. The great ancients,
however, though enjoying the poetry of the primitivistic dream, were
not the dupes of this dream. Horace, for example, lived at the most
artificial moment of Rome when primitivistic dreaming was popular as
it had been at Alexandria. He descants on the joys of the simple life
in a well-known ode. One should not therefore hail him, like Schiller,
as the founder of the sentimental school “of which he has remained the
unsurpassed model.”[56] For the person who plans to return to nature
in Horace’s poem is the old usurer Alfius, who changes his mind at
the last moment and puts out his mortgages again. In short, the final
attitude of the urbane Horace towards the primitivistic dream--it could
hardly be otherwise--is ironical.

Rousseau seems destined to remain the supreme example, at least in the
Occident, of the man who takes the primitivistic dream seriously, who
attempts to set up primitivism as a philosophy and even as a religion.
Rousseau’s account of his sudden illumination on the road from Paris
to Vincennes is famous: the scales, he tells us, fell from his eyes
even as they had from the eyes of Paul on the road to Damascus, and
he saw how man had fallen from the felicity of his primitive estate;
how the blissful ignorance in which he had lived at one with himself
and harmless to his fellows had been broken by the rise of intellectual
self-consciousness and the resulting progress in the sciences and
arts. Modern students of Rousseau have, under the influence of James,
taken this experience on the road to Vincennes to be an authentic
case of conversion,[57] but this is merely one instance of our modern
tendency to confound the subrational with the superrational. What one
finds in this alleged conversion when one looks into it, is a sort of
“subliminal uprush” of the Arcadian memories of his youth, especially
of his life at Annecy and Les Charmettes, and at the same time the
contrast between these Arcadian memories and the hateful constraints
he had suffered at Paris in his attempts to adjust himself to an
uncongenial environment.

We can trace even more clearly perhaps the process by which the
Arcadian dreamer comes to set up as a seer, in Rousseau’s relation of
the circumstances under which he came to compose his “Discourse on the
Origins of Inequality.” He goes off on a sort of picnic with Thérèse
into the forest of St. Germain and gives himself up to imagining the
state of primitive man. “Plunged in the forest,” he says, “I sought
and found there the image of primitive times of which I proudly
drew the history; I swooped down on the little falsehoods of men; I
ventured to lay bare their nature, to follow the progress of time and
of circumstances which have disfigured it, and comparing artificial
man (_l’homme de l’homme_) with natural man, to show in his alleged
improvement the true source of his miseries. My soul, exalted by these
sublime contemplations, rose into the presence of the Divinity. Seeing
from this vantage point that the blind pathway of prejudices followed
by my fellows was also that of their errors, misfortunes and crimes, I
cried out to them in a feeble voice that they could not hear: Madmen,
who are always complaining of nature, know that all your evils come
from yourselves alone.”

The golden age for which the human heart has an ineradicable longing
is here presented not as poetical, which it certainly is, but as a
“state of nature” from which man has actually fallen. The more or less
innocent Arcadian dreamer is being transformed into the dangerous
Utopist. He puts the blame of the conflict and division of which he is
conscious in himself upon the social conventions that set bounds to
his temperament and impulses; once get rid of these purely artificial
restrictions and he feels that he will again be at one with himself and
“nature.” With such a vision of nature as this it is not surprising
that every constraint is unendurable to Rousseau, that he likes, as
Berlioz was to say of himself later, to “make all barriers crack.”
He is ready to shatter all the forms of civilized life in favor of
something that never existed, of a state of nature that is only the
projection of his own temperament and its dominant desires upon the
void. His programme amounts in practice to the indulgence of infinite
indeterminate desire, to an endless and aimless vagabondage of the
emotions with the imagination as their free accomplice.

This longing of the highly sophisticated person to get back to the
primitive and naïve and unconscious, or what amounts to the same
thing, to shake off the trammels of tradition and reason in favor of
free and passionate self-expression, underlies, as I have pointed out,
the conception of original genius which itself underlies the whole
modern movement. A book reflecting the primitivistic trend of the
eighteenth century, and at the same time pointing the way, as we shall
see presently, to the working out of the fundamental primitivistic
contrast between the natural and the artificial in the romanticism
of the early nineteenth century, is Schiller’s “Essay on Simple and
Sentimental Poetry.” The poetry that does not “look before or after,”
that is free from self-questioning and self-consciousness, and has a
childlike spontaneity, Schiller calls simple or naïve. The poet, on the
other hand, who is conscious of his fall from nature and who, from the
midst of his sophistication, longs to be back once more at his mother’s
bosom, is sentimental. Homer and his heroes, for example, are naïve;
Werther, who yearns in a drawing-room for the Homeric simplicity, is
sentimental. The longing of the modern man for nature, says Schiller,
is that of the sick man for health. It is hard to see in Schiller’s
“nature” anything more than a development of Rousseau’s primitivistic
Arcadia. To be sure, Schiller warns us that, in order to recover the
childlike and primitive virtues still visible in the man of genius,
we must not renounce culture. We must not seek to revert lazily to
an Arcadia, but must struggle forward to an Elysium. Unfortunately
Schiller’s Elysium has a strange likeness to Rousseau’s Arcadia; and
that is because Schiller’s own conception of life is, in the last
analysis, overwhelmingly sentimental. His most Elysian conception,
that of a purely æsthetic Greece, a wonderland of unalloyed beauty, is
also a bit of Arcadian sentimentalizing. Inasmuch as Rousseau’s state
of nature never existed outside of dreamland, the Greek who is simple
or naïve in this sense is likewise a myth. He has no real counterpart
either in the Homeric age or any other age of Greece. It is hard to
say which is more absurd, to make the Greeks naïve, or to turn Horace
into a sentimentalist. One should note how this romantic perversion
of the Greeks for which Schiller is largely responsible is related
to his general view of the imagination. We have seen that in the
“Æsthetic Letters” he maintains that if the imagination is to conceive
the ideal it must be free; and that to be free it must be emancipated
from purpose and engage in a sort of play. If the imagination has to
subordinate itself to a real object it ceases in so far to be free.
Hence the more ideal the imagination the farther it gets away from a
real object. By his theory of the imagination, Schiller thus encourages
that opposition between the ideal and the real which figures so largely
in romantic psychology. A man may consent to adjust a mere dream to
the requirements of the real, but when his dream is promoted to the
dignity of an ideal it is plain that he will be less ready to make
the sacrifice. Schiller’s Greece is very ideal in the sense I have
just defined. It hovers before the imagination as a sort of Golden
Age of pure beauty, a land of chimeras that is alone worthy of the
æsthete’s habitation. As an extreme type of the romantic Hellenist,
one may take Hölderlin, who was a disciple at once of Schiller and of
Rousseau. He begins by urging emancipation from every form of outer
and traditional control in the name of spontaneity. “Boldly forget,”
he cries in the very accents of Rousseau, “what you have inherited and
won--all laws and customs--and like new-born babes lift up your eyes
to godlike nature.” Hölderlin has been called a “Hellenizing Werther,”
and Werther, one should recollect, is only a German Saint-Preux, who is
in turn, according to Rousseau’s own avowal, only an idealized image
of Rousseau. The nature that Hölderlin worships and which is, like the
nature of Rousseau, only an Arcadian intoxication of the imagination,
he associates with a Greece which is, like the Greece of Schiller,
a dreamland of pure beauty. He longs to escape into this dreamland
from an actual world that seems to him intolerably artificial. The
contrast between his “ideal” Greece and reality is so acute as to make
all attempt at adjustment out of the question. As a result of this
maladjustment his whole being finally gave way and he lingered on for
many years in madness.

The acuteness of the opposition between the ideal and the real in
Hölderlin recalls Shelley, who was also a romantic Hellenist, and at
the same time perhaps the most purely Rousseauistic of the English
romantic poets. But Shelley was also a political dreamer, and here one
should note two distinct phases in his dream: a first phase that is
filled with the hope of transforming the real world into an Arcadia[58]
through revolutionary reform; and then a phase of elegiac disillusion
when the gap between reality and his ideal refuses to be bridged.[59]
Something of the same radiant political hope and the same disillusion
is found in Wordsworth. In the first flush of his revolutionary
enthusiasm, France seemed to him to be “standing on the top of golden
hours” and pointing the way to a new birth of human nature:

    Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
    But to be young was very heaven! O times,
    In which the meagre stale forbidding ways
    Of custom, law and statute, took at once
    The attraction of a country in romance!

When it became evident that the actual world and Utopia did not
coincide after all, when the hard sequences of cause and effect that
bind the present inexorably to the past refused to yield to the
creations of the romantic imagination, what ensued in Wordsworth
was not so much an awakening to true wisdom as a transformation of
the pastoral dream. The English Lake Country became for him in some
measure as it was later to be for Ruskin, the ivory tower into which
he retreated from the oppression of the real. He still continued to
see, if not the general order of society, at least the denizens of his
chosen retreat through the Arcadian mist, and contrasted their pastoral
felicity with the misery of men “barricadoed in the walls of cities.” I
do not mean to disparage the poetry of humble life or to deny that many
passages may be cited from Wordsworth that justify his reputation as an
inspired teacher: I wish merely to point out here and elsewhere what is
specifically romantic in the quality of his imagination.

After all it is to Rousseau himself even more than to his German or
English followers that one needs to turn for the best examples of
the all-pervasive conflict between the ideal and the actual. The
psychology of this conflict is revealed with special clearness in the
four letters that he wrote to M. de Malesherbes, and into which he has
perhaps put more of himself than into any other similar amount of his
writing. His natural indolence and impatience at the obligations and
constraints of life were, he avows to M. de Malesherbes, increased
by his early reading. At the age of eight he already knew Plutarch
by heart and had read “all novels” and shed tears over them, he adds
“by the pailful.” Hence was formed his “heroic and romantic taste”
which filled him with aversion for everything that did not resemble
his dreams. He had hoped at first to find the equivalent of these
dreams among actual men, but after painful disillusions he had come
to look with disdain on his age and his contemporaries. “I withdrew
more and more from human society and created for myself a society
in my imagination, a society that charmed me all the more in that I
could cultivate it without peril or effort and that it was always at
my call and such as I required it.” He associated this dream society
with the forms of outer nature. The long walks in particular that he
took during his stay at the Hermitage were, he tells us, filled with
a “continual delirium” of this kind. “I peopled nature with beings
according to my heart. … I created for myself a golden age to suit my
fancy.” It is not unusual for a man thus to console himself for his
poverty in the real relations of life by accumulating a huge hoard of
fairy gold. Where the Rousseauist goes beyond the ordinary dreamer is
in his proneness to regard his retirement into some land of chimeras as
a proof of his nobility and distinction. Poetry and life he feels are
irreconcilably opposed to each other, and he for his part is on the
side of poetry and the “ideal.” Goethe symbolized the hopelessness of
this conflict in the suicide of the young Werther. But though Werther
died, his creator continued to live, and more perhaps than any other
figure in the whole Rousseauistic movement perceived the peril of this
conception of poetry and the ideal. He saw phantasts all about him who
refused to be reconciled to the gap between the infinitude of their
longing and the platitude of their actual lot. Perhaps no country and
time ever produced more such phantasts than Germany of the Storm and
Stress and romantic periods--partly no doubt because it did not offer
any proper outlet for the activity of generous youths. Goethe himself
had been a phantast, and so it was natural in works like his “Tasso”
that he should show himself specially preoccupied with the problem
of the poet and his adjustment to life. About the time that he wrote
this play, he was, as he tells us, very much taken up with thoughts of
“Rousseau and his hypochondriac misery.” Rousseau for his part felt
a kinship between himself and Tasso, and Goethe’s Tasso certainly
reminds us very strongly of Rousseau. Carried away by his Arcadian
imaginings, Tasso violates the decorum that separates him from the
princess with whom he has fallen in love. As a result of the rebuffs
that follow, his dream changes into a nightmare, until he finally falls
like Rousseau into wild and random suspicion and looks on himself as
the victim of a conspiracy. In opposition to Tasso is the figure of
Antonio, the man of the world, whose imagination does not run away with
his sense of fact, and who is therefore equal to the “demands of the
day.” The final reconciliation between Tasso and Antonio, if not very
convincing dramatically, symbolizes at least what Goethe achieved in
some measure in his own life. There were moments, he declares, when
he might properly look upon himself as mad, like Rousseau. He escaped
from this world of morbid brooding, this giddy downward gazing into
the bottomless pit of the romantic heart against which he utters a
warning in Tasso, by his activity at the court of Weimar, by classical
culture, by scientific research. Goethe carries the same problem of
reconciling the ideal to the real a stage further in his “Wilhelm
Meister.” The more or less irresponsible and Bohemian youth that we
see at the beginning learns by renunciation and self-limitation to
fit into a life of wholesome activity. Goethe saw that the remedy for
romantic dreaming is work, though he is open to grave criticism, as I
shall try to show elsewhere, for his unduly naturalistic conception of
work. But the romanticists as a rule did not wish work in any sense and
so, attracted as they were by the free artistic life of Meister at the
beginning, they looked upon his final adjustment to the real as a base
capitulation to philistinism. Novalis described the book as a “Candide
directed against poetry,” and set out to write a counterblast in
“Heinrich von Ofterdingen.” This apotheosis of pure poetry, as he meant
it to be, is above all an apotheosis of the wildest vagabondage of the
imagination. Novalis did not, however, as a result of the conflict
between the ideal and the real, show any signs of going mad like
Hölderlin, or of simply fading from life like his friend Wackenroder.
Like E. T. A. Hoffmann and a certain number of other phantasts he had
a distinct gift for leading a dual life--for dividing himself into
a prosaic self which went one way, and a poetical self which went

This necessary and fatal opposition between poetry and prose the
romanticist saw typified in “Don Quixote,” and of course he sided with
the idealism of the knight against the philistine good sense of Sancho
Panza; and so for the early romanticists as well as for those who were
of their spiritual posterity,--Heine, for example, and Flaubert,--“Don
Quixote” was a book to evoke not laughter but tears.

To the romantic conception of the ideal can be traced the increasing
lack of understanding between the poet, or in general the creator, and
the public during the past century. Many neo-classical writers may,
like Boileau, have shown an undue reverence for what they conceived to
be the general sense of their time, but to measure one’s inspiration
by one’s remoteness from this general sense is surely a far more
dangerous error; and yet one was encouraged to do this very thing by
the views of original genius that were held in the eighteenth century.
Certain late neo-classicists lacked imagination and were at the same
time always harping on good sense. It was therefore assumed that to
insist on good sense was necessarily proof of a lack of imagination.
Because the attempt to achieve the universal had led to a stale and
lifeless imitation it was assumed that a man’s genius consists in
his uniqueness, in his unlikeness to other men. Now nothing is more
private and distinctive in a man than his feelings, so that to be
unique meant practically for Rousseau and his followers to be unique
in feeling. Feeling alone they held was vital and immediate. As a
matter of fact the element in a man’s nature that he possesses in
common with other men is also something that he _senses_, something
that is in short intuitive and immediate. But good sense the genius
identifies with lifeless convention and so measures his originality by
the distance of his emotional and imaginative recoil from it. Of this
warfare between sense and sensibility that begins in the eighteenth
century, the romantic war between the poet and the philistine is only
the continuation. This war has been bad for both artist and public. If
the artist has become more and more eccentric, it must be confessed
that the good sense of the public against which he has protested
has been too flatly utilitarian. The poet who reduces poetry to the
imaginative quest of strange emotional adventure, and the plain
citizen who does not aspire beyond a reality that is too literal and
prosaic, both suffer; but the æsthete suffers the more severely--so
much so that I shall need to revert to this conception of poetry in
my treatment of romantic melancholy. It leads at last to a contrast
between the ideal and the real such as is described by Anatole France
in his account of Villiers de l’Isle Adam. “For thirty years,” says M.
France, “Villiers wandered around in cafés at night, fading away like
a shadow at the first glimmer of dawn. … His poverty, the frightful
poverty of cities, had so put its stamp on him and fashioned him so
thoroughly that he resembled those vagabonds, who, dressed in black,
sleep on park benches. He had the livid complexion with red blotches,
the glassy eye, the bowed back of the poor; and yet I am not sure we
should call him unhappy, for he lived in a perpetual dream and that
dream was radiantly golden. … His dull eyes contemplated within himself
dazzling spectacles. He passed through the world like a somnambulist
seeing nothing of what we see and seeing things that it is not given
us to behold. Out of the commonplace spectacle of life he succeeded in
creating an ever fresh ecstasy. On those ignoble café tables in the
midst of the odor of beer and tobacco, he poured forth floods of purple
and gold.”

This notion that literal failure is ideal success, and conversely, has
been developed in a somewhat different form by Rostand in his “Cyrano
de Bergerac.” By his refusal to compromise or adjust himself to things
as they are, Cyrano’s real life has become a series of defeats. He is
finally forced from life by a league of all the mediocrities whom his
idealism affronts. His discomfiture is taken to show, not that he is
a Quixotic extremist, but that he is the superior of the successful
Guise, the man who has stooped to compromise, the French equivalent
of the Antonio whom Goethe finally came to prefer to Tasso. Rostand’s
“Chanticleer” is also an interesting study of romantic idealism and
of the two main stages through which it passes--the first stage when
one relates one’s ideal to the real; the second, when one discovers
that the ideal and the real are more or less hopelessly dissevered.
Chanticleer still maintains his idealistic pose even after he has
discovered that the sun is not actually made to rise by his crowing.
In this hugging of his illusion in defiance of reality Chanticleer
is at the opposite pole from Johnson’s astronomer in “Rasselas” who
thinks that he has control of the weather, but when disillusioned is
humbly thankful at having escaped from this “dangerous prevalence
of imagination,” and entered once more into the domain of “sober

The problem, then, of the genius or the artist versus the philistine
has persisted without essential modification from the eighteenth
century to the present day--from the suicide of Chatterton, let us
say, to the suicide of John Davidson. The man of imagination spurns
in the name of his “ideal” the limits imposed upon it by a dull
respectability, and then his ideal turns out only too often to lack
positive content and to amount in practice to the expansion of infinite
indeterminate desire. What the idealist opposes to the real is not only
something that does not exist, but something that never can exist. The
Arcadian revery which should be allowed at most as an occasional solace
from the serious business of living is set up as a substitute for
living. The imaginative and emotional dalliance of the Rousseauistic
romanticist may assume a bewildering variety of forms. We have already
seen in the case of Hölderlin how easily Rousseau’s dream of a state
of nature passes over--and that in spite of Rousseau’s attacks on
the arts--into the dream of a paradise of pure beauty. The momentous
matter is not that a man’s imagination and emotions go out towards
this or that particular haven of refuge in the future or in the past,
in the East or in the West, but that his primary demand on life is for
some haven of refuge; that he longs to be away from the here and now
and their positive demands on his character and will. Poe may sing of
“the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome,” but he
is not therefore a classicist. With the same wistfulness innumerable
romanticists have looked towards the Middle Ages. So C. E. Norton
says that Ruskin was a white-winged anachronism,[60] that he should
have been born in the thirteenth century. But one may surmise that a
man with Ruskin’s special quality of imagination would have failed
to adjust himself to the actual life of the thirteenth or any other
century. Those who put their Arcadia in the Middle Ages or some other
period of the past have at least this advantage over those who put it
in the present, they are better protected against disillusion. The man
whose Arcadia is distant from him merely in space may decide to go and
see for himself, and the results of this overtaking of one’s dream are
somewhat uncertain. The Austrian poet Lenau, for example, actually
took a trip to his primitive paradise that he had imagined somewhere
in the neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Perhaps it is not surprising that
he finally died mad. The disenchantment of Chateaubriand in his quest
for a Rousseauistic Arcadia in America and for Arcadian savages I
describe later. In his journey into the wilderness Chateaubriand
reveals himself as a spiritual lotos-eater no less surely than the man
who takes flight into what is superficially most remote from the virgin
forest--into some palace of art. His attitude towards America does not
differ psychically from that of many early romanticists towards Italy.
Italy was their land of heart’s desire, the land that filled them with
ineffable longing (_Sehnsucht nach Italien_), a palace of art that,
like the Latin Quarter of later Bohemians, had some points of contact
with Mohammed’s paradise. A man may even develop a romantic longing for
the very period against which romanticism was originally a protest and
be ready to “fling his cap for polish and for Pope.” One should add
that the romantic Eldorado is not necessarily rural. Lamb’s attitude
towards London is almost as romantic as that of Wordsworth towards the
country. Dr. Johnson cherished urban life because of its centrality.
Lamb’s imaginative dalliance, on the other hand, is stimulated by the
sheer variety and wonder of the London streets as another’s might be
by the mountains or the sea.[61] Lamb could also find an Elysium of
unmixed æsthetic solace in the literature of the past--especially in
Restoration Comedy.

The essence of the mood is always the straining of the imagination away
from the here and now, from an actuality that seems paltry and faded
compared to the radiant hues of one’s dream. The classicist, according
to A. W. Schlegel,[62] is for making the most of the present, whereas
the romanticist hovers between recollection and hope. In Shelleyan
phrase he “looks before and after and pines for what is not.” He
inclines like the Byronic dandy, Barbey d’Aurevilly, to take for his
mottoes the words “Too late” and “Nevermore.”

Nostalgia, the term that has come to be applied to the infinite
indeterminate longing of the romanticist--his never-ending quest
after the ever-fleeting object of desire--is not, from the point of
view of strict etymology, well-chosen. Romantic nostalgia is not
“homesickness,” accurately speaking, but desire to get away from
home. Odysseus in Homer suffers from true nostalgia. The Ulysses of
Tennyson, on the other hand, is nostalgic in the romantic sense when he
leaves home “to sail beyond the sunset.” Ovid, as Goethe points out,
is highly classical even in his melancholy. The longing from which
he suffers in his exile is very determinate: he longs to get back to
Rome, the centre of the world. Ovid indeed sums up the classic point
of view when he says that one cannot desire the unknown (_ignoti
nulla cupido_).[63] The essence of nostalgia is the desire for the
unknown. “I was burning with desire,” says Rousseau, “without any
definite object.” One is filled with a desire to fly one knows not
whither, to be off on a journey into the blue distance.[64] Music is
exalted by the romanticists above all other arts because it is the
most nostalgic, the art that is most suggestive of the hopeless gap
between the “ideal” and the “real.” “Music,” in Emerson’s phrase,
“pours on mortals its beautiful disdain.” “Away! away!” cries Jean Paul
to Music. “Thou speakest of things which throughout my endless life I
have found not, and shall not find.” In musical and other nostalgia,
the feelings receive a sort of infinitude from the coöperation of the
imagination; and this infinitude, this quest of something that must
ever elude one, is at the same time taken to be the measure of one’s
idealism. The symmetry and form that the classicist gains from working
within bounds are no doubt excellent, but then the willingness to work
within bounds betokens a lack of aspiration. If the primitivist is
ready, as some one has complained, to turn his back on the bright forms
of Olympus and return to the ancient gods of chaos and of night, the
explanation is to be sought in this idea of the infinite. It finally
becomes a sort of Moloch to which he is prepared to sacrifice most
of the values of civilized life. The chief fear of the classicist is
to be thought monstrous. The primitivist on the contrary is inclined
to see a proof of superior amplitude of spirit in mere grotesqueness
and disproportion. The creation of monsters is, as Hugo says, a
“satisfaction due to the infinite.”[65]

The breaking down by the emotional romanticist of the barriers that
separate not merely the different literary genres but the different
arts is only another aspect of his readiness to follow the lure
of the infinite. The title of a recent bit of French decadent
verse--“Nostalgia in Blue Minor”--would already have been perfectly
intelligible to a Tieck or a Novalis. The Rousseauist--and that from a
very early stage in the movement--does not hesitate to pursue his ever
receding dream across all frontiers, not merely those that separate art
from art, but those that divide flesh from spirit and even good from
evil, until finally he arrives like Blake at a sort of “Marriage of
Heaven and Hell.” When he is not breaking down barriers in the name of
the freedom of the imagination he is doing so in the name of what he is
pleased to term love.

    “The ancient art and poetry,” says A. W. Schlegel, “rigorously
    separate things which are dissimilar; the romantic delights
    in indissoluble mixtures. All contrarieties: nature and art,
    poetry and prose, seriousness and mirth, recollection and
    anticipation, spirituality and sensuality, terrestrial and
    celestial, life and death, are by it blended together in the
    most intimate combination. As the oldest lawgivers delivered
    their mandatory instructions and prescriptions in measured
    melodies; as this is fabulously ascribed to Orpheus, the first
    softener of the yet untamed race of mortals; in like manner
    the whole of the ancient poetry and art is, as it were a
    _rhythmical nomos_ (law), an harmonious promulgation of the
    permanently established legislation of a world submitted to a
    beautiful order, and reflecting in itself the eternal images of
    things. Romantic poetry, on the other hand, is the expression
    of the secret attraction to a chaos which lies concealed in
    the very bosom of the ordered universe, and is perpetually
    striving after new and marvellous births; the life-giving
    spirit of primal love broods here anew on the face of the
    waters. The former is more simple, clear, and like to nature in
    the self-existent perfection of her separate works; the latter,
    notwithstanding its fragmentary appearance, approaches more to
    the secret of the universe. For Conception can only comprise
    each object separately, but nothing in truth can ever exist
    separately and by itself; Feeling perceives all in all at one
    and the same time.”[66]

Note the assumption here that the clear-cut distinctions of classicism
are merely abstract and intellectual, and that the only true unity is
the unity of feeling.

In passages of this kind A. W. Schlegel is little more than the
popularizer of the ideas of his brother Friedrich. Perhaps no one in
the whole romantic movement showed a greater genius for confusion than
Friedrich Schlegel; no one, in Nietzsche’s phrase, had a more intimate
knowledge of all the bypaths to chaos. Now it is from the German group
of which Friedrich Schlegel was the chief theorist that romanticism
as a distinct and separate movement takes its rise. We may therefore
pause appropriately at this point to consider briefly how the epithet
romantic of which I have already sketched the early history came to
be applied to a distinct school. In the latter part of the eighteenth
century, it will be remembered, romantic had become a fairly frequent
word in English and also (under English influence) a less frequent,
though not rare word, in French and German; it was often used favorably
in all these countries as applied to nature, and usually indeed in
this sense in France and Germany; but in England, when applied to
human nature and as the equivalent of the French _romanesque_, it had
ordinarily an unfavorable connotation; it signified the “dangerous
prevalence of imagination” over “sober probability,” as may be seen
in Foster’s essay “On the Epithet Romantic.” One may best preface a
discussion of the next step--the transference of the word to a distinct
movement--by a quotation from Goethe’s Conversations with Eckermann (21
March, 1830):

    “This division of poetry into classic and romantic,” says
    Goethe, “which is to-day diffused throughout the whole world
    and has caused so much argument and discord, comes originally
    from Schiller and me. It was my principle in poetry always to
    work objectively. Schiller on the contrary wrote nothing that
    was not subjective; he thought his manner good, and to defend
    it he wrote his article on naïve and sentimental poetry. … The
    Schlegels got hold of this idea, developed it and little by
    little it has spread throughout the whole world. Everybody is
    talking of romanticism and classicism. Fifty years ago nobody
    gave the matter a thought.”

One statement in this passage of Goethe’s is perhaps open to
question--that concerning the obligation of the Schlegels, or rather
Friedrich Schlegel, to Schiller’s treatise. A comparison of the date
of publication of the treatise on “Naïve and Sentimental Poetry” with
the date of composition of Schlegel’s early writings would seem to
show that some of Schlegel’s distinctions, though closely related to
those of Schiller, do not derive from them so immediately as Goethe
seems to imply.[67] Both sets of views grow rather inevitably out
of a primitivistic or Rousseauistic conception of “nature” that had
been epidemic in Germany ever since the Age of Genius. We need also
to keep in mind certain personal traits of Schlegel if we are to
understand the development of his theories about literature and art.
He was romantic, not only by his genius for confusion, but also one
should add, by his tendency to oscillate violently between extremes.
For him as for Rousseau there was “no intermediary term between
everything and nothing.” One should note here another meaning that
certain romanticists give to the word “ideal”--Hazlitt, for example,
when he says that the “ideal is always to be found in extremes.”
Every imaginable extreme, the extreme of reaction as well as the
extreme of radicalism, goes with romanticism; every genuine mediation
between extremes is just as surely unromantic. Schlegel then was very
idealistic in the sense I have just defined. Having begun as an extreme
partisan of the Greeks, conceived in Schiller’s fashion as a people
that was at once harmonious and instinctive, he passes over abruptly to
the extreme of revolt against every form of classicism, and then after
having posed in works like his “Lucinde” as a heaven-storming Titan
who does not shrink at the wildest excess of emotional unrestraint,
he passes over no less abruptly to Catholicism and its rigid outer
discipline. This last phase of Schlegel has at least this much in
common with his phase of revolt, that it carried with it a cult of the
Middle Ages. The delicate point to determine about Friedrich Schlegel
and many other romanticists is why they finally came to place their
land of heart’s desire in the Middle Ages rather than in Greece. In
treating this question one needs to take at least a glance at the
modification that Herder (whose influence on German romanticism is very
great) gave to the primitivism of Rousseau. Cultivate your genius,
Rousseau said in substance, your ineffable difference from other men,
and look back with longing to the ideal moment of this genius--the age
of childhood, when your spontaneous self was not as yet cramped by
conventions or “sicklied o’er by the pale cast of thought.” Cultivate
your national genius, Herder said in substance, and look back wistfully
at the golden beginnings of your nationality when it was still naïve
and “natural,” when poetry instead of being concocted painfully by
individuals was still the unconscious emanation of the folk. Herder
indeed expands primitivism along these lines into a whole philosophy
of history. The romantic notion of the origin of the epic springs
out of this soil, a notion that is probably at least as remote from
the facts as the neo-classical notion--and that is saying a great
deal. Any German who followed Herder in the extension that he gave
to Rousseau’s views about genius and spontaneity could not only see
the folk soul mirrored at least as naïvely in the “Nibelungenlied” as
in the “Iliad,” but by becoming a mediæval enthusiast he could have
the superadded pleasure of indulging not merely personal but racial
and national idiosyncrasy. Primitivistic mediævalism is therefore an
important ingredient, especially in the case of Germany, in romantic
nationalism--the type that has flourished beyond all measure during
the past century. Again, though one might, like Hölderlin, cherish an
infinite longing for the Greeks, the Greeks themselves, at least the
Greeks of Schiller, did not experience longing; but this fact came
to be felt more and more by F. Schlegel and other romanticists as an
inferiority, showing as it did that they were content with the finite.
As for the neo-classicists who were supposed to be the followers of
the Greeks, their case was even worse; they not only lacked aspiration
and infinitude, but were sunk in artificiality, and had moreover become
so analytical that they must perforce see things in “disconnection
dead and spiritless.” The men of the Middle Ages, on the other hand,
as F. Schlegel saw them, were superior to the neo-classicists in being
naïve; their spontaneity and unity of feeling had not yet suffered
from artificiality, or been disintegrated by analysis.[68] At the same
time they were superior to the Greeks in having aspiration and the
sense of the infinite. The very irregularity of their art testified to
this infinitude. It is not uncommon in the romantic movement thus to
assume that because one has very little form one must therefore have
a great deal of “soul.” F. Schlegel so extended his definition of the
mediæval spirit as to make it include writers like Shakespeare and
Cervantes, who seemed to him to be vital and free from formalism. The
new nationalism was also made to turn to the profit of the Middle Ages.
Each nation in shaking off the yoke of classical imitation and getting
back to its mediæval past, was recovering what was primitive in its own
genius, was substituting what was indigenous for what was alien to it.

The person who did more than any one else to give international
currency to the views of the Schlegels about classic and romantic and
to their primitivistic mediævalism was Madame de Staël in her book
on Germany. It was with special reference to Madame de Staël and her
influence that Daunou wrote the following passage in his introduction
to La Harpe, a passage that gives curious evidence of the early
attitude of French literary conservatives towards the new school:

    “One of the services that he [La Harpe] should render nowadays
    is to fortify young people against vain and gothic doctrines
    which would reduce the fine arts to childhood if they could
    ever gain credit in the land of Racine and Voltaire. La Harpe
    uttered a warning against these doctrines when he discovered
    the first germs of them in the books of Diderot, Mercier and
    some other innovators. Yet these writers were far from having
    professed fully the barbaric or childish system which has been
    taught and developed among us for a few years past; it is of
    foreign origin; it had no name in our language and the name
    that has been given to it is susceptible in fact of no precise
    meaning. Romanticism, for thus it is called, was imported
    into our midst along with Kantism, with mysticism and other
    doctrines of the same stamp which collectively might be named
    obscurantism. These are words which La Harpe was happy enough
    not to hear. He was accustomed to too much clearness in his
    ideas and expression to use such words or even to understand
    them. He did not distinguish two literatures. The literature
    that nature and society have created for us and which for three
    thousand years past has been established and preserved and
    reproduced by masterpieces appeared to him alone worthy of a
    Frenchman of the eighteenth century. He did not foresee that it
    would be reduced some day to being only a particular kind of
    literature, tolerated or reproved under the name of classic,
    and that its noblest productions would be put on the same level
    as the formless sketches of uncultivated genius and untried
    talents. Yet more than once decadence has thus been taken for
    an advance, and a retrograde movement for progress. Art is so
    difficult. It is quicker to abandon it and to owe everything to
    your genius. … Because perfection calls for austere toil you
    maintain that it is contrary to nature. This is a system that
    suits at once indolence and vanity. Is anything more needed to
    make it popular, especially when it has as auxiliary an obscure
    philosophy which is termed transcendent or transcendental? That
    is just the way sound literature fell into decline beginning
    with the end of the first century of the Christian era. It
    became extinct only to revive after a long period of darkness
    and barbarism; and that is how it will fall into decline again
    if great examples and sage lessons should ever lose their

The general public in England became at least vaguely aware of the new
movement with the translation of Madame de Staël’s “Germany” (1813)
and A. W. Schlegel’s “Dramatic Art and Literature” (1815). Byron wrote
in his reply to Bowles (1821): “Schlegel and Madame de Staël have
endeavored to reduce poetry to _two_ systems, classical and romantic.
The effect is only beginning.”

The distinction between classic and romantic worked out by the
Schlegels and spread abroad by Madame de Staël was, then, largely
associated with a certain type of mediævalism. Nevertheless one cannot
insist too strongly that the new school deserved to be called romantic,
not because it was mediæval, but because it displayed a certain quality
of imagination in its mediævalism. The longing for the Middle Ages is
merely a very frequent form of nostalgia, and nostalgia I have defined
as the pursuit of pure illusion. No doubt a man may be mediæval in
his leanings and yet very free from nostalgia. He may, for example,
prefer St. Thomas Aquinas to any modern philosopher on grounds that are
the very reverse of romantic; and in the attitude of any particular
person towards the Middle Ages, romantic and unromantic elements may
be mingled in almost any conceivable proportion; and the same may be
said of any past epoch that one prefers to the present. Goethe, for
instance, as has been remarked, took flight from his own reality,
but he did not, like the romanticists, take flight from all reality.
The classical world in which Goethe dwelt in imagination during his
latter years, in the midst of a very unclassical environment, was to
some extent at least real, though one can discern even in the case of
Goethe the danger of a classicism that is too aloof from the here
and now. But the mediævalist, in so far as he is romantic, does not
turn to a mediæval reality from a real but distasteful present. Here
as elsewhere his first requirement is not that his “vision” should be
true, but that it should be rich and radiant; and the more “ideal” the
vision becomes in this sense, the wider the gap that opens between
poetry and life.

We are thus brought back to the problem of the romantic imagination or,
one may term it, the eccentric imagination. The classical imagination,
I have said, is not free thus to fly off at a tangent, to wander wild
in some empire of chimeras. It has a centre, it is at work in the
service of reality. With reference to this real centre, it is seeking
to disengage what is normal and representative from the welter of the
actual. It does not evade the actual, but does select from it and seek
to impose upon it something of the proportion and symmetry of the
model to which it is looking up and which it is imitating. To say that
the classicist (and I am speaking of the classicist at his best) gets
at his reality with the aid of the imagination is but another way of
saying that he perceives his reality only through a veil of illusion.
The creator of this type achieves work in which illusion and reality
are inseparably blended, work which gives the “illusion of a higher

Proportionate and decorous in this sense æsthetic romanticism can in
no wise be, but it does not follow that the only art of which the
Rousseauist is capable is an art of idyllic dreaming. Schiller makes a
remark about Rousseau that goes very nearly to the heart of the matter:
he is either, says Schiller, dwelling on the delights of nature or
else avenging her. He is either, that is, idyllic or satirical. Now
Rousseau himself says that he was not inclined to satire and in a sense
this is true. He would have been incapable of lampooning Voltaire in
the same way that Voltaire lampooned him, though one might indeed wish
to be lampooned by Voltaire rather than to be presented as Rousseau
has presented certain persons in his “Confessions.” In all that large
portion of Rousseau’s writing, however, in which he portrays the
polite society of his time and shows how colorless and corrupt it is
compared with his pastoral dream (for his “nature,” as I have said, is
only a pastoral dream) he is highly satirical. In general, he is not
restrained, at least in the “Confessions,” from the trivial and even
the ignoble detail by any weak regard for decorum. At best decorum
seems to him a hollow convention, at worst the “varnish of vice” and
the “mask of hypocrisy.” Every reader of the “Confessions” must be
struck by the presence, occasionally on the same page, of passages
that look forward to Lamartine, and of other passages that seem an
anticipation rather of Zola. The passage in which Rousseau relates
how he was abruptly brought to earth from his “angelic loves”[69] is
typical. In short Rousseau oscillates between an Arcadian vision that
is radiant but unreal, and a photographic and literal and often sordid
reality. He does not so use his imagination as to disengage the real
from the welter of the actual and so achieve something that strikes one
still as nature but a selected and ennobled nature.[70] “It is a very
odd circumstance,” says Rousseau, “that my imagination is never more
agreeably active than when my outer conditions are the least agreeable,
and that, on the contrary, it is less cheerful when everything is
cheerful about me. My poor head cannot subordinate itself to things. It
cannot embellish, it wishes to create. Real objects are reflected in
it at best such as they are; it can adorn only imaginary objects. If I
wish to paint the springtime I must be in winter,” etc.

This passage may be said to foreshadow the two types of art and
literature that have been prevalent since Rousseau--romantic art and
the so-called realistic art that tended to supplant it towards the
middle of the nineteenth century.[71] This so-called realism does not
represent any fundamental change of direction as compared with the
earlier romanticism; it is simply, as some one has put it, romanticism
going on all fours. The extreme of romantic unreality has always tended
to produce a sharp recoil. As the result of the wandering of the
imagination in its own realm of chimeras, one finally comes to feel
the need of refreshing one’s sense of fact; and the more trivial the
fact, the more certain one is that one’s feet are once more planted
on _terra firma_. Don Quixote is working for the triumph of Sancho
Panza. Besides this tendency of one extreme to produce the other,
there are special reasons that I shall point out more fully later for
the close relationship of the romanticism and the so-called realism
of the nineteenth century. They are both merely different aspects of
naturalism. What binds together realism and romanticism is their
common repudiation of decorum as something external and artificial.
Once get rid of decorum, or what amounts to the same thing, the
whole body of “artificial” conventions, and what will result is,
according to the romanticist, Arcadia. But what actually emerges with
the progressive weakening of the principle of restraint is _la bête
humaine_. The Rousseauist begins by walking through the world as though
it were an enchanted garden, and then with the inevitable clash between
his ideal and the real he becomes morose and embittered. Since men
have turned out not to be indiscriminately good he inclines to look
upon them as indiscriminately bad and to portray them as such. At
the bottom of much so-called realism therefore is a special type of
satire, a satire that is the product of violent emotional disillusion.
The collapse of the Revolution of 1848 produced a plentiful crop of
disillusion of this kind. No men had ever been more convinced of the
loftiness of their idealism than the Utopists of this period, or failed
more ignominiously when put to the test. All that remained, many
argued, was to turn from an ideal that had proved so disappointing
to the real, and instead of dreaming about human nature to observe
men as coolly, in Flaubert’s phrase, as though they were mastodons or
crocodiles. But what lurks most often behind this pretence to a cold
scientific impassiveness in observing human nature is a soured and
cynical emotionalism and a distinctly romantic type of imagination. The
imagination is still idealistic, still straining, that is, away from
the real, only its idealism has undergone a strange inversion; instead
of exaggerating the loveliness it exaggerates the ugliness of human
nature; it finds a sort of morose satisfaction in building for itself
not castles but dungeons in Spain. What I am saying applies especially
to the French realists who are more logical in their disillusion than
the men of other nations. They often establish the material environment
of their heroes with photographic literalness, but in their dealings
with what should be the specifically human side of these characters
they often resemble Rousseau at his worst: they put pure logic into the
service of pure emotion, and this is a way of achieving, not the real,
but a maximum of unreality. The so-called realistic writers abound in
extreme examples of the romantic imagination. The peasants of Zola
are not real, they are an hallucination. If a man is thus to let his
imagination run riot, he might, as Lemaître complains, have imagined
something more agreeable.

The same kinship between realism and romanticism might be brought out
in a writer whom Zola claimed as his master--Balzac. I do not refer
to the side of Balzac that is related to what the French call _le
bas romantisme_--his lapses into the weird and the melodramatic, his
occasional suggestions of the claptrap of Anne Radcliffe and the Gothic
romance--but to his general thesis and his handling of it. Balzac’s
attitude towards the society of his time is, like the attitude of
Rousseau towards the society of his time, satirical, but on entirely
different grounds: he would show the havoc wrought in this society
by its revolutionary emancipation from central control of the kind
that had been provided traditionally by the monarchy and the Catholic
Church, and the consequent disruption of the family by the violent and
egoistic expansion of the individual along the lines of his ruling
passion. But Balzac’s imagination is not on the side of his thesis;
not, that is, on the side of the principle of control; on the contrary,
it revels in its vision of a world in which men are overstepping all
ethical bounds in their quest of power and pleasure, of a purely
naturalistic world that is governed solely by the law of cunning and
the law of force. His imagination is so fascinated by this vision that,
like the imagination of Rousseau, though in an entirely different way,
he simply parts company with reality. Judged by the ultimate quality of
his imagination, and this, let me repeat, is always the chief thing to
consider in a creative artist, Balzac is a sort of inverted idealist.
Compared with the black fictions he conjures up in his painting of
Paris, the actual Paris seems pale and insipid. His Paris is not real
in short, but an hallucination--a lurid land of heart’s desire. As
Leslie Stephen puts it, for Balzac Paris is hell, but then hell is the
only place worth living in. The empire of chimeras over which he holds
sway is about as far on one side of reality as George Sand’s kingdom of
dreams is on the other. George Sand, more perhaps than any other writer
of her time, continues Rousseau in his purely idyllic manner. Her
idealized peasants are not any further from the truth and are certainly
more agreeable than the peasants of Balzac, who foreshadow the peasants
of Zola.

The writer, however, who shows the conflict between the romantic
imagination and the real better than either Balzac or Zola, better
than any other writer perhaps of the modern French movement, is
Flaubert. The fondness of this founder of realism for reality may be
inferred from a passage in one of his letters to George Sand: “I
had in my very youth a complete presentiment of life. It was like a
sickly kitchen smell escaping from a basement window.” In his attitude
towards the society of his time, he is, in the same sense, but in
a far greater degree than Rousseau, satirical. The stupidity and
mediocrity of the bourgeois are his target, just as Rousseau’s target
is the artificiality of the drawing-room. At the same time that he
shrinks back with nausea from this reality, Flaubert is like Gautier
“full of nostalgias,” even the nostalgia of the Middle Ages. “I am a
Catholic,” he exclaims, “I have in my heart something of the green
ooze of the Norman Cathedrals.” Yet he cannot acquiesce in a mediæval
or any other dream. Even Rousseau says that he was “tormented at times
by the nothingness of his chimeras.” Flaubert was tormented far more
by the nothingness of his. Perhaps indeed the predominant flavor in
Flaubert’s writing as a whole is that of an acrid disillusion. He
portrays satirically the real and at the same time mocks at the ideal
that he craves emotionally and imaginatively (this is only one of the
innumerable forms assumed by the Rousseauistic warfare between the head
and the heart). He oscillates rapidly between the pole of realism as
he conceives it, and the pole of romance, and so far as any serious
philosophy is concerned, is left suspended in the void. Madame Bovary
is the very type of the Rousseauistic idealist, misunderstood in virtue
of her exquisite faculty of feeling. She aspires to a “love beyond
all loves,” an infinite satisfaction that her commonplace husband and
environment quite deny her. At bottom Flaubert’s heart is with Madame
Bovary. “I am Madame Bovary,” he exclaims. Yet he exposes pitilessly
the “nothingness of her chimeras,” and pursues her to the very dregs
of her disillusion. I have already mentioned Flaubert’s cult for
“Don Quixote.” His intellectual origins were all there, he says; he
had known it by heart even when a boy. It has been said that “Madame
Bovary” bears the same relationship to æsthetic romanticism that “Don
Quixote” does to the romanticism of actual adventure of the Middle
Ages. Yet “Don Quixote” is the most genial, “Madame Bovary” the least
genial of masterpieces. This difference comes out no less clearly in
a comparison of M. Homais with Sancho Panza than in a comparison of
Madame Bovary with the Knight, and is so fundamental as to throw doubt
on the soundness of the whole analogy.

In M. Homais and like figures Flaubert simply means to symbolize
contemporary life and the immeasurable abyss of platitude in which
it is losing itself through its lack of imagination and ideal. Yet
this same platitude exercises on him a horrid fascination. For his
execration of the philistine is the nearest approach in his idealism to
a positive content, to an escape from sheer emptiness and unreality.
This execration must therefore be cherished if he is to remain
convinced of his own superiority. “If it were not for my indignation,”
he confesses in one place, “I should fall flat.” Unfortunately we come
to resemble what we habitually contemplate. “By dint of railing at
idiots,” says Flaubert, “one runs the risk of becoming idiotic one’s

In his discourse on the “Immortality of the Soul” (1659) Henry More
speaks of “that imagination which is most free, such as we use in
romantic inventions.” The price that the romantic imagination pays
for its freedom should by this time be obvious: the freer it becomes
the farther it gets away from reality. We have seen that the special
form of unreality encouraged by the æsthetic romanticism of Rousseau
is the dream of the simple life, the return to a nature that never
existed, and that this dream made its special appeal to an age that
was suffering from an excess of artificiality and conventionalism.
Before entering upon the next stage of our subject it might be well to
consider for a moment wherein the facts of primitive life, so far as
we can ascertain them, differ from Rousseau’s dream of primitive life;
why we are justified in assuming that the noble savage of Rousseau, or
the Greek of Schiller, or Hölderlin, or the man of the Middle Ages of
Novalis never had any equivalent in reality. More or less primitive men
have existed and still exist and have been carefully studied. Some of
them actually recall by various traits, their gentleness, for example,
Rousseau’s aboriginal man, and the natural pity that is supposed to
guide him. Why then will any one familiar with the facts of aboriginal
life smile when Rousseau speaks of the savage “attached to no place,
having no prescribed task, obeying no one, having no other law than his
own will,”[72] and therefore displaying independence and initiative?
The answer is of course that genuine savages are, with the possible
exception of children, the most conventional and imitative of beings.
What one takes to be natural in them is often the result of a long and,
in the Rousseauistic sense, artificial discipline. The tendency to
take for pure and unspoiled nature what is in fact a highly modified
nature is one that assumes many forms. “When you see,” says Rousseau,
“in the happiest people in the world bands of peasants regulate the
affairs of state under an oak-tree and always behave sensibly, can
you keep from despising the refinements of other nations which make
themselves illustrious and miserable with so much art and mystery?”
Rousseau is viewing these peasants through the Arcadian glamour. In
much the same way Emerson saw a proof of the consonance of democracy
with human nature in the working of the New England town-meeting. But
both Rousseau’s Swiss and Emerson’s New Englanders had been moulded by
generations of austere religious discipline and so throw little light
on the relation of democracy to human nature in itself.

A somewhat similar illusion is that of the man who journeys into a
far country and enjoys in the highest degree the sense of romantic
strangeness. He has escaped from the convention of his own society and
is inclined to look on the men and women he meets in the foreign land
as Arcadian apparitions. But these men and women have not escaped from
_their_ convention. On the contrary, what most delights him in them
(for example, what most delighted Lafcadio Hearn in the Japanese) may
be the result of an extraordinarily minute and tyrannical discipline
imposed in the name of the general sense upon the impulses of the

The relation of convention to primitive life is so well understood
nowadays that the Rousseauist has reversed his argument. Since
primitive folk (let us say the Bushmen of Australia) are more
conventional than the Parisian and Londoner we may infer that at some
time in the future when the ideal is at last achieved upon earth,
conventions will have disappeared entirely. But this is simply to
transfer the Golden Age from the past to the future, and also to miss
the real problem: for there is a real problem--perhaps indeed the
gravest of all problems--involved in the relation of the individual to
convention. If we are to grasp the nature of this problem we should
perceive first of all that the significant contrast is not that between
conditions more or less primitive and civilization, but that between a
civilization that does not question its conventions and a civilization
that has on the contrary grown self-conscious and critical. Thus the
Homeric Greeks, set up by Schiller as exemplars of the simple life,
were plainly subject to the conventions of an advanced civilization.
The Periclean Greeks were also highly civilized, but unlike the Homeric
Greeks, were becoming self-conscious and critical. In the same way
the European thirteenth century, in some respects the most civilized
that the world has seen, was governed by a great convention that
imposed very strict limits upon the liberty of the individual. The
critical spirit was already awake and tugging at the leashes of the
outer authority that confined it, but it did not actually break them.
Dante and St. Thomas Aquinas did not, for example, inquire into the
basis of the mediæval convention in the same way that Socrates and the
sophists inquired into the traditional opinions of Greece. But in the
eighteenth century, especially in France, and from that time down to
the present day, the revolt against convention has assumed proportions
quite comparable to anything that took place in ancient Greece. Perhaps
no other age has witnessed so many individuals who were, like Berlioz,
eager to make all traditional barriers crack in the interest of their
“genius” and its full expression. The state of nature in the name of
which Rousseau himself assailed convention, though in itself only a
chimera, a mere Arcadian projection upon the void, did indeed tend in a
rationalistic pseudo-classic age, to new forms of imaginative activity.
In the form that concerns us especially the imagination is free to give
its magic and glamour and infinitude to the emancipated emotions. This
type of romanticism did not result in any recovery of the supposed
primitive virtues, but it did bring about a revaluation of the received
notions of morality that can scarcely be studied too carefully.



The period that began in the late eighteenth century and in the midst
of which we are still living has witnessed an almost unparalleled
triumph, as I have just said, of the sense of the individual (_sens
propre_) over the general sense of mankind (_sens commun_). Even
the collectivistic schemes that have been opposed to individualism
during this period are themselves, judged by traditional standards,
violently individualistic. Now the word individualism needs as much
as any other general term to be treated Socratically: we need in the
interests of our present subject to discriminate between different
varieties of individualism. Perhaps as good a working classification
as any is to distinguish three main varieties: a man may wish to act,
or think, or feel, differently from other men, and those who are
individualistic in any one of these three main ways may have very
little in common with one another. To illustrate concretely, Milton’s
plea in his “Areopagitica” for freedom of conscience makes above all
for individualism of action. (_La foi qui n’agit pas est-ce une foi
sincère?_) Pierre Bayle, on the other hand, pleads in his Dictionary
and elsewhere for tolerance, not so much because he wishes to act or
feel in his own way as because he wishes to think his own thoughts.
Rousseau is no less obviously ready to subordinate both thought and
action to sensibility. His message is summed up once for all in the
exclamation of Faust, “Feeling is all.” He urges war on the general
sense only because of the restrictions it imposes on the free expansion
of his emotions and the enhancing of these emotions by his imagination.

Now the warfare that Rousseau and the individualists of feeling have
waged on the general sense has meant in practice a warfare on two great
traditions, the classical and the Christian. I have already pointed out
that these two traditions, though both holding the idea of imitation,
were not entirely in accord with one another, that the imitation of
Horace differs widely from the imitation of Christ. Yet their diverging
from one another is as nothing compared with their divergence from
the individualism of the primitivist. For the man who imitates Christ
in any traditional sense this world is not an Arcadian dream but a
place of trial and probation. “Take up your cross and follow me.” The
following of this great exemplar required that the instinctive self,
which Rousseau would indulge, should be either sternly rebuked or else
mortified utterly. So far from Nature and God being one, the natural
man is so corrupt, according to the more austere Christian, that the
gap between him and the divine can be traversed only by a miracle of
grace. He should therefore live in fear and trembling as befits a being
upon whom rests the weight of the divine displeasure. “It is an humble
thing to be a man.” Humility indeed is, in the phrase of Jeremy Taylor,
the special ornament and jewel of the Christian religion, and one is
tempted to add, of all religion in so far as it is genuine. Genuine
religion must always have in some form the sense of a deep inner cleft
between man’s ordinary self and the divine. But some Christians were
more inclined from the start, as we can see in the extreme forms of
the doctrine of grace, to push their humility to an utter despair of
human nature. The historical explanation of this despair is obvious:
it is a sharp rebound from the pagan riot; an excessive immersion in
this world led to an excess of otherworldliness. At the same time
the conviction as to man’s helplessness was instilled into those,
who, like St. Augustine, had witnessed in some of its phases the slow
disintegration of the Roman Empire. Human nature had gone bankrupt;
and for centuries it needed to be administered, if I may continue the
metaphor, in receivership. The doctrine of grace was admirably adapted
to this end.

The pagan riot from which the church reacted so sharply, was not,
however, the whole of the ancient civilization. I have already said
that there was at the heart of this civilization at its best a great
idea--the idea of proportionateness. The ancients were in short
not merely naturalistic but humanistic, and the idea of proportion
is just as fundamental in humanism as is humility in religion.
Christianity, one scarcely need add, incorporated within itself,
however disdainfully, many humanistic elements from Greek and Roman
culture. Yet it is none the less true that in his horror at the pagan
worldliness the Christian tended to fly into the opposite extreme of
unworldliness, and in this clash between naturalism and supernaturalism
the purely human virtues of mediation were thrust more or less into the
background. Yet by its very defect on the humanistic side the doctrine
of grace was perhaps all the better fitted for the administration of
human nature in receivership. For thus to make man entirely distrustful
of himself and entirely dependent on God, meant in practice to make
him entirely dependent on the Church. Man became ignorant and fanatical
in the early Christian centuries, but he also became humble, and
in the situation then existing that was after all the main thing.
The Church as receiver for human nature was thus enabled to rescue
civilization from the wreck of pagan antiquity and the welter of the
barbarian invasions. But by the very fact that the bases of life in
this world gradually grew more secure man became less otherworldly.
He gradually recovered some degree of confidence in himself. He gave
increasing attention to that side of himself that the ascetic Christian
had repressed. The achievements of the thirteenth century which mark
perhaps the culmination of Christian civilization were very splendid
not only from a religious but also from a humanistic point of view. But
although the critical spirit was already beginning to awake, it did
not at that time, as I have already said, actually break away from the
tutelage of the Church.

This emancipation of human nature from theological restraint took place
in far greater measure at the Renaissance. Human nature showed itself
tired of being treated as a bankrupt, of being governed from without
and from above. It aspired to become autonomous. There was in so far
a strong trend in many quarters towards individualism. This rupture
with external authority meant very diverse things in practice. For
some who, in Lionardo’s phrase, had caught a glimpse of the antique
symmetry it meant a revival of genuine humanism; for others it meant
rather a revival of the pagan and naturalistic side of antiquity. Thus
Rabelais, in his extreme opposition to the monkish ideal, already
proclaims, like Rousseau, the intrinsic excellence of man, while
Calvin and others attempted to revive the primitive austerity of
Christianity that had been corrupted by the formalism of Rome. In
short, naturalistic, humanistic, and religious elements are mingled in
almost every conceivable proportion in the vast and complex movement
known as the Renaissance; all these elements indeed are often mingled
in the same individual. The later Renaissance finally arrived at what
one is tempted to call the Jesuitical compromise. There was a general
revamping of dogma and outer authority, helped forward by a society
that had taken alarm at the excesses of the emancipated individual.
If the individual consented to surrender his moral autonomy, the
Church for its part consented to make religion comparatively easy and
pleasant for him, to adapt it by casuistry and other devices to a human
nature that was determined once for all to take a less severe and
ascetic view of life. One might thus live inwardly to a great extent
on the naturalistic level while outwardly going through the motions
of a profound piety. There is an unmistakable analogy between the
hollowness of a religion of this type and the hollowness that one feels
in so much neo-classical decorum. There is also a formalistic taint
in the educational system worked out by the Jesuits--a system in all
respects so ingenious and in some respects so admirable. The Greek and
especially the Latin classics are taught in such a way as to become
literary playthings rather than the basis of a philosophy of life; a
humanism is thus encouraged that is external and rhetorical rather than
vital, and this humanism is combined with a religion that tends to
stress submission to outer authority at the expense of inwardness and
individuality. The reproach has been brought against this system that
it is equally unfitted to form a pagan hero or a Christian saint. The
reply to it was Rousseau’s educational naturalism--his exaltation of
the spontaneity and genius of the child.

Voltaire says that every Protestant is a Pope when he has his Bible
in his hand. But in practice Protestantism has been very far from
encouraging so complete a subordination of the general sense to the
sense of the individual. In the period that elapsed between the first
forward push of individualism in the Renaissance and the second forward
push in the eighteenth century, each important Protestant group worked
out its creed or convention and knew how to make it very uncomfortable
for any one of its members who rebelled against its authority.
Protestant education was also, like that of the Jesuits, an attempt to
harmonize Christian and classical elements.

I have already spoken elsewhere of what was menacing all these
attempts, Protestant as well as Catholic, to revive the principle
of authority, to put the general sense once more on a traditional
and dogmatic basis and impose it on the sense of the individual. The
spirit of free scientific enquiry in the Renaissance had inspired great
naturalists like Kepler and Galileo, and had had its prophet in Bacon.
So far from suffering any setback in the seventeenth century, science
had been adding conquest to conquest. The inordinate self-confidence
of the modern man would seem to be in large measure an outcome of this
steady advance of scientific discovery, just as surely as the opposite,
the extreme humility that appears in the doctrine of grace, reflects
the despair of those who had witnessed the disintegration of the
Roman Empire. The word humility, if used at all nowadays, means that
one has a mean opinion of one’s self in comparison with other men, and
not that one perceives the weakness and nothingness of human nature in
itself in comparison with what is above it. But it is not merely the
self-confidence inspired by science that has undermined the traditional
disciplines, humanistic and religious, and the attempts to mediate
between them on a traditional basis; it is not merely that science
has fascinated man’s imagination, stimulated his wonder and curiosity
beyond all bounds and drawn him away from the study of his own nature
and its special problems to the study of the physical realm. What has
been even more decisive in the overthrow of the traditional disciplines
is that science has won its triumphs not by accepting dogma and
tradition but by repudiating them, by dealing with the natural law, not
on a traditional but on a positive and critical basis. The next step
that might logically have been taken, one might suppose, would have
been to put the human law likewise on a positive and critical basis. On
the contrary the very notion that man is subject to two laws has been
obscured. The truths of humanism and religion, being very much bound
up with certain traditional forms, have been rejected along with these
forms as obsolescent prejudice, and the attempt has been made to treat
man as entirely the creature of the natural law. This means in practice
that instead of dying to his ordinary self, as the austere Christian
demands, or instead of imposing a law of decorum upon his ordinary
self, as the humanist demands, man has only to develop his ordinary
self freely.

At the beginning, then, of the slow process that I have been tracing
down in briefest outline from mediæval Christianity, we find a pure
supernaturalism; at the end, a pure naturalism. If we are to understand
the relationship of this naturalism to the rise of a romantic morality,
we need to go back, as we have done in our study of original genius,
to the England of the early eighteenth century. Perhaps the most
important intermediary stage in the passage from a pure supernaturalism
to a pure naturalism is the great deistic movement which flourished
especially in the England of this period. Deism indeed is no new
thing. Deistic elements may be found even in the philosophy of the
Middle Ages. But for practical purposes one does not need in one’s
study of deism to go behind English thinkers like Shaftesbury and his
follower Hutcheson. Shaftesbury is a singularly significant figure.
He is not only the authentic precursor of innumerable naturalistic
moralists in England, France, and Germany, but one may also trace
in his writings the connection between modern naturalistic morality
and ancient naturalistic morality in its two main forms--Stoic and
Epicurean. The strict Christian supernaturalist had maintained that the
divine can be known to man only by the outer miracle of revelation,
supplemented by the inner miracle of grace. The deist maintains, on
the contrary, that God reveals himself also through outer nature which
he has fitted exquisitely to the needs of man, and that inwardly man
may be guided aright by his unaided thoughts and feelings (according
to the predominance of thought or feeling the deist is rationalistic
or sentimental). Man, in short, is naturally good and nature herself
is beneficent and beautiful. The deist finally pushes this harmony in
God and man and nature so far that the three are practically merged.
At a still more advanced stage God disappears, leaving only nature
and man as a modification of nature, and the deist gives way to the
pantheist who may also be either rationalistic or emotional. The
pantheist differs above all from the deist in that he would dethrone
man from his privileged place in creation, which means in practice that
he denies final causes. He no longer believes, for example, like that
sentimental deist and disciple of Rousseau, Bernardin de St. Pierre,
that Providence has arranged everything in nature with an immediate eye
to man’s welfare; that the markings on the melon, for instance, “seem
to show that it is destined for the family table.”[73]

Rousseau himself, though eschewing this crude appeal to final causes,
scarcely got in theory at least beyond the stage of emotional deism.
The process I have been describing is illustrated better in some
aspects by Diderot who began as a translator of Shaftesbury and who
later got so far beyond mere deism that he anticipates the main ideas
of the modern evolutionist and determinist. Diderot is at once an
avowed disciple of Bacon, a scientific utilitarian in short, and also
a believer in the emancipation of the emotions. Rousseau’s attack
on science is profoundly significant for other reasons, but it is
unfortunate in that it obscures the connection that is so visible in
Diderot between the two sides of the naturalistic movement. If men had
not been so heartened by scientific progress they would have been less
ready, we may be sure, to listen to Rousseau when he affirmed that they
were naturally good. There was another reason why men were eager to
be told that they were naturally good and that they could therefore
trust the spontaneous overflow of their emotions. This reason is to be
sought in the inevitable recoil from the opposite doctrine of total
depravity and the mortal constraint that it had put on the instincts of
the natural man. I have said that many churchmen, notably the Jesuits,
sought to dissimulate the full austerity of Christian doctrine and
thus retain their authority over a world that was moving away from
austerity and so threatening to escape them. But other Catholics,
notably the Jansenists, as well as Protestants like the Calvinists,
were for insisting to the full on man’s corruption and for seeking to
maintain on this basis what one is tempted to call a theological reign
of terror. One whole side of Rousseau’s religion can be understood
only as a protest against the type of Christianity that is found in a
Pascal or a Jonathan Edwards. The legend of the abyss that Pascal saw
always yawning at his side has at least a symbolical value. It is the
wont of man to oscillate violently between extremes, and each extreme
is not only bad in itself but even worse by the opposite extreme that
it engenders. From a God who is altogether fearful, men are ready to
flee to a God who is altogether loving, or it might be more correct to
say altogether lovely. “Listen, my children,” said Mother Angélique of
Port-Royal to her nuns a few hours before her death, “listen well to
what I say. Most people do not know what death is, and never give the
matter a thought. But my worst forebodings were as nothing compared
with the terrors now upon me.” In deliberate opposition to such
expressions of the theological terror, Rousseau imagined the elaborate
complacency and self-satisfaction of the dying Julie, whose end was
not only calm but æsthetic (_le dernier jour de sa vie en fut aussi le
plus charmant_).

A sensible member of Edwards’s congregation at Northampton might
conceivably have voted with the majority to dismiss him, not only
because he objected to this spiritual terrorism in itself, but
also because he saw the opposite extreme that it would help to
precipitate--the boundless sycophancy of human nature from which we are
now suffering.

The effusiveness, then, that began to appear in the eighteenth century
is one sign of the progress of naturalism, which is itself due to
the new confidence inspired in man by scientific discovery coupled
with a revulsion from the austerity of Christian dogma. This new
effusiveness is also no less palpably a revulsion from the excess of
artificial decorum and this revulsion was in turn greatly promoted by
the rapid increase in power and influence at this time of the middle
class. Reserve is traditionally aristocratic. The plebeian is no less
traditionally expansive. It cannot be said that the decorous reserve
of the French aristocracy that had been more or less imitated by other
European aristocracies was in all respects commendable. According to
this decorum a man should not love his wife, or if he did, should be
careful not to betray the fact in public. It was also good “form”
to live apart from one’s children and bad form to display one’s
affection for them. The protest against a decorum that repressed even
the domestic emotions may perhaps best be followed in the rise of the
middle class drama. According to strict neo-classic decorum only the
aristocracy had the right to appear in tragedy, whereas the man of the
middle class was relegated to comedy and the man of the people to
farce. The intermediate types of play that multiply in the eighteenth
century (_drame bourgeois_, _comédie larmoyante_, etc.) are the reply
of the plebeian to this classification. He is beginning to insist that
his emotions too shall be taken seriously. But at the same time he is,
under the influence of the new naturalistic philosophy, so bent on
affirming his own goodness that in getting rid of artificial decorum
he gets rid of true decorum likewise and so strikes at the very root
of the drama. For true drama in contradistinction to mere melodrama
requires in the background a scale of ethical values, or what amounts
to the same thing, a sense of what is normal and representative and
decorous, and the quality of the characters is revealed by their
responsible choices good or bad with reference to some ethical scale,
choices that the characters reveal by their actions and not by any
explicit moralizing. But in the middle class drama there is little
action in this sense: no one _wills_ either his goodness or badness,
but appears more or less as the creature of accident or fate (in a very
un-Greek sense), or of a defective social order; and so instead of
true dramatic conflict and proper motivation one tends to get domestic
tableaux in which the characters weep in unison. For it is understood
not only that man (especially the bourgeois) is good but that the
orthodox way for this goodness to manifest itself is to overflow
through the eyes. Perhaps never before or since have tears been shed
with such a strange facility. At no other time have there been so many
persons who, with streaming eyes, called upon heaven and earth to bear
witness to their innate excellence. A man would be ashamed, says La
Bruyère, speaking from the point of view of _l’honnête homme_ and
his decorum, to display his emotions at the theatre. By the time of
Diderot he would have been ashamed not to display them. It had become
almost a requirement of good manners to weep and sob in public. At the
performance of the “Père de Famille” in 1769 we are told that every
handkerchief was in use. The Revolution seems to have raised doubts as
to the necessary connection between tearfulness and goodness. The “Père
de Famille” was hissed from the stage in 1811. Geoffroy commented in
his feuilleton: “We have learned by a fatal experience that forty years
of declamation and fustian about sensibility, humanity and benevolence,
have served only to prepare men’s hearts for the last excesses of

The romanticist indulged in the luxury of grief and was not incapable
of striking an attitude. But as a rule he disdained the facile
lachrymosity of the man of feeling as still too imitative and
conventional. For his part, he has that within which passes show. To
estimate a play solely by its power to draw tears is, as Coleridge
observes, to measure it by a virtue that it possesses in common with
the onion; and Chateaubriand makes a similar observation. Yet one
should not forget that the romantic emotionalist derives directly from
the man of feeling. One may indeed study the transition from the one
to the other in Chateaubriand himself. For example, in his early work
the “Natchez” he introduces a tribe of Sioux Indians who are still
governed by the natural pity of Rousseau, as they prove by weeping on
the slightest occasion. Lamartine again is close to Rousseau when he
expatiates on the “genius” that is to be found in a tear; and Musset
is not far from Diderot when he exclaims, “Long live the melodrama at
which Margot wept” (_Vive le mélodrame où Margot a pleuré_).

Though it is usual to associate this effusiveness with Rousseau it
should be clear from my brief sketch of the rise of the forces that
were destined to overthrow the two great traditions--the Christian
tradition with its prime emphasis on humility and the classical with
its prime emphasis on decorum--that Rousseau had many forerunners. It
would be easy enough, for example, to cite from English literature
of the early eighteenth-century domestic tableaux[74] that look
forward equally to the middle class drama and to Rousseau’s picture
of the virtues of Julie as wife and mother. Yet Rousseau, after all,
deserves his preëminent position as the arch-sentimentalist by the
very audacity of his revolt in the name of feeling from both humility
and decorum. Never before and probably never since has a man of such
undoubted genius shown himself so lacking in humility and decency
(to use the old-fashioned synonym for decorum) as Rousseau in the
“Confessions.” Rousseau feels himself so good that he is ready as he
declares to appear before the Almighty at the sound of the trump of
the last judgment, with the book of his “Confessions” in his hand,
and there to issue a challenge to the whole human race: “Let a single
one assert to Thee if he dare: I am better than that man.” As Horace
Walpole complains he meditates a gasconade for the end of the world.
It is possible to maintain with M. Lemaître that Rousseau’s character
underwent a certain purification as he grew older, but never at any
time, either at the beginning or at the end, is it possible, as M.
Lemaître admits, to detect an atom of humility--an essential lack that
had already been noted by Burke.

The affront then that Rousseau puts upon humility at the very opening
of his “Confessions” has like so much else in his life and writings
a symbolical value. He also declares war in the same passage in the
name of what he conceives to be his true self--that is his emotional
self--against decorum or decency. I have already spoken of one of
the main objections to decorum: it keeps one tame and conventional
and interferes with the explosion of original genius. Another and
closely allied grievance against decorum is implied in Rousseau’s
opening assertion in the Confessions that his aim is to show a man
in all the truth of his nature, and human nature can be known in
its truth only, it should seem, when stripped of its last shred of
reticence. Rousseau therefore already goes on the principle recently
proclaimed by the Irish Bohemian George Moore, that the only thing a
man should be ashamed of is of being ashamed. If the first objection to
decorum--that it represses original genius--was urged especially by the
romanticists, the second objection--that decorum interferes with truth
to nature--was urged especially by the so-called realists of the later
nineteenth century (and realism of this type is, as has been said, only
romanticism going on all fours). Between the Rousseauistic conception
of nature and that of the humanist the gap is especially wide. The
humanist maintains that man attains to the truth of his nature only by
imposing decorum upon his ordinary self. The Rousseauist maintains that
man attains to this truth only by the free expansion of his ordinary
self. The humanist fears to let his ordinary self unfold freely at the
expense of decorum lest he merit some such comment as that made on
the “Confessions” by Madame de Boufflers who had been infatuated with
Rousseau during his lifetime: that it was the work not of a man but of
an unclean animal.[75]

The passages of the “Confessions” that deserve this verdict do not, it
is hardly necessary to add, reflect directly Rousseau’s moral ideal.
In his dealings with morality as elsewhere he is, to come back to
Schiller’s distinction, partly idyllic and partly satirical. He is
satiric in his attitude towards the existing forms--forms based upon
the Christian tradition that man is naturally sinful and that he needs
therefore the discipline of fear and humility, or else forms based upon
the classical tradition that man is naturally one-sided and that he
needs therefore to be disciplined into decorum and proportionateness.
He is idyllic in the substitutes that he would offer for these
traditional forms. The substitutes are particularly striking in their
refusal to allow any place for fear. Fear, according to Ovid, created
the first Gods, and religion has been defined by an old English poet
as the “mother of form and fear.” Rousseau would put in the place of
form a fluid emotionalism, and as for fear, he would simply cast it
out entirely, a revulsion, as I have pointed out, from the excessive
emphasis on fear in the more austere forms of Christianity. Be
“natural,” Rousseau says, and eschew priests and doctors, and you will
be emancipated from fear.

Rousseau’s expedient for getting rid of man’s sense of his own
sinfulness on which fear and humility ultimately rest is well known.
Evil, says Rousseau, foreign to man’s constitution, is introduced into
it from without. The burden of guilt is thus conveniently shifted upon
society. Instead of the old dualism between good and evil in the breast
of the individual, a new dualism is thus set up between an artificial
and corrupt society and “nature.” For man, let me repeat, has,
according to Rousseau, fallen from nature in somewhat the same way as
in the old theology he fell from God, and it is here that the idyllic
element comes in, for, let us remind ourselves once more, Rousseau’s
nature from which man has fallen is only an Arcadian dream.

The assertion of man’s natural goodness is plainly something very
fundamental in Rousseau, but there is something still more fundamental,
and that is the shifting of dualism itself, the virtual denial of a
struggle between good and evil in the breast of the individual. That
deep inner cleft in man’s being on which religion has always put so
much emphasis is not genuine. Only get away from an artificial society
and back to nature and the inner conflict which is but a part of the
artificiality will give way to beauty and harmony. In a passage in his
“Supplément au voyage de Bougainville,” Diderot puts the underlying
thesis of the new morality almost more clearly than Rousseau: “Do
you wish to know in brief the tale of almost all our woe? There once
existed a natural man; there has been introduced within this man an
artificial man and there has arisen in the cave a civil war which lasts
throughout life.”

The denial of the reality of the “civil war in the cave” involves an
entire transformation of the conscience. The conscience ceases to be
a power that sits in judgment on the ordinary self and inhibits its
impulses. It tends so far as it is recognized at all, to become itself
an instinct and an emotion. Students of the history of ethics scarcely
need to be told that this transformation of the conscience was led up
to by the English deists, especially by Shaftesbury and his disciple
Hutcheson.[76] Shaftesbury and Hutcheson are already æsthetic in all
senses of the word; æsthetic in that they tend to base conduct upon
feeling, and æsthetic in that they incline to identify the good and
the beautiful. Conscience is ceasing for both of them to be an inner
check on the impulses of the individual and becoming a moral _sense_, a
sort of expansive instinct for doing good to others. Altruism, as thus
conceived, is opposed by them to the egoism of Hobbes and his followers.

But for the full implications of this transformation of conscience
and for æsthetic morality in general one needs to turn to Rousseau.
Most men according to Rousseau are perverted by society, but there
are a few in whom the voice of “nature” is still strong and who, to
be good and at the same time beautiful, have only to let themselves
go. These, to use a term that came to have in the eighteenth century
an almost technical meaning, are the “beautiful souls.” The _belle
âme_ is practically indistinguishable from the _âme sensible_ and has
many points in common with the original genius. Those whose souls are
beautiful are a small transfigured band in the midst of a philistine
multitude. They are not to be judged by the same rules as those of
less exquisite sensibility. “There are unfortunates too privileged to
follow the common pathway.”[77] The beautiful soul is unintelligible
to those of coarser feelings. His very superiority, his preternatural
fineness of sensation, thus predestines him to suffering. We are here
at the root of romantic melancholy as will appear more fully later.

The most important aspect of the whole conception is, however, the
strictly ethical--the notion that the beautiful soul has only to be
instinctive and temperamental to merit the praise that has in the past
been awarded only to the purest spirituality. “As for Julie,” says
Rousseau, “who never had any other guide but her heart and could have
no surer guide, she gives herself up to it without scruple, and to do
right, has only to do all that it asks of her.”[78] Virtue indeed,
according to Rousseau, is not merely an instinct but a passion and
even a voluptuous passion, moving in the same direction as other
passions, only superior to them in vehemence. “Cold reason has never
done anything illustrious; and you can triumph over the passions only
by opposing them to one another. When the passion of virtue arises, it
dominates everything and holds everything in equipoise.”[79]

This notion of the soul that is spontaneously beautiful and therefore
good made an especial appeal to the Germans and indeed is often
associated with Germany more than with any other land.[80] But examples
of moral æstheticism are scarcely less frequent elsewhere from
Rousseau to the present. No one, for example, was ever more convinced
of the beauty of his own soul than Renan. “Morality,” says Renan, “has
been conceived up to the present in a very narrow spirit, as obedience
to a law, as an inner struggle between opposite laws. As for me, I
declare that when I do good I obey no one, I fight no battle and win no
victory. The cultivated man has only to follow the delicious incline of
his inner impulses.”[81] Therefore, as he says elsewhere, “Be beautiful
and then do at each moment whatever your heart may inspire you to do.
This is the whole of morality.”[82]

The doctrine of the beautiful soul is at once a denial and a parody
of the doctrine of grace; a denial because it rejects original sin;
a parody because it holds that the beautiful soul acts aright, not
through any effort of its own but because nature acts in it and through
it even as a man in a state of grace acts aright not through any merit
of his own but because God acts in him and through him. The man who
saw everything from the angle of grace was, like the beautiful soul or
the original genius, inclined to look upon himself as exceptional and
superlative. Bunyan entitles the story of his own inner life “Grace
abounding to the chief of sinners.” But Bunyan flatters himself. It
is not easy to be chief in such a lively competition. Humility and
pride were evidently in a sort of grapple with one another in the
breast of the Jansenist who declared that God had killed three men
in order to compass his salvation. In the case of the beautiful soul
the humility disappears, but the pride remains. He still looks upon
himself as superlative but superlative in goodness. If all men were
like himself, Renan declares, it would be appropriate to say of them:
Ye are Gods and sons of the most high.[83] The partisan of grace holds
that works are of no avail compared with the gratuitous and unmerited
illumination from above. The beautiful soul clings to his belief in
his own innate excellence, no matter how flagrant the contradiction
may be between this belief and his deeds. One should not fail to note
some approximation to the point of view of the beautiful soul in those
forms of Christianity in which the sense of sin is somewhat relaxed
and the inner light very much emphasized--for example among the German
pietists and the quietists of Catholic countries.[84] We even hear of
persons claiming to be Christians who as the result of debauchery have
experienced a spiritual awakening (_Dans la brute assoupie, un ange se
réveille_). But such doctrines are mere excrescences and eccentricities
in the total history of Christianity. Even in its extreme insistence
on grace, Christianity has always tended to supplement rather than
contradict the supreme maxim of humanistic morality as enunciated by
Cicero: “The whole praise of virtue is in action.” The usual result
of the doctrine of grace when sincerely held is to make a man feel
desperately sinful at the same time that he is less open to reproach
than other men in his actual behavior. The beautiful soul on the
other hand can always take refuge in his feelings from his real
delinquencies. According to Joubert, Chateaubriand was not disturbed
by actual lapses in his conduct because of his persuasion of his own
innate rectitude.[85] “Her conduct was reprehensible,” says Rousseau
of Madame de Warens, “but her heart was pure.” It does not matter
what you do if only through it all you preserve the sense of your own
loveliness. Indeed the more dubious the act the more copious would
seem to be the overflow of fine sentiments to which it stimulates
the beautiful soul. Rousseau dilates on his “warmth of heart,” his
“keenness of sensibility,” his “innate benevolence for his fellow
creatures,” his “ardent love for the great, the true, the beautiful,
the just,” on the “melting feeling, the lively and sweet emotion that
he experiences at the sight of everything that is virtuous, generous
and lovely,” and concludes: “And so my third child was put into the
foundling hospital.”

If we wish to see the psychology of Rousseau writ large we should turn
to the French Revolution. That period abounds in persons whose goodness
is in theory so superlative that it overflows in a love for all men,
but who in practice are filled like Rousseau in his later years with
universal suspicion. There was indeed a moment in the Revolution when
the madness of Rousseau became epidemic, when suspicion was pushed
to such a point that men became “suspect of being suspect.” One of
the last persons to see Rousseau alive at Ermenonville was Maximilien
Robespierre. He was probably a more thoroughgoing Rousseauist than
any other of the Revolutionary leaders. Perhaps no passage that could
be cited illustrates with more terrible clearness the tendency of the
new morality to convert righteousness into self-righteousness than
the following from his last speech before the Convention at the very
height of the Reign of Terror. Himself devoured by suspicion, he is
repelling the suspicion that he wishes to erect his own power on the
ruins of the monarchy. The idea, he says, that “he can descend to the
infamy of the throne will appear probable only to those perverse beings
who have not even the right to believe in virtue. But why speak of
virtue? Doubtless virtue is a natural passion. But how could they be
familiar with it, these venal spirits who never yielded access to aught
save cowardly and ferocious passions? … Yet virtue exists as you can
testify, feeling and pure souls; it exists, that tender, irresistible,
imperious passion, torment and delight of magnanimous hearts, that
profound horror of tyranny, that compassionate zeal for the oppressed,
that sacred love for one’s country, that still more sublime and
sacred love for humanity, without which a great revolution is only a
glittering crime that destroys another crime; it exists, that generous
ambition to found on earth the first Republic of the world; that egoism
of undegenerate men who find a celestial voluptuousness in the calm of
a pure conscience and the ravishing spectacle of public happiness(!).
You feel it at this moment burning in your souls. I feel it in mine.
But how could our vile calumniators have any notion of it?” etc.

In Robespierre and other revolutionary leaders one may study the
implications of the new morality--the attempt to transform virtue into
a natural passion--not merely for the individual but for society. M.
Rod entitled his play on Rousseau “The Reformer.” Both Rousseau and his
disciple Robespierre were reformers in the modern sense,--that is they
are concerned not with reforming themselves, but other men. Inasmuch
as there is no conflict between good and evil in the breast of the
beautiful soul he is free to devote all his efforts to the improvement
of mankind, and he proposes to achieve this great end by diffusing the
spirit of brotherhood. All the traditional forms that stand in the way
of this free emotional expansion he denounces as mere “prejudices,”
and inclines to look on those who administer these forms as a gang of
conspirators who are imposing an arbitrary and artificial restraint on
the natural goodness of man and so keeping it from manifesting itself.
With the final disappearance of the prejudices of the past and those
who base their usurped authority upon them, the Golden Age will be
ushered in at last; everybody will be boundlessly self-assertive and
at the same time temper this self-assertion by an equally boundless
sympathy for others, whose sympathy and self-assertion likewise know no
bounds. The world of Walt Whitman will be realized, a world in which
there is neither inferior nor superior but only comrades. This vision
(such for example as appears at the end of Shelley’s “Prometheus”) of
a humanity released from all evil artificially imposed from without,
a humanity “where all things flow to all, as rivers to the sea” and
“whose nature is its own divine control,” is the true religion of the
Rousseauist. It is this image of a humanity glorified through love
that he sets up for worship in the sanctuary left vacant by “the great
absence of God.”

This transformation of the Arcadian dreamer into the Utopist is due
in part, as I have already suggested, to the intoxication produced
in the human spirit by the conquests of science. One can discern the
coöperation of Baconian and Rousseauist from a very early stage of the
great humanitarian movement in the midst of which we are still living.
Both Baconian and Rousseauist are interested not in the struggle
between good and evil in the breast of the individual, but in the
progress of mankind as a whole. If the Rousseauist hopes to promote
the progress of society by diffusing the spirit of brotherhood the
Baconian or utilitarian hopes to achieve the same end by perfecting
its machinery. It is scarcely necessary to add that these two main
types of humanitarianism may be contained in almost any proportion in
any particular person. By his worship of man in his future material
advance, the Baconian betrays no less surely than the Rousseauist his
faith in man’s natural goodness. This lack of humility is especially
conspicuous in those who have sought to develop the positive
observations of science into a closed system with the aid of logic and
pure mathematics. Pascal already remarked sarcastically of Descartes
that he had no need of God except to give an initial fillip to his
mechanism. Later the mechanist no longer grants the need of the initial
fillip. According to the familiar anecdote, La Place when asked by
Napoleon in the course of an explanation of his “Celestial Mechanics”
where God came in, replied that he had no need of a God in his system.
As illustrating the extreme of humanitarian arrogance one may take
the following from the physicist and mathematician, W. K. Clifford:
“The dim and shadowy outlines of the superhuman deity fade slowly from
before us; and as the mist of his presence floats aside, we perceive
with greater and greater clearness the shape of a yet grander and
nobler figure--of Him who made all gods and shall unmake them. From
the dim dawn of history and from the inmost depths of every soul the
face of our father Man looks out upon us with the fire of eternal youth
in his eyes and says, ‘Before Jehovah was, I am.’” The fire, one is
tempted to say, of eternal lust! Clifford is reported to have once hung
by his toes from the cross-bar of a weathercock on a church-tower. As
a bit of intellectual acrobatics the passage I have just quoted has
some analogy with this posture. Further than this, man’s intoxication
with himself is not likely to go. The attitude of Clifford is even more
extreme in its way than that of Jonathan Edwards in his. However, there
are already signs that the man of science is becoming, if not humble,
at least a trifle less arrogant.

One can imagine the Rousseauist interrupting at this point to remark
that one of his chief protests has always been against the mechanical
and utilitarian and in general the scientific attitude towards life.
This is true. Something has already been said about this protest and
it will be necessary to say more about it later. Yet Rousseauist and
Baconian agree, as I have said, in turning away from the “civil war in
the cave” to humanity in the lump. They agree in being more or less
rebellious towards the traditional forms that put prime emphasis on
the “civil war in the cave”--whether the Christian tradition with its
humility or the classical with its decorum. No wonder Prometheus was
the great romantic hero. Prometheus was at once a rebel, a lover of man
and a promoter of man’s material progress. We have been living for over
a century in what may be termed an age of Promethean individualism.

The Rousseauist especially feels an inner kinship with Prometheus and
other Titans. He is fascinated by every form of insurgency. Cain and
Satan are both romantic heroes. To meet the full romantic requirement,
however, the insurgent must also be tender-hearted. He must show an
elemental energy in his explosion against the established order and
at the same time a boundless sympathy for the victims of it. One of
Hugo’s poems tells of a Mexican volcano, that in sheer disgust at
the cruelty of the members of the Inquisition, spits lava upon them.
This compassionate volcano symbolizes in both of its main aspects
the romantic ideal. Hence the enormous international popularity
of Schiller’s “Robbers.” One may find innumerable variants of the
brigand Karl Moor who uses his plunder “to support meritorious young
men at college.” The world into which we enter from the very dawn of
romanticism is one of “glorious rascals,” and “beloved vagabonds.”

    “Sublime convicts,” says M. Lasserre, “idlers of genius,
    angelic female poisoners, monsters inspired by God, sincere
    comedians, virtuous courtesans, metaphysical mountebanks,
    faithful adulterers, form only one half--the sympathetic half
    of humanity according to romanticism. The other half, the
    wicked half, is manufactured by the same intellectual process
    under the suggestion of the same revolutionary instinct.
    It comprises all those who hold or stand for a portion of
    any discipline whatsoever, political, religious, moral or
    intellectual--kings, ministers, priests, judges, soldiers,
    policemen, husbands and critics.”[86]

The Rousseauist is ever ready to discover beauty of soul in any one
who is under the reprobation of society. The figure of the courtesan
rehabilitated through love that has enjoyed such popularity during the
past hundred years goes back to Rousseau himself.[87] The underlying
assumption of romantic morality is that the personal virtues, the
virtues that imply self-control, count as naught compared with the
fraternal spirit and the readiness to sacrifice one’s self for
others. This is the ordinary theme of the Russian novel in which
one finds, as Lemaître remarks, “the Kalmuck exaggerations of our
French romantic ideas.” For example Sonia in “Crime and Punishment”
is glorified because she prostitutes herself to procure a livelihood
for her family. One does not however need to go to Russia for what is
scarcely less the assumption of contemporary America. If it can only
be shown that a person is sympathetic we are inclined to pardon him
his sins of unrestraint, his lack, for example, of common honesty.
As an offset to the damaging facts brought out at the investigation
of the sugar trust, the defense sought to establish that the late H.
O. Havemeyer was a beautiful soul. It was testified that he could
never hear little children sing without tears coming into his eyes.
His favorite song, some one was unkind enough to suggest, was “little
drops of water, little grains of sand.” The newspapers again reported
not long ago that a notorious Pittsburg grafter had petitioned for
his release from the penitentiary on the grounds that he wished to
continue his philanthropic activities among the poor. Another paragraph
that appeared recently in the daily press related that a burglar while
engaged professionally in a house at Los Angeles discovered that the
lady of the house had a child suffering from croup, and at once came to
her aid, explaining that he had six children of his own. No one could
really think amiss of this authentic descendant of Schiller’s Karl
Moor. For love, according to the Rousseauist, is not the fulfillment
of the law but a substitute for it. In “Les Misérables” Hugo contrasts
Javert who stands for the old order based on obedience to the law
with the convict Jean Valjean who stands for the new regeneration of
man through love and self-sacrifice. When Javert awakens to the full
ignominy of his rôle he does the only decent thing--he commits suicide.
Hugo indeed has perhaps carried the new evangel of sympathy as a
substitute for all the other virtues further than any one else and with
fewer weak concessions to common sense. Sultan Murad, Hugo narrates,
was “sublime.” He had his eight brothers strangled, caused his uncle to
be sawn in two between two planks, opened one after the other twelve
children to find a stolen apple, shed an ocean of blood and “sabred the
world.” One day while passing in front of a butcher-shop he saw a pig
bleeding to death, tormented by flies and with the sun beating upon
its wound. Touched by pity, the Sultan pushes the pig into the shade
with his foot and with an “enormous and superhuman gesture” drives away
the flies. When Murad dies the pig appears before the Almighty and,
pleading for him against the accusing host of his victims, wins his
pardon. Moral: “A succored pig outweighs a world oppressed”[88] (_Un
pourceau secouru vaut un monde égorgé_).

This subordination of all the other values of life to sympathy is
achieved only at the expense of the great humanistic virtue--decorum
or a sense of proportion. Now not to possess a sense of proportion is,
however this lack may be manifested, to be a pedant; and, if there is
ever a humanistic reaction, Hugo, one of the chief products of the age
of original genius, will scarcely escape the charge of pedantry. But
true religion also insists on a hierarchy of the virtues. Burke speaks
at least as much from a religious as from a humanistic point of view
when he writes:

    “The greatest crimes do not arise so much from a want of
    feeling for others as from an over-sensibility for ourselves
    and an over-indulgence to our own desires. … They [the
    ‘philosophes’] explode or render odious or contemptible that
    class of virtues which restrain the appetite. These are at
    least nine out of ten of the virtues. In the place of all
    this they substitute a virtue which they call humanity or
    benevolence. By these means their morality has no idea in it
    of restraint or indeed of a distinct and settled principle of
    any kind. When their disciples are thus left free and guided
    only by present feeling, they are no longer to be depended
    on for good and evil. The men who to-day snatch the worst
    criminals from justice will murder the most innocent persons

The person who seeks to get rid of ninety per cent of the virtues in
favor of an indiscriminate sympathy does not simply lose his scale of
values. He arrives at an inverted scale of values. For the higher the
object for which one feels sympathy the more the idea of obligation
is likely to intrude--the very thing the Rousseauist is seeking to
escape. One is more irresponsible and therefore more spontaneous in the
Rousseauistic sense in lavishing one’s pity on a dying pig. Medical
men have given a learned name to the malady of those who neglect the
members of their own family and gush over animals (zoöphilpsychosis).
But Rousseau already exhibits this “psychosis.” He abandoned his five
children one after the other, but had we are told an unspeakable
affection for his dog.[90]

Rousseau’s contemporary, Sterne, is supposed to have lavished a
somewhat disproportionate emotion upon an ass. But the ass does
not really come into his own until a later stage of the movement.
Nietzsche has depicted the leaders of the nineteenth century as
engaged in a veritable onolatry or ass-worship. The opposition between
neo-classicist and Rousseauist is indeed symbolized in a fashion by
their respective attitude towards the ass. Neo-classical decorum
was, it should be remembered, an all-pervading principle. It imposed
a severe hierarchy, not only upon objects, but upon the words that
express these objects. The first concern of the decorous person was to
avoid lowness, and the ass he looked upon as hopelessly low--so low
as to be incapable of ennoblement even by a resort to periphrasis.
Homer therefore was deemed by Vida to have been guilty of outrageous
indecorum in comparing Ajax to an ass. The partisans of Homer sought
indeed to prove that the ass was in the time of Homer a “noble” animal
or at least that the word ass was “noble.” But the stigma put upon
Homer by Vida--reinforced as it was by the similar attacks of Scaliger
and others--remained.

The rehabilitation of the ass by the Rousseauist is at once a protest
against an unduly squeamish decorum, and a way of proclaiming the new
principle of unbounded expansive sympathy. In dealing with both words
and what they express, one should show a democratic inclusiveness.
Something has already been said of the war the romanticist waged in
the name of local color against the impoverishment of vocabulary by
the neo-classicists. But the romantic warfare against the aristocratic
squeamishness of the neo-classic vocabulary goes perhaps even deeper.
Take, for instance, Wordsworth’s view as to the proper language of
poetry. Poetical decorum had become by the end of the eighteenth
century a mere varnish of conventional elegance. Why should mere
polite prejudice, so Wordsworth reasoned, and the “gaudiness and inane
phraseology” in which it resulted be allowed to interfere with the
“spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion”? And so he proceeds to set
up a view of poetry that is only the neo-classical view turned upside
down. For the proper subjects and speech of poetry he would turn from
the highest class of society to the lowest, from the aristocrat to
the peasant. The peasant is more poetical than the aristocrat because
he is closer to nature, for Wordsworth as he himself avows, is less
interested in the peasant for his own sake than because he sees in him
a sort of emanation of the landscape.[91]

One needs to keep all this background in mind if one wishes to
understand the full significance of a poem like “Peter Bell.”
Scaliger blames Homer because he stoops to mention in his description
of Zeus something so trivial as the eyebrows. Wordsworth seeks to
bestow poetical dignity and seriousness on the “long left ear” of an
ass.[92] The ass is thus exalted one scarcely need add, because of
his compassionateness. The hard heart of Peter Bell is at last melted
by the sight of so much goodness. He aspires to be like the ass and
finally achieves his wish.

The French romanticists, Hugo, for instance, make an attack on decorum
somewhat similar to that of Wordsworth. Words formerly lived, says
Hugo, divided up into castes. Some had the privilege of mounting into
the king’s coaches at Versailles, whereas others were relegated to
the rabble. I came along and clapped a red liberty cap on the old
dictionary. I brought about a literary ’93,[93] etc. Hugo’s attack
on decorum is also combined with an even more violent assertion than
Wordsworth’s of the ideal of romantic morality--the supremacy of pity.
He declares in the “Legend of the Ages” that an ass that takes a step
aside to avoid crushing a toad is “holier than Socrates and greater
than Plato.”[94] For this and similar utterances Hugo deserves to be
placed very nearly if not quite at the head of romantic onolaters.

We have said that the tremendous burden put upon sympathy in romantic
morality is a result of the assumption that the “civil war in the cave”
is artificial and that therefore the restraining virtues (according
to Burke ninety per cent of the virtues) which imply this warfare
are likewise artificial. If the civil war in the cave should turn
out to be not artificial but a fact of the gravest import, the whole
spiritual landscape would change immediately. Romantic morality would
in that case be not a reality but a mirage. We need at all events to
grasp the central issue firmly. Humanism and religion have always
asserted in some form or other the dualism of the human spirit. A man’s
spirituality is in inverse ratio to his immersion in temperament. The
whole movement from Rousseau to Bergson is, on the other hand, filled
with the glorification of instinct. To become spiritual the beautiful
soul needs only to expand along the lines of temperament and with this
process the cult of pity or sympathy does not interfere. The romantic
moralist tends to favor expansion on the ground that it is vital,
creative, infinite, and to dismiss whatever seems to set bounds to
expansion as something inert, mechanical, finite. In its onslaughts on
the veto power whether within or without the breast of the individual
it is plain that no age has ever approached the age of original
genius in the midst of which we are still living. Goethe defines the
devil as the spirit that always says no, and Carlyle celebrates his
passage from darkness to light as an escape from the Everlasting Nay
to the Everlasting Yea. We rarely pause to consider what a reversal
of traditional wisdom is implied in such conceptions. In the past,
the spirit that says no has been associated rather with the divine.
Socrates tells us that the counsels of his “voice” were always
negative, never positive.[95] According to the ancient Hindu again the
divine is the “inner check.” God, according to Aristotle, is pure Form.
In opposition to all this emphasis on the restricting and limiting
power, the naturalist, whether scientific or emotional, sets up a
program of formless, fearless expansion; which means in practice that
he recognizes no bounds either to intellectual or emotional curiosity.

I have said that it is a part of the psychology of the original genius
to offer the element of wonder and surprise awakened by the perpetual
novelty, the infinite otherwiseness of things, as a substitute for
the awe that is associated with their infinite oneness; or rather to
refuse to discriminate between these two infinitudes and so to confound
the two main directions of the human spirit, its religious East, as
one may say, with its West of wonder and romance. This confusion may
be illustrated by the romantic attitude towards what is perhaps the
most Eastern of all Eastern lands,--India. The materials for the study
of India in the Occident were accumulated by Englishmen towards the
end of the eighteenth century, but the actual interpretation of this
material is due largely to German romanticists, notably to Friedrich
Schlegel.[96] Alongside the romantic Hellenist and the romantic
mediævalist we find the romantic Indianist. It is to India even more
than to Spain that one needs to turn, says Friedrich Schlegel, for the
supremely romantic[97]--that is, the wildest and most unrestrained
luxuriance of imagination. Now in a country so vast and so ancient as
India you can find in some place or at some period or other almost
anything you like. If, for example, W. B. Yeats waxes enthusiastic
over Tagore we may be sure that there is in the work of Tagore
something akin to æsthetic romanticism. But if we take India at the top
of her achievement in the early Buddhistic movement, let us say, we
shall find something very different. The early Buddhistic movement in
its essential aspects is at the extreme opposite pole from romanticism.
The point is worth making because certain misinterpretations that
still persist both of Buddhism and other movements in India can
be traced ultimately to the bad twist that was given to the whole
subject by romanticists like the Schlegels. The educated Frenchman,
for instance, gets his ideas of India largely from certain poems of
Leconte de Lisle who reflects the German influence. But the sense of
universal and meaningless flux that pervades these poems without any
countervailing sense of a reality behind the shows of nature is a
product of romanticism, working in coöperation with science, and is
therefore antipodal to the absorption of the true Hindu in the oneness
of things. We are told, again, that Schopenhauer was a Buddhist. Did
he not have an image of Buddha in his bedroom? But no doctrine perhaps
is more remote from the genuine doctrine of Buddha than that of this
soured and disillusioned romanticist. The nature of true Buddhism and
its opposition to all forms of romanticism is worth dwelling on for
a moment. Buddha not only asserted the human law with unusual power
but he also did what, in the estimation of some, needs doing in our
own day--he put this law, not on a traditional, but on a positive and
critical basis. This spiritual positivism of Buddha is, reduced to its
simplest terms, a psychology of desire. Not only is the world outside
of man in a constant state of flux and change, but there is an element
within man that is in constant flux and change also and makes itself
felt practically as an element of expansive desire. What is unstable in
him longs for what is unstable in the outer world. But he may escape
from the element of flux and change, nay he must aspire to do so, if
he wishes to be released from sorrow. This is to substitute the noble
for the ignoble craving. The permanent or ethical element in himself
towards which he should strive to move is known to him practically as a
power of inhibition or inner check upon expansive desire. Vital impulse
(_élan vital_) may be subjected to vital control (_frein vital_). Here
is the Buddhist equivalent of the “civil war in the cave” that the
romanticist denies. Buddha does not admit a soul in man in the sense
that is often given to the word, but on this opposition between vital
impulse and vital control as a psychological fact he puts his supreme
emphasis. The man who drifts supinely with the current of desire is
guilty according to Buddha of the gravest of all vices--spiritual or
moral indolence (_pamāda_). He on the contrary who curbs or reins in
his expansive desires is displaying the chief of all the virtues,
spiritual vigilance or strenuousness (_appamāda_). The man who is
spiritually strenuous has entered upon the “path.” The end of this
path and the goal of being cannot be formulated in terms of the finite
intellect, any more than the ocean can be put into a cup. But progress
on the path may be known by its fruits--negatively by the extinction of
the expansive desires (the literal meaning of Nirvâna), positively by
an increase in peace, poise, centrality.

A man’s rank in the scale of being is, then, according to the Buddhist
determined by the quality of his desires; and it is within his power to
determine whether he shall let them run wild or else control them to
some worthy end. We hear of the fatalistic East, but no doctrine was
ever less fatalistic than that of Buddha. No one ever put so squarely
upon the individual what the individual is ever seeking to evade--the
burden of moral responsibility. “Self is the lord of self. Who else
can be the lord? … You yourself must make the effort. The Buddhas are
only teachers.”[98] But does not all this emphasis on self, one may
ask, tend to hardness and indifference towards others, towards the
undermining of that compassion to which the romantic moralist is ready
to sacrifice all the other virtues? Buddha may be allowed to speak for
himself: “Even as a mother cherishes her child, her only child, so let
a man cultivate a boundless love towards all beings.”[99] Buddha thus
seems to fulfil Pascal’s requirement for a great man: he unites in
himself opposite virtues and occupies all the space between them.

Enough has been said to make plain that the infinite indeterminate
desire of the romanticist and the Buddhist repression of desire are the
most different things conceivable. Chateaubriand it has been said was
an “invincibly restless soul,” a soul of desire (_une âme de désir_),
but these phrases are scarcely more applicable to him than to many
other great romanticists. They are fitly symbolized by the figures that
pace to and fro in the Hall of Eblis and whose hearts are seen through
their transparent bosoms to be lapped in the flames of unquenchable
longing. The romanticist indeed bases, as I have said, on the very
intensity of his longing his claims to be an idealist and even a
mystic. William Blake, for example, has been proclaimed a true mystic.
The same term has also been applied to Buddha. Without pretending to
have fathomed completely so unfathomable a being as Buddha or even the
far less unfathomable William Blake, one may nevertheless assert with
confidence that Buddha and Blake stand for utterly incompatible views
of life. If Blake is a mystic then Buddha must be something else. To
be assured on this point one needs only to compare the “Marriage of
Heaven and Hell” with the “Dhammapada,” an anthology of some of the
most authentic and authoritative material in early Buddhism. “He who
desires but acts not, breeds pestilence. … The road of excess leads
to the palace of wisdom,” says Blake. “Even in heavenly pleasures he
finds no satisfaction; the disciple who is fully awakened delights
only in the destruction of all desires. … Good is restraint in all
things,” says Buddha. Buddha would evidently have dismissed Blake as
a madman, whereas Blake would have looked on Buddhism as the ultimate
abomination. My own conviction is that Buddha was a genuine sage well
worthy of the homage rendered him by multitudes of men for more than
twenty-four centuries, whereas Blake was only a romantic æsthete who
was moving in his imaginative activity towards madness and seems at the
end actually to have reached the goal.

I have been going thus far afield to ancient India and to Buddha, not
that I might, like a recent student of Buddhism, enjoy “the strangeness
of the intellectual landscape,” but on the contrary that I might
suggest that there is a centre of normal human experience and that
Buddhism, at least in its ethical aspects, is nearer to this centre
than æsthetic romanticism. Buddha might perhaps marvel with more
reason at our strangeness than we at his. Buddha’s assertion of man’s
innate moral laziness in particular accords more closely with what
most of us have experienced than Rousseau’s assertion of man’s natural
goodness. This conception of the innate laziness of man seems to me
indeed so central that I am going to put it at the basis of the point
of view I am myself seeking to develop, though this point of view is
not primarily Buddhistic. This conception has the advantage of being
positive rather than dogmatic. It works out in practice very much like
the original sin of the Christian theologian. The advantage of starting
with indolence rather than sin is that many men will admit that they
are morally indolent who will not admit that they are sinful. For
theological implications still cluster thickly about the word sin, and
these persons are still engaged more or less consciously in the great
naturalistic revolt against theology.

The spiritual positivist then will start from a fact of immediate
perception--from the presence namely in the breast of the individual
of a principle of vital control (_frein vital_), and he will measure
his spiritual strenuousness or spiritual sloth by the degree to which
he exercises or fails to exercise this power. In accordance with the
keenness of a man’s perception of a specially human order that is
known practically as a curb upon his ordinary self, he may be said to
possess insight. The important thing is that the insight should not
be sophisticated, that a man should not fall away from it into some
phantasmagoria of the intellect or emotions. A man sometimes builds up
a whole system of metaphysics as a sort of screen between himself and
his obligations either to himself or others. Mrs. Barbauld suspected
that Coleridge’s philosophy was only a mask for indolence. Carlyle’s
phrase for Coleridge was even harsher: “putrescent indolence,” a phrase
that might be applied with more justice perhaps to Rousseau. One may
learn from Rousseau the art of sinking to the region of instinct that
is below the rational level instead of struggling forward to the
region of insight that is above it, and at the same time passing for a
sublime enthusiast; the art of looking backwards and downwards, and at
the same time enjoying the honor that belongs only to those who look
forwards and up. We need not wonder at the warm welcome that this new
art received. I have said that that man has always been accounted a
benefactor who has substituted for the reality of spiritual discipline
some ingenious art of going through the motions and that the decorum of
the neo-classical period had largely sunk to this level. Even in the
most decorous of modern ages, that of Louis XIV, it was very common, as
every student of the period knows, for men to set up as personages in
the grand manner and at the same time behind the façade of conventional
dignity to let their appetites run riot. It would have been perfectly
legitimate at the end of the eighteenth century to attack in the name
of true decorum a decorum that had become the “varnish of vice” and
“mask of hypocrisy.” What Rousseau actually opposed to pseudo-decorum
was perhaps the most alluring form of sham spirituality that the
world has ever seen--a method not merely of masking but of glorifying
one’s spiritual indolence. “You wish to have the pleasures of vice
and the honor of virtue,” wrote Julie to Saint-Preux in a moment of
unusual candor. The Rousseauist may indulge in the extreme of psychic
unrestraint and at the same time pose as a perfect idealist or even, if
one is a Chateaubriand, as a champion of religion. Chateaubriand’s life
according to Lemaître was a “magnificent series of attitudes.”

I do not mean to assert that the Rousseauist is always guilty of the
pose and theatricality of which there is more than a suggestion in
Chateaubriand. There is, however, much in the Rousseauistic view of
life that militates against a complete moral honesty. “Of all the men I
have known,” says Rousseau, “he whose character derives most completely
from his temperament alone is Jean-Jacques.”[100] The ugly things that
have a way of happening when impulse is thus left uncontrolled do
not, as we have seen, disturb the beautiful soul in his complacency.
He can always point an accusing finger at something or somebody else.
The faith in one’s natural goodness is a constant encouragement to
evade moral responsibility. To accept responsibility is to follow the
line of maximum effort, whereas man’s secret desire is to follow, if
not the line of least, at all events the line of lesser resistance.
The endless twisting and dodging and proneness to look for scapegoats
that results is surely the least reputable aspect of human nature.
Rousseau writes to Madame de Francueil (20 April, 1751) that it was
her class, the class of the rich, that was responsible for his having
had to abandon his children. With responsibility thus shifted from
one’s self to the rich, the next step is inevitable, namely to start a
crusade against the members of a class which, without any warrant from
“Nature,” oppresses its brothers, the members of other classes, and
forces them into transgression. A man may thus dodge his duties as a
father, and at the same time pose as a paladin of humanity. Rousseau is
very close here to our most recent agitators. If a working girl falls
from chastity, for example, do not blame her, blame her employer. She
would have remained a model of purity if he had only added a dollar or
two a week to her wage. With the progress of the new morality every
one has become familiar with the type of the perfect idealist who is
ready to pass laws for the regulation of everybody and everything
except himself, and who knows how to envelop in a mist of radiant words
schemes the true driving power of which is the desire to confiscate

The tendency to make of society the universal scapegoat is not, one
scarcely needs add, to be ascribed entirely to the romantic moralist.
It is only one aspect of the denial of the human law, of the assumption
that because man is partly subject to the natural law he is entirely
subject to it; and in this dehumanizing of man the rationalist has
been at least as guilty as the emotionalist. If the Rousseauist hopes
to find a substitute for all the restraining virtues in sympathy, the
rationalistic naturalist, who is as a rule utilitarian with a greater
or smaller dash of pseudo-science, hopes to find a substitute for these
same virtues in some form of machinery. The legislative mill to which
our “uplifters” are so ready to resort, is a familiar example. If our
modern society continues to listen to those who are seeking to persuade
it that it is possible to find mechanical or emotional equivalents for
self-control, it is likely, as Rousseau said of himself, to show a
“great tendency to degenerate.”

The fact on which the moral positivist would rest his effort to
rehabilitate self-control is, as I have said, the presence in man of
a restraining, informing and centralizing power that is anterior to
both intellect and emotion. Such a power, it must be freely granted, is
not present equally in all persons; in some it seems scarcely to exist
at all. When released from outer control, they are simply unchained
temperaments; whereas in others this superrational perception seems to
be singularly vivid and distinct. This is the psychological fact that
underlies what the theologian would term the mystery of grace.

Rousseau himself was not quite so temperamental as might be inferred
from what has been said about his evasion of ethical effort. There were
moments when the dualism of the spirit came home to him, moments when
he perceived that the conscience is not itself an expansive emotion
but rather a judgment and a check upon expansive emotion. Yet his
general readiness to subordinate his ethical self to his sensibility is
indubitable. Hence the absence in his personality and writing of the
note of masculinity. There is indeed much in his make-up that reminds
one less of a man than of a high-strung impressionable woman. Woman,
most observers would agree, is more natural in Rousseau’s sense, that
is, more temperamental, than man. One should indeed always temper
these perilous comparisons of the sexes with the remark of La Fontaine
that in this matter he knew a great many men who were women. Now to be
temperamental is to be extreme, and it is in this sense perhaps that
the female of the species may be said to be “fiercer than the male.”
Rousseau’s failure to find “any intermediary term between everything
and nothing” would seem to be a feminine rather than a masculine
trait. Decorum in the case of women, even more perhaps than in the
case of men, tends to be a mere conformity to what is established
rather than the immediate perception of a law of measure and proportion
that sets bounds to the expansive desires. “Women believe innocent
everything that they dare,” says Joubert, whom no one will accuse of
being a misogynist. Those who are thus temperamental have more need
than others of outer guidance. “His feminine nature,” says C. E. Norton
of Ruskin, “needed support such as it never got.”[101]

If women are more temperamental than men it is only fair to add that
they have a greater fineness of temperament. Women, says Joubert again,
are richer in native virtues, men in acquired virtues. At times when
men are slack in acquiring virtues in the truly ethical sense--and
some might maintain that the present is such a time--the women may
be not only men’s equals but their superiors. Rousseau had this
feminine fineness of temperament. He speaks rightly of his “exquisite
faculties.” He also had no inconsiderable amount of feminine charm. The
numerous members of the French aristocracy whom he fascinated may be
accepted as competent witnesses on this point. The mingling of sense
and spirit that pervades Rousseau, his pseudo-Platonism as I have
called it elsewhere, is also a feminine rather than a masculine trait.

There is likewise something feminine in Rousseau’s preference for
illusion. Illusion is the element in which woman even more than man
would seem to live and move and have her being. It is feminine and
also romantic to prefer to a world of sharp definition a world of magic
and suggestiveness. W. Bagehot (it will be observed that in discussing
this delicate topic I am prone to take refuge behind authorities)
attributes the triumph of an art of shifting illusion over an art
of clear and firm outlines to the growing influence of women.[102]
Woman’s being is to that of man, we are told, as is moonlight unto
sunlight--and the moon is the romantic orb. The whole of German romance
in particular is bathed in moonshine.[103]

The objection of the classicist to the so-called enlightenment of the
eighteenth century is that it did not have in it sufficient light. The
primitivists on the contrary felt that it had too much light--that the
light needed to be tempered by darkness. Even the moon is too effulgent
for the author of “Hymns to the Night.” No movement has ever avowed
more openly its partiality for the dim and the crepuscular. The German
romanticists have been termed “twilight men.” What many of them admire
in woman as in children and plants, is her unconsciousness and freedom
from analysis--an admiration that is also a tribute in its way to the
“night side” of nature.[104]

Discussions of the kind in which I have been indulging regarding the
unlikeness of woman and man are very dreary unless one puts at least
equal emphasis on their fundamental likeness. Woman, before being
woman, is a human being and so subject to the same law as man. So far
as men and women both take on the yoke of this law, they move towards
a common centre. So far as they throw it off and live temperamentally,
there tends to arise the most odious of all forms of warfare--that
between the sexes. The dictates of the human law are only too likely
to yield in the case of both men and women to the rush of outer
impressions and the tumult of the desires within. This is what La
Rochefoucauld means when he says that “the head is always the dupe of
the heart.” Nevertheless feeling is even more likely to prevail over
judgment in woman than it is in man. To be judicial indeed to the
point of hardness and sternness has always been held to be unfeminine.
It is almost woman’s prerogative to err on the side of sympathy.
But even woman cannot be allowed to substitute sympathy for true
conscience--that is for the principle of control. In basing conduct
on feeling Rousseau may be said to have founded a new sophistry.
The ancient sophist at least made man the measure of all things. By
subordinating judgment to sensibility Rousseau may be said to have made
woman the measure of all things.

The affirmation of a human law must ultimately rest on the perception
of a something that is set above the flux upon which the flux itself
depends--on what Aristotle terms an unmoved mover. Otherwise conscience
becomes a part of the very flux and element of change it is supposed
to control. In proportion as he escapes from outer control man must
be conscious of some such unmoved mover if he is to oppose a definite
aim or purpose to the indefinite expansion of his desires. Having some
such firm centre he may hope to carry through to a fortunate conclusion
the “civil war in the cave.” He may, as the wise are wont to express
it, build himself an island in the midst of the flood. The romantic
moralist, on the other hand, instead of building himself an island is
simply drifting with the stream. For feeling not only shifts from man
to man, it is continually shifting in the same man; so that morality
becomes a matter of mood, and romanticism here as elsewhere might be
defined as the despotism of mood. At the time of doing anything, says
Mrs. Shelley, Shelley deemed himself right; and Rousseau says that
in the act of abandoning his own children he felt “like a member of
Plato’s republic.”

The man who makes self-expression and not self-control his primary
endeavor becomes subject to every influence, “the very slave of
circumstance and impulse borne by every breath.”[105] This is what it
means in practice no longer to keep a firm hand on the rudder of one’s
personality, but to turn one’s self over to “nature.” The partisan
of expression becomes the thrall of his impressions so that the whole
Rousseauistic conception may be termed indifferently impressionistic or
expressionistic. For the beautiful soul in order to express himself has
to indulge his emotions instead of hardening and bracing them against
the shock of circumstance. The very refinement of sensibility which
constitutes in his own eyes his superiority to the philistine makes him
quiver responsive to every outer influence; he finally becomes subject
to changes in the weather, or in Rousseau’s own phrase, the “vile
plaything of the atmosphere and seasons.”

This rapid shifting of mood in the romanticist, in response to
inner impulse or outer impression, is almost too familiar to need
illustration. Here is an example that may serve for a thousand from
that life-long devotee of the great god Whim--Hector Berlioz. When at
Florence, Berlioz relates in his Memoirs, he received a letter from
the mother of Camille, the woman he loved, informing him of Camille’s
marriage to another. “In two minutes my plans were laid. I must hurry
to Paris to kill two guilty women and one innocent man; for, this act
of justice done, I too must die.” Accordingly he loads his pistols,
supplies himself with a disguise as a lady’s maid, so as to be able
to penetrate into the guilty household, and puts into his pockets
“two little bottles, one of strychnine, the other of laudanum.”
While awaiting the departure of the diligence he “rages up and down
the streets of Florence like a mad dog.” Later, as the diligence is
traversing a wild mountain road, he suddenly lets out a “‘Ha’! so
hoarse, so savage, so diabolic that the startled driver bounded aside
as if he had indeed a demon for his fellow-traveller.” But on reaching
Nice he is so enchanted by the climate and environment that he not
only forgets his errand, but spends there “the twenty happiest days” of
his life! There are times, one must admit, when it is an advantage to
be temperamental.

In this exaltation of environmental influences one should note
again the coöperation of Rousseauist and Baconian, of emotional and
scientific naturalist. Both are prone to look upon man as being made by
natural forces and not as making himself. To deal with the substitutes
that Rousseauist and Baconian have proposed for traditional morality,
is in fact to make a study of the varieties--and they are numerous--of
naturalistic fatalism. The upshot of the whole movement is to discredit
moral effort on the part of the individual. Why should a man believe
in the efficacy of this effort, why should he struggle to acquire
character if he is convinced that he is being moulded like putty by
influences beyond his control--the influence of climate, for example?
Both science and romanticism have vied with one another in making of
man a mere stop on which Nature may play what tune she will. The Æolian
harp enjoyed an extraordinary popularity as a romantic symbol. The man
of science for his part is ready to draw up statistical tables showing
what season of the year is most productive of suicide and what type of
weather impels bank-cashiers most irresistibly to embezzlement. A man
on a mountain top, according to Rousseau, enjoys not only physical but
spiritual elevation, and when he descends to the plain the altitude
of his mind declines with that of his body. Ruskin’s soul, says C. E.
Norton, “was like an Æolian harp, its strings quivering musically in
serene days under the touch of the soft air, but as the clouds gathered
and the winds arose, vibrating in the blast with a tension that might
break the sounding board itself.” It is not surprising Ruskin makes
other men as subject to “skyey influences” as himself. “The mountains
of the earth are,” he says, “its natural cathedrals. True religion can
scarcely be achieved away from them. The curate or hermit of the field
and fen, however simple his life or painful his lodging, does not often
attain the spirit of the hill pastor or recluse: we may find in him a
decent virtue or a contented ignorance, rarely the _prophetic vision or
the martyr’s passion_.” The corruptions of Romanism “are traceable for
the most part to lowland prelacy.”[106]

Is then the Rousseauist totally unable to regulate his impressions?
It is plain that he cannot control them from within because the whole
idea of a vital control of this kind is, as we have seen, foreign to
the psychology of the beautiful soul. Yet it is, according to Rousseau,
possible to base morality on the senses--on outer perception that
is--and at the same time get the equivalent of a free-will based on
inner perception. He was so much interested in this subject that he
had planned to devote to it a whole treatise to be entitled “Sensitive
morality or the materialism of the sage.” A man cannot resist an outer
impression but he may at least get out of its way and put himself in
the way of another impression that will impel him to the desired course
of conduct. “The soul may then be put or maintained in the state most
favorable to virtue.” “Climates, seasons, sounds, colors, darkness,
light, the elements, food, noise, silence, movement, rest, everything,
acts on our physical frame.” By a proper adjustment of all these outer
elements we may govern in their origins the feelings by which we allow
ourselves to be dominated.[107]

Rousseau’s ideas about sensitive morality are at once highly chimerical
and highly significant. Here as elsewhere one may say with Amiel
that nothing of Rousseau has been lost. His point of view has an
inner kinship with that of the man of science who asserts that man is
necessarily the product of natural forces, but that one may at least
modify the natural forces. For example, moral effort on the part of
the individual cannot overcome heredity. It is possible, however, by
schemes of eugenics to regulate heredity. The uneasy burden of moral
responsibility is thus lifted from the individual, and the moralist
in the old-fashioned sense is invited to abdicate in favor of the
biologist. It would be easy enough to trace similar assumptions in the
various forms of socialism and other “isms” almost innumerable of the
present hour.

Perhaps the problem to which I have already alluded may as well be
faced here. How does it happen that Rousseau who attacked both science
and literature as the chief sources of human degeneracy should be an
arch-æsthete, the authentic ancestor of the school of art for art’s
sake and at the same time by his sensitive (or æsthetic) morality play
into the hands of the scientific determinist? If one is to enter deeply
into the modern movement one needs to consider both wherein scientific
and emotional naturalists clash and wherein they agree. The two types
of naturalists agree in their virtual denial of a superrational realm.
They clash above all in their attitude towards what is on the rational
level. The scientific naturalist is assiduously analytical. Rousseau,
on the other hand, or rather one whole side of Rousseau, is hostile
to analysis. The arts and sciences are attacked because they are the
product of reflection. “The man who reflects is a depraved animal,”
because he has fallen away from the primitive spontaneous unity of
his being. Rousseau is the first of the great anti-intellectualists.
By assailing both rationalism and pseudo-classic decorum in the name
of instinct and emotion he appealed to men’s longing to get away
from the secondary and the derivative to the immediate. True decorum
satisfies the craving for immediacy because it contains within itself
an element of superrational perception. The “reason” of a Plato or an
Aristotle also satisfies the craving for immediacy because it likewise
contains within itself an element of superrational perception. A reason
or a decorum of this kind ministers to another deep need of human
nature--the need to lose itself in a larger whole. Once eliminate the
superrational perception and reason sinks to the level of rationalism,
consciousness becomes mere self-consciousness. It is difficult, as
St. Evremond said, for man to remain in the long run in this doubtful
middle state. Having lost the unity of insight, he will long for the
unity of instinct. Hence the paradox that this most self-conscious
of all movements is filled with the praise of the unconscious. It
abounds in persons who, like Walt Whitman, would turn and live with the
animals, or who, like Novalis, would fain strike root into the earth
with the plant. Animals[108] and plants are not engaged in any moral
struggle, they are not inwardly divided against themselves.

Here is the source of the opposition between the abstract and
analytical head, deadly to the sense of unity, and the warm immediate
heart that unifies life with the aid of the imagination--an opposition
that assumes so many forms from Rousseau to Bergson. The Rousseauist
always betrays himself by arraigning in some form or other, “the false
secondary power by which we multiply distinctions.” One should indeed
remember that there were obscurantists before Rousseau. Pascal also
arrays the heart against the head; but his heart is at the farthest
remove from that of Rousseau; it stands for a superrational perception.
Christians like Pascal may indulge with comparative impunity in a
certain amount of obscurantism. For they have submitted to a tradition
that supplies them with distinctions between good and evil and at the
same time controls their imagination. But for the individualist who
has broken with tradition to deny his head in the name of his heart is
a deadly peril. He above all persons should insist that the power by
which we multiply distinctions, though secondary, is not false--that
the intellect, of however little avail in itself, is invaluable when
working in coöperation with the imagination in the service of either
inner or outer perception. It is only through the analytical head and
its keen discriminations that the individualist can determine whether
the unity and infinitude towards which his imagination is reaching (and
it is only through the imagination that one can have the sense of unity
and infinitude) is real or merely chimerical. Need I add that in making
these distinctions between imagination, intellect, feeling, etc.,
I am not attempting to divide man up into more or less watertight
compartments, into hard and fast “faculties,” but merely to express,
however imperfectly, certain obscure and profound facts of experience?

The varieties of what one may term the rationalistic error, of the
endeavor of the intellect to emancipate itself from perception and
set up as an independent power, are numerous. The variety that was
perhaps formerly most familiar was that of the theologian who sought
to formulate intellectually what must ever transcend formulation. The
forms of the rationalistic error that concern our present subject can
be traced back for the most part to Descartes, the father of modern
philosophy, and are indeed implicit in his famous identification
of thought and being (_Je pense, donc je suis_). The dogmatic and
arrogant rationalism that denies both what is above and what is below
itself, both the realm of awe and the realm of wonder, which prevailed
among the Cartesians of the Enlightenment, combined, as I have said,
with pseudo-classic decorum to produce that sense of confinement and
smugness against which the original genius protested. Man will always
crave a view of life to which perception lends immediacy and the
imagination infinitude. A view of life like that of the eighteenth
century that reduces unduly the rôle of both imagination and perception
will always seem to him unvital and mechanical. “The Bounded,” says
Blake, “is loathed by its possessor. The same dull round even of a
Universe would soon become a Mill with complicated wheels.”

The mechanizing of life against which the romanticist protested may
as I said be largely associated with the influence of Descartes. It
is not however the whole truth about Descartes to say that he forgot
the purely instrumental rôle of the intellect and encouraged it to
set up as an independent power. As a matter of fact he also used the
intellect as an instrument in the service of outer perception. Taking
as his point of departure the precise observations that science was
accumulating, he sought to formulate mathematically the natural law.
Now the more one reduces nature to a problem of space and movement,
the more one is enabled to measure nature; and the method of exact
measurement may be justified, if not on metaphysical, at least on
practical grounds. It helps one, if not to understand natural forces,
at least to control them. It thereby increases man’s power and
ministers to utility. In a word, the intellect when thus pressed into
the service of outer perception makes for material efficiency. In a
sense science becomes scientific only in proportion as it neglects
the qualitative differences between phenomena, e.g. between light and
sound, and treats them solely from the point of view of quantity. But
the penalty that science pays for this quantitative method is a heavy
one. The farther it gets away from the warm immediacy of perception
the less real it becomes; for that only is real to a man that he
immediately perceives. Perfectly pure science tends to become a series
of abstract mathematical formulæ without any real content. By his
resort to such a method, the man of science is in constant danger of
becoming a mere rationalist. At bottom he is ignorant of the reality
that lies behind natural phenomena; he must even be ignorant of it,
for it lays hold upon the infinite, and so must elude a finite being
like man. But the desire to conceal his own ignorance from himself and
others, the secret push for power and prestige that lies deep down in
the breast of the man of science as in that of every other man, impels
him to attach an independent value to the operations of the intellect
that have only an instrumental value in the service of outer perception
and to conceive that he has locked up physical nature in his formulæ.
The man of science thus falls victim to a special form of metaphysical
illusion. The gravity of the error of the scientific intellectualist is
multiplied tenfold when he conceives that his formulæ cover not merely
the natural law but the human law as well, when he strives, like Taine,
to convert man himself into a “walking theorem,” a “living geometry.”
This denial of every form of spontaneity was rightly felt by the
romanticists to be intolerable.

Goethe contrasts the smug satisfaction of Wagner in his dead formulæ
that give only what is external and secondary, with Faust’s fierce
craving for immediacy and therefore his impatience with an analysis
that gives only the dry bones from which the vital breath has departed.
Wagner is a philistine because he is not tormented by the thirst for
the infinite. Faust, on the other hand, reaches out beyond the mere
intellect towards the spirit that is behind the shows of nature, but
this spirit appears to him and reduces him to despair by declaring that
he is trying to grasp something that is not only infinite but alien to
him. Instead of turning from this alien spirit to the spirit that is
relevant to man, a spirit that sets bounds to every inordinate craving,
including the inordinate craving for knowledge (_libido sciendi_),
Faust gives himself to the devil in what was, in the time of the
youthful Goethe, the newest fashion: he becomes a Rousseauist. Instead
of striking into the ascending path of insight, he descends to the
level of impulse. Seen from this level the power by which we multiply
distinctions seems to him, as it was to seem later to Wordsworth, not
merely secondary but false, and so definition yields to indiscriminate
feeling (_Gefühl ist alles_). In general the Rousseauistic reply to the
Cartesian attempt to identify thought and being is the identification
of being with emotion (_je sens donc je suis_).

The Mephistopheles of Goethe has often been taken as a symbol of
the iconoclastic and Voltairian side of the eighteenth century. The
rationalists assailed the traditional forms that imply a superrational
realm as mere “prejudice,” and, failing to find in insight a substitute
for these discarded forms, they succumbed in turn to the emotionalists.
A “reason” that is not grounded in insight will always seem to men
intolerably cold and negative and will prove unable to withstand the
assault of the primary passions. The reason of a Plato or an Aristotle
is on a different footing altogether because, as I have said, it
includes an element of inner perception. One may note here that the
difficulties of the present subject arise in no small degree from the
ambiguities that cluster about the word reason. It may not only mean
the imaginative insight[109] of a Plato and the abstract reasoning
of a Descartes but is often employed by the classicist himself as
a synonym of good sense. Good sense may be defined as a correct
perception of the ordinary facts of life and of their relation to one
another. It may be of very many grades, corresponding to the infinite
diversity of the facts to be perceived. A man may evidently have good
sense in dealing with one order of facts, and quite lack it in dealing
with some different order of facts. As the result of long observation
and experience of a multitude of minute relationships, of the facts
that ordinarily follow one another or coexist in some particular field,
a man’s knowledge of this field becomes at last, as it were, automatic
and unconscious. A sea captain for example acquires at last an
intuitive knowledge of the weather, the broker, an intuitive knowledge
of stocks. The good sense or practical judgment of the sea captain in
his particular calling and of the broker in his is likely to be greater
than that of less experienced persons. One cannot, however, assert that
a man’s good sense is always in strict ratio to his experience. Some
persons seem to have an innate gift for seeing things as they are,
others a gift equally innate for seeing things as they are not.

Again the field in which one displays one’s good sense or practical
judgment may fall primarily under either the human law or the natural
law, may belong in Aristotelian phrase to the domain either of the
probable or of the necessary. To take a homely illustration, a
man is free to choose the temperature of his bath, but only within
the limits of natural necessity--in this case the temperature at
which water freezes and that at which water boils. He will show his
practical judgment by choosing water that is neither too hot nor too
cold and this so far as he is concerned will be the golden mean. Here
as elsewhere the golden mean is nothing mechanical, but may vary
not only from individual to individual but in the same individual
according to his age, the state of his health, etc. In determining what
conforms to the golden mean or law of measure there must always be a
mediation between the particular instance and the general principle,
and it is here that intuition is indispensable. But even so there is
a centre of normal human experience, and the person who is too far
removed from it ceases to be probable. Aged persons may exist who find
bathing in ice-water beneficial, but they are not representative.
Now creative art, in distinct ratio to its dignity, deals not with
what may happen in isolated cases but with what happens according to
probability or necessity. It is this preoccupation with the universal
that as Aristotle says makes poetry a more serious and philosophical
thing than history. There enters indeed into true art an element of
vital novelty and surprise. But the more cultivated the audience to
which the creator addresses himself the more will it insist that the
surprise be not won at the expense of motivation. It will demand that
characters and incidents be not freakish, not too remote from the
facts that normally follow one another or coexist, whether in nature
or human nature. One needs, in short, to deal with both art and life
from some ethical centre. The centre with reference to which one has
good sense may be only the ethos of one’s time and country, but if
one’s good sense has, as in the case of the great poets, the support
of the imagination, it may pass beyond to something more abiding. “Of
Pope’s intellectual character,” says Dr. Johnson, “the constituent and
fundamental principle was good sense, a prompt and intuitive perception
of consonance and propriety. He saw immediately of his own conceptions
what was to be chosen, and what to be rejected.” One may grant all this
and at the same time feel the difference between the “reason” of a Pope
and the reason of a Sophocles.

Good sense of the kind Dr. Johnson describes and decorum are not
strictly speaking synonymous. To be decorous not only must one have
a correct perception of what to do, but one must actually be able to
do it; and this often requires a long and difficult training. We have
seen that Rousseau’s spite against eighteenth-century Paris was largely
due to the fact that he had not acquired young enough the habits that
would have made it possible for him to conform to its convention.
“I affected,” says Rousseau with singular candor, “to despise the
politeness I did not know how to practice.” As a matter of fact he had
never adjusted himself to the decorum and good sense of any community.
His attitude towards life was fundamentally Bohemian. But a person who
was sensible and decorous according to the standards of some other
country might have emphasized the differences between his good sense
and decorum and the good sense and decorum of eighteenth-century Paris.
The opponents of the traditional order in the eighteenth century
were fond of introducing some Persian or Chinese to whom this order
seemed no true order at all but only “prejudice” or “abuse.” The
conclusion would seem to be that because the good sense and decorum
of one time and country do not coincide exactly with those of another
time and country, therefore good sense and decorum themselves have
in them no universal element, and are entirely implicated in the
shifting circumstances of time and place. But behind the ethos of
any particular country, that of Greece, for instance, there are, as
Antigone perceived, the “unwritten laws of heaven,” and something of
this permanent order is sure to shine through even the most imperfect
convention. Though no convention is final, though man and all he
establishes are subject to the law of change, it is therefore an
infinitely delicate and perilous task to break with convention. One
can make this break only in favor of insight; which is much as if one
should say that the only thing that may safely be opposed to common
sense is a commoner sense, or if one prefers, a common sense that is
becoming more and more imaginative. Even so, the wiser the man, one
may surmise, the less likely he will be to indulge in a violent and
theatrical rupture with his age, after the fashion of Rousseau. He will
like Socrates remember the counsel of the Delphian oracle to follow
the “usage of the city,”[110] and while striving to gain a firmer hold
upon the human law and to impose a more strenuous discipline upon his
ordinary self, he will so far as possible conform to what he finds
established. A student of the past cannot help being struck by the fact
that men are found scattered through different times and countries and
living under very different conventions who are nevertheless in virtue
of their insight plainly moving towards a common centre. So much so
that the best books of the world seem to have been written, as Emerson
puts it, by one all-wise, all-seeing gentleman. A curious circumstance
is that the writers who are most universal in virtue of their
imaginative reason or inspired good sense, are likewise as a rule the
writers who realized most intensely the life of their own age. No other
Spanish writer, for example, has so much human appeal as Cervantes,
and at the same time no other brings us so close to the heart of
sixteenth-century Spain. In the writings attributed to Confucius one
encounters, mixed up with much that is almost inconceivably remote from
us, maxims that have not lost their validity to-day; maxims that are
sure to be reaffirmed wherever and whenever men attain to the level of
humanistic insight. In the oldest Buddhist documents again one finds
along with a great deal that is very expressive of ancient India, and
thus quite foreign to our idiosyncrasy, a good sense which is even more
imaginative and inspired, and therefore more universal, than that of
Confucius, and which is manifested, moreover, on the religious rather
than on the humanistic level. We are dealing here with indubitable
facts, and should plant ourselves firmly upon them as against those who
would exaggerate either the constant or the variable elements in human

Enough has been said to show the ambiguities involved in the word
reason. Reason may mean the abstract and geometrical reason of a
Descartes, it may mean simply good sense, which may itself exist in
very many grades ranging from an intuitive mastery of some particular
field to the intuitive mastery of the ethos of a whole age, like the
reason of a Pope. Finally reason may be imaginative and be thereby
enabled to go beyond the convention of a particular time and country,
and lay hold in varying degrees on “the unwritten laws of heaven.” I
have already traced in some measure the process by which reason in
the eighteenth century had come to mean abstract and geometrical (or
as one may say Cartesian) reason or else unimaginative good sense.
Cartesian reason was on the one hand being pressed into the service
of science and its special order of perceptions; on the other hand it
was being used frequently in coöperation with an unimaginative good
sense to attack the traditional forms that imply a realm of insight
which is above both abstract reason and ordinary good sense. Men were
emboldened to use reason in this way because they were flushed not
only by the increasing mastery of man over nature through science,
but by the positive and anti-traditional method through which this
mastery had been won. Both those who proclaimed and those who denied a
superrational realm were at least agreed in holding that the faith in
any such realm was inseparable from certain traditional forms. Pascal,
for example, held not only that insight in religion is annexed to
the acceptance of certain dogmas--and this offended the new critical
spirit--but furthermore that insight could exist even in the orthodox
only by a special divine gift or grace, and this offended man’s
reviving confidence in himself. People were ready to applaud when a
Voltaire declared it was time to “take the side of human nature against
this sublime misanthropist.” The insight into the law of decorum on
which classicism must ultimately rest was in much the same way held
to be inseparable from the Græco-Roman tradition; and so the nature
of classical insight as a thing apart from any tradition tended to
be obscured in the endless bickerings of ancients and moderns. The
classical traditionalists, however, were less prone than the Christian
traditionalists (Jansenists, Jesuits and Protestants) to weaken their
cause still further by wrangling among themselves.

Inasmuch as both Christians and humanists failed to plant themselves
on the fact of insight, the insight came more and more to be
rejected along with the special forms from which it was deemed to be
inseparable. As a result of this rejection “reason” was left to cope
unaided with man’s impulses and expansive desires. Now Pascal saw
rightly that the balance of power in such a conflict between reason
and impulse was held by the imagination, and that if reason lacked
the support of insight the imagination would side with the expansive
desires and reason would succumb. Moreover the superrational insight,
or “heart” as Pascal calls it, that can alone keep man from being
thus overwhelmed, comes, as he holds, not through reason but through
grace and is at times actually opposed to reason. (“The heart,” he
says, “has reasons of which the reason knows nothing.”) Instead of
protesting against the asceticism of this view as the true positivist
would do, instead of insisting that reason and imagination may pull
together harmoniously in the service of insight, the romantic moralist
opposed to the superrational “heart” of the austere Christian a
subrational “heart,” and this involved an attempt to base morality
on the very element in human nature it is designed to restrain. The
positivist will plant himself first of all on the fact of insight and
will define it as the immediate perception of a something anterior
to both thought and feeling, that is known practically as a power of
control over both. The beautiful soul, as we have seen, has no place
for any such power in his scheme of things, but hopes to satisfy all
ethical elements simply by letting himself go. Rousseau (following
Shaftesbury and Hutcheson) transforms conscience itself from an inner
check into an expansive emotion. While thus corrupting conscience
in its very essence he does not deny conscience. On the contrary he
grows positively rhapsodic over conscience and other similar words.
“Rousseau took wisdom from men’s souls,” says Joubert, “by talking to
them of virtue.” In short, Rousseau displays the usual dexterity of the
sophist in juggling with ill-defined general terms. If one calls for
sharp definition one is at once dismissed as a mere rationalist who
is retreating into a false secondary power from a warm immediacy. The
traditional distinctions regarding good and bad were thus discarded
at the same time that discredit was cast on the keen analysis with
which it would have been possible to build up new distinctions--all
in favor of an indiscriminate emotionalism. This discomfiture of both
tradition and analysis in the field of the human law would not have
been so easy if at the same time man’s active attention and effort had
not been concentrated more and more on the field of the natural law.
In that field imagination and the analytical intellect were actually
pulling together in the service of perception with the result that man
was constantly gaining in power and utility. Emotional romanticists and
scientific utilitarians have thus, in spite of their surface clashes,
cooperated during the past century in the dehumanizing of man.

It is not enough to say of the representatives of both sides of this
great naturalistic movement that they eliminate the veto power from
human nature while continuing to use the old words, like virtue and
conscience, that imply a veto power. We have seen that they actually
attack the veto power as synonymous with evil. The devil is conceived
as the spirit that always says no. A purely affirmative morality
is almost necessarily an emotional morality. If there is no region
of insight above the reason which is felt by the natural man as an
element of vital control, and if cold reason, reason unsupported by
insight, never has done anything illustrious, as Rousseau truly says,
it follows that the only way to put driving power behind reason is to
turn virtue into a passion,--a passion that differs from other passions
merely in its greater imperiousness. For the beautiful soul virtue,
as we have seen in the case of Robespierre, is not only a tender,
imperious and voluptuous passion but even an intoxication. “I was,
if not virtuous,” says Rousseau, “at least intoxicated with virtue.”
In its extreme manifestations romantic morality is indeed only one
aspect, and surely the most singular aspect, of the romantic cult of
intoxication. No student of romanticism can fail to be struck by its
pursuit of delirium, vertigo and intoxication for their own sake. It
is important to see how all these things are closely related to one
another and how they all derive from the attempt to put life on an
emotional basis. To rest conscience, for example, on emotion is to rest
it on what is always changing, not only from man to man but from moment
to moment in the same man. “If,” as Shelley says, “nought is, but that
it feels itself to be,” it will feel itself to be very different things
at different times. No part of man is exempt from the region of flux
and change. There is, as James himself points out, a kinship between
such a philosophy of pure motion and vertigo. Faust after all is only
consistent when having identified the spirit that says no, which is
the true voice of conscience, with the devil, he proceeds to dedicate
himself to vertigo (_dem Taumel weih’ ich mich_). Rousseau also, as
readers of the “Confessions” will remember, deliberately courted
giddiness by gazing down on a waterfall from the brink of a precipice
(making sure first that the railing on which he leaned was good and
strong). This naturalistic dizziness became epidemic among the Greeks
at the critical moment of their break with traditional standards.
“Whirl is King,” cried Aristophanes, “having driven out Zeus.” The
modern sophist is even more a votary of the god Whirl than the Greek,
for he has added to the mobility of an intellect that has no support in
either tradition or insight the mobility of feeling. Many Rousseauists
were, like Hazlitt, attracted to the French Revolution by its “grand
whirling movements.”

Even more significant than the cult of vertigo is the closely allied
cult of intoxication. “Man being reasonable,” says Byron, with true
Rousseauistic logic, “must therefore get drunk. The best of life is
but intoxication.” The subrational and impulsive self of the man who
has got drunk is not only released from the surveillance of reason
in any sense of the word, but his imagination is at the same tune
set free from the limitations of the real. If many Rousseauists have
been rightly accused of being “lovers of delirium,” that is because
in delirium the fancy is especially free to wander wild in its own
empire of chimeras. To compose a poem, as Coleridge is supposed to have
composed “Kubla Khan,” in an opium dream without any participation of
his rational self is a triumph of romantic art. “I should have taken
more opium when I wrote it,” said Friedrich Schlegel in explanation of
the failure of his play “Alarcos.” What more specially concerns our
present topic is the carrying over of this subrational “enthusiasm”
into the field of ethical values, and this calls for certain careful
distinctions. Genuine religion--whether genuine Christianity or genuine
Buddhism--is plainly unfriendly in the highest degree to every form of
intoxication. Buddhism, for example, not only prohibits the actual use
of intoxicants but it pursues implacably all the subtler intoxications
of the spirit. The attitude of the humanist towards intoxication is
somewhat more complex. He recognizes how deep in man’s nature is the
craving for some blunting of the sharp edge of his consciousness and
at least a partial escape from reason and reality; and so he often
makes a place on the recreative side of life for such moments of escape
even if attained with the aid of wine. _Dulce est desipere in loco._
Pindar, who displays so often in his verse the high seriousness of the
ethical imagination, is simply observing the decorum of the occasion
when he celebrates in a song for the end of a feast “the time when the
wearisome cares of men have vanished from their reasons and on a wide
sea of golden wealth we are all alike voyaging to some visionary shore.
He that is penniless is then rich, and even they that are wealthy find
their hearts expanding, when they are smitten by the arrows of the
vine.” The true Greek, one scarcely needs add, put his final emphasis,
as befitted a child of Apollo, not on intoxication but on the law of
measure and sobriety--on preserving the integrity of his mind, to
render literally the Greek word for the virtue that he perhaps prized
the most.[111] One must indeed remember that alongside the Apollonian
element in Greek life is the orgiastic or Dyonisiac element. But when
Euripides sides imaginatively with the frenzy of Dionysus, as he does
in his “Bacchae,” though ostensibly preaching moderation, we may affirm
that he is falling away from what is best in the spirit of Hellas and
revealing a kinship with the votaries of the god Whirl. The cult of
intoxication has as a matter of fact appeared in all times and places
where men have sought to get the equivalent of religious vision and the
sense of oneness that it brings without rising above the naturalistic
level. True religious vision is a process of concentration, the result
of the imposition of the veto power upon the expansive desires of the
ordinary self. The various naturalistic simulations of this vision
are, on the contrary, expansive, the result of a more or less complete
escape from the veto power, whether won with the aid of intoxicants or
not. The emotional romanticists from Rousseau down have left no doubt
as to the type of vision they represented. Rousseau dilates with a sort
of fellow feeling on the deep potations that went on in the taverns
of patriarchal Geneva.[112] Renan looks with disfavor on those who
are trying to diminish drunkenness among the common people. He merely
asks that this drunkenness “be gentle, amiable, accompanied by moral
sentiments.” Perhaps this side of the movement is best summed up in the
following passage of William James: “The sway of alcohol over mankind
is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties
of human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry
criticisms of the sober hour. Sobriety diminishes, discriminates and
says no; drunkenness expands, unites, and says yes. It is, in fact, the
great exciter of the _Yes_ function in man. It brings its votary from
the chill periphery of things to the radiant core. It makes him for the
moment one with truth.”[113]

The American distiller who named one of his brands “Golden Dream
Whiskey” was evidently too modest. If an adept in the new psychology he
might have set up as a pure idealist, as the opener up of an especially
radiant pathway to the “truth.”

The primitivist then attacks sober discrimination as an obstacle both
to warm immediacy of feeling and to unity. He tends to associate the
emotional unity that he gains through intoxication with the unity of
instinct which he so admires in the world of the subrational. “The
romantic character,” says Ricarda Huch, “is more exposed to waste
itself in debaucheries than any other; for only in intoxication,
whether of love or wine, when the one half of its being, consciousness,
is lulled to sleep, can it enjoy the bliss for which it envies every
beast--the bliss of feeling itself one.”[114] The desires of the
animal, however, work within certain definite limits. They are not,
like those of the primitivist, inordinate, the explanation being that
they are less stimulated than the desires of the primitivist by the
imagination. Even if he gets rid of intellect and moral effort, the
primitivist cannot attain the unity of instinct because he remains too
imaginative; at the same time he proclaims and proclaims rightly that
the imagination is the great unifying power--the power that can alone
save us from viewing things in “disconnection dead and spiritless.”
We should attend carefully at this point for we are coming to the
heart of the great romantic sophism. The Rousseauist does not attain
to the unity of the man whose impulses and desires are controlled and
disciplined to some ethical centre. He does not, in spite of all his
praise of the unconscious and of the “sublime animals,” attain to the
unity of instinct. In what sense then may he be said to attain unity?
The obvious reply is that he attains unity only in dreamland. For
the nature to which he would return, one cannot repeat too often, is
nothing real, but a mere nostalgic straining of the imagination away
from the real. It is only in dreamland that one can rest unity on the
expansive forces of personality that actually divide not only one
individual from another but the same individual from himself. It is
only in dreamland that, in the absence of both inner and outer control,
“all things” will “flow to all, as rivers to the sea.” Such a unity
will be no more than a dream unity, even though one term it the ideal
and sophisticate in its favor all the traditional terms of religion and
morality. A question that forces itself at every stage upon the student
of this movement is: _What is the value of unity without reality?_
For two things are equally indubitable: first, that romanticism on
the philosophical side, is a protest in the name of unity against the
disintegrating analysis of the eighteenth-century rationalist; second,
that what the primitivist wants in exchange for analysis is not reality
but illusion. Rousseau who inclines like other æsthetes to identify the
true with the beautiful was, we are told, wont to exclaim: “There is
nothing beautiful save that which is not”; a saying to be matched with
that of “La Nouvelle Héloïse”: “The land of chimeras is alone worthy
of habitation.” Similar utterances might be multiplied from French,
English, and German romanticists.[115] To be sure, the word “reality”
is perhaps the most slippery of all general terms. Certain recent
votaries of the god Whirl, notably Bergson, have promised us that if
we surrender to the flux we shall have a “vision” not only of unity
but also of reality; and so they have transferred to the cult of their
divinity all the traditional language of religion.

We do not, however, need for the present to enter into a discussion as
to the nature of reality, but simply to stick to strict psychological
observation. From this point of view it is not hard to see that the
primitivist makes his primary appeal not to man’s need for unity and
reality but to a very different need. Byron has told us what this need
is in his tale (“The Island”) of a ship’s crew that overpowered its
officers and then set sail for Otaheite; what impelled these Arcadian
mutineers was not the desire for a genuine return to aboriginal life
with its rigid conventions, but

    The wish--which ages have not yet subdued
    In man--to have no master save his mood.

Now to have no master save one’s mood is to be wholly temperamental.
In Arcadia--the ideal of romantic morality--those who are wholly
temperamental unite in sympathy and brotherly love. It remains to
consider more fully what this triumph of temperament means in the real



The fundamental thing in Rousseauistic morality is not, as we have
seen, the assertion that man is naturally good, but the denial of
the “civil war in the cave.” Though this denial is not complete in
Rousseau himself, nothing is more certain than that his whole tendency
is away from this form of dualism. The beautiful soul does the right
thing not as a result of effort, but spontaneously, unconsciously and
almost inevitably. In fact the beautiful soul can scarcely be said to
be a voluntary agent at all. “Nature” acts in him and for him. This
minimizing of moral struggle and deliberation and choice, this drift
towards a naturalistic fatalism, as it may be termed, is a far more
significant thing in Rousseau than his optimism. One may as a matter
of fact eliminate dualism in favor of nature and at the same time look
on nature as evil. This is precisely what one is likely to do if one
sees no alternative to temperamental living, while judging those who
live temperamentally not by their “ideal,” that is by their feeling of
their own loveliness, but by what they actually do. One will become
a realist in the sense that came to be attached to this word during
the latter part of the nineteenth century. Rousseau himself is often
realistic in this sense when he interrupts his Arcadian visions to
tell us what actually occurred. In the “Confessions,” as I have said,
passages that recall Lamartine alternate with passages that recall
Zola, and the transition from one type of passage to the other is
often disconcertingly sudden. In reading these realistic passages of
Rousseau we are led to reflect that his “nature” is not, in practice,
so remote from Taine’s nature as might at first appear. “What we
call _nature_,” says Taine, “is this brood of secret passions, often
maleficent, generally vulgar, always blind, which tremble and fret
within us, ill-covered by the cloak of decency and reason under which
we try to disguise them; we think we lead them and they lead us; we
think our actions our own, they are theirs.”[116]

The transition from an optimistic to a pessimistic naturalism can be
followed with special clearness in the stages by which the sentimental
drama of the eighteenth century passes over into the realistic drama of
a later period. Petit de Julleville contrasts the beginning and the end
of this development as follows: “[In the eighteenth century] to please
the public you had to say to it: ‘You are all at least at bottom good,
virtuous, full of feeling. Let yourselves go, follow your instincts;
listen to nature and you will do the right thing spontaneously.’ How
changed times are! Nowadays[117] any one who wishes to please, to be
read and petted and admired, to pass for great and become very rich,
should address men as follows: ‘You are a vile pack of rogues, and
profligates, you have neither faith nor law; you are impelled by your
instincts alone and these instincts are ignoble. Do not try though to
mend matters, that would be of no use at all.’”[118]

The connecting link between these different forms of the drama is
naturalistic fatalism, the suppression of moral responsibility for
either man’s goodness or badness. Strictly speaking, the intrusion of
the naturalistic element into the realm of ethical values and the
subversion by it of deliberation and choice and of the normal sequence
of moral cause and effect is felt from the human point of view not as
fate at all, but as chance. Emotional romanticism joins at this point
with other forms of romanticism, which all show a proclivity to prefer
to strict motivation, to probability in the Aristotelian sense, what is
fortuitous and therefore wonderful. This is only another way of saying
that the romanticist is moving away from the genuinely dramatic towards
melodrama. Nothing is easier than to establish the connection between
emotional romanticism and the prodigious efflorescence of melodrama,
the irresponsible quest for thrills, that has marked the past century.
What perhaps distinguishes this movement from any previous one is the
attempt to invest what is at bottom a melodramatic view of life with
philosophic and even religious significance. By suppressing the “civil
war in the cave” one strikes at the very root of true drama. It does
not then much matter from the dramatic point of view whether the burden
of responsibility for good or evil of which you have relieved the
individual is shifted upon “nature” or society. Shelley, for example,
puts the blame for evil on society. “Prometheus Unbound,” in which he
has developed his conception, is, judged as a play, only an ethereal
melodrama. The unaccountable collapse of Zeus, a monster of unalloyed
and unmotivated badness, is followed by the gushing forth in man of
an equally unalloyed and unmotivated goodness. The whole genius of
Hugo, again, as I have said in speaking of his use of antithesis, is
melodramatic. His plays may be described as parvenu melodramas. They
abound in every variety of startling contrast and strange happening,
the whole pressed into the service of “problems” manifold and even of a
philosophy of history. At the same time the poverty of ethical insight
and true dramatic motivation is dissimulated under profuse lyrical
outpourings and purple patches of local color. His Hernani actually
glories in not being a responsible agent, but an “unchained and fatal
force,”[119] and so more capable of striking astonishment into himself
and others. Yet the admirers of Hugo would not only promote him to the
first rank of poets, but would have us share his own belief that he is
a seer and a prophet.

It may be objected that the great dramatists of the past exalt this
power of fate and thus diminish moral responsibility. But the very
sharpest distinction must be drawn between the subrational fate of the
emotional romanticist and the superrational fate of Greek tragedy.
The fate of Æschylean tragedy, for instance, so far from undermining
moral responsibility rather reinforces it. It is felt to be the
revelation of a moral order of which man’s experience at any particular
moment is only an infinitesimal fragment. It does not seem, like the
subrational fate of the emotional romanticist, the intrusion into the
human realm of an alien power whether friendly or unfriendly. This
point might be established by a study of the so-called fate drama in
Germany (_Schicksaltragödie_), which, though blackly pessimistic, is
closely related to the optimistic sentimental drama of the eighteenth
century.[120] The German fate drama is in its essence ignoble because
its characters are specimens of sensitive morality--incapable, that is,
of opposing a firm human purpose to inner impulse or outer impression.
The fate that thus wells up from the depths of nature and overwhelms
their wills is not only malign and ironical, but as Grillparzer says,
makes human deeds seem only “throws of the dice in the blind night of
chance.”[121] It would be easy to follow similar conceptions of fate
down through later literature at least to the novels of Thomas Hardy.

Some of the earlier exponents of the sentimental drama, like Diderot,
were not so certain as one might expect that the discarding of
traditional decorum in favor of “nature” would result practically in a
reign of pure loveliness. At one moment Diderot urges men to get rid
of the civil war in the cave in order that they may be Arcadian, like
the savages of the South Sea, but at other moments--as in “Rameau’s
Nephew”--he shows a somewhat closer grip on the problem of what will
actually come to pass when a man throws off the conventions of a highly
organized civilization and sets out to live temperamentally. Diderot
sees clearly that he will be that least primitive of all beings, the
Bohemian. Rameau’s nephew, in his irresponsibility and emotional
instability, in the kaleidoscopic shiftings of his mood, anticipates
all the romantic Bohemians and persons of “artistic temperament” who
were to afflict the nineteenth century. But he is more than a mere
æsthete. At moments we can discern in him the first lineaments of the
superman, who knows no law save the law of might. One should recollect
that the actual influence of Diderot in France fell in the second
rather than in the first half of the nineteenth century--was upon the
realists rather than upon the romanticists. The same men that had a
cult for Diderot admired the Vautrins and the Rastignacs of Balzac and
the Julien Sorel of Stendhal. These characters are little Napoleons.
They live temperamentally in the midst of a highly organized society,
but they set aside its conventions of right and wrong in favor, not of
æsthetic enjoyment, but of power.

The ideal of romantic morality, as was seen in the last chapter,
is altruism. The real, it should be clear from the examples I have
been citing, is always egoism. But egoism may assume very different
forms. As to the main forms of egoism in men who have repudiated
outer control without acquiring self-control we may perhaps revive
profitably the old Christian classification of the three lusts--the
lust of knowledge, the lust of sensation, and the lust of power.
Goethe indeed may be said to have treated these three main ways of
being temperamental in three of his early characters--the lust of
knowledge in “Faust,” the lust of sensation in “Werther,” and the
lust of power in “Götz.” If we view life solely from the naturalistic
level and concern ourselves solely with the world of action, we are
justified in neglecting, like Hobbes, the other lusts and putting
supreme emphasis on the lust for power.[122] Professor F.J. Mather,
Jr., has distinguished between “hard” and “soft” sentimentalists.[123]
His distinction might perhaps be brought more closely into line with
my own distinctions if I ventured to coin a word and to speak of hard
and soft temperamentalists. The soft temperamentalist will prove unable
to cope in the actual world with the hard temperamentalist, and is
very likely to become his tool. Balzac has very appropriately made
Lucien de Rubempré, the romantic poet and a perfect type of a soft
temperamentalism, the tool of Vautrin, the superman.

Here indeed is the supreme opposition between the ideal and the real
in romantic morality. The ideal to which Rousseau invites us is either
the primitivistic anarchy of the “Second Discourse,” in which egoism is
tempered by “natural pity,” or else a state such as is depicted in the
“Social Contract,” in which egoism is held in check by a disinterested
“general will.” The preliminary to achieving either of these ideals is
that the traditional checks on human nature should be removed. But in
exact proportion as this programme of emancipation is carried out what
emerges in the real world is not the mythical will to brotherhood, but
the ego and its fundamental will to power. Give a bootblack half the
universe, according to Carlyle, and he will soon be quarreling with
the owner of the other half. He will if he is a very temperamental
bootblack. Perhaps indeed all other evils in life may be reduced to the
failure to check that something in man that is reaching out for more
and ever for more. In a society in which the traditional inhibitions
are constantly growing weaker, the conflict I have just sketched
between the ideal and the real is becoming more and more acute. The
soft temperamentalists are overflowing with beautiful professions
of brotherly love, and at the same time the hard temperamentalists
are reaching out for everything in sight; and inasmuch as the hard
temperamentalists operate not in dreamland, but in the real world,
they are only too plainly setting the tone. Very often, of course,
the same temperamentalist has his hard and his soft side. The triumph
of egoism over altruism in the relations between man and man is even
more evident in the relations between nation and nation. The egoism
that results from the inbreeding of temperament on a national scale
runs in the case of the strong nations into imperialism.[124] We have
not reflected sufficiently on the fact that the soft temperamentalist
Rousseau is more than any other one person the father of _Kultur_;[125]
and that the exponents of Kultur in our own day have been revealed as
the hardest of hard temperamentalists.

To understand the particular craving that is met by Rousseauistic
idealism one would need to go with some care into the psychology of
the half-educated man. The half-educated man may be defined as the man
who has acquired a degree of critical self-consciousness sufficient
to detach him from the standards of his time and place, but not
sufficient to acquire the new standards that come with a more thorough
cultivation. It was pointed out long ago that the characteristic of the
half-educated man is that he is incurably restless; that he is filled
with every manner of desire. In contrast with him the uncultivated man,
the peasant, let us say, and the man of high cultivation have few and
simple desires. Thus Socrates had fewer and simpler desires than the
average Athenian. But what is most noteworthy about the half-educated
man is not simply that he harbors many desires and is therefore
incurably restless, but that these desires are so often incompatible.
He craves various good things, but is not willing to pay the price--not
willing to make the necessary renunciations. He pushes to an extreme
what is after all a universal human proclivity--the wish to have one’s
cake and eat it too. Thus, while remaining on the naturalistic level,
he wishes to have blessings that accrue only to those who rise to the
humanistic or religious levels. He wishes to live in “a universe with
the lid off,” to borrow a happy phrase from the pragmatist, and at the
same time to enjoy the peace and brotherhood that are the fruits of
restraint. The moral indolence of the Rousseauist is such that he is
unwilling to adjust himself to the truth of the human law; and though
living naturalistically, he is loath to recognize that what actually
prevails on the naturalistic level is the law of cunning and the law
of force. He thus misses the reality of both the human and the natural
law and in the pursuit of a vague Arcadian longing falls into sheer
unreality. I am indeed overstating the case so far as Rousseau is
concerned. He makes plain in the “Emile” that the true law of nature
is not the law of love but the law of force. Emile is to be released
from the discipline of the human law and given over to the discipline
of nature; and this means in practice that he will have “to bow his
neck beneath the hard yoke of physical necessity.” In so far the
“nature” of Emile is no Arcadian dream. Where the Arcadian dreaming
begins is when Rousseau assumes that an Emile who has learned the
lesson of force from Nature herself, will not pass along this lesson
to others, whether citizens of his own or some other country, but will
rather display in his dealings with them an ideal fraternity. In the
early stages of the naturalistic movement, in Hobbes and Shaftesbury,
for example, egoism and altruism, the idea of power and the idea of
sympathy, are more sharply contrasted than they are in Rousseau and the
later romanticists. Shaftesbury assumes in human nature an altruistic
impulse or will to brotherhood that will be able to cope successfully
with the will to power that Hobbes declares to be fundamental. Many of
the romanticists, as we have seen, combine the cult of power with the
cult of brotherhood. Hercules, as in Shelley’s poem, is to bow down
before Prometheus, the lover of mankind. The extreme example, however,
is probably William Blake. He proclaims himself of the devil’s party,
he glorifies a free expansion of energy, he looks upon everything that
restricts this expansion as synonymous with evil. At the same time he
pushes his exaltation of sympathy to the verge of the grotesque.[126]

Such indeed is the jumble of incompatibles in Blake that he would
rest an illimitable compassion on the psychology of the superman. For
nothing is more certain than that the “Marriage of Heaven and Hell”
is among other things a fairly complete anticipation of Nietzsche.
The reasons are worth considering why the idea of power and the idea
of sympathy which Blake and so many other romanticists hoped to unite
have once more come to seem antipodal, why in the late stages of the
movement one finds a Nietzsche and a Tolstoy, just as in its early
stages one finds a Hobbes and a Shaftesbury. It is plain, first of
all, that what brought the two cults together for a time was their
common hatred of the past. With the triumph over the past fairly
complete, the incompatibility of power and sympathy became increasingly
manifest. Nietzsche’s attitude is that of a Prometheus whose sympathy
for mankind has changed to disgust on seeing the use that they are
actually making of their emancipation. Humanitarian sympathy seemed
to him to be tending not merely to a subversion, but to an inversion
of values, to a positive preference for the trivial and the ignoble.
He looked with special loathing on that side of the movement that is
symbolized in its homage to the ass. The inevitable flying apart of
power and sympathy was further hastened in Nietzsche and others by
the progress of evolution. Darwinism was dissipating the Arcadian
mist through which nature had been viewed by Rousseau and his early
followers. The gap is wide between Tennyson’s nature “red in tooth and
claw” and the tender and pitiful nature of Wordsworth.[127] Nietzsche’s
preaching of ruthlessness is therefore a protest against the sheer
unreality of those who wish to be natural and at the same time
sympathetic. But how are we to get a real scale of values to oppose to
an indiscriminate sympathy? It is here that Nietzsche shows that he
is caught in the same fatal coil of naturalism as the humanitarian.
He accepts the naturalistic corruption of conscience which underlies
all other naturalistic corruptions. “The will to overcome an emotion,”
he says, “is ultimately only the will of another or of several other
emotions.”[128] All he can do with this conception of conscience is
to set over against the humanitarian suppression of values a scale
of values based on force and not a true scale of values based on the
degree to which one imposes or fails to impose on one’s temperamental
self a human law of vital control. The opposition between a Nietzsche
and a Tolstoy is therefore not specially significant; it is only that
between the hard and the soft temperamentalist. To be sure Nietzsche
can on occasion speak very shrewdly about the evils that have resulted
from temperamentalism--especially from the passion for an untrammeled
self-expression. But the superman himself is a most authentic
descendant of the original genius in whom we first saw this passion
dominant. The imagination of the superman, spurning every centre of
control, traditional or otherwise, so coöperates with his impulses
and desires as to give them “infinitude,” that is so as to make
them reach out for more and ever for more. The result is a frenzied

“Proportionateness is strange to us, let us confess it to ourselves,”
says Nietzsche. “Our itching is really the itching for the infinite,
the immeasurable.” How the humanitarian loses proportionateness is
plain; it is by his readiness to sacrifice to sympathy the ninety
per cent or so of the virtues that imply self-control. The superman
would scarcely seem to redress the balance by getting rid of the same
restraining virtues in favor of power. He simply oscillates wildly
from the excess of which he is conscious in others or in himself into
the opposite excess, at imminent peril in either case to the ethical
basis of civilization. The patterns or models that the past had set
up for imitation and with reference to which one might rein in his
lusts and impose upon them proportionateness are rejected by every
type of romantic expansionist, not only as Nietzsche says, because
they do not satisfy the yearning for the infinite, but also, as we
have seen, because they do not satisfy the yearning for unity and
immediacy. Now so far as the forms of the eighteenth century were
concerned the romantic expansionist had legitimate grounds for protest.
But because the rationalism and artificial decorum of that period
failed to satisfy, he goes on to attack the analytical intellect
and decorum in general and this attack is entirely illegitimate. It
may be affirmed on the contrary that the power by which we multiply
distinctions is never so necessary as in an individualistic age, an age
that has broken with tradition on the ground that it wishes to be more
imaginative and immediate. There are various ways of being imaginative
and immediate, and analysis is needed, not to build up some abstract
system but to discriminate between the actual data of experience and
so to determine which one of these ways it is expedient to follow if
one wishes to become wise and happy. It is precisely at such moments
of individualistic break with the past that the sophist stands ready
to juggle with general terms, and the only protection against such
juggling is to define these terms with the aid of the most unflinching
analysis. Thus Bergson would have us believe that there are in France
two main types of philosophy, a rationalistic type that goes back to
Descartes and an intuitive type that goes back to Pascal,[130] and
gives us to understand that, inasmuch as he is an intuitionist, he
is in the line of descent from Pascal. Monstrous sophistries lurk in
this simple assertion, sophistries which if they go uncorrected are
enough to wreck civilization. The only remedy is to define the word
intuition, to discriminate practically and by their fruits between
subrational and superrational intuition. When analyzed and defined in
this way subrational intuition will be found to be associated with
vital impulse (_élan vital_) and superrational intuition with a power
of vital control (_frein vital_) over this impulse; and furthermore
it will be clear that this control must be exercised if men are to
be drawn towards a common centre, not in dreamland, but in the real
world. So far then from its being true that the man who analyzes must
needs see things in disconnection dead and spiritless, it is only by
analysis that he is, in an individualistic age, put on the pathway of
true unity, and also of the rôle of the imagination in achieving this
unity. For there is need to discriminate between the different types
of imagination no less than between the different types of intuition.
One will find through such analysis that the centre of normal human
experience that is to serve as a check on impulse (so far at least as
it is something distinct from the mere convention of one’s age and
time) can be apprehended only with the aid of the imagination. This is
only another way of saying that the reality that is set above one’s
ordinary self is not a fixed absolute but can be glimpsed, if at all,
only through a veil of illusion and is indeed inseparable from the
illusion. This realm of insight cannot be finally formulated for the
simple reason that it is anterior to formulæ. It must therefore from
the point of view of an intellect it transcends seem infinite though in
a very different sense from the outer infinite of expansive desire.

This inner or human infinite, so far from being incompatible with
decorum, is the source of true decorum. True decorum is only the
pulling back and disciplining of impulse to the proportionateness that
has been perceived with the aid of what one may term the ethical or
generalizing imagination. To dismiss like the romantic expansionist
everything that limits or restricts the lust of knowledge or of power
or of sensation as arbitrary and artificial is to miss true decorum and
at the same time to sink, as a Greek would say, from ethos to pathos.
If one is to avoid this error one must, as Hamlet counsels, “in the
very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of passion, acquire
and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.” This is probably
the best of all modern definitions of decorum simply because it is the
most experimental. In general all that has been said about the ethical
imagination is not to be taken as a fine-spun theory, but as an attempt
however imperfect to give an account of actual experience.

One may report from observation another trait of truly ethical art, art
which is at once imaginative and decorous. It is not merely intense,
as art that is imaginative at the expense of decorum may very well
be,[131] it has a restrained and humanized intensity--intensity on a
background of calm. The presence of the ethical imagination whether in
art or life[132] is always known as an element of calm.

In art that has the ethical quality, and I am again not setting up a
metaphysical theory but reporting from observation, the calm that comes
from imaginative insight into the universal is inextricably blended
with an element of uniqueness--with a something that belongs to a
particular time and place and individual. The truth to the universal,
as Aristotle would say, gives the work verisimilitude and the truth
to the particular satisfies man’s deep-seated craving for novelty;
so that the best art unites the probable with the wonderful. But
the probable, one cannot insist too often, is won no less than the
wonderful with the aid of the imagination and so is of the very soul
of art. The romanticist who is ready to sacrifice the probable to the
wonderful and to look on the whole demand for verisimilitude as an
academic superstition is prone to assume that he has a monopoly of
soul and imagination. But the word soul is at least in as much need
of Socratic definition as the word intuition. It is possible, for
example, with the aid of the ethical imagination so to partake of the
ultimate element of calm as to rise to the religious level. The man who
has risen to this level has a soul, but it is a soul of peace. Both
soul and imagination are also needed to achieve the fine adjustment
and mediation of the humanist. It is not enough, however, to have a
religious or a humanistic soul if one is to be a creator or even a
fully equipped critic of art. For art rests primarily not on ethical
but æsthetic perception. This perception itself varies widely according
to the art involved. One may, for instance, be musically perceptive and
at the same time lack poetic perception. To be a creator in any art
one must possess furthermore the technique of this art--something that
is more or less separable from its “soul” in any sense of the word. It
is possible to put a wildly romantic soul into art, as has often been
done in the Far East, and at the same time to be highly conventional
or traditional in one’s technique. Writers like Mérimée, Renan, and
Maupassant again are faithful in the main to the technique of French
prose that was worked out during the classical period, but combine with
this technique an utterly unclassical “soul.”

Rules, especially perhaps rules as to what to avoid, may be of aid in
acquiring technique, but are out of place in dealing with the soul of
art. There one passes from rules to principles. The only rule, if we
are to achieve art that has an ethical soul, is to view life with some
degree of imaginative wholeness. Art that has technique without soul
in either the classical or romantic sense, and so fails either to
inspire elevation or awaken wonder, is likely to be felt as a barren
virtuosity. The pseudo-classicist was often unduly minute in the rules
he laid down for technique or outer form, as one may say, and then
ignored the ethical imagination or inner form entirely, or else set up
as a substitute mere didacticism. Since pseudo-classic work of this
type plainly lacked soul and imagination, and since the romanticist
felt and felt rightly that he himself had a soul and imagination, he
concluded wrongly that soul and imagination are romantic monopolies.
Like the pseudo-classicist, he inclines to identify high seriousness
in art, something that can only come from the exercise of the ethical
imagination at its best, with mere preaching, only he differs from
the pseudo-classicist in insisting that preaching should be left to
divines. One should insist, on the contrary, that the mark of genuinely
ethical art, art that is highly serious, is that it is free from
preaching. Sophocles is more ethical than Euripides for the simple
reason that he views life with more imaginative wholeness. At the same
time he is much less given to preaching than Euripides. He does not, as
FitzGerald says, interrupt the action and the exhibition of character
through action in order to “jaw philosophy.”

It is not unusual for the modern artist to seek, like Euripides,
to dissimulate the lack of true ethical purpose in his work by
agitating various problems. But problems come and go, whereas human
nature abides. One may agitate problems without number, and yet
lack imaginative insight into the abiding element in human nature.
Moreover, not being of the soul of art, the problem that one agitates
is in danger of being a clogging intellectualism. Furthermore to seek
in problems an equivalent for the definition and purpose that the
ethical imagination alone can give is to renew, often in an aggravated
form, the neo-classical error. The moralizing of the pseudo-classic
dramatist, even though dull and misplaced, was usually sound enough in
itself; whereas the moralizing of those who seek nowadays to use the
stage as a pulpit, resting as it does on false humanitarian postulates,
is in itself dubious. The problem play succeeds not infrequently in
being at once dull and indecent.

The problem play is often very superior in technique or outer form
to the earlier romantic drama, but it still suffers from the same
lack of inner form, inasmuch as its social purpose cannot take the
place of true human purpose based on imaginative insight into the
universal. The lack of inner form in so much modern drama and art in
general can be traced to the original unsoundness of the break with
pseudo-classic formalism. To a pseudo-classic art that lacked every
kind of perceptiveness the Rousseauist opposed æsthetic perceptiveness,
and it is something, one must admit, thus to have discovered the
senses. But to his æsthetic perceptiveness he failed, as I have
already said, to add ethical perceptiveness because of his inability
to distinguish between ethical perceptiveness and mere didacticism,
and so when asked to put ethical purpose into art he replied that
art should be pursued for its own sake (_l’art pour l’art_) and
that “beauty is its own excuse for being.” One should note here
the transformation that this pure æstheticism brought about in the
meaning of the word beauty itself. For the Greek beauty resided in
proportion,[133] and proportion can be attained only with the aid of
the ethical imagination. With the elimination of the ethical element
from the soul of art the result is an imagination that is free to
wander wild with the emancipated emotions. The result is likely to be
art in which a lively æsthetic perceptiveness is not subordinated to
any whole, art that is unstructural, however it may abound in vivid and
picturesque details; and a one-sided art of this kind the romanticist
does not hesitate to call beautiful. “If we let the reason sleep and
are content to watch a succession of dissolving views,” says Mr. Elton
of Shelley’s “Revolt of Islam,” “the poem is seen at once to overflow
with beauty.”[134] Mere reason is not strictly speaking a sufficient
remedy for this unstructural type of “beauty.” Thus Chateaubriand’s
reason is on the side of proportion and all the classical virtues but
his imagination is not (and we cannot repeat too often that it is what
a man is imaginatively and not what he preaches that really counts).
Instead of siding with his reason and aiding it to ethical perception
Chateaubriand’s imagination is the free playmate of his emotions. “What
did I care for all these futilities” (i.e. his functions as cabinet
minister), he exclaims, “I who never cared for anything except for my
dreams, and even then on condition that they should last only for a
night.” When a man has once spoken in that vein sensible people will
pay little heed to what he preaches; for they will be certain that the
driving power of his work and personality is elsewhere. The imagination
holds the balance of power between the reason and the perceptions
of sense, and Chateaubriand’s imagination is plainly on the side of
sensuous adventure. This vagabondage of the imagination appears
especially in his imagistic trend, in his pursuit of the descriptive
detail for its own sake. To set out like Chateaubriand to restore the
monarchy and the Christian religion and instead to become the founder
of “_l’école des images à tout prix_” is an especially striking form of
the contrast in romantic morality between the ideal and the real.

The attempt that we have been studying to divorce beauty from ethics
led in the latter part of the eighteenth century to the rise of a
nightmare subject,--æsthetics. Shaftesbury indeed, as we have seen
already, anticipates the favorite romantic doctrine that beauty is
truth and truth beauty, which means in practice to rest both truth and
beauty upon a fluid emotionalism. Thus to deal æsthetically with truth
is an error of the first magnitude, but it is also an error, though
a less serious one, to see only the æsthetic element in beauty. For
beauty to be complete must have not only æsthetic perceptiveness but
order and proportion; and this brings us back again to the problem
of the ethical imagination and the permanent model or pattern with
reference to which it seeks to impose measure and proportion upon
sensuous perception and expansive desire. We should not hesitate to
say that beauty loses most of its meaning when divorced from ethics
even though every æsthete in the world should arise and denounce us as
philistines. To rest beauty upon feeling as the very name æsthetics
implies, is to rest it upon what is ever shifting. Nor can we escape
from this endless mobility with the aid of physical science, for
physical science does not itself rise above the naturalistic flux.
After eliminating from beauty the permanent pattern and the ethical
imagination with the aid of which it is perceived, a man will be ready
to term beautiful anything that reflects his ordinary or temperamental
self. Diderot is a sentimentalist and so he sees as much beauty in the
sentimentalist Richardson as in Homer. If a man is psychically restless
he will see beauty only in motion. The Italian futurist Marinetti says
that for him a rushing motor car is more beautiful than the Victory of
Samothrace. A complete sacrifice of the principle of repose in beauty
(which itself arises from the presence of the ethical imagination)
to the suggesting of motion such as has been seen in certain recent
schools, runs practically into a mixture of charlatanism and madness.
“He that is giddy thinks the world goes round,” says Shakespeare,
and the exponents of certain ultra-modern movements in painting are
simply trying to paint their inner giddiness. As a matter of fact the
pretension of the æsthete to have a purely personal vision of beauty
and then treat as a philistine every one who does not accept it, is
intolerable. Either beauty cannot be defined at all or we must say
that only is beautiful which seems so to the right kind of man, and
the right kind of man is plainly he whose total attitude towards life
is correct, who views life with some degree of imaginative wholeness,
which is only another way of saying that the problem of beauty is
inseparable from the ethical problem. In an absolute sense nobody can
see life steadily and see it whole; but we may at least move towards
steadiness and wholeness. The æsthete is plainly moving in an opposite
direction; he is becoming more and more openly a votary of the god
Whirl. His lack of inner form is an error not of æsthetics but of
general philosophy.

The romantic imagination, the imagination that is not drawn back to
any ethical centre and so is free to wander wild in its own empire of
chimeras, has indeed a place in life. To understand what this place
is one needs to emphasize the distinction between art that has high
seriousness and art that is merely recreative. The serious moments of
life are moments of tension, of concentration on either the natural or
the human law. But Apollo cannot always be bending the bow. Man needs
at times to relax, and one way of relaxing is to take refuge for a
time in some land of chimeras, to follow the Arcadian gleam. He may
then come back to the real world, the world of active effort, solaced
and refreshed. But it is only with reference to some ethical centre
that we may determine what art is soundly recreative, in what forms
of adventure the imagination may innocently indulge. The romanticist
should recollect that among other forms of adventure is what Ben Jonson
terms “a bold adventure for hell”; and that a not uncommon nostalgia
is what the French call _la nostalgie de la boue_--man’s nostalgia for
his native mud. Because we are justified at times, as Lamb urges, in
wandering imaginatively beyond “the diocese of strict conscience,” it
does not follow that we may, like him, treat Restoration Comedy as a
sort of fairyland; for Restoration Comedy is a world not of pure but of
impure imagination.

Lamb’s paradox, however, is harmless compared with what we have just
been seeing in Chateaubriand. With a dalliant imagination that entitles
him at best to play a recreative rôle, he sets up as a religious
teacher. Michelet again has been described as an “entertainer who
believes himself a prophet,” and this description fits many other
Rousseauists. The æsthete who assumes an apocalyptic pose is an
especially flagrant instance of the huddling together of incompatible
desires. He wishes to sport with Amaryllis in the shade and at the same
time enjoy the honors that belong only to the man who scorns delights
and lives laborious days. For the exercise of the ethical imagination,
it is hardly necessary to say, involves effort. Perhaps no one has
ever surpassed Rousseau himself in the art of which I have already
spoken,--that of giving to moral indolence a semblance of profound

One cannot indeed always affirm that the Rousseauist is by the quality
of his imagination an entertainer pure and simple. His breaking down of
barriers and running together of the planes of being results at times
in ambiguous mixtures--gleams of insight that actually seem to minister
to fleshliness. One may cite as an example the “voluptuous religiosity”
that certain critics have discovered in Wagner.

The romanticist will at once protest against the application of ethical
standards to Wagner or any other musician. Music, he holds, is the
most soulful of the arts and so the least subject to ethics. For the
same reason it is the chief of arts and also--in view of the fact that
romanticists have a monopoly of soul--the most romantic. One should not
allow to pass unchallenged this notion that because music is filled
with soul it is therefore subject to no ethical centre, but should be
treated as a pure enchantment. The Greeks were as a matter of fact much
concerned with the ethical quality of music. Certain musical modes, the
Doric for example, had as they believed a virile “soul,” other modes
like the Lydian had the contrary (“Lap me in soft Lydian airs”). For
the very reason that music is the most appealing of the arts (song,
says Aristotle, is the sweetest of all things) they were especially
anxious that this art should be guarded from perversion.[135] Without
attempting a full discussion of a difficult subject for which I have
no competency, it will be enough to point out that the plain song that
prevailed in Christian churches for over a thousand years evidently had
a very different “soul,” a soul that inspired to prayer and peace, from
much specifically romantic music that has a soul of restlessness, of
infinite indeterminate desire. The result of the failure to recognize
this distinction is very often a hybrid art. Berlioz showed a rather
peculiar conception of religion when he took pride in the fact that his
Requiem (!) Mass frightened one of the listeners into a fit.

The ethical confusion that arises from the romantic cult of “soul” and
the closely allied tendency towards a hybrid art--art that lacks high
seriousness without being frankly recreative--may also be illustrated
from the field of poetry. Many volumes have been published and are
still being published on Browning as a philosophic and religious
teacher. But Browning can pass as a prophet only with the half-educated
person, the person who has lost traditional standards and has at the
same time failed to work out with the aid of the ethical imagination
some fresh scale of values and in the meanwhile lives impulsively and
glorifies impulse. Like the half-educated person, Browning is capable
of almost any amount of intellectual and emotional subtlety, and like
the half-educated person he is deficient in inner form: that is he
deals with experience impressionistically without reference to any
central pattern or purpose.[136] It is enough that the separate moments
of this experience should each stand forth like

              The quick sharp scratch
    And blue spurt of a lighted match.

One may take as an illustration of this drift towards the melodramatic
the “Ring and the Book.” The method of this poem is peripheral, that
is, the action is viewed not from any centre but as refracted through
the temperaments of the actors. The twelve monologues of which the
poem is composed illustrate the tendency of romantic writing to run
into some “song of myself” or “tale of my heart.” The “Ring and the
Book” is not only off the centre, but is designed to raise a positive
prejudice against everything that is central. Guido, for example, had
observed decorum, had done all the conventional things and is horrible.
Pompilia, the beautiful soul, had the great advantage of having had
an indecorous start. Being the daughter of a drab, she is not kept
from heeding the voice of nature. Caponsacchi again shows the beauty
of his soul by violating the decorum of the priesthood. This least
representative of priests wins our sympathy, not by his Christianity,
but by his lyrical intensity:

    O lyric love, half angel and half bird,
    And all a wonder and a wild desire!

Browning here escapes for once from the clogging intellectualism that
makes nearly all the “Ring and the Book” an indeterminate blend of
verse and prose, and achieves true poetry though not of the highest
type. The hybrid character of his art, due partly to a lack of outer
form, to a defective poetical technique, arises even more from a lack
of inner form--from an attempt to give a semblance of seriousness to
what is at bottom unethical. The aged Pope may well meditate on the
revolution that is implied in the substitution of the morality of the
beautiful soul for that of St. Augustine.[137] In seeming to accept
this revolution Browning’s Pope comes near to breaking all records,
even in the romantic movement, for paradox and indecorum.

At bottom the war between humanist and romanticist is so irreconcilable
because the one is a mediator and the other an extremist. Browning
would have us admire his Pompilia because her love knows no limit;[138]
but a secular love like hers must know a limit, must be decorous in
short, if it is to be distinguished from mere emotional intensity.
It is evident that the romantic ideal of art for art’s sake meant in
the real world art for sensation’s sake. The glorification of a love
knowing no limit, that a Browning or a Hugo sets up as a substitute for
philosophy and even for religion, is therefore closely affiliated in
practice with the _libido sentiendi_. “It is hard,” wrote Stendhal, in
1817, “not to see what the nineteenth century desires. A love of strong
emotions is its true character.” The romantic tendency to push every
emotion to an extreme, regardless of decorum, is not much affected by
what the romanticist preaches or by the problems he agitates. Doudan
remarks of a mother who loses her child in Hugo’s “Nôtre Dame de
Paris,” that “her rage after this loss has nothing to equal it in the
roarings of a lioness or tigress who has been robbed of her young. She
becomes vulgar by excess of despair. It is the saturnalia of maternal
grief. You see that this woman belongs to a world in which neither the
instincts nor the passions have that divine aroma which imposes on them
some kind of measure--the dignity or decorum that contains a moral
principle; … When the passions no longer have this check, they should
be relegated to the menagerie along with leopards and rhinoceroses,
and, strange circumstance, when the passions do recognize this check
they produce more effect on the spectators than unregulated outbursts;
they give evidence of more depth.” This superlativeness, as one may
say, that Hugo displays in his picture of maternal grief is not
confined to the emotional romanticist. It appears, for example, among
the intellectual romanticists of the seventeenth century and affected
the very forms of language. Molière and others ridiculed the adjectives
and adverbs with which the _précieuses_ sought to express their special
type of superlativeness and intensity (_extrêmement_, _furieusement_,
_terriblement_, etc.). Alfred de Musset’s assertion that the chief
difference between classicist and romanticist is found in the latter’s
greater proneness to adjectives is not altogether a jest. It has been
said that the pessimist uses few, the optimist many adjectives; but the
use of adjectives and above all of superlatives would rather seem to
grow with one’s expansiveness, and no movement was ever more expansive
than that we are studying. Dante, according to Rivarol, is very sparing
of adjectives. His sentence tends to maintain itself by the verb
and substantive alone. In this as in other respects Dante is at the
opposite pole from the expansionist.

The romantic violence of expression is at once a proof of “soul” and
a protest against the tameness and smugness of the pseudo-classicist.
The human volcano must overflow at times in a lava of molten words.
“Damnation!” cries Berlioz, “I could crush a red-hot iron between my
teeth.”[139] The disproportion between the outer incident and the
emotion that the Rousseauist expends on it is often ludicrous.[140]
The kind of force that the man attains who sees in emotional intensity
a mark of spiritual distinction, and deems moderation identical with
mediocrity, is likely to be the force of delirium or fever. What one
sees in “Werther,” says Goethe himself, is weakness seeking to give
itself the prestige of strength; and this remark goes far. There is in
some of the romanticists a suggestion not merely of spiritual but of
physical anæmia.[141] Still the intensity is often that of a strong
but unbridled spirit. Pleasure is pushed to the point where it runs
over into pain, and pain to the point where it becomes an auxiliary
of pleasure. The _âcre baiser_ of the “Nouvelle Héloïse” that so
scandalized Voltaire presaged even more than a literary revolution. The
poems of A. de Musset in particular contain an extraordinary perversion
of the Christian doctrine of purification through suffering. There
is something repellent to the genuine Christian as well as to the
worldling in what one is tempted to call Musset’s Epicurean cult of

Moments of superlative intensity whether of pleasure or pain must
in the nature of the case be brief--mere spasms or paroxysms; and
one might apply to the whole school the term paroxyst and spasmodist
assumed by certain minor groups during the past century. The
Rousseauist is in general loath to rein in his emotional vehemence, to
impair the zest with which he responds to the solicitations of sense,
by any reference to the “future and sum of time,” by any reference,
that is, to an ethical purpose. He would enjoy his thrill pure and
unalloyed, and this amounts in practice to the pursuit of the beautiful
or sensation-crowded moment. Saint-Preux says of the days spent with
Julie that a “sweet ecstasy” absorbed “their whole duration and
gathered it together in a point like that of eternity. There was for
me neither past nor future, and I enjoyed at one and the same time the
delights of a thousand centuries.”[143] The superlativist one might
suppose could go no further. But in the deliberate sacrifice of all
ethical values to the beautiful moment Browning has perhaps improved
even on Rousseau:

        Truth, that’s brighter than gem,
        Trust, that’s purer than pearl,--
    Brightest truth, purest trust in the universe--all were for me
        In the kiss of one girl.

Browning entitles the poem from which I am quoting _Summum Bonum_. The
supreme good it would appear is identical with the supreme thrill.

I have already said enough to make clear that the title of this
chapter and the last is in a way a misnomer. There is no such thing
as romantic morality. The innovations in ethics that are due to
romanticism reduce themselves on close scrutiny to a vast system of
naturalistic camouflage. To understand how this camouflage has been
so successful one needs to connect Rousseauism with the Baconian
movement. Scientific progress had inspired man with a new confidence
in himself at the same time that the positive and critical method
by which it had been achieved detached him from the past and its
traditional standards of good and evil. To break with tradition on
sound lines one needs to apply the utmost keenness of analysis not
merely to the natural but to the human law. But man’s analytical powers
were very much taken up with the new task of mastering the natural
law, so much so that he seemed incapable of further analytical effort,
but longed rather for relaxation from his sustained concentration of
intellect and imagination on the physical order. At the same time
he was so elated by the progress he was making in this order that
he was inclined to assume a similar advance on the moral plane and
to believe that this advance could also be achieved collectively. A
collective salvation of this kind without any need of a concentration
of the intellect and imagination is precisely what was opened up to
him by the Rousseauistic “ideal” of brotherhood. This “ideal,” as I
have tried to show, was only a projection of the Arcadian imagination
on the void. But in the abdication of analysis and critical judgment,
which would have reduced it to a purely recreative rôle, this Arcadian
dreaming was enabled to set up as a serious philosophy, and to expand
into innumerable Utopias. Many who might have taken alarm at the
humanitarian revolution in ethics were reassured by the very fervor
with which its promoters continued to utter the old words--conscience,
virtue, etc. No one puts more stress than Rousseau himself on
conscience, while in the very act of transforming conscience from an
inner check into an expansive emotion.

We have seen that as a result of this transformation of conscience,
temperament is emancipated from both inner and outer control and that
this emancipation tends in the real world to the rise of two main
types--the Bohemian and the superman, both unprimitive, inasmuch as
primitive man is governed not by temperament but by convention; and
that what actually tends to prevail in such a temperamental world
in view of the superior “hardness” of the superman, is the law of
cunning and the law of force. So far as the Rousseauists set up the
mere emancipation of temperament as a serious philosophy, they are
to be held responsible for the results of this emancipation whether
displayed in the lust of power or the lust of sensation. But the
lust of power and the lust of sensation, such as they appear, for
example, in the so-called realism of the later nineteenth century, are
not in themselves identical with romanticism. Many of the realists,
like Flaubert, as I have already pointed out, are simply bitter and
disillusioned Rousseauists who are expressing their nausea at the
society that has actually arisen from the emancipation of temperament
in themselves and others. The essence of Rousseauistic as of other
romance, I may repeat, is to be found not in any mere fact, not even
in the fact of sensation, but in a certain quality of the imagination.
Rousseauism is, it is true, an emancipation of impulse, especially of
the impulse of sex. Practically all the examples I have chosen of the
tense and beautiful moment are erotic. But what one has even here, as
the imagination grows increasingly romantic, is less the reality than
the dream of the beautiful moment, an intensity that is achieved only
in the tower of ivory. This point can be made clear only by a fuller
study of the romantic conception of love.



What first strikes one in Rousseau’s attitude towards love is the
separation, even wider here perhaps than elsewhere, between the ideal
and the real. He dilates in the “Confessions” on the difference of
the attachment that he felt when scarcely more than a boy for two
young women of Geneva, Mademoiselle Vulson and Mademoiselle Goton. His
attachment for the latter was real in a sense that Zola would have
understood. His attachment for Mademoiselle Vulson reminds one rather
of that of a mediæval knight for his lady. The same contrast runs
through Rousseau’s life. “Seamstresses, chambermaids, shop-girls,” he
says, “attracted me very little. I had to have fine ladies.”[144] So
much for the ideal; the real was Thérèse Levasseur.

We are not to suppose that Rousseau’s love even when most ideal is
really exalted above the fleshly level. Byron indeed says of Rousseau
that “his was not the love of living dame but of ideal beauty,” and
if this were strictly true Rousseau might be accounted a Platonist.
But any particular beautiful object is for Plato only a symbol or
adumbration of a supersensuous beauty; so that an earthly love can be
at best only a stepping-stone to the Uranian Aphrodite. The terrestrial
and the heavenly loves are not in short run together, whereas the
essence of Rousseauistic love is this very blending. “Rousseau,” says
Joubert, “had a voluptuous mind. In his writings the soul is always
mingled with the body and never distinct from it. No one has ever
rendered more vividly the impression of the flesh touching the spirit
and the delights of their marriage.” I need not, however, repeat here
what I have said elsewhere[145] about this confusion of the planes of
being, perhaps the most important aspect of romantic love.

Though Rousseau is not a true Platonist in his treatment of love, he
does, as I have said, recall at times the cult of the mediæval knight
for his lady. One may even find in mediæval love something that is
remotely related to Rousseau’s contrast between the ideal and the
actual; for in its attitude towards woman as in other respects the
Middle Ages tended to be extreme. Woman is either depressed below the
human level as the favorite instrument of the devil in man’s temptation
(_mulier hominis confusio_), or else exalted above this level as the
mother of God. The figure of Mary blends sense and spirit in a way that
is foreign to Plato and the ancients. As Heine says very profanely,
the Virgin was a sort of heavenly _dame du comptoir_ whose celestial
smile drew the northern barbarians into the Church. Sense was thus
pressed into the service of spirit at the risk of a perilous confusion.
The chivalric cult of the lady has obvious points of contact with the
worship of the Madonna. The knight who is raised from one height of
perfection to another by the light of his lady’s eyes is also pressing
sense into the service of spirit with the same risk that the process
may be reversed. The reversal actually takes place in Rousseau and his
followers: spirit is pressed into the service of sense in such wise as
to give to sense a sort of infinitude. Baudelaire pays his homage to a
Parisian grisette in the form of a Latin canticle to the Virgin.[146]
The perversion of mediæval love is equally though not quite so
obviously present in many other Rousseauists.

I have said that the Middle Ages inclined to the extreme; mediæval
writers are, however, fond of insisting on “measure”; and this
is almost inevitable in view of the large amount of classical,
especially Aristotelian, survival throughout this period. But the two
distinctively mediæval types, the saint and the knight, are neither
of them mediators. They stand, however, on an entirely different
footing as regards the law of measure. Not even Aristotle himself would
maintain that the law of measure applies to saintliness, and in general
to the religious realm. The saint in so far as he is saintly has
undergone conversion, has in the literal sense of the word faced around
and is looking in an entirely different direction from that to which
the warnings “nothing too much” and “think as a mortal” apply. Very
different psychic elements may indeed appear in any particular saint. A
book has been published recently on the “Romanticism of St. Francis.”
The truth seems to be that though St. Francis had his romantic side,
he was even more religious than romantic. One may affirm with some
confidence of another mediæval figure, Peter the Hermit, that he was,
on the other hand, much more romantic than religious. For all the
information we have tends to show that he was a very restless person
and a man’s restlessness is ordinarily in inverse ratio to his religion.

If the saint transcends in a way the law of measure, the knight on
the other hand should be subject to it. For courage and the love of
woman--his main interests in life--belong not to the religious but
to the secular realm. But in his conception of love and courage the
knight was plainly not a mediator but an extremist: he was haunted
by the idea of adventure, of a love and courage that transcend the
bounds not merely of the probable but of the possible. His imagination
is romantic in the sense I have tried to define--it is straining,
that is, beyond the confines of the real. Ruskin’s violent diatribe
against Cervantes[147] for having killed “idealism” by his ridicule
of these knightly exaggerations, is in itself absurd, but interesting
as evidence of the quality of Ruskin’s own imagination. Like other
romanticists I have cited, he seems to have been not unaware of his own
kinship to Don Quixote. The very truth about either the mediæval or
modern forms of romantic love--love which is on the secular level and
at the same time sets itself above the law of measure--was uttered by
Dr. Johnson in his comment on the heroic plays of Dryden: “By admitting
the romantic omnipotence of love he has recommended as laudable and
worthy of imitation that conduct which through all ages the good have
censured as vicious and the bad have despised as foolish.”

The man of the Middle Ages, however extravagant in his imaginings,
was often no doubt terrestrial enough in his practice. The troubadour
who addressed his high-flown fancies to some fair châtelaine (usually
a married woman) often had relations in real life not unlike those
of Rousseau with Thérèse Levasseur. Some such contrast indeed between
the “ideal” and the “real” existed in the life of one of Rousseau’s
favorite poets, Petrarch. The lover may, however, run together the
ideal and the real. He may glorify some comparatively commonplace
person, crown as queen of his heart some Dulcinea del Toboso. Hazlitt
employs appropriately in describing his own passion for the vulgar
daughter of a London boarding-house keeper the very words of Cervantes:
“He had courted a statue, hunted the wind, cried aloud to the desert.”
Hazlitt like other lovers of this type is in love not with a particular
person but with his own dream. He is as one may say in love with love.
No subject indeed illustrates like this of love the nostalgia, the
infinite indeterminate desire of the romantic imagination. Something of
this diffusive longing no doubt came into the world with Christianity.
There is a wide gap between the sentence of St. Augustine that Shelley
has taken as epigraph for his “Alastor”[148] and the spirit of the
great Greek and Roman classics. Yet such is the abiding vitality of
Greek mythology that one finds in Greece perhaps the best symbol of
the romantic lover. Rousseau could not fail to be attracted by the
story of Pygmalion and Galatea. His lyrical “monodrama” in poetical
prose, “Pygmalion,” is important not only for its literary but for its
musical influence. The Germans in particular (including the youthful
Goethe) were fascinated. To the mature Goethe Rousseau’s account of the
sculptor who became enamored of his own creation and breathed into it
actual life by the sheer intensity of his desire seemed a delirious
confusion of the planes of being, an attempt to drag ideal beauty down
to the level of sensuous realization. But a passion thus conceived
exactly satisfies the romantic requirement. For though the romanticist
wishes to abandon himself to the rapture of love, he does not wish to
transcend his own ego. The object with which Pygmalion is in love is
after all only a projection of his own “genius.” But such an object is
not in any proper sense an object at all. There is in fact no object in
the romantic universe--only subject. This subjective love amounts in
practice to a use of the imagination to enhance emotional intoxication,
or if one prefers, to the pursuit of illusion for its own sake.

This lack of definite object appears just as clearly in the German
symbol of romantic love--the blue flower. The blue flower resolves
itself at last, it will be remembered, into a fair feminine
face[149]--a face that cannot, however, be overtaken. The color
typifies the blue distance in which it always loses itself, “the
never-ending quest after the ever-fleeting object of desire.” The
object is thus elusive because, as I have said, it is not, properly
speaking, an object at all but only a dalliance of the imagination
with its own dream. Cats, says Rivarol, do not caress us, they caress
themselves upon us. But though cats may suffer from what the new
realist calls the egocentric predicament, they can scarcely vie in the
subtle involutions of their egoism with the romantic lover. Besides
creating the symbol of the blue flower, Novalis treats romantic love
in his unfinished tale “The Disciples at Saïs.” He contemplated two
endings to this tale--in the one, when the disciple lifts the veil
of the inmost sanctuary of the temple at Saïs, Rosenblütchen (the
equivalent of the blue flower) falls into his arms. In the second
version what he sees when he lifts the mysterious veil is--“wonder of
wonders--himself.” The two endings are in substance the same.

The story of Novalis’s attachment for a fourteen-year-old girl, Sophie
von Kühn, and of his plans on her death for a truly romantic suicide--a
swooning away into the night--and then of the suddenness with which
he transferred his dream to another maiden, Julie von Charpentier,
is familiar. If Sophie had lived and Novalis had lived and they had
wedded, he might conceivably have made her a faithful husband, but she
would no longer have been the blue flower, the ideal. For one’s love
is for something infinitely remote; it is as Shelley says, in what is
perhaps the most perfect expression of romantic longing:

    The desire of the moth for the star,
      Of the night for the morrow,
    The devotion to something afar
      From the sphere of our sorrow.

The sphere of Shelley’s sorrow at the time he wrote these lines to Mrs.
Williams was Mary Godwin. In the time of Harriet Westbrook, Mary had
been the “star.”

The romantic lover often feigns in explanation of his nostalgia
that in some previous existence he had been enamored of a nymph--an
Egeria--or a woman transcending the ordinary mould--“some Lilith or
Helen or Antigone.”[150] Shelley inquires eagerly in one of his letters
about the new poem by Horace Smith, “The Nympholept.” In the somewhat
unclassical sense that the term came to have in the romantic movement,
Shelley is himself the perfect example of the nympholept. In this
respect as in others, however, he merely continues Rousseau. “If it had
not been for some memories of my youth and Madame d’Houdetot,” says
Jean-Jacques, “the loves that I have felt and described would have been
only with sylphids.”[151]

Chateaubriand speaks with aristocratic disdain of Rousseau’s Venetian
amours, but on the “ideal” side he is not only his follower but perhaps
the supreme French example of nympholepsy. He describes his lady of
dreams sometimes like Rousseau as the “sylphid,” sometimes as his
“phantom of love.” He had been haunted by this phantom almost from his
childhood. “Even then I glimpsed that to love and be loved in a way
that was unknown to me was destined to be my supreme felicity. … As a
result of the ardor of my imagination, my timidity and solitude, I did
not turn to the outer world, but was thrown back upon myself. In the
absence of a real object, I evoked by the power of my vague desires a
phantom that was never to leave me.” To those who remember the closely
parallel passages in Rousseau, Chateaubriand will seem to exaggerate
the privilege of the original genius to look on himself as unique when
he adds: “I do not know whether the history of the human heart offers
another example of this nature.”[152] The pursuit of this phantom of
love gives the secret key to Chateaubriand’s life. He takes refuge in
the American wilderness in order that he may have in this primitive
Arcadia a more spacious setting for his dream.[153]

If one wishes to see how very similar these nympholeptic experiences
are not only from individual to individual, but from country to
country, one has only to compare the passages I have just been quoting
from Chateaubriand with Shelley’s “Epipsychidion.” Shelley writes of
his own youth:

    There was a Being whom my spirit oft
    Met on its visioned wanderings, far aloft,
    In the clear golden prime of my youth’s dawn,
    Upon the fairy isles of sunny lawn,
    Amid the enchanted mountains, and the caves
    Of divine sleep, and on the air-like waves
    Of wonder-level dream, whose tremulous floor
    Paved her light steps; on an imagined shore,
    Under the gray beak of some promontory
    She met me, robed in such exceeding glory,
    That I beheld her not, etc.

At the time of writing “Epipsychidion” the magic vision happened to
have coalesced for the moment with Emilia Viviani, though destined soon
to flit elsewhere. Shelley invites his “soul’s sister,” the idyllic
“she,” who is at bottom only a projection of his own imagination, to
set sail with him for Arcady. “Epipsychidion,” indeed, might be used as
a manual to illustrate the difference between mere Arcadian dreaming
and a true Platonism.

Chateaubriand is ordinarily and rightly compared with Byron rather
than with Shelley. He is plainly, however, far more of a nympholept
than Byron. Mr. Hilary, indeed, in Peacock’s “Nightmare Abbey” says
to Mr. Cypress (Byron): “You talk like a Rosicrucian, who will love
nothing but a sylph, who does not believe in the existence of a sylph,
and who yet quarrels with the whole universe for not containing a
sylph.”[154] Certain distinctions would have to be made if one were
attempting a complete study of love in Byron; yet after all the love of
Don Juan and Haidée is one that Sappho or Catullus or Burns would have
understood; and these poets were not nympholepts. They were capable
of burning with love, but not, as Rousseau says of himself, “without
any definite object.”[155] Where Chateaubriand has some resemblance
to Byron is in his actual libertinism. He is however nearer than
Byron to the libertine of the eighteenth century--to the Lovelace who
pushes the pursuit of pleasure to its final exasperation where it
becomes associated with the infliction of pain. Few things are stranger
than the blend in Chateaubriand of this Sadic fury[156] with the new
romantic revery. Indeed almost every type of egotism that may manifest
itself in the relations of the sexes and that pushed to the superlative
pitch, will be found in this theoretical classicist and champion of
Christianity. Perhaps no more frenzied cry has ever issued from human
lips than that uttered by Atala[157] in describing her emotions when
torn between her religious vow and her love for Chactas: “What dream
did not arise in this heart overwhelmed with sorrow. At times in fixing
my eyes upon you, I went so far as to form desires as insensate as
they were guilty; at one moment I seemed to wish that you and I were
the only living creatures upon the earth; and then again, feeling a
divinity that held me back in my horrible transports, I seemed to want
this divinity to be annihilated provided that clasped in your arms I
should roll from abyss to abyss with the ruins of God and the world.”
Longing is here pushed to a pitch where it passes over, as in Wagner’s
“Tristan and Isolde,” into the desire for annihilation.

Actual libertinism is no necessary concomitant of nympholeptic longing.
There is a striking difference in this respect between Poe, for
example, and his translator and disciple, Baudelaire. Nothing could be
less suggestive of voluptuousness than Poe’s nostalgia. “His ecstasy,”
says Stedman, “is that of the nympholept seeking an evasive being of
whom he has glimpses by moonlight, starlight, even fenlight, but never
by noonday.” The embodiments of his dream that flit through his tales
and poems, enhanced his popularity with the ultra-romantic public in
France. These strange apparitions nearly all of whom are epileptic,
cataleptic, or consumptive made a natural appeal to a school that was
known among its detractors as _l’école poitrinaire_. “Tender souls,”
says Gautier, “were specially touched by Poe’s feminine figures, so
vaporous, so transparent and of an almost spectral beauty.” Perhaps
the nympholepsy of Gérard de Nerval is almost equally vaporous and
ethereal. He pursued through various earthly forms the queen of Sheba
whom he had loved in a previous existence and hanged himself at last
with what he believed to be her garter: an interesting example of the
relation between the extreme forms of the romantic imagination and

The pursuit of a phantom of love through various earthly forms led
in the course of the romantic movement to certain modifications
in a famous legend--that of Don Juan. What is emphasized in the
older Don Juan is not merely his libertinism but his impiety--the
gratification of his appetite in deliberate defiance of God. He is
animated by Satanic pride, by the lust of power as well as by the lust
of sensation. In Molière’s treatment of the legend we can also see
the beginnings of the philanthropic pose.[159] With the progress of
Rousseauism Don Juan tends to become an “idealist,” to seek to satisfy
in his amorous adventures not merely his senses but his “soul” and his
thirst for the “infinite.”[160] Along with this idealistic Don Juan we
also see appearing at a very early stage in the movement the exotic
Don Juan who wishes to have a great deal of strangeness added to his
beauty. In his affair with the “Floridiennes,” Chateaubriand shows the
way to a long series of exotic lovers.

    I said to my heart between sleeping and waking,
    Thou wild thing that always art leaping or aching,
    What black, brown or fair, in what clime, in what nation,
    By turns has not taught thee a pit-a-pat-ation?

These lines are so plainly meant for Pierre Loti that one learns
with surprise that they were written about 1724 by the Earl of

Byron’s Don Juan is at times exotic in his tastes, but, as I have
said, he is not on the whole very nympholeptic--much less so than the
Don Juan of Alfred de Musset, for example. Musset indeed suggests in
many respects a less masculine Byron--Mademoiselle Byron as he has
been called. In one whole side of his art as well as his treatment
of love he simply continues like Byron the eighteenth century. But
far more than Byron he aspires to ideal and absolute passion; so that
the Musset of the “Nuits” is rightly regarded as one of the supreme
embodiments, and at the same time the chief martyr, of the romantic
religion of love. The outcome of his affair with George Sand may
symbolize fitly the wrecking of thousands of more obscure lives by this
mortal chimera. Musset and George Sand sought to come together, yet
what they each sought in love is what the original genius seeks in all
things--self-expression. What Musset saw in George Sand was not the
real woman but only his own dream. But George Sand was not content thus
to reflect back passively to Musset his ideal. She was rather a Galatea
whose ambition it was to create her own Pygmalion. “Your chimera is
between us,” Musset exclaims; but his chimera was between them too.
The more Titan and Titaness try to meet, the more each is driven back
into the solitude of his own ego. They were in love with love rather
than with one another: and to be thus in love with love means on the
last analysis to be in love with one’s own emotions. “To love,” says
Musset, “is the great point. What matters the mistress? What matters
the flagon provided one have the intoxication?”[162] He then proceeds
to carry a love of this quality up into the presence of God and to
present it to him as his justification for having lived. The art of
speaking in tones of religious consecration of what is in its essence
egoistic has never been carried further than by the Rousseauistic
romanticist. God is always appearing at the most unexpected
moments.[163] The highest of which man is capable apparently is to put
an uncurbed imagination into the service of an emancipated temperament.
The credo that Perdican recites at the end of the second act of “On ne
badine pas avec l’Amour”[164] throws light on this point. Men and women
according to this credo are filled with every manner of vileness, yet
there is something “sacred and sublime,” and that is the union of two
of these despicable beings.

The confusion of ethical values here is so palpable as scarcely to call
for comment. It is precisely when men and women set out to love with
this degree of imaginative and emotional unrestraint that they come
to deserve all the opprobrious epithets Musset heaps upon them. This
radiant apotheosis of love and the quagmire in which it actually lands
one is, as I have said, the whole subject of “Madame Bovary.” I shall
need to return to this particular disproportion between the ideal and
the real when I take up the subject of romantic melancholy.

The romantic lover who identifies the ideal with the superlative thrill
is turning the ideal into something very transitory. If the _summum
bonum_ is as Browning avers the “kiss of one girl,” the _summum bonum_
is lost almost as soon as found. The beautiful moment may however be
prolonged in revery. The romanticist may brood over it in the tower of
ivory, and when thus enriched by being steeped in his temperament it
may become more truly his own than it was in reality. “Objects make
less impression upon me than my memory of them,” says Rousseau. He is
indeed the great master of what has been termed the art of impassioned
recollection. This art is far from being confined in its application
to love, though it may perhaps be studied here to the best advantage.
Rousseau, one should note, had very little intellectual memory, but
an extraordinarily keen memory of images and sensations. He could
not, as he tells us in the “Confessions,” learn anything by heart,
but he could recall with perfect distinctness what he had eaten for
breakfast about thirty years before. In general he recalls his past
feelings with a clearness and detail that are perhaps more feminine
than masculine. “He seems,” says Hazlitt, one of his chief disciples
in the art of impassioned recollection, “to gather up the past moments
of his being like drops of honey-dew to distil a precious liquor from
them; his alternate pleasures and pains are the bead-roll that he tells
over and piously worships; he makes a rosary of the flowers of hope
and fancy that strewed his earliest years.”[165] This highly developed
emotional memory is closely associated with the special quality of the
romantic imagination--its cult of Arcadian illusion and the wistful
backward glance to the vanished paradise of childhood and youth when
illusion was most spontaneous. “Let me still recall [these memories],”
says Hazlitt, “that they may breathe fresh life into me, and that I
may live that birthday of thought and romantic pleasure over again!
Talk of the ideal! This is the only true ideal--the heavenly tints
of Fancy reflected in the bubbles that float upon the spring-tide of
human life.”[166] Hazlitt converts criticism itself into an art of
impassioned recollection. He loves to linger over the beautiful moments
of his own literary life. The passing years have increased the richness
of their temperamental refraction and bestowed upon them the “pathos of
distance.” A good example is his account of the two years of his youth
he spent in reading the “Confessions” and the “Nouvelle Héloïse,” and
in shedding tears over them. “They were the happiest years of our life.
We may well say of them, sweet is the dew of their memory and pleasant
the balm of their recollection.”[167]

Rousseau’s own Arcadian memories are usually not of reading, like
Hazlitt’s, but of actual incidents, though he does not hesitate to
alter these incidents freely, as in his account of his stay at Les
Charmettes, and to accommodate them to his dream. He neglected the real
Madame de Warens at the very time that he cherished his recollection of
her because this recollection was the idealized image of his own youth.
The yearning that he expresses at the beginning of his fragmentary
Tenth Promenade, written only a few weeks before his death, is for this
idyllic period rather than for an actual woman.[168] A happy memory,
says Musset, repeating Rousseau, is perhaps more genuine than happiness
itself. Possibly the three best known love poems of Lamartine, Musset,
and Hugo respectively--“Le Lac,” “Souvenir,” and “La Tristesse
d’Olympio,” all hinge upon impassioned recollection and derive very
directly from Rousseau. Lamartine in particular has caught in the “Le
Lac” the very cadence of Rousseau’s reveries.[169]

Impassioned recollection may evidently be an abundant source of genuine
poetry, though not, it must be insisted, of the highest poetry. The
predominant rôle that it plays in Rousseau and many of his followers
is simply a sign of an unduly dalliant imagination. Experience after
all has other uses than to supply furnishings for the tower of ivory;
it should control the judgment and guide the will; it is in short the
necessary basis of conduct. The greater a man’s moral seriousness,
the more he will be concerned with doing rather than dreaming (and
I include right meditation among the forms of doing). He will also
demand an art and literature that reflect this his main preoccupation.
Between Wordsworth’s definition of poetry as “emotion recollected in
tranquillity,” and Aristotle’s definition of poetry as the imitation
of human action according to probability or necessity, a wide gap
plainly opens. One may prefer Aristotle’s definition to that of
Wordsworth and yet do justice to the merits of Wordsworth’s actual
poetical performance. Nevertheless the tendency to put prime emphasis
on feeling instead of action shown in the definition is closely related
to Wordsworth’s failure not only in dramatic but in epic poetry, in all
poetry in short that depends for its success on an element of plot and
sustained narrative.

A curious extension of the art of impassioned recollection should
receive at least passing mention. It has been so extended as to lead
to what one may term an unethical use of literature and history. What
men have done in the past and the consequences of this doing should
surely serve to throw some light on what men should do under similar
circumstances in the present. But the man who turns his own personal
experience into mere dalliance may very well assume a like dalliant
attitude towards the larger experience of the race. This experience
may merely provide him with pretexts for revery. This narcotic use of
literature and history, this art of creating for one’s self an alibi as
Taine calls it, is nearly as old as the romantic movement. The record
of the past becomes a gorgeous pageant that lures one to endless
imaginative exploration and lulls one to oblivion of everything except
its variety and picturesqueness. It becomes everything in fact except a
school of judgment. One may note in connection with this use of history
the usual interplay between scientific and emotional naturalism.
Both forms of naturalism tend to turn man into the mere product and
plaything of physical forces--climate, heredity, and the like, over
which his will has no control. Since literature and history have no
meaning from the point of view of moral choice they may at least be
made to yield the maximum of æsthetic satisfaction. Oscar Wilde argues
in this wise for example in his dialogue “The Critic as Artist,” and
concludes that since man has no moral freedom or responsibility, and
cannot therefore be guided in his conduct by the past experience of the
race, he may at least turn this experience into an incomparable “bower
of dreams.” “The pain of Leopardi crying out against life becomes
our pain. Theocritus blows on his pipe and we laugh with the lips of
nymph and shepherd. In the wolf-skin of Pierre Vidal we flee before
the hounds, and in the armor of Lancelot we ride from the bower of the
queen. We have whispered the secret of our love beneath the cowl of
Abelard, and in the stained raiment of Villon have put our shame into
song,” etc.

The assumption that runs through this passage that the mere æsthetic
contemplation of past experience gives the equivalent of actual
experience is found in writers of far higher standing than Wilde--in
Renan, for instance. The æsthete would look on his dream as a
substitute for the actual, and at the same time convert the actual
into a dream. (_Die Welt wird Traum, der Traum wird Welt._) It is
not easy to take such a programme of universal dreaming seriously.
In the long run the dreamer himself does not find it easy to take it
seriously. For his attempts to live his chimera result, as we have
seen in the case of romantic love, in more or less disastrous defeat
and disillusion. The disillusioned romanticist continues to cling to
his dream, but intellectually, at least, he often comes at the same
time to stand aloof from it. This subject of disillusion may best be
considered, along with certain other important aspects of the movement,
in connection with the singular phenomenon known as romantic irony.



The first romanticist who worked out a theory of irony was Friedrich
Schlegel.[170] The attempt to put this theory into practice, after
the fashion of Tieck’s plays, seemed and seemed rightly even to later
representatives of the movement to be extravagant. Thus Hegel, who
in his ideas on art continues in so many respects the Schlegels,
repudiates irony. Formerly, says Heine, who is himself in any larger
survey, the chief of German romantic ironists, when a man had said a
stupid thing he had said it; now he can explain it away as “irony.”
Nevertheless one cannot afford to neglect this early German theory.
It derives in an interesting way from the views that the partisans
of original genius had put forth regarding the rôle of the creative
imagination. The imagination as we have seen is to be free to wander
wild in its own empire of chimeras. Rousseau showed the possibilities
of an imagination that is at once extraordinarily rich and also
perfectly free in this sense. I have said that Kant believed like the
original genius that the nobility of art depends on the free “play”
of the imagination; though he adds that art should at the same time
submit to a purpose that is not a purpose--whatever that may mean.
Schiller in his “Æsthetic Letters” relaxed the rationalistic rigor of
Kant in favor of feeling and associated even more emphatically the
ideality and creativeness of art with its free imaginative play,
its emancipation from specific aim. The personal friction that arose
between the Schlegels and Schiller has perhaps obscured somewhat their
general indebtedness to him. The Schlegelian irony in particular merely
pushes to an extreme the doctrine that nothing must interfere with
the imagination in its creative play. “The caprice of the poet,” as
Friedrich Schlegel says, “suffers no law above itself.” Why indeed
should the poet allow any restriction to be placed upon his caprice in
a universe that is after all only a projection of himself? The play
theory of art is here supplemented by the philosophy of Fichte.[171]
In justice to him it should be said that though his philosophy may
not rise above the level of temperament, he at least had a severe and
stoical temperament, and if only for this reason his “transcendental
ego” is far less obviously ego than that which appears in the irony
of his romantic followers. When a man has taken possession of his
transcendental ego, according to the Schlegels and Novalis, he looks
down on his ordinary ego and stands aloof from it. His ordinary ego may
achieve poetry but his transcendental ego must achieve the poetry of
poetry. But there is in him something that may stand aloof even from
this aloofness and so on indefinitely. Romantic irony joins here with
what is perhaps the chief preoccupation of the German romanticists, the
idea of the infinite or, as they term it, the striving for endlessness
(_Unendlichkeitstreben_). Now, according to the romanticist, a man
can show that he lays hold imaginatively upon the infinite only by
expanding beyond what his age holds to be normal and central--its
conventions in short; nay more, he must expand away from any centre he
has himself achieved. For to hold fast to a centre of any kind implies
the acceptance of limitations and to accept limitations is to be
finite, and to be finite is, as Blake says, to become mechanical; and
the whole of romanticism is a protest against the mechanizing of life.
No man therefore deserves to rank as a transcendental egotist unless
he has learned to mock not merely at the convictions of others but at
his own, unless he has become capable of self-parody. “Objection,” says
Nietzsche, “evasion, joyous distrust, and love of irony are signs of
health; everything absolute belongs to pathology.”[172]

One cannot repeat too often that what the romanticist always sees at
the centre is either the mere rationalist or else the philistine; and
he therefore inclines to measure his own distinction by his remoteness
from any possible centre. Now thus to be always moving away from
centrality is to be paradoxical, and romantic irony is, as Friedrich
Schlegel says, identical with paradox. Irony, paradox and the idea of
the infinite have as a matter of fact so many points of contact in
romanticism that they may profitably be treated together.

Friedrich Schlegel sought illustrious sponsors in the past for his
theory of irony. Among others he invoked the Greeks and put himself in
particular under the patronage of Socrates. But Greek irony always had
a centre. The ironical contrast is between this centre and something
that is less central. Take for example the so-called irony of Greek
tragedy. The tragic character speaks and acts in darkness as to
his impending doom, regarding which the spectator is comparatively
enlightened. To take another example, the German romanticists
were especially absurd in their attempts to set up Tieck as a new
Aristophanes. For Aristophanes, however wild and irresponsible he may
seem in the play of his imagination, never quite loses sight of his
centre, a centre from which the comic spirit proceeds and to which it
returns. Above all, however far he may push his mockery, he never mocks
at his own convictions; he never, like Tieck, indulges in self-parody.
A glance at the parabasis of almost any one of his plays will suffice
to show that he was willing to lay himself open to the charge of
being unduly didactic rather than to the charge of being aimless. The
universe of Tieck, on the other hand, is a truly romantic universe: it
has no centre, or what amounts to the same thing, it has at its centre
that symbol of spiritual stagnation, the philistine, and his inability
to rise above a dull didacticism. The romanticist cherishes the
illusion that to be a spiritual vagrant is to be exalted on a pinnacle
above the plain citizen. According to Professor Stuart P. Sherman, the
Irish dramatist Synge indulges in gypsy laughter from the bushes,[173]
a good description of romantic irony in general.

The irony of Socrates, to take the most important example of Greek
irony, is not of the centrifugal character. Socrates professes
ignorance, and this profession seems very ironical, for it turns out
that his ignorance is more enlightened, that is, more central than
other men’s swelling conceit of knowledge. It does not follow that
Socrates is insincere in his profession of ignorance; for though his
knowledge may be as light in comparison with that of the ordinary
Athenian, he sees that in comparison with true and perfect knowledge it
is only darkness. For Socrates was no mere rationalist; he was a man of
insight, one would even be tempted to say a mystic were it not for the
corruption of the term mystic by the romanticists. This being the case
he saw that man is by his very nature precluded from true and perfect
knowledge. A path, however, opens up before him towards this knowledge,
and this path he should seek to follow even though it is in a sense
endless, even though beyond any centre he can attain within the bounds
of his finite experience there is destined always to be something still
more central. Towards the mere dogmatist, the man who thinks he has
achieved some fixed and final centre, the attitude of Socrates is that
of scepticism. This attitude implies a certain degree of detachment
from the received beliefs and conventions of his time, and it is
all the more important to distinguish here between Socrates and the
romanticists because of the superficial likeness; and also because
there is between the Rousseauists and some of the Greeks who lived
about the time of Socrates a real likeness. Promethean individualism
was already rife at that time, and on the negative side it resulted
then as since in a break with tradition, and on the positive side in an
oscillation between the cult of force and the exaltation of sympathy,
between admiration for the strong man and compassion for the weak. It
is hardly possible to overlook these Promethean elements in the plays
of Euripides. Antisthenes and the cynics, again, who professed to
derive from Socrates, established an opposition between “nature” and
convention even more radical in some respects than that established
by Rousseau. Moreover Socrates himself was perhaps needlessly
unconventional and also unduly inclined to paradox--as when he
suggested to the jury who tried him that as an appropriate punishment
he should be supported at the public expense in the prytaneum. Yet in
his inner spirit and in spite of certain minor eccentricities, Socrates
was neither a superman nor a Bohemian, but a humanist. Now that the
critical spirit was abroad and the traditional basis for conduct was
failing, he was chiefly concerned with putting conduct on a positive
and critical basis. In establishing this basis his constant appeal is
to actual experience and the more homely this experience the more it
seems to please him. While working out the new basis for conduct he
continues to observe the existing laws and customs; or if he gets away
from the traditional discipline it is towards a stricter discipline;
if he repudiates in aught the common sense of his day, it is in
favor of a commoner sense. One may say indeed that Socrates and the
Rousseauists (who are in this respect like some of the sophists) are
both moving away from convention but in opposite directions. What the
romanticist opposes to convention is his “genius,” that is his unique
and private self. What Socrates opposes to convention is his universal
and ethical self. According to Friedrich Schlegel, a man can never be a
philosopher but only become one; if at any time he thinks that he is a
philosopher he ceases to become one. The romanticist is right in thus
thinking that to remain fixed at any particular point is to stagnate.
Man is, as Nietzsche says, the being who must always surpass himself,
but he has--and this is a point that Nietzsche did not sufficiently
consider--a choice of direction in his everlasting pilgrimage. The
man who is moving away from some particular centre will always seem
paradoxical to the man who remains at it, but he may be moving away
from it in either the romantic or the ethical direction. In the first
case he is moving from a more normal to a less normal experience,
in the second case he is moving towards an experience that is more
profoundly representative. The New Testament abounds in examples of the
ethical paradox--what one may term the paradox of humility. (A man must
lose his life to find it, etc.) It is possible, however, to push even
this type of paradox too far, to push it to a point where it affronts
not merely some particular convention but the good sense of mankind
itself, and this is a far graver matter. Pascal falls into this excess
when he says that sickness is the natural state of the Christian. As a
result of its supreme emphasis on humility Christianity from the start
inclined unduly perhaps towards this type of paradox. It is hardly
worth while, as Goethe said, to live seventy years in this world if all
that one learn here below is only folly in the sight of God.

One of the most delicate of tasks is to determine whether a paradox
occupies a position more or less central than the convention to which
it is opposed. A somewhat similar problem is to determine which of
two differing conventions has the greater degree of centrality. For
one convention may as compared with another seem highly paradoxical.
In 1870, it was announced at Peking that his Majesty the Emperor had
had the good fortune to catch the small-pox. The auspiciousness of
small-pox was part of the Chinese convention at this time, but to
those of us who live under another convention it is a blessing we would
willingly forego. But much in the Chinese convention, so far from being
absurd, reflects the Confucian good sense, and if the Chinese decide to
break with their convention, they should evidently consider long and
carefully in which direction they are going to move--whether towards
something more central, or something more eccentric.

As to the direction in which Rousseau is moving and therefore as
to the quality of his paradoxes there can be little question. His
paradoxes--and he is perhaps the most paradoxical of writers--reduce
themselves on analysis to the notion that man has suffered a loss of
goodness by being civilized, by having had imposed on his unconscious
and instinctive self some humanistic or religious discipline--e.g.,
“The man who reflects is a depraved animal”; “True Christians are meant
to be slaves”; decorum is only the “varnish of vice” or the “mask of
hypocrisy.” Innumerable paradoxes of this kind will immediately occur
to one as characteristic of Rousseau and his followers. These paradoxes
may be termed in opposition to those of humility, the paradoxes of
spontaneity. The man who holds them is plainly moving in an opposite
direction not merely from the Christian but from the Socratic
individualist. He is moving from the more representative to the less
representative and not towards some deeper centre of experience,
as would be the case if he were tending towards either humanism or
religion. Wordsworth has been widely accepted not merely as a poet but
as a religious teacher, and it is therefore important to note that his
paradoxes are prevailingly of the Rousseauistic type. His verse is
never more spontaneous or, as he would say, inevitable, than when it
is celebrating the gospel of spontaneity. I have already pointed out
some of the paradoxes that he opposes to pseudo-classic decorum: e.g.,
his attempt to bestow poetical dignity and importance upon the ass,
and to make of it a model of moral excellence, also to find poetry in
an idiot boy and to associate sublimity with a pedlar in defiance of
the ordinary character of pedlars. In general Wordsworth indulges in
Rousseauistic paradoxes when he urges us to look to peasants for the
true language of poetry and would have us believe that man is taught
by “woods and rills” and not by contact with his fellow men. He pushes
this latter paradox to a point that would have made even Rousseau
“stare and gasp” when he asserts that

    One impulse from a vernal wood
    May teach you more of man
    Of moral evil and of good
    Than all the sages can.

Another form of this same paradox that what comes from nature
spontaneously is better than what can be acquired by conscious effort
is found in his poem “Lucy Gray”:

    No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
    She dwelt on a wide moor,
    The sweetest thing that ever grew
    Beside a human door!

True maidenhood is made up of a thousand decorums; but this
Rousseauistic maiden would have seemed too artificial if she had been
reared in a house instead of “growing” out of doors; she might in
that case have been a human being and not a “thing” and this would
plainly have detracted from her spontaneity. Wordsworth’s paradoxes
about children have a similar origin. A child who at the age of six
is a “mighty prophet, seer blest,” is a highly improbable not to say
impossible child. The “Nature” again of “Heart-Leap Well” which both
feels and inspires pity is more remote from normal experience than the
Nature “red in tooth and claw” of Tennyson. Wordsworth indeed would
seem to have a penchant for paradox even when he is less obviously
inspired by his naturalistic thesis.

A study of Wordsworth’s life shows that he became progressively
disillusioned regarding Rousseauistic spontaneity. He became less
paradoxical as he grew older and in almost the same measure, one is
tempted to say, less poetical. He returns gradually to the traditional
forms until radicals come to look upon him as the “lost leader.” He
finds it hard, however, to wean his imagination from its primitivistic
Arcadias; so that what one finds, in writing like the “Ecclesiastical
Sonnets,” is not imaginative fire but at best a sober intellectual
conviction, an opposition between the head and the heart in short that
suggests somewhat Chateaubriand and the “Genius of Christianity.”[174]
If Wordsworth had lost faith in his revolutionary and naturalistic
ideal, and had at the same time refused to return to the traditional
forms, one might then have seen in his work something of the homeless
hovering of the romantic ironist. If, on the other hand, he had
worked away from the centre that the traditional forms give to life
towards a more positive and critical centre, if, in other words,
he had broken with the past not on Rousseauistic, but on Socratic
lines, he would have needed an imagination of different quality, an
imagination less idyllic and pastoral and more ethical than that he
usually displays.[175] For the ethical imagination alone can guide one
not indeed to any fixed centre but to an ever increasing centrality.
We are here confronted once more with the question of the infinite
which comes very close to the ultimate ground of difference between
classicist and romanticist. The centre that one perceives with the
aid of the classical imagination and that sets bounds to impulse and
desire may, as I have already said, be defined in opposition to the
outer infinite of expansion as the inner or human infinite. If we
moderns, to repeat Nietzsche, are unable to attain proportionateness
it is because “our itching is really the itching for the infinite,
the immeasurable.” Thus to associate the infinite only with the
immeasurable, to fail to perceive that the element of form and the curb
it puts on the imagination are not external and artificial, but come
from the very depths, is to betray the fact that one is a barbarian.
Nietzsche and many other romanticists are capable on occasion of
admiring the proportionateness that comes from allegiance to some
centre. But after all the human spirit must be ever advancing, and
its only motive powers, according to romantic logic, are wonder and
curiosity; and so from the perfectly sound premise that man is the
being who must always surpass himself, Nietzsche draws the perfectly
unsound conclusion that the only way for man thus constantly to surpass
himself and so show his infinitude is to spurn all limits and “live
dangerously.” The Greeks themselves, according to Renan, will some
day seem the “apostles of ennui,” for the very perfection of their
form shows a lack of aspiration. To submit to form is to be static,
whereas “romantic poetry,” says Friedrich Schlegel magnificently, is
“universal progressive poetry.” Now the only effective counterpoise to
the endless expansiveness that is implied in such a programme is the
inner or human infinite of concentration. For it is perfectly true that
there is something in man that is not satisfied with the finite and
that, if he becomes stationary, he is at once haunted by the spectre
of ennui. Man may indeed be defined as the insatiable animal; and the
more imaginative he is the more insatiable he is likely to become, for
it is the imagination that gives him access to the infinite in every
sense of the word. In a way Baudelaire is right when he describes
ennui as a “delicate monster” that selects as his prey the most highly
gifted natures. Marguerite d’Angoulême already speaks of the “ennui
proper to well-born spirits.” Now religion seeks no less than romance
an escape from ennui. Bossuet is at one with Baudelaire when he
dilates on that “inexorable ennui which is the very substance of human
life.” But Bossuet and Baudelaire differ utterly in the remedies they
propose for ennui. Baudelaire hopes to escape from ennui by dreaming
of the superlative emotional adventure, by indulging in infinite,
indeterminate desire, and becomes more and more restless in his quest
for a something that at the end always eludes him. This infinite of
nostalgia has nothing in common with the infinite of religion. No
distinction is more important than that between the man who feels the
divine discontent of religion, and the man who is suffering from
mere romantic restlessness. According to religion man must seek the
satisfaction that the finite fails to give by looking not without but
within; and to look within he must in the literal sense of the word
undergo conversion. A path will then be found to open up before him, a
path of which he cannot see the end. He merely knows that to advance
on this path is to increase in peace, poise, centrality; though beyond
any calm he can attain is always a deeper centre of calm. The goal
is at an infinite remove. This is the truth that St. Augustine puts
theologically when he exclaims: “For thou hast made us for thyself
and our heart is restless until it findeth peace in thee.”[176] One
should insist that this question of the two infinites is not abstract
and metaphysical but bears on what is most concrete and immediate
in experience. If the inner and human infinite cannot be formulated
intellectually, it can be known practically in its effect on life and
conduct. Goethe says of Werther that he “treated his heart like a sick
child; its every wish was granted it.” “My restless heart asked me
for something else,” says Rousseau. “René,” says Chateaubriand, “was
enchanted, tormented and, as it were, possessed by the demon of his
heart.” Mr. Galsworthy speaks in a similar vein of “the aching for the
wild, the passionate, the new, that never quite dies in a man’s heart.”
But is there not deep down in the human breast another heart that is
felt as a power of control over this romantic heart and can keep within
due bounds “its aching for the wild, the passionate, the new.” This is
the heart, it would seem, to which a man must hearken if he is not for
a “little honey of romance” to abandon his “ancient wisdom and austere

The romantic corruption of the infinite here joins with the romantic
corruption of conscience, the transformation of conscience from an
inner check into an expansive emotion that I have already traced in
Shaftesbury and Rousseau. But one should add that in some of its
aspects this corruption of the idea of the infinite antedates the
whole modern movement. At least the beginnings of it can be found in
ancient Greece,--especially in that “delirious and diseased Greece”
of which Joubert speaks--the Greece of the neo-Platonists. There is
already in the neo-Platonic notion of the infinite a strong element
of expansiveness. Aristotle and the older Greeks conceived of the
infinite in this sense as bad. That something in human nature which
is always reaching out for more--whether the more of sensation or of
power or of knowledge--was, they held, to be strictly reined in and
disciplined to the law of measure. All the furies lie in wait for the
man who overextends himself. He is ripening for Nemesis. “Nothing too
much.” “Think as a mortal.” “The half is better than the whole.” In his
attitude towards man’s expansive self the Greek as a rule stands for
mediation, and not like the more austere Christian, for renunciation.
Yet Plato frequently and Aristotle at times mount from the humanistic
to the religious level. One of the most impressive passages in
philosophy is that in which Aristotle, perhaps the chief exponent of
the law of measure, affirms that one who has really faced about and
is moving towards the inner infinite needs no warning against excess:
“We should not give heed,” he says, “to those who bid one think as
a mortal, but so far as we can we should make ourselves immortal and
do all with a view to a life in accord with the best Principle in
us.”[177] (This Principle Aristotle goes on to say is a man’s true

The earlier Greek distinction between an outer and evil infinite
of expansive desire and an inner infinite that is raised above the
flux and yet rules it, is, in the Aristotelian phrase, its “unmoved
mover,” became blurred, as I have said, during the Alexandrian period.
The Alexandrian influence entered to some extent into Christianity
itself and filtered through various channels down to modern times.
Some of the romanticists went directly to the neo-Platonists,
especially Plotinus. Still more were affected by Jacob Boehme, who
himself had no direct knowledge of the Alexandrian theosophy. This
theosophy appears nevertheless in combination with other elements in
his writings. He appealed to the new school by his insistence on the
element of appetency or desire, by his universal symbolizing, above
all by his tendency to make of the divine an affirmative instead of a
restrictive force--a something that pushes forward instead of holding
back. The expansive elements are moderated in Boehme himself and in
disciples like Law by genuinely religious elements--e.g., humility
and the idea of conversion. What happens when the expansiveness is
divorced from these elements, one may see in another English follower
of Boehme--William Blake. To be both beautiful and wise one needs,
according to Blake, only to be exuberant. The influence of Boehme
blends in Blake with the new æstheticism. Jesus himself, he says, so
far from being restrained “was all virtue, and acted from impulse not
from rules.” This purely æsthetic and impulsive Jesus has been cruelly
maligned, as we learn from the poem entitled the “Everlasting Gospel,”
by being represented as humble and chaste. Religion itself thus becomes
in Blake the mere sport of a powerful and uncontrolled imagination,
and this we are told is mysticism. I have already contrasted with
this type of mysticism something that goes under the same name and
is yet utterly different--the mysticism of ancient India. Instead
of conceiving of the divine in terms of expansion the Oriental sage
defines it experimentally as the “inner check.” No more fundamental
distinction perhaps can be made than that between those who associate
the good with the yes-principle and those who associate it rather with
the no-principle. But I need not repeat what I have said elsewhere on
the romantic attempt to discredit the veto power. Let no one think
that this contrast is merely metaphysical. The whole problem of evil
is involved in it and all the innumerable practical consequences that
follow from one’s attitude towards this problem. The passage in which
Faust defines the devil as the “spirit that always says no” would seem
to derive directly or indirectly from Boehme. According to Boehme
good can be known only through evil. God therefore divides his will
into two, the “yes” and the “no,” and so founds an eternal contrast
to himself in order to enter into a struggle with it, and finally to
discipline and assimilate it. The object of all manifested nature
is the transforming of the will which says “no” into the will which
says “yes.”[178] The opposition between good and evil tends to lose
its reality when it thus becomes a sort of sham battle that God gets
up with himself (without contraries is no progression, says Blake),
or when, to take the form that the doctrine assumes in “Faust,” the
devil appears as the necessary though unwilling instrument of man’s
betterment. The recoil from the doctrine of total depravity was perhaps
inevitable. What is sinister is that advantage has been taken of this
recoil to tamper with the problem of evil itself. Partial evil we are
told is universal good; or else evil is only good in the making. For
a Rousseau or a Shelley it is something mysteriously imposed from
without on a spotless human nature; for a Wordsworth it is something
one may escape by contemplating the speargrass on the wall.[179] For a
Novalis sin is a mere illusion of which a man should rid his mind if he
aspires to become a “magic idealist.”[180] In spite of his quaint Tory
prejudices Dr. Johnson is one of the few persons in recent times that
one may term wise without serious qualification because he never dodges
or equivocates in dealing with the problem of evil; he never fades away
from the fact of evil into some theosophic or sentimental dream.

The rise of a purely expansive view of life in the eighteenth century
was marked by a great revival of enthusiasm. The chief grievance of
the expansionist indeed against the no-principle is that it kills
enthusiasm. But concentration no less than expansion may have its own
type of enthusiasm. It is therefore imperative in an age that has
repudiated the traditional sanctions and set out to walk by the inner
light that all general terms and in particular the term enthusiasm
should be protected by a powerful dialectic. Nothing is more perilous
than an uncritical enthusiasm, since it is only by criticism that one
may determine whether the enthusiast is a man who is moving towards
wisdom or is a candidate for Bedlam. The Rousseauist, however, exalts
enthusiasm at the same time that he depreciates discrimination.
“Enthusiasm,” says Emerson, “is the height of man. It is the passage
from the human to the divine.” It is only too characteristic of Emerson
and of the whole school to which he belongs, to put forth statements of
this kind without any dialectical protection. The type of enthusiasm
to which Emerson’s praise might be properly applied, the type that
has been defined as exalted peace, though extremely rare, actually
exists. A commoner type of enthusiasm during the past century is that
which has been defined as “the rapturous disintegration of civilized
human nature.” When we have got our fingers well burned as a result of
our failure to make the necessary discriminations, we may fly to the
opposite extreme like the men of the early eighteenth century among
whom, as is well known, enthusiasm had become a term of vituperation.
This dislike of enthusiasm was the natural recoil from the uncritical
following of the inner light by the fanatics of the seventeenth
century. Shaftesbury attacks this older type of enthusiasm and at the
same time prepares the way for the new emotional enthusiasm. One cannot
say, however, that any such sharp separation of types appears in the
revival of enthusiasm that begins about the middle of the eighteenth
century, though some of those who were working for this revival felt
the need of discriminating:

    That which concerns us therefore is to see
    What Species of Enthusiasts we be--

says John Byrom in his poem on Enthusiasm. The different species,
however,--the enthusiasm of the Evangelicals and Wesleyans, the
enthusiasm of those who like Law and his disciple Byrom hearken back
to Boehme, the enthusiasm of Rousseau and the sentimentalists, tend to
run together. To “let one’s feelings run in soft luxurious flow,”[181]
is, as Newman says, at the opposite pole from spirituality. Yet much of
this mere emotional facility appears alongside of genuinely religious
elements in the enthusiasm of the Methodist. One may get a notion of
the jumble to which I refer by reading a book like Henry Brooke’s
“Fool of Quality.” Brooke is at one and the same time a disciple of
Boehme and Rousseau while being more or less affiliated with the
Methodistic movement. The book indeed was revised and abridged by
John Wesley himself and in this form had a wide circulation among his

The enthusiasm that has marked the modern movement has plainly not been
sufficiently critical. Perhaps the first discovery that any one will
make who wishes to be at once critical and enthusiastic is that in a
genuinely spiritual enthusiasm the inner light and the inner check
are practically identical. He will find that if he is to rise above
the naturalistic level he must curb constantly his expansive desires
with reference to some centre that is set above the flux. Here let me
repeat is the supreme rôle of the imagination. The man who has ceased
to lean on outer standards can perceive his new standards or centre of
control only through its aid. I have tried to show that to aim at such
a centre is not to be stagnant and stationary but on the contrary to
be at once purposeful and progressive. To assert that the creativeness
of the imagination is incompatible with centrality or, what amounts to
the same thing, with purpose, is to assert that the creativeness of
the imagination is incompatible with reality or at least such reality
as man may attain. Life is at best a series of illusions; the whole
office of philosophy is to keep it from degenerating into a series
of delusions. If we are to keep it from thus degenerating we need to
grasp above all the difference between the eccentric and the concentric
imagination. To look for serious guidance to an imagination that owes
allegiance to nothing above itself, is to run the risk of taking some
cloud bank for terra firma. The eccentric imagination may give access
to the “infinite,” but it is an infinite empty of content and therefore
an infinite not of peace but of restlessness. Can any one maintain
seriously that there is aught in common between the “striving for
endlessness” of the German romanticists and the supreme and perfect
Centre that Dante glimpses at the end of the “Divine Comedy” and in the
presence of which he becomes dumb?

We are told to follow the gleam, but the counsel is somewhat ambiguous.
The gleam that one follows may be that which is associated with the
concentric imagination and which gives steadiness and informing
purpose, or it may be the romantic will o’ the wisp. One may, as I
have said, in recreative moments allow one’s imagination to wander
without control, but to take these wanderings seriously is to engage
in a sort of endless pilgrimage in the void. The romanticist is
constantly yielding to the “spell” of this or the “lure” of that, or
the “call” of some other thing. But when the wonder and strangeness
that he is chasing are overtaken, they at once cease to be wondrous
and strange, while the gleam is already dancing over some other object
on the distant horizon. For nothing is in itself romantic, it is only
imagining that makes it so. Romanticism is the pursuit of the element
of illusion in things for its own sake; it is in short the cherishing
of glamour. The word glamour introduced into literary usage from
popular Scotch usage by Walter Scott itself illustrates this tendency.
Traced etymologically, it turns out to be the same word as grammar. In
an illiterate age to know how to write at all was a weird and magical
accomplishment,[183] but in an educated age, nothing is so drearily
unromantic, so lacking in glamour as grammar.

The final question that arises in connection with this subject is
whether one may quell the mere restlessness of one’s spirit and impose
upon it an ethical purpose. “The man who has no definite end is lost,”
says Montaigne. The upshot of the romantic supposition that purpose is
incompatible with the freedom of the imagination is a philosophy like
that of Nietzsche. He can conceive of nothing beyond whirling forever
on the wheel of change (“the eternal recurrence”) without any goal or
firm refuge that is set above the flux. He could not help doubting
at times whether happiness was to be found after all in mere endless,
purposeless mutation.

    Have _I_ still a goal? A haven towards which _my_ sail is set?
    A good wind? Ah, he only who knoweth _whither_ he saileth,
    knoweth what wind is good, and a fair wind for him.

    What still remaineth to me? A heart weary and flippant; an
    unstable will; fluttering wings; a broken backbone.


    _Where_ is _my_ home? For it do I ask and seek, and have
    sought, but have not found it. O eternal everywhere, O eternal
    nowhere, O eternal--in vain.[184]

To allow one’s self to revolve passively on the wheel of change
(_samsāra_) seemed to the Oriental sage the acme of evil. An old Hindu
writer compares the man who does not impose a firm purpose upon the
manifold solicitations of sense to a charioteer who fails to rein
in his restless steeds[185]--a comparison suggested independently
to Ricarda Huch by the lives of the German romanticists. In the
absence of central control, the parts of the self tend to pull each
in a different way. It is not surprising that in so centrifugal a
movement, at least on the human and spiritual level, one should find
so many instances of disintegrated and multiple personality. The
fascination that the phenomenon of the double (_Doppelgängerei_) had
for Hoffmann and other German romanticists is well known.[186] It may
well be that some such disintegration of the self takes place under
extreme emotional stress.[187] We should not fail to note here the
usual coöperation between the emotional and the scientific naturalist.
Like the romanticist, the scientific psychologist is more interested
in the abnormal than in the normal. According to the Freudians, the
personality that has become incapable of any conscious aim is not left
entirely rudderless. The guidance that it is unable to give itself is
supplied to it by some “wish,” usually obscene, from the sub-conscious
realm of dreams. The Freudian then proceeds to develop what may be true
of the hysterical degenerate into a complete view of life.

Man is in danger of being deprived of every last scrap and vestige of
his humanity by this working together of romanticism and science. For
man becomes human only in so far as he exercises moral choice. He must
also enter upon the pathway of ethical purpose if he is to achieve
happiness. “Moods,” says Novalis, “undefined emotions, not defined
emotions and feelings, give happiness.” The experience of life shows
so plainly that this is not so that the romanticist is tempted to
seek shelter once more from his mere vagrancy of spirit in the outer
discipline he has abandoned. “To such unsettled ones as thou, seemeth
at last even a prisoner blessed. Didst thou ever see how captured
criminals sleep? They sleep quietly, they enjoy their new security. …
Beware in the end lest a narrow faith capture thee, a hard rigorous
delusion! For now everything that is narrow and fixed seduceth and
tempteth thee.”[188]

Various reasons have been given for romantic conversions to
Catholicism--for example, the desire for confession (though the
Catholic does not, like the Rousseauist, confess himself from the
housetops), the æsthetic appeal of Catholic rites and ceremonies, etc.
The sentence of Nietzsche puts us on the track of still another reason.
The affinity of certain romantic converts for the Church is that of the
jelly-fish for the rock. It is appropriate that Friedrich Schlegel,
the great apostle of irony, should after a career as a heaven-storming
Titan end by submitting to this most rigid of all forms of outer

For it should now be possible to return after our digression on paradox
and the idea of the infinite and the perils of aimlessness, to romantic
irony with a truer understanding of its significance. Like so much
else in this movement it is an attempt to give to a grave psychic
weakness the prestige of strength--unless indeed one conceives the
superior personality to be the one that lacks a centre and principle of
control. Man it has usually been held should think lightly of himself
but should have some conviction for which he is ready to die. The
romantic ironist, on the other hand, is often morbidly sensitive about
himself, but is ready to mock at his own convictions. Rousseau was no
romantic ironist, but the root of self-parody is found nevertheless
in his saying that his heart and his head did not seem to belong to
the same individual. Everything of course is a matter of degree. What
poor mortal can say that he is perfectly at one with himself? Friedrich
Schlegel is not entirely wrong when he discovers elements of irony
based on an opposition between the head and the heart in writers like
Ariosto and Cervantes, who love the very mediæval tales that they are
treating in a spirit of mockery. Yet the laughter of Cervantes is not
gypsy laughter. He is one of those who next to Shakespeare deserve the
praise of having dwelt close to the centre of human nature and so can
in only a minor degree be ranked with the romantic ironists.

In the extreme type of romantic ironist not only are intellect and
emotion at loggerheads but action often belies both: he thinks one
thing and feels another and does still a third. The most ironical
contrast of all is that between the romantic “ideal” and the actual
event. The whole of romantic morality is from this point of view, as
I have tried to show, a monstrous series of ironies. The pacifist,
for example, has been disillusioned so often that he should by this
time be able to qualify as a romantic ironist, to look, that is, with
a certain aloofness on his own dream. The crumbling of the ideal is
often so complete indeed when put to the test that irony is at times,
we may suppose, a merciful alternative to madness. When disillusion
overtakes the uncritical enthusiast, when he finds that he has taken
some cloud bank for terra firma, he continues to cling to his dream,
but at the same time wishes to show that he is no longer the dupe of
it; and so “hot baths of sentiment,” as Jean Paul says of his novels,
“are followed by cold douches of irony.” The true German master of
the genre is, however, Heine. Every one knows with what coldness his
head came to survey the enthusiasms of his heart, whether in love or
politics. One may again measure the havoc that life had wrought with
Renan’s ideals if one compares the tone of his youthful “Future of
Science” with the irony of his later writings. He compliments Jesus by
ascribing to him an ironical detachment similar to his own. Jesus, he
says, has that mark of the superior nature--the power to rise above
his own dream and to smile down upon it. Anatole France, who is even
more completely detached from his own dreams than his master Renan,
sums up the romantic emancipation of imagination and sensibility from
any definite centre when he says that life should have as its supreme
witnesses irony and pity.

Irony is on the negative side, it should be remembered, a way of
affirming one’s escape from traditional and conventional control, of
showing the supremacy of mood over decorum. “There are poems old and
new which throughout breathe the divine breath of irony. … Within lives
the poet’s mood that surveys all, rising infinitely above everything
finite, even above his own art, virtue or genius.”[189] Decorum is for
the classicist the grand masterpiece to observe because it is only
thus he can show that he has a genuine centre set above his own ego;
it is only by the allegiance of his imagination to this centre that
he can give the illusion of a higher reality. The romantic ironist
shatters the illusion wantonly. It is as though he would inflict upon
the reader the disillusion from which he has himself suffered. By his
swift passage from one mood to another (_Stimmungsbrechung_) he shows
that he is subject to no centre. The effect is often that of a sudden
breaking of the spell of poetry by an intrusion of the poet’s ego. Some
of the best examples are found in that masterpiece of romantic irony,
“Don Juan.”[190]

Closely allied to the irony of emotional disillusion is a certain type
of misanthropy. You form an ideal of man that is only an Arcadian dream
and then shrink back from man when you find that he does not correspond
to your ideal. I have said that the romantic lover does not love a
real person but only a projection of his mood. This substitution of
illusion for reality often appears in the relations of the romanticist
with other persons. Shelley, for example, begins by seeing in Elizabeth
Hitchener an angel of light and then discovers that she is instead a
“brown demon.” He did not at any time see the real Elizabeth Hitchener.
She merely reflects back to him two of his own moods. The tender
misanthropy of the Rousseauist is at the opposite pole from that of a
Swift, which is the misanthropy of naked intellect. Instead of seeing
human nature through an Arcadian haze he saw it without any illusion at
all. His irony is like that of Socrates, the irony of intellect. Its
bitterness and cruelty arise from the fact that his intellect does not,
like the intellect of Socrates, have the support of insight. Pascal
would have said that Swift saw man’s misery without at the same time
seeing his grandeur. For man’s grandeur is due to his infinitude and
this infinitude cannot be perceived directly, but only through a veil
of illusion; only, that is, through a right use of the imagination.
Literary distinctions of this kind must of course be used cautiously.
Byron’s irony is prevailingly sentimental, but along with this romantic
element he has much irony and satire that Swift would have understood

The misanthropist of the Rousseauistic or Byronic type has a resource
that was denied to Swift. Having failed to find companionship among men
he can flee to nature. Rousseau relates how when he had taken refuge on
St. Peter’s Island he “exclaimed at times with deep emotion: Oh nature,
oh my mother, here I am under your protection alone. Here is no adroit
and rascally man to interpose between you and me.”[191] Few aspects of
romanticism are more important than this attempt to find companionship
and consolation in nature.



One of the most disquieting features of the modern movement is
the vagueness and ambiguity of its use of the word nature and the
innumerable sophistries that have resulted. One can sympathize at
times with Sir Leslie Stephen’s wish that the word might be suppressed
entirely. This looseness of definition may be said to begin with
the very rise of naturalism in the Renaissance, and indeed to go
back to the naturalists of Greek and Roman antiquity.[192] Even
writers like Rabelais and Molière are not free from the suspicion
of juggling dangerously on occasion with the different meanings of
the word nature. But the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were
not merely naturalistic, they were also humanistic, and what they
usually meant by nature, as I have pointed out, was the conception
of normal, representative human nature that they had worked out with
the aid of the ancients. There is undeniably an element of narrowness
and artificiality in this conception of nature, and a resulting
unfriendliness, as appears in Pope’s definition of wit, towards
originality and invention. In his “Art of Poetry” Boileau says, “Let
nature be your sole study.” What he means by nature appears a few lines
later: “Study the court and become familiar with the town.” To this
somewhat conventionalized human nature the original genius opposed,
as we have seen, the cult of primitive nature. A whole revolution is
implied in Byron’s line:

    I love not man the less, but nature more.

Any study of this topic must evidently turn on the question how far at
different times and by different schools of thought the realm of man
and the realm of nature (as Byron uses the word) have been separated
and in what way, and also how far they have been run together and in
what way. For there may be different ways of running together man
and nature. Ruskin’s phrase the “pathetic fallacy” is unsatisfactory
because it fails to recognize this fact. The man who is guilty of the
pathetic fallacy sees in nature emotions that are not really there but
only in himself. Extreme examples of this confusion abound in Ruskin’s
own writings. Now the ancients also ran man and nature together, but in
an entirely different way. The Greek we are told never saw the oak tree
without at the same time seeing the dryad. There is in this and similar
associations a sort of overflow of the human realm upon the forms of
outer nature whereas the Rousseauist instead of bestowing imaginatively
upon the oak tree a conscious life and an image akin to his own and
so lifting it up to his level, would, if he could, become an oak tree
and so enjoy its unconscious and vegetative felicity. The Greek, one
may say, humanized nature; the Rousseauist naturalizes man. Rousseau’s
great discovery was revery; and revery is just this imaginative melting
of man into outer nature. If the ancients failed to develop in a marked
degree this art of revery, it was not because they lacked naturalists.
Both Stoics and Epicureans, the two main varieties of naturalists
with which classical antiquity was familiar, inclined to affirm the
ultimate identity of the human and the natural order. But both Stoics
and Epicureans would have found it hard to understand the indifference
to the intellect and its activities that Rousseauistic revery implies.
The Stoics to be sure employed the intellect on an impossible and
disheartening task--that of founding on the natural order virtues that
the natural order does not give. The Epicureans remind one rather in
much of their intellectual activity of the modern man of science. But
the Epicurean was less prone than the man of science to look on man
as the mere passive creature of environment. The views of the man of
science about the springs of conduct often seem to coincide rather
closely with those of Rousseau about “sensitive morality.” Geoffroy
Saint-Hilaire says that when reclining on the banks of the Nile he felt
awakening within himself the instincts of the crocodile. The point of
view is Rousseauistic perhaps rather than genuinely scientific. An
Epicurus or a Lucretius would, we are probably safe in assuming, have
been disquieted by any such surrender to the subrational, by any such
encroachment of the powers of the unconscious upon conscious control.

It is hard as a matter of fact to find in the ancients anything
resembling Rousseauistic revery, even when they yield to the pastoral
mood. Nature interests them as a rule less for its own sake than as
a background for human action; and when they are concerned primarily
with nature, it is a nature that has been acted upon by man. They
have a positive shrinking from wild and uncultivated nature. “The
green pastures and golden slopes of England,” says Lowell, “are
sweeter both to the outward and to the inward eye that the hand of man
has immemorially cared for and caressed them.” This is an attitude
towards nature that an ancient would have understood perfectly. One
may indeed call it the Virgilian attitude from the ancient who has
perhaps expressed it most happily. The man who lives in the grand
manner may indeed wish to impose on nature some of the fine proportion
and symmetry of which he is conscious in himself and he may then from
our modern point of view carry the humanizing of nature too far. “Let
us sing of woods,” says Virgil, “but let the woods be worthy of a
consul.” This line has sometimes been taken to be a prophecy of the
Park of Versailles. We may sympathize up to a certain point with the
desire to introduce a human symmetry into nature (such as appears, for
instance, in the Italian garden), but the peril is even greater here
than elsewhere of confounding the requirements of a real with those of
an artificial decorum. I have already mentioned the neo-classicist who
complained that the stars in heaven were not arranged in sufficiently
symmetrical patterns.

What has been said should make clear that though both humanist and
Rousseauist associate man with nature it is in very different ways,
and that there is therefore an ambiguity in the expression “pathetic
fallacy.” It remains to show that men may not only associate themselves
with nature in different ways but that they may likewise differ in
their ways of asserting man’s separateness from nature. The chief
distinction to be made here is that between the humanist and the
supernaturalist. Some sense of the gap between man and the “outworld”
is almost inevitable and forces itself at times even upon those most
naturalistically inclined:

    Nor will I praise a cloud however bright,
    Disparaging Man’s gifts and proper food--
    Grove, isle, with every shape of sky-built dome,
    Though clad in colors beautiful and pure,
    Find in the heart of man no natural home.[193]

The Wordsworth who speaks here is scarcely the Wordsworth of Tintern
Abbey or the Wordsworth whose “daily teachers had been woods and
rills.” He reminds us rather of Socrates who gave as his reason for
going so rarely into the country, delightful as he found it when once
there, that he did not learn from woods and rills but from the “men
in the cities.” This sense of the separateness of the human and the
natural realm may be carried much further--to a point where an ascetic
distrust of nature begins to appear. Something of this ascetic distrust
is seen for example in the following lines from Cardinal Newman:

    There strayed awhile amid the woods of Dart
    One who could love them, but who durst not love;
    A vow had bound him ne’er to give his heart
    To streamlet bright or soft secluded grove.[194]

The origins of this latter attitude towards nature are to be sought in
mediæval Christianity rather than in classical antiquity. No man who
knows the facts would assert for a moment that the man of the Middle
Ages was incapable of looking on nature with other feelings than
those of ascetic distrust. It is none the less true that the man of
the Middle Ages often saw in nature not merely something alien but a
positive temptation and peril of the spirit. In his attitude towards
nature as in other respects Petrarch is usually accounted the first
modern. He did what no man of the mediæval period is supposed to have
done before him, or indeed what scarcely any man of classical antiquity
did: he ascended a mountain out of sheer curiosity and simply to enjoy
the prospect. But those who tell of his ascent of Mt. Ventoux sometimes
forget to add that the passage of Saint Augustine[195] that occurred
to him at the top reflects the distrust of the more austere Christian
towards the whole natural order. Petrarch is at once more ascetic and
more romantic in his attitude towards nature than the Greek or Roman.

Traces of Petrarch’s taste for solitary and even for wild nature are
to be found throughout the Renaissance and the seventeenth century.
But the recoil from supernaturalism that took place at this time led
rather, as I have remarked, to a revival of the Græco-Roman humanism
with something more of artifice and convention, and to an even more
marked preference[196] of the town to the country. An age that aims
first of all at urbanity must necessarily be more urban than rural in
its predilections. It was a sort of condescension for the neo-classical
humanist to turn from the central model he was imitating to mere
unadorned nature, and even then he felt that he must be careful not
to condescend too far. Even when writing pastorals he was warned by
Scaliger to avoid details that are too redolent of the real country;
he should indulge at most in an “urbane rusticity.” Wild nature the
neo-classicist finds simply repellent. Mountains he looks upon as
“earth’s dishonor and encumbering load.” The Alps were regarded as
the place where Nature swept up the rubbish of the earth to clear
the plains of Lombardy. “At last,” says a German traveller of the
seventeenth century, “we left the horrible and wearisome mountains and
the beautiful flat landscape was joyfully welcomed.” The taste for
mountain scenery is associated no doubt to some extent, as has been
suggested, with the increasing ease and comfort of travel that has come
with the progress of the utilitarian movement. It is scarcely necessary
to point the contrast between the Switzerland of which Evelyn tells in
his diary[197] and the Switzerland in which one may go by funicular to
the top of the Jungfrau.

Those who in the eighteenth century began to feel the need of less
trimness in nature and human nature were not it is true entirely
without neo-classic predecessors. They turned at times to painting--as
the very word picturesque testifies--for the encouragement they failed
to find in literature. A landscape was picturesque when it seemed
like a picture[198] and it might be not merely irregular but savage
if it were to seem like some of the pictures of Salvator Rosa. This
association of even wildness with art is very characteristic of
eighteenth-century sentimentalism. It is a particular case of that
curious blending in this period of the old principle of the imitation
of models with the new principle of spontaneity. There was a moment
when a man needed to show a certain taste for wildness if he was to be
conventionally correct. “The fops,” says Taine, describing Rousseau’s
influence on the drawing-rooms, “dreamt between two madrigals of the
happiness of sleeping naked in the virgin forest.” The prince in
Goethe’s “Triumph of Sensibility” has carried with him on his travels
canvas screens so painted that when placed in position they give him
the illusion of being in the midst of a wild landscape. This taste for
artificial wildness can however best be studied in connection with the
increasing vogue in the eighteenth century of the English garden as
compared either with the Italian garden or the French garden in the
style of Le Nôtre.[199] As a relief from the neo-classical symmetry,
nature was broken up, often at great expense, into irregular and
unexpected aspects. Some of the English gardens in France and Germany
were imitated directly from Rousseau’s famous description of this
method of dealing with the landscape in the “Nouvelle Héloïse.”[200]
Artificial ruins were often placed in the English garden as a further
aid to those who wished to wander imaginatively from the beaten path,
and also as a provocative of the melancholy that was already held to
be distinguished. Towards the end of the century this cult of ruins
was widespread. The veritable obsession with ruins that one finds in
Chateaubriand is not unrelated to this sentimental fashion, though
it arises even more perhaps from the real ruins that had been so
plentifully supplied by the Revolution.

Rousseau himself, it should hardly be necessary to say, stands for far
more than an artificial wildness. Instead of imposing decorum on nature
like the neo-classicist, he preached constantly the elimination of
decorum from man. Man should flee from that “false taste for grandeur
which is not made for him” and which “poisons his pleasures,”[201]
to nature. Now “it is on the summits of mountains, in the depths of
forests, on deserted islands that nature reveals her most potent
charms.”[202] The man of feeling finds the savage and deserted nook
filled with beauties that seem horrible to the mere worldling.[203]
Rousseau indeed did not crave the ultimate degree of wildness even
in the Alps. He did not get beyond what one may term the middle zone
of Alpine scenery--scenery that may be found around the shores of
Lake Leman. He was inclined to find the most appropriate setting for
the earthly paradise in the neighborhood of Vevey. Moreover, others
about the same time and more or less independently of his influence
were opposing an even more primitive nature to the artificialities of
civilization. The mountains of “Ossian” are, as has been said, mere
blurs, yet the new delight in mountains is due in no small measure
throughout Europe to the Ossianic influence.

The instinct for getting away from the beaten track, for exploration
and discovery, has of course been highly developed at other epochs,
notably at the Renaissance. Much of the romantic interest in the wild
and waste places of the earth did not go much beyond what might have
been felt in Elizabethan England. Many of the Rousseauists, Wordsworth
and Chateaubriand for example, not only read eagerly the older books
of travel but often the same books. The fascination of penetrating to
regions “where foot of man hath ne’er or rarely been,” is perennial.
It was my privilege a few years ago to listen to Sir Ernest Shackleton
speak of his expedition across the Antarctic continent and of the
thrill that he and the members of his party felt when they saw rising
before them day after day mountain peaks that no human eye had ever
gazed upon. The emotion was no doubt very similar to that of “stout
Cortez” when he first “stared at the Pacific.” Chateaubriand must
have looked forward to similar emotions when he planned his trip to
North America in search of the North West Passage. But the passion for
actual exploration which is a form of the romanticism of action is very
subordinate in the case of Chateaubriand to emotional romanticism. He
went into the wilderness first of all not to make actual discoveries
but to affirm his freedom from conventional restraint, and at the same
time to practice the new art of revery. His sentiments on getting
into what was then the virgin forest to the west of Albany were very
different we may assume from those of the early pioneers of America.
“When,” he says, “after passing the Mohawk I entered woods which
had never felt the axe, I was seized by a sort of intoxication of
independence: I went from tree to tree, to right and left, saying to
myself, ‘Here are no more roads or cities or monarchy or republic
or presidents or kings or men.’ And in order to find out if I was
restored to my original rights I did various wilful things that made
my guide furious. In his heart he believed me mad.” The disillusion
that followed is also one that the early pioneers would have had some
difficulty in understanding. For he goes on to relate that while he
was thus rejoicing in his escape from conventional life to pure nature
he suddenly bumped up against a shed, and under the shed he saw his
first savages--a score of them both men and women. A little Frenchman
named M. Violet, “bepowdered and befrizzled, with an apple-green coat,
drugget waistcoat and muslin frill and cuffs, was scraping on a pocket
fiddle” and teaching the Indians to dance to the tune of Madelon
Friquet. M. Violet, it seemed, had remained behind on the departure
from New York of Rochambeau’s forces at the time of the American
Revolution, and had set up as dancing-master among the savages. He
was very proud of the nimbleness of his pupils and always referred to
them as “ces messieurs sauvages et ces dames sauvagesses.” “Was it not
a crushing circumstance for a disciple of Rousseau,” Chateaubriand
concludes, “this introduction to savage life by a ball that the
ex-scullion of General Rochambeau was giving to Iroquois? I felt very
much like laughing, but I was at the same time cruelly humiliated.”

In America, as elsewhere, Chateaubriand’s chief concern is not
with any outer fact or activity, but with his own emotions and the
enhancement of these emotions by his imagination. In him as in many
other romanticists the different elements of Rousseauism--Arcadian
longing, the pursuit of the dream woman, the aspiration towards the
“infinite” (often identified with God)--appear at times more or less
separately and then again almost inextricably blended with one another
and with the cult of nature. It may be well to consider more in detail
these various elements of Rousseauism and their relation to nature in
about the order I have mentioned. The association of Arcadian longing
with nature is in part an outcome of the conflict between the ideal and
the real. The romantic idealist finds that men do not understand him:
his “vision” is mocked and his “genius” is unrecognized. The result
is the type of sentimental misanthropy of which I spoke at the end of
the last chapter. He feels, as Lamartine says, that there is nothing
in common between the world and him. Lamartine adds, however, “But
nature is there who invites you and loves you.” You will find in her
the comprehension and companionship that you have failed to find in
society. And nature will seem a perfect companion to the Rousseauist
in direct proportion as she is uncontaminated by the presence of man.
Wordsworth has described the misanthropy that supervened in many people
on the collapse of the revolutionary idealism. He himself overcame
it, though there is more than a suggestion in the manner of his own
retirement into the hills of a man who retreats into an Arcadian dream
from actual defeat. The suggestion of defeat is much stronger in
Ruskin’s similar retirement. Ruskin doubtless felt in later life, like
Rousseau, that if he had failed to get on with men “it was less his
fault than theirs.”[204] Perhaps emotional misanthropy and the worship
of wild nature are nowhere more fully combined than in Byron. He
gives magnificent expression to the most untenable of paradoxes--that
one escapes from solitude by eschewing human haunts in favor of some
wilderness.[205] In these haunts, he says, he became like a “falcon
with clipped wing,” but found in nature the kindest of mothers.

      Oh! she is fairest in her features wild,
      Where nothing polished dare pollute her path:
      To me by day or night she ever smiled
      Though I have marked her when none other hath
    And sought her more and more, and loved her best in wrath.[206]

He not only finds companionship in nature but at the same time partakes
of her infinitude--an infinitude, one should note, of feeling:

    I live not in myself, but I become
    Portion of that around me; and to me
    High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
    Of human cities torture.[207]

In his less misanthropic moods the Rousseauist sees in wild nature
not only a refuge from society, but also a suitable setting for his
companionship with the ideal mate, for what the French term _la
solitude à deux_.

    Oh! that the Desert were my dwelling-place
    With one fair Spirit for my minister,
    That I might all forget the human race
    And, hating no one, love but only her![208]

The almost innumerable passages in the romantic movement that celebrate
this Arcadian companionship in the wilderness merely continue in a
sense the pastoral mood that must be as old as human nature itself.
But in the past the pastoral mood has been comparatively placid.
It has not been associated in any such degree with misanthropy and
wildness, with nympholeptic longing and the thirst for the infinite.
The scene that Chateaubriand has imagined between Chactas and Atala in
the primeval forest, is surely the stormiest of Arcadias; so stormy
indeed that it would have been unintelligible to Theocritus. It is
not certain that it would have been intelligible to Shakespeare, who
like the other Elizabethans felt at times that he too had been born
in Arcadia. The Arcadian of the past was much less inclined to sink
down to the subrational and to merge his personality in the landscape.
Rousseau describes with a charm that has scarcely been surpassed by
any of his disciples, the reveries in which he thus descends below
the level of his rational self. Time, no longer broken up by the
importunate intellect and its analysis, is then felt by him in its
unbroken flow; the result is a sort of “eternal present that leaves
no sense of emptiness.” Of such a moment of revery Rousseau says,
anticipating Faust, that he “would like it to last forever.” Bergson
in his conception of the _summum bonum_ as a state in which time is
no longer cut up into artificial segments but is perceived in its
continuous stream as a “present that endures,”[209] has done little
more than repeat Rousseau. The sight and sound of water seem to have
been a special aid to revery in Rousseau’s case. His accounts of the
semi-dissolution of his conscious self that he enjoyed while drifting
idly on the Lake of Bienne are justly celebrated. Lamartine’s soul was,
like that of Rousseau, lulled by “the murmur of waters.” Nothing again
is more Rousseauistic than the desire Arnold attributes to Maurice de
Guérin--the desire “to be borne on forever down an enchanted stream.”
That too is why certain passages of Shelley are so near in spirit to
Rousseau--for example, the boat revery in “Prometheus Unbound” in which
an Arcadian nature and the dream companion mingle to the strains of
music in a way that is supremely romantic.[210]

The association of nature with Arcadian longing and the pursuit of
the dream woman is even less significant than its association with
the idea of the infinite. For as a result of this latter association
the nature cult often assumes the aspect of a religion. The various
associations may indeed as I have said be very much blended or else
may run into one another almost insensibly. No better illustration of
this blending can be found perhaps than in Chateaubriand--especially
in that compendium of Rousseauistic psychology, his “René.” The soul
of René, one learns, was too great to adjust itself to the society of
men. He found that he would have to contract his life if he put himself
on their level. Men, for their part, treated him as a dreamer, and so
he is forced more and more by his increasing disgust for them into
solitude. Now René rests the sense of his superiority over other men
on two things: first, on his superlative capacity to feel grief;[211]
secondly, on his thirst for the infinite. “What is finite,” he says,
“has no value for me.” What is thus pushing him beyond all bounds is
“an unknown good of which the instinct pursues me.” “I began to ask
myself what I desired. I did not know but I thought all of a sudden
that the woods would be delicious to me!” What he found in this quest
for the mystical something that was to fill the abyss of his existence
was the dream woman. “I went down into the valley, I strode upon the
mountain, summoning with all the force of my desire the ideal object
of a future flame; I embraced this object in the winds; I thought
that I heard it in the moanings of the river. All was this phantom of
the imagination--both the stars in heaven and the very principle of
life in the universe.” I have already quoted a very similar passage
and pointed out the equivalent in Shelley. No such close equivalent
could be found in Byron, and Wordsworth, it is scarcely necessary to
say, offers no equivalent at all. If one reads on, however, one finds
passages that are Byronic and others that are Wordsworthian. Paganism,
Chateaubriand complains, by seeing in nature only certain definite
forms--fauns and satyrs and nymphs--had banished from it both God and
the infinite. But Christianity expelled these thronging figures in
turn and restored to the grottoes their silence and to the woods their
revery. The true God thus became visible in his works and bestowed
upon them his own immensity. What Chateaubriand understands by God and
the infinite appears in the following description of the region near
Niagara seen by moonlight. The passage is Byronic as a whole with a
Wordsworthian touch at the end. “The grandeur, the amazing melancholy
of this picture cannot be expressed in human language; the fairest
night of Europe can give no conception of it. In vain in our cultivated
fields does the imagination seek to extend itself. It encounters on
every hand the habitations of men; but in these savage regions the soul
takes delight in plunging into an ocean of forests, in hovering over
the gulf of cataracts, in meditating on the shores of lakes and rivers
and, so to speak, in finding itself alone in the presence of God.” The
relation between wild and solitary nature and the romantic idea of the
infinite is here obvious. It is an aid to the spirit in throwing off
its limitations and so in feeling itself “free.”[212]

A greater spiritual elevation it is sometimes asserted is found in
Wordsworth’s communings with nature than in those of Rousseau and
Chateaubriand. The difference perhaps is less one of spirit than
of temperament. In its abdication of the intellectual and critical
faculties, in its semi-dissolution of the conscious self, the
revery of Wordsworth does not differ from that of Rousseau[213] and
Chateaubriand, but the erotic element is absent. In the “Genius of
Christianity” Chateaubriand gives a magnificent description of sunset
at sea and turns the whole picture into a proof of God. Elsewhere he
tells us that it was “not God alone that I contemplated on the waters
in the splendor of his works. I saw an unknown woman and the miracle
of her smile. … I should have sold eternity for one of her caresses.
I imagined that she was palpitating behind that veil of the universe
that hid her from my eyes,” etc. Wordsworth was at least consistently
religious in his attitude towards the landscape: he did not see in it
at one moment God, and at another an unknown woman and the miracle of
her smile. At the same time his idea of spirituality is very remote
from the traditional conception. Formerly spirituality was held to be a
process of recollection, of gathering one’s self in, that is, towards
the centre and not of diffusive emotion; so that when a man wished
to pray he retired into his closet, and did not, like a Wordsworth
or a Rousseau, fall into an inarticulate ecstasy before the wonders
of nature. As for the poets of the past, they inclined as a rule to
look on nature as an incentive not to religion but to love. Keble,
following Wordsworth, protests on this ground against Aristophanes, and
Catullus and Horace and Theocritus. He might have lengthened the list
almost indefinitely. Chateaubriand bids us in our devotional moods to
betake ourselves “to the religious forest.” La Fontaine is at least
as near to normal human experience and also at least as poetical when
he warns “fair ones” to “fear the depths of the woods and their vast

No one would question that Wordsworth has passages of great ethical
elevation. But in some of these passages he simply renews the error
of the Stoics who also display at times great ethical elevation; he
ascribes to the natural order virtues that the natural order does not
give. This error persists to some extent even when he is turning away,
as in the “Ode to Duty,” from the moral spontaneity of the Rousseauist.
It is not quite clear that the law of duty in the breast of man is the
same law that preserves “the stars from wrong.” His earlier assertion
that the light of setting suns and the mind of man are identical in
their essence is at best highly speculative, at least as speculative
as the counter assertion of Sir Thomas Browne that “there is surely a
piece of divinity in us; something that was before the elements, and
owes no homage unto the sun.” Furthermore this latter sense of the gap
between man and nature seems to be more fully justified by its fruits
in life and conduct, and this is after all the only test that counts in
the long run.

One of the reasons why pantheistic revery has been so popular is that
it seems to offer a painless substitute for genuine spiritual effort.
In its extreme exponents, a Rousseau or a Walt Whitman, it amounts to a
sort of ecstatic animality that sets up as a divine illumination. Even
in its milder forms it encourages one to assume a tone of consecration
in speaking of experiences that are æsthetic rather than truly
religious. “’Tis only heaven that’s given away,” sings Lowell; “’Tis
only God may be had for the asking.” God and heaven are accorded by
Lowell with such strange facility because he identifies them with the
luxurious enjoyment of a “day in June.” When pushed to a certain point
the nature cult always tends towards sham spirituality.

    Oh World as God has made it
      --All is beauty,
    And knowing this is love, and
      Love is duty.

It seems to follow from these verses of Browning, perhaps the most
flaccid spiritually in the English language, that to go out and mix
one’s self up with the landscape is the same as doing one’s duty. As
a method of salvation this is even easier and more æsthetic than that
of the Ancient Mariner, who, it will be remembered, is relieved of the
burden of his transgression by admiring the color of water-snakes!

The nature cult arose at a time when the traditional religious
symbols were becoming incredible. Instead of working out new and
firm distinctions between good and evil, the Rousseauist seeks to
discredit all precise distinctions whether new or old, in favor of mere
emotional intoxication. The passage to which I have already alluded,
in which Faust breaks down the scruples of Marguerite by proclaiming
the supremacy of feeling, surpasses even the lines I have cited from
Browning as an example of sham spirituality:


    Dost thou believe in God?


    My darling, who dares say,
    Yes, I in God believe?
    Question or priest or sage, and they
    Seem, in the answer you receive,
    To mock the questioner.


    Then thou dost not believe?


    Sweet one! my meaning do not misconceive!
    Him who dare name
    And who proclaim,
    Him I believe?
    Who that can feel,
    His heart can steel
    To say: I believe him not?
    The All-embracer,
    Holds and sustains he not
    Thee, me, himself?
    Lifts not the Heaven its dome above?
    Doth not the firm-set earth beneath us lie?
    And beaming tenderly with looks of love
    Climb not the everlasting stars on high?
    Do I not gaze into thine eyes?
    Nature’s impenetrable agencies,
    Are they not thronging on thy heart and brain,
    Viewless, or visible to mortal ken,
    Around thee weaving their mysterious chain?
    Fill thence thy heart, how large soe’er it be;
    And in the feeling when thou utterly art blest,
    Then call it what thou wilt--
    Call it Bliss! Heart! Love! God!
    I have no name for it!
    Feeling is all;
    Name is but sound and smoke
    Shrouding the glow of heaven.[215]

The upshot of this enthusiasm that overflows all boundaries and spurns
definition as mere smoke that veils its heavenly glow is the seduction
of a poor peasant girl. Such is the romantic contrast between the
“ideal” and the “real.”

Those to whom I may seem to be treating the nature cult with
undue severity should remember that I am treating it only in its
pseudo-religious aspect. In its proper place all this refining on
man’s relation to the “outworld” may be legitimate and delightful;
but that place is secondary. My quarrel is only with the æsthete who
assumes an apocalyptic pose and gives forth as a profound philosophy
what is at best only a holiday or week-end view of existence. No
distinction is more important for any one who wishes to maintain a
correct scale of values than that between what is merely recreative and
what ministers to leisure. There are times when we may properly seek
solace and renewal in nature, when we may invite both our souls and our
bodies to loaf. The error is to look on these moments of recreation
and relief from concentration on some definite end as in themselves
the consummation of wisdom. Rousseau indeed assumes that his art of
mixing himself up with the landscape is identical with leisure; like
innumerable disciples he confuses revery with meditation--a confusion
so grave that I shall need to revert to it later. He parodies subtly
what is above the ordinary rational level in terms of what is below it.
He thus brings under suspicion the most necessary of all truths--that
the kingdom of heaven is within us.

The first place always belongs to action and purpose and not to mere
idling, even if it be like that of the Rousseauist transcendental
idling. The man who makes a deliberate choice and then plans his life
with reference to it is less likely than the aimless man to be swayed
by every impulse and impression. The figures of Raphael according to
Hazlitt have always “a set, determined, voluntary character,” they
“want that wild uncertainty of expression which is connected with the
accidents of nature and the changes of the elements.” And Hazlitt
therefore concludes rightly that Raphael has “nothing romantic about
him.” The distinction is so important that it might be made the
basis for a comparison between the painting of the Renaissance and
some of the important schools of the nineteenth century. Here again
no sensible person would maintain that the advantage is all on one
side. Romanticism gave a great impulse to landscape painting and to
the painting of man in the landscape. Few romantic gains are more
indubitable. One may prefer the best work of the Barbizon school for
example to the contemporary product in French literature. But even here
it must be insisted that painting from which man is absent or in which
he is more or less subordinated to the landscape is not the highest
type of painting. Turner, one of the greatest masters of landscape,
was almost incapable of painting the human figure. Ruskin is therefore
indulging in romantic paradox when he puts Turner in the same class
as Shakespeare. Turner’s vision of life as compared with that of
Shakespeare is not central but peripheral.

The revolution that has resulted from the triumph of naturalistic over
humanistic tendencies in painting extends down to the minutest details
of technique; it has meant the subordination of design--the imposition,
that is, on one’s material of a firm central purpose--to light and
color; and this in painting corresponds to the literary pursuit of
glamour and illusion for their own sake. It has meant in general a
tendency to sacrifice all the other elements of painting to the capture
of the vivid and immediate impression. And this corresponds to the
readiness of the writer to forego decorum in favor of intensity. The
choice that is involved, including a choice of technique, according
as one is a naturalist or a humanist, is brought out by Mr. Kenyon Cox
in his comparison of two paintings of hermits,[216] one by Titian and
one by John Sargent: the impressionistic and pantheistic hermit of
Sargent is almost entirely merged in the landscape; he is little more
than a pretext for a study of the accidents of light. The conception
of Titian’s St. Jerome in the Desert is perhaps even more humanistic
than religious. The figure of the saint on which everything converges
is not merely robust, it is even a bit robustious. The picture affirms
in its every detail the superior importance of man and his purposes to
his natural environment. So far as their inner life is concerned the
two hermits are plainly moving in opposite directions. An appropriate
motto for Sargent’s hermit would be the following lines that I take
from a French symbolist, but the equivalent of which can be found in
innumerable other Rousseauists:

    _Je voudrais me confondre avec les chases, tordre_
    _Mes bras centre la pierre et les fraîches écorces,_
    _Etre l’arbre, le mur, le pollen et le sel,_
    _Et me dissoudre au fond de l’être universel._

This is to push the reciprocity between man and nature to a point
where the landscape is not only a state of the soul but the soul is
a state of the landscape; just as in Shelley’s Ode, Shelley becomes
the West Wind and the West Wind becomes Shelley.[217] The changes in
the romantic soul are appropriately mirrored in the changes of the
seasons. In Tieck’s “Genoveva,” for example, Golo’s love blossoms in
the springtime, the sultry summer impels him to sinful passion, the
autumn brings grief and repentance, and in winter avenging judgment
overtakes the offender and casts him into the grave.[218] Autumn
is perhaps even more than springtime the favorite season of the
Rousseauist. The movement is filled with souls who like the hero of
Poe’s “Ulalume” have reached the October of their sensations. Some
traces of this sympathetic relation between man and nature may indeed
be found in the literature of the past. The appropriateness of the
setting in the “Prometheus Bound” of Æschylus would scarcely seem to
be an accident. The storm in “Lear” may also be instanced. But as I
have already said occidental man did not before Rousseau show much
inclination to mingle with the landscape. The parallelism that Pater
establishes in “Marius the Epicurean” between the moods of the hero and
the shifting aspects of nature is felt as a distinct anachronism. If we
wish to find any early approximations to the subtleties and refinements
of the Rousseauist in his dealings with nature we need to turn to the
Far East--especially to the Taoist movement in China.[219] As a result
of the Taoist influence China had from a very early period poets and
painters for whom the landscape is very plainly a state of the soul.

Pantheistic revery of the kind I have been describing leads inevitably
to a special type of symbolism. The Rousseauist reads into nature
unutterable love. He sees shining through its finite forms the light of
the infinite. The Germans especially set out to express symbolically
the relationship between the love and infinitude that they saw in
nature and the kindred elements in themselves. Any one who has
attempted to thread his way through the German theories of the symbol
will feel that he has, like Wordsworth’s shepherd, “been in the heart
of many thousand mists.” But in view of the importance of the subject
it is necessary to venture for a moment into this metaphysical murk.
Schelling’s “Nature Philosophy” is perhaps the most ambitious of all
the German attempts to run together symbolically the human spirit and
phenomenal nature. “What we call nature,” says Schelling, “is a poem
that lies hidden in a secret wondrous writing”; if the riddle could be
revealed we should recognize in nature “the Odyssey of the Spirit.”
“There looks out through sensuous objects as through a half-transparent
mist the world of phantasy for which we long.” “All things are only a
garment of the world of spirit.” “To be romantic,” says Uhland, “is
to have an inkling of the infinite in appearances.” “Beauty,” says
Schelling in similar vein, “is a finite rendering of the infinite.” Now
the infinite and the finite can only be thus brought together through
the medium of the symbol. Therefore, as A. W. Schlegel says, “beauty
is a symbolical representation of the infinite. All poetry is an
everlasting symbolizing.”

This assertion is in an important sense true. Unfortunately there
remains the ambiguity that I have already pointed out in the word
“infinite.” No one would give a high rating to a certain type of
allegory that flourished in neo-classical times as also in a somewhat
different form during the Middle Ages. It is a cold intellectual
contrivance in which the imagination has little part and which
therefore fails to suggest the infinite in any sense. But to
universalize the particular in the classical sense is to give access
imaginatively to the human infinite that is set above nature. Every
successful humanistic creation is more or less symbolical. Othello is
not merely a jealous man; he is also a symbol of jealousy. Some of the
myths of Plato again are imaginative renderings of a supersensuous
realm to which man has no direct access. They are symbolical
representations of an infinite that the romanticist leaves out of
his reckoning. The humanistic and spiritual symbols that abound in
the religion and poetry of the past, are then, it would seem, very
different from the merely æsthetic symbolizing of a Schelling. For
Schelling is one of the chief of those who from Shaftesbury down have
tended to identify beauty and truth and to make both purely æsthetic.
But a symbol that is purely æsthetic, that is in other words purely a
matter of feeling, rests on what is constantly changing not only from
man to man but in the same man. Romantic symbolism, therefore, though
it claims at one moment to be scientific (especially in Germany) and at
another moment to have a religious value, is at bottom the symbolizing
of mood. Both the imagination and the emotion that enter into the
romantic symbol are undisciplined. The results of such a symbolism do
not meet the demand of the genuine man of science for experimental
proof, they do not again satisfy the test of universality imposed by
those who believe in a distinctively human realm that is set above
nature. The nature philosophy of a Schelling leads therefore on the one
hand to sham science and on the other to sham philosophy and religion.

The genuine man of science has as a matter of fact repudiated the
speculations of Schelling and other romantic physicists as fantastic.
He may also be counted on to look with suspicion on the speculations
of a Bergson who, more perhaps than any living Rousseauist, reminds
one of the German romantic philosophers. One idea has however lingered
in the mind even of the genuine man of science as a result of all this
romantic theorizing--namely that man has access to the infinite only
through nature. Thus Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn said in a recent
address to the students of Columbia University:

    I would not for a moment take advantage of the present
    opportunity to discourage the study of human nature and of
    the humanities, but for what is called the best opening for
    a constructive career give me nature. The ground for my
    preference is that human nature is an exhaustible fountain
    of research; Homer understood it well; Solomon fathomed
    it; Shakespeare divined it, both normal and abnormal;
    the modernists have been squeezing out the last drops of
    abnormality. Nature, studied since Aristotle’s time, is
    still full to the brim; no perceptible falling of its tides
    is evident from any point at which it is attacked, from
    nebulæ to protoplasm; it is always wholesome, refreshing and
    invigorating. Of the two most creative literary artists of our
    time, Maeterlinck, jaded with human abnormality, comes back to
    the bee and the flowers and the “blue bird,” with a delicious
    renewal of youth, while Rostand turns to the barnyard.

The romanticists acted from the start, following here in the wake of
the pseudo-classicists, on Professor Osborn’s assumption that normal
human nature is something that may be bottled up once for all and put
by on a shelf, though they would have been pained to learn from him
that even abnormal human nature may also be bottled up and put by in
the same fashion. Sophistries of this kind should perhaps be pardoned
in the man of science when so many men who are supposed to stand for
letters have shown him the way. Great literature is an imaginative and
symbolical interpretation of an infinite that is accessible only to
those who possess in some degree the same type of imagination. A writer
like Maeterlinck, whom Professor Osborn takes to be representative of
literature in general, is merely a late exponent of a movement that
from the start turned away from this human infinite towards pantheistic

The imagination is, as Coleridge says, the great unifying power; it
draws together things that are apparently remote. But its analogies to
be of value should surely have validity apart from the mere shifting
mood of the man who perceives them. Otherwise he simply wrests some
outer object from the chain of cause and effect of which it is actually
a part, and incorporates it arbitrarily into his own private dream.
Wordsworth is not sparing of homely detail in his account of his
leech-gatherer; but at a given moment in this poem the leech-gatherer
undergoes a strange transformation; he loses all verisimilitude as a
leech-gatherer and becomes a romantic symbol, a mere projection, that
is, of the poet’s own broodings. To push this symbolizing of mood
beyond a certain point is incipient hallucination. We are told that
when the asylum at Charenton was shelled in the Franco-Prussian War
of 1870, the lunatics saw reflected in the bursting bombs, each in
a different way, his own madness. One took the bombs to be a link in
the plot of his enemies against him, etc. It is hard to consider the
symbolizing and visions of the extreme romanticist, such as those of
William Blake, without thinking at times of Charenton.

What I have said of the romantic symbol is true in some degree of
the romantic metaphor, for the symbol and even the myth are often
only a developed metaphor. The first part of the romantic metaphor,
the image or impression that has been received from the outer world,
is often admirably fresh and vivid.[220] But the second part of the
metaphor when the analogy involved is that between some fact of outer
perception and the inner life of man is often vague and misty; for the
inner life in which the romanticist takes interest is not the life
he possesses in common with other men but what is most unique in his
own emotions--his mood in short. That is why the metaphor and still
more the symbol in so far as they are romantic are always in danger of
becoming unintelligible, since it is not easy for one man to enter into
another’s mood. Men accord a ready welcome to metaphors and symbols
that instead of expressing something more or less individual have a
real relevancy to their common nature. Tribulation, for example, means
literally the beating out of grain on the threshing floor. The man
who first saw the analogy between this process and certain spiritual
experiences established a legitimate link between nature and human
nature, between sense and the supersensuous. Language is filled with
words and expressions of this kind which have become so current that
their metaphorical and symbolical character has been forgotten and
which have at the same time ceased to be vivid and concrete and become

The primitivistic fallacies of the German romanticists in their
dealings with the symbol and metaphor appear in various forms in
French romanticism and even more markedly in its continuation known
as the symbolistic movement. What is exasperating in many of the
poets of this school is that they combine the pretence to a vast
illumination with the utmost degree of spiritual and intellectual
emptiness and vagueness. Like the early German romanticists they mix
up flesh and spirit in nympholeptic longing and break down and blur
all the boundaries of being in the name of the infinite. Of this inner
formlessness and anarchy the chaos of the _vers libre_ (in which they
were also anticipated by the Germans) is only an outer symptom.[221]

If the Rousseauistic primitivist recognizes the futility of his
symbolizing, and consents to become a passive register of outer
perception, if for example he proclaims himself an imagist, he at least
has the merit of frankness, but in that case he advertises by the very
name he has assumed the bankruptcy of all that is most worth while in

But to return to romanticism and nature. It should be plain from what
has already been said that the romanticist tends to make of nature the
mere plaything of his mood. When Werther’s mood is cheerful, nature
smiles at him benignly. When his mood darkens she becomes for him “a
devouring monster.” When it grows evident to the romanticist that
nature does not alter with his alteration, he chides her at times for
her impassibility; or again he seeks to be impassible like her, even if
he can be so only at the expense of his humanity. This latter attitude
is closely connected with the dehumanizing of man by science that is
reflected in a whole literature during the last half of the nineteenth
century--for instance, in so-called “impassive” writers like Flaubert
and Leconte de Lisle.

The causal sequences that had been observed in the physical realm
were developed more and more during this period with the aid of pure
mathematics and the mathematical reason (_esprit de géométrie_) into an
all-embracing system. For the earlier romanticists nature had at least
been a living presence whether benign or sinister. For the mathematical
determinist she tends to become a soulless, pitiless mechanism against
which man is helpless.[222] This conception of nature is so important
that I shall need to revert to it in my treatment of melancholy.

The man who has accepted the universe of the mechanist or determinist
is not always gloomy. But men in general felt the need of some relief
from the deterministic obsession. Hence the success of the philosophy
of Bergson and similar philosophies. The glorification of impulse
(_élan vital_) that Bergson opposes to the mechanizing of life is in
its main aspects, as I have already indicated, simply a return to
the spontaneity of Rousseau. His plan of escape from deterministic
science is at bottom very much like Rousseau’s plan of escape from
the undue rationalism of the Enlightenment. As a result of these
eighteenth-century influences, nature had, according to Carlyle, become
a mere engine, a system of cogs and pulleys. He therefore hails Novalis
as an “anti-mechanist,” a “deep man,” because of the way of deliverance
that he teaches from this nightmare. “I owe him somewhat.” What Carlyle
owed to Novalis many moderns have owed to Bergson, but it is not yet
clear that either Novalis or Bergson are “deep men.”

The mechanistic view of nature, whether held pessimistically or
optimistically, involving as it does factors that are infinite
and therefore beyond calculation, cannot furnish proofs that will
satisfy the true positivist: he is inclined to dismiss it as a mere
phantasmagoria of the intellect. The Rousseauistic view of nature, on
the other hand, whether held optimistically or pessimistically, is
even less capable of satisfying the standards of the positivist and
must be dismissed as a mere phantasmagoria of the emotions. The fact
is that we do not know and can never know what nature is in herself.
The mysterious mother has shrouded herself from us in an impenetrable
veil of illusion. But though we cannot know nature absolutely we can
pick up a practical and piecemeal knowledge of nature not by dreaming
but by doing. The man of action can within certain limits have his way
with nature. Now the men who have acted during the past century have
been the men of science and the utilitarians who have been turning
to account the discoveries of science. The utilitarians have indeed
derived such potent aid from science that they have been able to stamp
their efforts on the very face of the landscape. The romanticists have
not ceased to protest against this scientific utilizing of nature as
a profanation. But inasmuch as these protests have come from men who
have stood not for work but for revery they have for the most part
been futile. This is not the least of the ironic contrasts that abound
in this movement between the ideal and the real. No age ever grew so
ecstatic over natural beauty as the nineteenth century, at the same
time no age ever did so much to deface nature. No age ever so exalted
the country over the town, and no age ever witnessed such a crowding
into urban centres.

A curious study might be made of this ironic contrast as it appears
in the early romantic crusade against railways. One of the romantic
grievances against the railway is that it does not encourage
vagabondage: it has a definite goal and gets to it so far as possible
in a straight line. Yet in spite of Wordsworth’s protesting sonnet the
Windermere railway was built. Ruskin’s wrath at railways was equally
vain. In general, sentiment is not of much avail when pitted against
industrial advance. The papers announced recently that one of the
loveliest cascades in the California Sierras had suddenly disappeared
as a result of the diversion of its water to a neighboring power-plant.
The same fate is overtaking Niagara itself. It is perhaps symbolic
that a quarry has made a hideous gash in the hillside on the shores of
Rydal Mere right opposite Wordsworth’s house.

If the man of science and the utilitarian do not learn what nature
is in herself they learn at least to adjust themselves to forces
outside themselves. The Rousseauist, on the other hand, does not in
his “communion” with nature adjust himself to anything. He is simply
communing with his own mood. Rousseau chose appropriately as title for
the comedy that was his first literary effort “Narcissus or the Lover
of Himself.” The nature over which the Rousseauist is bent in such rapt
contemplation plays the part of the pool in the legend of Narcissus. It
renders back to him his own image. He sees in nature what he himself
has put there. The Rousseauist transfuses himself into nature in much
the same way that Pygmalion transfuses himself into his statue. Nature
is dead, as Rousseau says, unless animated by the fires of love. “Make
no mistake,” says M. Masson, “the nature that Jean-Jacques worships
is only a projection of Jean-Jacques. He has poured himself forth
so complacently upon it that he can always find himself and cherish
himself in it.” And M. Masson goes on and quotes from a curious and
little-known fragment of Rousseau: “Beloved solitude,” Rousseau sighs,
“beloved solitude, where I still pass with pleasure the remains of
a life given over to suffering. Forest with stunted trees, marshes
without water, broom, reeds, melancholy heather, inanimate objects,
you who can neither speak to me nor hear me, what secret charm brings
me back constantly into your midst? Unfeeling and dead things, this
charm is not in you; it could not be there. It is in my own heart which
wishes to refer back everything to itself.”[223] Coleridge plainly only
continues Rousseau when he writes:

    O Lady! we receive but what we give,
    And in our life alone does nature live:[224]
    Ours is her wedding-garment, ours her shroud!
      And would we aught behold, of higher worth,
    Than that inanimate cold world allow’d
    To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd,
      Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth
    A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud
      Enveloping the Earth.

The fair luminous cloud is no other than the Arcadian imagination. “The
light that never was on sea or land, the consecration and the poet’s
dream” of which Wordsworth speaks, is likewise as appears very plainly
from the context,[225] Arcadian. He should once, Wordsworth writes,
have wished to see Peele Castle bathed in the Arcadian light, but now
that he has escaped by sympathy for his fellow-men from the Arcadian
aloofness, he is willing that it should be painted in storm. Mere
storminess, one should recollect, is not in itself an assurance that
one has turned from the romantic dream to reality. One finds in this
movement, if nowhere else, as I remarked apropos of Chateaubriand, the
stormy Arcadia.

It is not through the Arcadian imagination that one moves towards
reality. This does not much matter if what one seeks in a “return to
nature” is merely recreation. I cannot repeat too often that I have no
quarrel with the nature cult when it remains recreative but only when
it sets up as a substitute for philosophy and religion. This involves
a confusion between the two main directions of the human spirit, a
confusion as I have said in a previous chapter between the realm of
awe and the region of wonder. Pascal exaggerates somewhat when he says
the Bible never seeks to prove religion from the “wonders” of nature.
But this remark is true to the total spirit of the Bible. A knowledge
of the flowers of the Holy Land is less necessary for an understanding
of the gospel narrative than one might suppose from Renan.[226] Renan
is simply seeking to envelop Jesus so far as possible in an Arcadian
atmosphere. In so doing he is following in the footsteps of the great
father of sentimentalists. According to M. Masson, Jesus, as depicted
by Jean-Jacques, becomes “a sort of grand master of the Golden Age.”

Here as elsewhere the Rousseauist is seeking to identify the Arcadian
view of life with wisdom. The result is a series of extraordinarily
subtle disguises for egoism. We think we see the Rousseauist prostrate
before the ideal woman or before nature or before God himself, but
when we look more closely we see that he is only (as Sainte-Beuve said
of Alfred de Vigny) “in perpetual adoration before the holy sacrament
of himself.” The fact that he finds in nature only what he has put
there seems to be for Rousseau himself a source of satisfaction. But
the poem of Coleridge I have just quoted, in which he proclaims that so
far as nature is concerned “we receive but what we give,” is entitled
“Ode to Dejection.” One of man’s deepest needs would seem to be for
genuine communion, for a genuine escape, that is, from his ordinary
self. The hollowness of the Rousseauistic communion with nature as
well as other Rousseauistic substitutes for genuine communion is
indissolubly bound up with the subject of romantic melancholy.



Rousseau and his early followers--especially perhaps his early French
followers--were very much preoccupied with the problem of happiness.
Now in a sense all men--even those who renounce the world and mortify
the flesh--aim at happiness. The important point to determine is what
any particular person means by happiness and how he hopes to attain it.
It should be plain from all that has been said that the Rousseauist
seeks happiness in the free play of the emotions. The “Influence of
the Passions on Happiness” is the significant title of one of Madame
de Staël’s early treatises. The happiness that the Rousseauist seeks
involves not merely a free play of feeling but--what is even more
important--a free play of the imagination. Feeling acquires a sort
of infinitude as a result of this coöperation of the imagination,
and so the romanticist goes, as we have seen, in quest of the thrill
superlative, as appears so clearly in his nympholepsy, his pursuit of
the “impossible she.” But the more imaginative this quest for emotional
happiness grows the more it tends to become a mere nostalgia. Happiness
is achieved so far as it is achieved at all in dreamland. Rousseau says
of himself: _Mon plus constant bonheur fut en songe_. Every finite
satisfaction by the very fact that it is finite leaves him unsatisfied.
René says that he had exhausted solitude as he had exhausted society:
they had both failed to satisfy his insatiable desires. René plainly
takes his insatiableness to be the badge of his spiritual distinction.
To submit to any circumscribing of one’s desires is to show that
one has no sense of infinitude and so to sink to the level of the

But does one become happy by being nostalgic and hyperæsthetic, by
burning with infinite indeterminate desire? We have here perhaps the
chief irony and contradiction in the whole movement. The Rousseauist
seeks happiness and yet on his own showing, his mode of seeking it
results, not in happiness but in wretchedness. One finds indeed figures
in the nineteenth century, a Browning, for example, who see in life
first of all an emotional adventure and then carry this adventure
through to the end with an apparently unflagging gusto. One may affirm
nevertheless that a movement which began by asserting the goodness
of man and the loveliness of nature ended by producing the greatest
literature of despair the world has ever seen. No movement has perhaps
been so prolific of melancholy as emotional romanticism. To follow it
from Rousseau down to the present day is to run through the whole gamut
of gloom.[227]

    Infections of unutterable sadness,
    Infections of incalculable madness,
      Infections of incurable despair.

According to a somewhat doubtful authority, Ninon de Lenclos, “the
joy of the spirit measures its force.” When the romanticist on the
other hand discovers that his ideal of happiness works put into actual
unhappiness he does not blame his ideal. He simply assumes that the
world is unworthy of a being so exquisitely organized as himself, and
so shrinks back from it and enfolds himself in his sorrow as he would
in a mantle. Since the superlative bliss that he craves eludes him
he will at least be superlative in woe. So far from being a mark of
failure this woe measures his spiritual grandeur. “A great soul,” as
René says, “must contain more grief than a small one.” The romantic
poets enter into a veritable competition with one another as to who
shall be accounted the most forlorn. The victor in this competition
is awarded the palm not merely for poetry but wisdom. In the words of

            Amongst us one
      Who most has suffered, takes dejectedly
    His seat upon the intellectual throne;
      And all his store of sad experience he
        Lays bare of wretched days.
    Tells us his misery’s birth and growth and signs,
      And how the dying spark of hope was fed,
      And how the breast was soothed, and how the head,
    And all his hourly varied anodynes.

    This for our wisest! and we others pine,
      And wish the long unhappy dream would end,
        And waive all claim to bliss, and try to bear;
    With close-lipped patience for our only friend,
        Sad patience, too near neighbor to despair.

Though Arnold may in this poem, as some one has complained, reduce the
muse to the rôle of hospital nurse, he is, like his master Senancour,
free from the taint of theatricality. He does not as he said of Byron
make “a pageant of his bleeding heart”; and the Byronic pose has a
close parallel in the pose of Chateaubriand. An Irish girl at London
once told Chateaubriand that “he carried his heart in a sling.” He
himself said that he had a soul of the kind “the ancients called a
sacred malady.”

Chateaubriand, to be sure, had his cheerful moments and many of them.
His sorrows he bestowed upon the public. Herein he was a true child
of Jean-Jacques. We are told by eye-witnesses how heartily Rousseau
enjoyed many aspects of his life at Motiers-Travers. On his own
showing, he was plunged during this period in almost unalloyed misery.
Froude writes of Carlyle: “It was his peculiarity that if matters were
well with himself, it never occurred to him that they could be going
ill with any one else; and, on the other hand, if he was uncomfortable,
he required everybody to be uncomfortable along with him.” We can
follow clear down to Gissing the assumption in some form or other that
“art must be the mouthpiece of misery.” This whole question as to the
proper function of art goes to the root of the debate between the
classicist and the Rousseauist. “All these poets,” Goethe complains to
Eckermann of the romanticists of 1830, “write as though they were ill,
and as though the whole world were a hospital. … Every one of them in
writing tries to be more desolate than all the others. This is really
an abuse of poetry which has been given to make man satisfied with the
world and with his lot. But the present generation is afraid of all
solid energy; its mind is at ease and sees poetry only in weakness. I
have found a good expression to vex these gentlemen. I am going to call
their poetry hospital poetry.”[228]

Now Goethe is here, like Chateaubriand, mocking to some degree his own
followers. When he suffered from a spiritual ailment of any kind he got
rid of it by inoculating others with it; and it was in this way, as we
learn from his Autobiography, that he got relief from the _Weltschmerz_
of “Werther.” But later in life Goethe was classical not merely in
precept like Chateaubriand, but to some extent in practice. The best of
the poetry of his maturity tends like that of the ancients to elevate
and console.

The contrast between classic and romantic poetry in this matter of
melancholy is closely bound up with the larger contrast between
imitation and spontaneity. Homer is the greatest of poets, according
to Aristotle, because he does not entertain us with his own person but
is more than any other poet an imitator. The romantic poet writes, on
the other hand, as Lamartine says he wrote, solely for the “relief of
his heart.” He pours forth himself--his most intimate and private self;
above all, his anguish and his tears. In his relation to his reader, as
Musset tells us in a celebrated image,[229] he is like the pelican who
rends and lacerates his own flesh to provide nourishment for his young
(_Pour toute nourriture il apporte son cœur_):

    _Les plus désespérés sont les chants les plus beaux,_
    _Et j’en sais d’immortels qui sont de purs sanglots._[230]

To make of poetry a spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion, usually
of sorrowful emotion, is what the French understand by lyricism (_le
lyrisme_); and it may be objected that it is not fair to compare an
epic poet like Homer with a lyricist like Musset. Let us then take for
our comparison the poet whom the ancients themselves looked upon as
the supreme type of the lyricist--Pindar. He is superbly imaginative,
“sailing,” as Gray tells us, “with supreme dominion through the azure
deep of air,” but his imagination is not like that of Musset in the
service of sensibility. He does not bestow his own emotions upon us
but is rather in the Aristotelian sense an imitator. He is indeed at
the very opposite pole from Rousseau and the “apostles of affliction.”
“Let a man,” he says, “not darken delight in his life.” “Disclose not
to strangers our burden of care; this at least shall I advise thee.
Therefore is it fitting to show openly to all the folk the fair and
pleasant things allotted us; but if any baneful misfortune sent of
heaven befalleth man, it is seemly to shroud this in darkness.”[231]
And one should also note Pindar’s hostility towards that other great
source of romantic lyricism--nostalgia (“The desire of the moth for
the star”), and the closely allied pursuit of the strange and the
exotic. He tells of the condign punishment visited by Apollo upon the
girl Coronis who became enamoured of “a strange man from Arcadia,” and
adds: “She was in love with things remote--that passion which many ere
now have felt. For among men, there is a foolish company of those who,
putting shame on what they have at home, cast their glances afar, and
pursue idle dreams in hopes that shall not be fulfilled.”[232]

We are not to suppose that Pindar was that most tiresome and
superficial of all types--the professional optimist who insists on
inflicting his “gladness” upon us. “The immortals,” he says, “apportion
to man two sorrows for every boon they grant.”[233] In general the
Greek whom Kipling sings and whom we already find in Schiller--the
Greek who is an incarnation of the “joy of life unquestioned, the
everlasting wondersong of youth”[234]--is a romantic myth. We read
in the Iliad:[235] “Of all the creatures that breathe or crawl upon
the earth, none is more wretched than man.” Here is the “joy of life
unquestioned” in Homer. Like Homer the best of the later Greeks
and Romans face unflinchingly the facts of life and these facts do
not encourage a thoughtless elation. Their melancholy is even more
concerned with the lot of man in general than with their personal and
private grief. The quality of this melancholy is rendered in Tennyson’s
line on Virgil, one of the finest in nineteenth century English poetry:

    Thou majestic in thy sadness at the doubtful doom of human kind.[236]

One should indeed not fail to distinguish between the note of
melancholy in a Homer or a Virgil and the melancholy of the ancients,
whether Stoic or Epicurean, who had experienced the hopelessness and
helplessness of a pure naturalism in dealing with ultimate problems.
The melancholy of the Stoic is the melancholy of the man who associates
with the natural order a “virtue” that the natural order does not give,
and so is tempted to exclaim at last with Brutus, that he had thought
virtue a thing and had found that it was only a word. The melancholy of
the Epicurean is that of the man who has tasted the bitter sediment
(_amari aliquid_) in the cup of pleasure. It is not difficult to
discover modern equivalents of both Stoic and Epicurean melancholy.
“One should seek,” says Sainte-Beuve, “in the pleasures of René the
secret of his _ennuis_,” and so far as this is true Chateaubriand is
on much the same level as some Roman voluptuary who suffered from
the _tædium vitæ_ in the time of Tiberius or Nero.[237] But though
the Roman decadent gave himself up to the pursuit of sensation and
often of violent and abnormal sensation he was less prone than a
Chateaubriand to associate this pursuit with the “infinite”; and so he
was less nostalgic and hyperæsthetic. His Epicureanism was therefore
less poetical no doubt, but on the other hand he did not set up mere
romantic restlessness as a sort of substitute for religion. It was
probably easier therefore for him to feel the divine discontent and
so turn to real religion than it would have been if he had, like the
Rousseauist, complicated his Epicureanism with sham spirituality.

To say that the melancholy even of the decadent ancient is less
nostalgic is perhaps only another way of saying what I have said about
the melancholy of the ancients in general--that it is not so purely
personal. It derives less from his very private and personal illusions
and still less from his very private and personal disillusions. In
its purely personal quality romantic melancholy is indeed inseparable
from the whole conception of original genius. The genius sets out not
merely to be unique but unique in feeling, and the sense uniqueness in
feeling speedily passes over into that of uniqueness in suffering--on
the principle no doubt laid down by Horace Walpole that life, which is
a comedy for those who think, is a tragedy for those who feel. To be
a beautiful soul, to preserve one’s native goodness of feeling among
men who have been perverted by society, is to be the elect of nature
and yet this election turns out as Rousseau tells us to be a “fatal
gift of heaven.” It is only the disillusioned romanticist, however,
who assumes this elegiac tone. We need to consider what he means by
happiness while he still seeks for it in the actual world and not in
the _pays des chimères_. Rousseau tells us that he based the sense
of his own worth on the fineness of his powers of perception. Why
should nature have endowed him with such exquisite faculties[238] if
he was not to have a satisfaction commensurate with them, if he was
“to die without having lived”? We have here the psychological origins
of the right to happiness that the romanticists were to proclaim.
“We spend on the passions,” says Joubert, “the stuff that has been
given us for happiness.” The Rousseauist hopes to find his happiness
in the passions themselves. Romantic happiness does not involve any
moral effort and has been defined in its extreme forms as a “monstrous
dream of passive enjoyment.” Flaubert has made a study of the right to
happiness thus understood in his “Madame Bovary.” Madame Bovary, who
is very commonplace in other respects, feels exquisitely; and inasmuch
as her husband had no such fineness the right to happiness meant for
her, as it did for so many other “misunderstood” women, the right
to extra-marital adventure. One should note the germs of melancholy
that lurk in the quest of the superlative moment even if the quest is
relatively successful. Suppose Saint-Preux had succeeded in compressing
into a single instant “the delights of a thousand centuries”; and so
far as outer circumstances are concerned had had to pay no penalty. The
nearer the approach to a superhuman intensity of feeling the greater is
likely to be the ensuing languor. The ordinary round of life seems pale
and insipid compared with the exquisite and fugitive moment. One seems
to one’s self to have drained the cup of life at a draught and save
perhaps for impassioned recollection of the perfect moment to have no
reason for continuing to live. One’s heart is “empty and swollen”[239]
and one is haunted by thoughts of suicide.

This sense of having exhausted life[240] and the accompanying
temptation to suicide that are such striking features of the malady
of the age are not necessarily associated with any outer enjoyment at
all. One may devour life in revery and then the melancholy arises from
the disproportion between the dream and the fact. The revery that thus
consumes life in advance is not necessarily erotic. What may be termed
the cosmic revery of a Senancour or an Amiel[241] has very much the
same effect.

The atony and aridity of which the sufferer from romantic melancholy
complains may have other sources besides the depression that follows
upon the achieving of emotional intensity whether in revery or in fact;
it may also be an incident in the warfare between head and heart that
assumes so many forms among the spiritual posterity of Jean-Jacques.
The Rousseauist seeks happiness in emotional spontaneity and this
spontaneity seems to be killed by the head which stands aloof and
dissects and analyzes. Perhaps the best picture of the emotionalist
who is thus incapacitated for a frank surrender to his own emotions
is the “Adolphe” of Benjamin Constant (a book largely reminiscent of
Constant’s actual affair with Madame de Staël).

Whether the victim of romantic melancholy feels or analyzes he
is equally incapable of action. He who faces resolutely the rude
buffetings of the world is gradually hardened against them. The
romantic movement is filled with the groans of those who have evaded
action and at the same time become highly sensitive and highly
self-conscious. The man who thrills more exquisitely to pleasure than
another will also thrill more exquisitely to pain; nay, pleasure itself
in its extreme is allied to pain;[242] so that to be hyperæsthetic is
not an unmixed advantage especially if it be true, as Pindar says,
that the Gods bestow two trials on a man for every boon. Perhaps the
deepest bitterness is found, not in those who make a pageant of their
bleeding hearts, but in those who, like Leconte de Lisle[243] and
others (_les impassibles_), disdain to make a show of themselves to the
mob, and so dissimulate their quivering sensibility under an appearance
of impassibility; or, like Stendhal, under a mask of irony that “is
imperceptible to the vulgar.”

Stendhal aims not at emotional intensity only, but also glorifies the
lust for power. He did as much as any one in his time to promote the
ideal of the superman. Yet even if the superman has nerves of steel,
as seems to have been the case with Stendhal’s favorite, Napoleon, and
acts on the outer world with a force of which the man in search of a
sensation is quite incapable, he does not act upon himself, he remains
ethically passive. This ethical passivity is the trait common to all
those who incline to live purely on the naturalistic level--whether
they sacrifice the human law and its demands for measure to the lust
of knowledge or the lust of sensation or the lust of power. The man
who neglects his ethical self and withdraws into his temperamental or
private self, must almost necessarily have the sense of isolation,
of remoteness from other men. We return here to the psychology of
the original genius to whom it was a tame and uninteresting thing
to be simply human and who, disdaining to seem to others a being of
the same clay as themselves, wished to be in their eyes either an
angel or a demon--above all a demon.[244] René does not, as I have
said,[245] want even the woman who loves him to feel at one with him,
but rather to be at once astonished and appalled. He exercises upon
those who approach him a malign fascination; for he not only lives
in misery himself as in his natural element, but communicates this
misery to those who approach him. He is like one of those fair trees
under which one cannot sit without perishing. Moreover René disavows
all responsibility for thus being a human Upas-tree. Moral effort is
unavailing, for it was all written in the book of fate. The victim of
romantic melancholy is at times tender and elegiac, at other times he
sets up as a heaven-defying Titan. This latter pose became especially
common in France around 1830 when the influence of Byron had been added
to that of Chateaubriand. Under the influence of these two writers a
whole generation of youth became “things of dark imaginings,”[246]
predestined to a blight that was at the same time the badge of their
superiority. One wished like René to have an “immense, solitary and
stormy soul,” and also, like a Byronic hero, to have a diabolical glint
in the eye and a corpse-like complexion,[247] and so seem the “blind
and deaf agent of funereal mysteries.”[248] “It was possible to believe
everything about René except the truth.” The person who delights in
being as mysterious as this easily falls into mystification. Byron
himself we are told was rather flattered by the rumor that he had
committed at least one murder. Baudelaire, it has been said, displayed
his moral gangrene as a warrior might display honorable wounds. This
flaunting of his own perversity was part of the literary attitude he
had inherited from the “Satanic School.”

When the romanticist is not posing as the victim of fate he poses
as the victim of society. Both ways of dodging moral responsibility
enter into the romantic legend of the _poète maudit_. Nobody loves
a poet. His own mother according to Baudelaire utters a malediction
upon him.[249] That is because the poet feels so exquisitely that he
is at once odious and unintelligible to the ordinary human pachyderm.
Inasmuch as the philistine is not too sensitive to act he has a great
advantage over the poet in the real world and often succeeds in driving
him from it and indeed from life itself. This inferiority in action is
a proof of the poet’s ideality. “His gigantic wings,” as Baudelaire
says, “keep him from walking.” He has, in Coleridgean phrase, fed on
“honey dew and drunk the milk of paradise,”[250] and so can scarcely
be expected to submit to a diet of plain prose. It is hardly necessary
to say that great poets of the past have not been at war with their
public in this way. The reason is that they were less taken up with
the uttering of their own uniqueness; they were, without ceasing to be
themselves, servants of the general sense.

Chatterton became for the romanticists a favorite type of the _poète
maudit_, and his suicide a symbol of the inevitable defeat of the
“ideal” by the “real.” The first performance of Vigny’s Chatterton
(1835) with its picture of the implacable hatred of the philistine
for the artist was received by the romantic youth of Paris with
something akin to delirium. As Gautier says in his well-known account
of this performance one could almost hear in the night the crack of
the solitary pistols. The ordinary man of letters, says Vigny in
his preface to this play, is sure of success, even the great writer
may get a hearing, but the poet, a being who is on a far higher
level than either, can look forward only to “perpetual martyrdom and
immolation.” He comes into the world to be a burden to others; his
native sensibility is so intimate and profound that it “has plunged
him from childhood into involuntary ecstasies, interminable reveries,
infinite inventions. Imagination possesses him above all … it sweeps
his faculties heavenward as irresistibly as the balloon carries up
its car.” From that time forth he is more or less cut off from normal
contact with his fellow-men. “His sensibility has become too keen;
what only grazes other men wounds him until he bleeds.” He is thrown
back more and more upon himself and becomes a sort of living volcano,
“consumed by secret ardors and inexplicable languors,” and incapable
of self-guidance. Such is the poet. From his first appearance he is
an outlaw. Let all your tears and all your pity be for him. If he is
finally forced to suicide not he but society is to blame. He is like
the scorpion that cruel boys surround with live coals and that is
finally forced to turn his sting upon himself. Society therefore owes
it to itself to see that this exquisite being is properly pensioned and
protected by government, to the end that idealism may not perish from
the earth. M. Thiers who was prime minister at that time is said to
have received a number of letters from young poets, the general tenor
of which was: “A position or I’ll kill myself.”[251]

A circumstance that should interest Americans is that Poe as
interpreted by Baudelaire came to hold for a later generation of
romanticists the place that Chatterton had held for the romanticists
of 1830. Poe was actually murdered, says Baudelaire--and there is an
element of truth in the assertion along with much exaggeration--by
this great gas-lighted barbarity (i.e., America). All his inner and
spiritual life whether drunkard’s or poet’s, was one constant effort to
escape from this antipathetic atmosphere “in which,” Baudelaire goes on
to say, “the impious love of liberty has given birth to a new tyranny,
the tyranny of the beasts, a zoöcracy”; and in this human zoo a being
with such a superhuman fineness of sensibility as Poe was of course at
a hopeless disadvantage. In general our elation at Poe’s recognition in
Europe should be tempered by the reflection that this recognition is
usually taken as a point of departure for insulting America. Poe is
about the only hyperæsthetic romanticist we have had, and he therefore
fell in with the main European tendency that comes down from the
eighteenth century. Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, whom I have already cited
as an extreme example of romantic idealism, was one of Poe’s avowed
followers; but Villiers is also related by his æsthetic and “diabolic”
Catholicism to Chateaubriand; and the religiosity of Chateaubriand
itself derives from the religiosity of Rousseau.

Hitherto I have been studying for the most part only one main type of
modern melancholy. This type even in a Chateaubriand or a Byron and
still more in their innumerable followers may seem at once superficial
and theatrical. It often does not get beyond that Epicurean toying with
sorrow, that luxury of grief, which was not unknown even to classical
antiquity.[252] The despair of Chateaubriand is frequently only a
disguise of his love of literary glory, and Chesterton is inclined to
see in the Byronic gloom an incident of youth and high spirits.[253]
But this is not the whole story even in Byron and Chateaubriand. To
find what is both genuine and distinctive in romantic melancholy we
need to enlarge a little further on the underlying difference between
the classicist and the Rousseauist. The Rousseauist, as indeed the
modern man in general, is more preoccupied with his separate and
private self than the classicist. Modern melancholy has practically
always this touch of isolation not merely because of the proneness
of the “genius” to dwell on his own uniqueness, but also because of
the undermining of the traditional communions by critical analysis.
The noblest form of the “malady of the age” is surely that which
supervened upon the loss of religious faith. This is what distinguishes
the sadness of an Arnold or a Senancour from that of a Gray. The
“Elegy” belongs to the modern movement by the humanitarian note, the
sympathetic interest in the lowly, but in its melancholy it does
not go much beyond the milder forms of classical meditation on the
inevitable sadness of life--what one may term pensiveness. Like the
other productions of the so-called graveyard school, it bears a direct
relation to Milton’s “Il Penseroso.” It is well to retain Gray’s own
distinction. “Mine is a white Melancholy, or rather Leucocholy for the
most part,” he wrote to Richard West in 1742, “but there is another
sort, black indeed, which I have now and then felt.” Gray did not
experience the more poignant sadness, one may suspect, without some
loss of the “trembling hope” that is the final note of the “Elegy.” No
forlornness is greater than that of the man who has known faith and
then lost it. Renan writes of his own break with the Church:

    The fish of Lake Baikal, we are told, have spent thousands
    of years in becoming fresh-water fish after being salt-water
    fish. I had to go through my transition in a few weeks. Like an
    enchanted circle Catholicism embraces the whole of life with so
    much strength that when one is deprived of it everything seems
    insipid. I was terribly lost. The universe produced upon me
    the impression of a cold and arid desert. For the moment that
    Christianity was not the truth, all the rest appeared to me
    indifferent, frivolous, barely worthy of interest. The collapse
    of my life upon itself left in me a feeling of emptiness
    like that which follows an attack of fever or an unhappy

The forlornness at the loss of faith is curiously combined in many of
the romanticists with the mood of revolt. This type of romanticist
heaps reproaches on a God in whose existence he no longer believes
(as in Leconte de Lisle’s “Quaïn,” itself related to Byron’s “Cain”).
He shakes his fist at an empty heaven, or like Alfred de Vigny (in
his _Jardin des Oliviers_) assumes towards this emptiness an attitude
of proud disdain. He is loath to give up this grandiose defiance of
divinity if only because it helps to save him from subsiding into
platitude. A somewhat similar mood appears in the “Satanic” Catholics
who continue to cling to religion simply because it adds to the gusto
of sinning.[255] A Barbey succeeded in combining the rôle of Byronic
Titan with that of champion of the Church. But in general the romantic
Prometheus spurns the traditional forms of communion whether classical
or Christian. He is so far as everything established is concerned
enormously centrifugal, but he hopes to erect on the ruins of the past
the new religion of human brotherhood. Everything in this movement from
Shaftesbury down hinges on the rôle that is thus assigned to sympathy:
if it can really unite men who are at the same time indulging each to
the utmost his own “genius” or idiosyncrasy there is no reason why one
should not accept romanticism as a philosophy of life.

But nowhere else perhaps is the clash more violent between the theory
and the fact. No movement is so profuse in professions of brotherhood
and none is so filled with the aching sense of solitude. “Behold me
then alone upon the earth,” is the sentence with which Rousseau begins
his last book;[256] and he goes on to marvel that he, the “most loving
of men,” had been forced more and more into solitude. “I am in the
world as though in a strange planet upon which I have fallen from the
one that I inhabited.”[257] When no longer subordinated to something
higher than themselves both the head and the heart (in the romantic
sense) not only tend to be opposed to one another, but also, each in
its own way, to isolate. Empedocles was used not only by Arnold but by
other victims[258] of romantic melancholy, as a symbol of intellectual
isolation: by his indulgence in the “imperious lonely thinking power”
Empedocles has broken the warm bonds of sympathy with his fellows:

                            thou art
    A living man no more, Empedocles!
    Nothing but a devouring flame of thought,--
    But a naked eternally restless mind!

His leaping into Ætna typifies his attempt to escape from his
loneliness by a fiery union with nature herself.

According to religion one should seek to unite with a something that
is set above both man and nature, whether this something is called
God as in Christianity or simply the Law as in various philosophies
of the Far East.[259] The most severe penalty visited on the man who
transgresses is that he tends to fall away from this union. This is
the element of truth in the sentence of Diderot that Rousseau took as
a personal affront: “Only the wicked man is alone.” Rousseau asserted
in reply, anticipating Mark Twain,[260] that “on the contrary only
the good man is alone.” Now in a sense Rousseau is right. “Most men
are bad,” as one of the seven sages of Greece remarked, and any one
who sets out to follow a very strenuous virtue is likely to have few
companions on the way. Rousseau is also right in a sense when he says
that the wicked man needs to live in society so that he may have
opportunity to practice his wickedness. Yet Rousseau fails to face the
main issue: solitude is above all a psychic thing. A man may frequent
his fellows and suffer none the less acutely, like Poe’s “Man of the
Crowd,” from a ghastly isolation. And conversely one may be like the
ancient who said that he was never less alone than when he was alone.

Hawthorne, who was himself a victim of solitude, brooded a great deal
on this whole problem, especially, as may be seen in the “Scarlet
Letter” and elsewhere, on the isolating effects of sin. He perceived
the relation of the problem to the whole trend of religious life in
New England. The older Puritans had a sense of intimacy with God and
craved no other companionship. With the weakening of their faith the
later Puritans lost the sense of a divine companionship, but retained
their aloofness from men. Hawthorne’s own solution of the problem
of solitude, so far as he offers any, is humanitarian. Quicken your
sympathies. Let the man who has taken as his motto _Excelsior_[261]
be warned. Nothing will console him on the bleak heights either of
knowledge or of power for the warm contact with the dwellers in the
valley. Faust, who is a symbol of the solitude of knowledge, seeks to
escape from his forlornness by recovering this warm contact. That the
inordinate quest of power also leads to solitude is beyond question.
Napoleon, the very type of the superman, must in the nature of the case
have been very solitary.[262] His admirer Nietzsche wrote one day: “I
have forty-three years behind me and am as alone as if I were a child.”
Carlyle, whose “hero” derives like the superman from the original
genius[263] of the eighteenth century, makes the following entry in his
diary: “My isolation, my feeling of loneliness, unlimitedness (much
meant by this) what tongue shall say? Alone, alone!”[264]

It cannot be granted, however, that one may escape by love, as the
Rousseauist understands the word, from the loneliness that arises from
the unlimited quest either of knowledge or power. For Rousseauistic
love is also unlimited whether one understands by love either passion
or a diffusive sympathy for mankind at large. “What solitudes are these
human bodies,” Musset exclaimed when fresh from his affair with George
Sand. Wordsworth cultivated a love for the lowly that quite overflowed
the bounds of neo-classic selection. It is a well-known fact that the
lowly did not altogether reciprocate. “A desolate-minded man, ye kna,”
said an old inn-keeper of the Lakes to Canon Rawnsley, “’Twas potry as
did it.” If Wordsworth writes so poignantly of solitude one may infer
that it is because he himself had experienced it.[265] Nor would it be
difficult to show that the very philanthropic Ruskin was at least as
solitary as Carlyle with his tirades against philanthropy.

I have spoken of the isolating effects of sin, but sin is scarcely the
right word to apply to most of the romanticists. The solitude of which
so many of them complain does, however, imply a good deal of spiritual
inertia. Now to be spiritually inert, as I have said elsewhere, is
to be temperamental, to indulge unduly the lust for knowledge or
sensation or power without imposing on these lusts some centre or
principle of control set above the ordinary self. The man who wishes
to fly off on the tangent of his own temperament and at the same time
enjoy communion on any except the purely material level is harboring
incompatible desires. For temperament is what separates. A sense of
unlimitedness (“much meant by this” as Carlyle says) and of solitude
are simply the penalties visited upon the eccentric individualist. If
we are to unite on the higher levels with other men we must look in
another direction than the expansive outward striving of temperament:
we must in either the humanistic or religious sense undergo conversion.
We must pull back our temperaments with reference to the model that
we are imitating, just as, in Aristotle’s phrase, one might pull
back and straighten out a crooked stick.[266] Usually the brake on
temperament is supplied by the ethos, the convention of one’s age and
country. I have tried to show elsewhere that the whole programme of
the eccentric individualist is to get rid of this convention, whatever
it may be, without developing some new principle of control. The
eccentric individualist argues that to accept control, to defer to some
centre as the classicist demands, is to cease to be himself. But are
restrictions upon temperament so fatal to a man’s being himself? The
reply hinges upon the definition of the word self, inasmuch as man is
a dual being. If a man is to escape from his isolation he must, I have
said, aim at some goal set above his ordinary self which is at the
same time his unique and separate self. But because this goal is set
above his ordinary self, it is not therefore necessarily set above his
total personality. The limitations that he imposes on his ordinary
self may be the necessary condition of his entering into possession of
his ethical self, the self that he possesses in common with other men.
Aristotle says that if a man wishes to achieve happiness he must be a
true lover of himself. It goes without saying that he means the ethical
self. The author of a recent book on Ibsen says that Ibsen’s message to
the world is summed up in the line:

    This above all,--to thine own self be true.

It is abundantly plain from the context, however, that Polonius is a
decayed Aristotelian and not a precursor of Ibsen. The self to which
Aristotle would have a man be true is at the opposite pole from the
self that Ibsen and the original geniuses are so eager to get uttered.

To impose the yoke of one’s human self upon one’s temperamental
self is, in the Aristotelian sense, to work. Aristotle conceives of
happiness in terms of work. All types of temperamentalists, on the
other hand, are from the human point of view, passive. The happiness
that they crave is a passive happiness. A man may pursue power with the
energy of a Napoleon and yet remain ethically passive. He may absorb
whole encyclopædias and remain ethically passive. He may expand his
sympathies until, like Schiller, he is ready to “bestow a kiss upon
the whole world” and yet remain ethically passive. A man ceases to
be ethically passive only when he begins to work in the Aristotelian
sense, that is when he begins to put the brake on temperament and
impulse, and in the same degree he tends to become ethically efficient.
By his denial of the dualism of the spirit, Rousseau discredited this
inner working, so that inwardness has come to seem synonymous with mere
subjectivity; and to be subjective in the Rousseauistic sense is to be
diffusive, to lack purpose and concentration, to lose one’s self in a
shoreless sea of revery.

The utilitarian intervenes at this point and urges the romanticist,
since he has failed to work inwardly, at least to work outwardly.
Having missed the happiness of ethical efficiency he may in this way
find the happiness of material efficiency, and at the same time serve
the world. This is the solution of the problem of happiness that Goethe
offers at the end of the Second Faust, and we may affirm without
hesitation that it is a sham solution. To work outwardly and in the
utilitarian sense, without the inner working that can alone save from
ethical anarchy is to stimulate rather than repress the most urgent
of all the lusts--the lust of power. It is only too plain that the
unselective sympathy or joy in service with which Goethe would complete
Faust’s utilitarian activity is not in itself a sufficient counterpoise
to the will to power, unless indeed we assume with Rousseau that one
may control expansive impulses by opposing them to one another.

A terrible danger thus lurks in the whole modern programme: it is a
programme that makes for a formidable mechanical efficiency and so
tends to bring into an ever closer material contact men who remain
ethically centrifugal. The reason why the humanitarian and other
schemes of communion that have been set up during the last century
have failed is that they do not, like the traditional schemes, set
any bounds to mere expansiveness, or, if one prefers, they do not
involve any conversion. And so it is not surprising that the feeling
of emptiness[267] or unlimitedness and isolation should be the special
mark of the melancholy of this period. René complains of his “moral
solitude”;[268] but strictly speaking his solitude is the reverse of
moral. Only by cultivating his human self and by the unceasing effort
that this cultivation involves does a man escape from his nightmare of
separateness and so move in some measure towards happiness. But the
happiness of which René dreams is unethical--something very private and
personal and egoistic. Nothing is easier than to draw the line from
René to Baudelaire and later decadents--for instance to Des Esseintes,
the hero of Huysmans’s novel “A Rebours,”[269] who is typical of the
last exaggerations of the movement. Des Esseintes cuts himself off as
completely as possible from other men and in the artificial paradise
he has devised gives himself up to the quest of strange and violent
sensation; but his dream of happiness along egoistic lines turns into
a nightmare,[270] his palace of art becomes a hell. Lemaître is quite
justified in saying of Des Esseintes that he is only René or Werther
brought up to date--“a played-out and broken-down Werther who has
a malady of the nerves, a deranged stomach and eighty years more of
literature to the bad.”[271]

Emotional romanticism was headed from the start towards this bankruptcy
because of its substitution for ethical effort of a mere lazy floating
on the stream of mood and temperament. I have said that Buddhism
saw in this ethical indolence the root of all evil. Christianity in
its great days was preoccupied with the same problem. To make this
point clear it will be necessary to add to what I have said about
classical and romantic melancholy a few words about melancholy in the
Middle Ages. In a celebrated chapter of his “Genius of Christianity”
(_Le Vague des passions_) Chateaubriand seeks to give to the malady
of the age Christian and mediæval origins. This was his pretext,
indeed, for introducing René into an apology for Christianity and so,
as Sainte-Beuve complained, administering poison in a sacred wafer.
Chateaubriand begins by saying that the modern man is melancholy
because, without having had experience himself, he is at the same
time overwhelmed by the second-hand experience that has been heaped
up in the books and other records of an advanced civilization; and so
he suffers from a precocious disillusion; he has the sense of having
exhausted life before he has enjoyed it. There is nothing specifically
Christian in this disillusion and above all nothing mediæval. But
Chateaubriand goes on to say that from the decay of the pagan world
and the barbarian invasions the human spirit received an impression
of sadness and possibly a tinge of misanthropy which has never been
completely effaced. Those that were thus wounded and estranged from
their fellow-men took refuge formerly in monasteries, but now that
this resource has failed them, they are left in the world without being
of it and so they “become the prey of a thousand chimeras.” Then is
seen the rise of that guilty melancholy which the passions engender
when, left without definite object, they prey upon themselves in a
solitary heart.[272]

The _vague des passions_, the expansion of infinite indeterminate
desire, that Chateaubriand here describes may very well be related to
certain sides of Christianity--especially to what may be termed its
neo-Platonic side. Yet Christianity at its best has shown itself a
genuine religion, in other words, it has dealt sternly and veraciously
with the facts of human nature. It has perceived clearly how a man may
move towards happiness and how on the other hand he tends to sink into
despair; or what amounts to the same thing, it has seen the supreme
importance of spiritual effort and the supreme danger of spiritual
sloth. The man who looked on himself as cut off from God and so ceased
to strive was according to the mediæval Christian the victim of
_acedia_. This sluggishness and slackness of spirit, this mere drifting
and abdication of will, may, as Chaucer’s parson suggests, be the crime
against the Holy Ghost itself. It would in fact not be hard to show
that what was taken by the Rousseauist to be the badge of spiritual
distinction was held by the mediæval Christian to be the chief of all
the deadly sins.

The victim of _acedia_ often looked upon himself, like the victim of
the malady of the age, as foredoomed. But though the idea of fate
enters at times into mediæval melancholy, the man of the Middle Ages
could scarcely so detach himself from the community as to suffer
from that sense of loneliness which is the main symptom of romantic
melancholy. This forlornness was due not merely to the abrupt
disappearance of the older forms of communion, but to the failure of
the new attempts at communion. When one gets beneath the surface of
the nineteenth century one finds that it was above all a period of
violent disillusions, and it is especially after violent disillusion
that a man feels himself solitary and forlorn. I have said that the
special mark of the half-educated man is his harboring of incompatible
desires. The new religions or unifications of life that appeared
during the nineteenth century made an especially strong appeal to the
half-educated man because it seemed to him that by accepting some one
of these he could enjoy the benefits of communion and at the same time
not have to take on the yoke of any serious discipline; that he could,
in the language of religion, achieve salvation without conversion. When
a communion on these lines turns out to be not a reality, but a sham,
and its disillusioned votary feels solitary and forlorn, he is ready to
blame everybody and everything except himself.

A few specific illustrations will help us to understand how romantic
solitude, which was created by the weakening of the traditional
communions, was enhanced by the collapse of various sham communions.
Let us return for a moment to that eminent example of romantic
melancholy and disillusion, Alfred de Vigny. His “Chatterton” deals
with the fatal misunderstanding of the original genius by other men.
“Moïse” deals more specifically with the problem of his solitude. The
genius is so eminent and unique, says Vigny, speaking for himself from
behind the mask of the Hebrew prophet, that he is quite cut off from
ordinary folk who feel that they have nothing in common with him.[273]
This forlornness of the genius is not the sign of some capital error in
his philosophy. On the contrary it is the sign of his divine election,
and so Moses blames God for his failure to find happiness.[274] If
the genius is cut off from communion with men he cannot hope for
companionship with God because he has grown too sceptical. Heaven is
empty and in any case dumb; and so in the poem to which I have already
referred (_Le Mont des Oliviers_) Vigny assumes the mask of Jesus
himself to express this desolateness, and concludes that the just man
will oppose a haughty and Stoic disdain to the divine silence.[275]

All that is left for the genius is to retire into his ivory tower--a
phrase appropriately applied for the first time to Vigny.[276] In the
ivory tower he can at least commune with nature and the ideal woman.
But Vigny came at a time when the Arcadian glamour was being dissipated
from nature. Partly under scientific influence she was coming to seem
not a benign but a cold and impassive power, a collection of cruel
and inexorable laws. I have already mentioned this mood that might
be further illustrated from Taine and so many others towards the
middle of the nineteenth century.[277] “I am called a ‘mother,’” Vigny
makes Nature say, “and I am a tomb.”[278] (“La Maison du Berger”);
and so in the _Maison roulante_, or sort of Arcadia on wheels that he
has imagined, he must seek his chief solace with the ideal feminine
companion. But woman herself turns out to be treacherous; and, assuming
the mask of Samson (“La Colère de Samson”), Vigny utters a solemn
malediction upon the eternal Delilah (_Et, plus ou moins, la Femme
est toujours Dalila_). Such is the disillusion that comes from having
sought an ideal communion in a liaison with a Parisian actress.[279]

Now that every form of communion has failed, all that is left it
would seem is to die in silence and solitude like the wolf (“La Mort
du Loup”). Vigny continues to hold, however, like the author of the
“City of Dreadful Night,” that though men may not meet in their joys,
they may commune after a fashion in their woe. He opposes to heartless
nature and her “vain splendors” the religion of pity, “the majesty of
human sufferings.”[280] Towards the end when Vigny feels the growing
prestige of science, he holds out the hope that a man may to a certain
extent escape from the solitude of his own ego into some larger whole
by contributing his mite to “progress.” But the symbol of this
communion[281] that he has chosen--that of the shipwrecked and sinking
mariner who consigns his geographical discoveries to a bottle in the
hope that it may be washed up on some civilized shore--is itself of a
singular forlornness.

Vigny has a concentration and power of philosophical reflection that
is rare among the romanticists. George Sand is inferior to him in
this respect but she had a richer and more generous nature, and is
perhaps even more instructive in her life and writings for the student
of romantic melancholy. After the loss of the religious faith of her
childhood she became an avowed Rousseauist. She attacks a society
that seems to her to stand in the way of the happiness of which she
dreams--the supreme emotional intensity to be achieved in an ideal
love. In celebrating passion and the rights of passion she is lyrical
in the two main modes of the Rousseauist--she is either tender and
elegiac, or else stormy and Titanic. But when she attempts to practice
with Musset this religion of love, the result is violent disillusion.
In the forlornness that follows upon the collapse of her sham communion
she meditates suicide. “Ten years ago,” she wrote in 1845 to Mazzini,
“I was in Switzerland; I was still in the age of tempests; I made up
my mind even then to meet you, if I should resist the temptation to
suicide which pursued me upon the glaciers.” And then gradually a new
faith dawned upon her; she substituted for the religion of love the
religion of human brotherhood. She set up as an object of worship
humanity in its future progress; and then, like so many other dreamers,
she suffered a violent disillusion in the Revolution of 1848. The
radiant abstraction she had been worshipping had been put to the test
and she discovered that there entered into the actual make-up of the
humanity she had so idealized “a large number of knaves, a very large
number of lunatics, and an immense number of fools.” What is noteworthy
in George Sand is that she not only saved the precious principle of
faith from these repeated shipwrecks but towards the end of her life
began to put it on a firmer footing. Like Goethe she worked out to some
extent, in opposition to romanticism, a genuinely ethical point of view.

This latter development can best be studied in her correspondence with
Flaubert. She urges him to exercise his will, and he replies that he
is as “fatalistic as a Turk.” His fatalism, however, was not oriental
but scientific or pseudo-scientific. I have already cited his demand
that man be studied “objectively” just as one would study “a mastodon
or a crocodile.” Flaubert refused to see any connection between this
determinism and his own gloom or between George Sand’s assertion
of will and her cheerfulness. It was simply, he held, a matter of
temperament, and there is no doubt some truth in this contention.
“You at the first leap mount to heaven,” he says, “while I, poor
devil, am glued to the earth as though by leaden soles.” And again:
“In spite of your great sphinx eyes you have always seen the world as
through a golden mist,” whereas “I am constantly dissecting; and when
I have finally discovered the corruption in anything that is supposed
to be pure, the gangrene in its fairest parts, then I raise my head
and laugh.” Yet George Sand’s cheerfulness is also related to her
perception of a power in man to work upon himself--a power that sets
him apart from other animals. To enter into this region of ethical
effort is to escape from the whole fatal circle of naturalism, and at
the same time to show some capacity to mature--a rare achievement among
the romanticists. The contrast is striking here between George Sand
and Hugo, who, as the ripe fruit of his meditations, yields nothing
better than the apotheosis of Robespierre and Marat. “I wish to see
man as he is,” she writes to Flaubert. “He is not good or bad: he is
good and bad. But he is something else besides: being good and bad he
has an inner force which leads him to be very bad and a little good,
or very good and a little bad. I have often wondered,” she adds, “why
your ‘Education Sentimentale’ was so ill received by the public, and
the reason, as it seems to me, is that its characters are passive--that
they do not act upon themselves.” But the Titaness of the period of
“Lélia” can scarcely be said to have acted upon herself, so that she is
justified in writing: “I cannot forget that my personal victory over
despair is the work of my will, and of a new way of understanding life
which is the exact opposite of the one I held formerly.” How different
is the weary cry of Flaubert: “I am like a piece of clock work, what
I am doing to-day I shall be doing to-morrow; I did exactly the same
thing yesterday; I was exactly the same man ten years ago.”

The correspondence of Flaubert and George Sand bears interestingly on
another of the sham religions of the nineteenth century--the religion
of art. Art is for Flaubert not merely a religion but a fanaticism. He
preaches abstinence, renunciation and mortification of the flesh in the
name of art. He excommunicates those who depart from artistic orthodoxy
and speaks of heretics and disbelievers in art with a ferocity worthy
of a Spanish inquisitor. Ethical beauty such as one finds in the
Greeks at their best resides in order and proportion; it is not a thing
apart but the outcome of some harmonious whole. Beauty in the purely
æsthetic and unethical sense that Flaubert gives to the word is little
more than the pursuit of illusion. The man who thus treats beauty as
a thing apart, who does not refer back his quest of the exquisite to
some ethical centre will spend his life Ixion-like embracing phantoms.
“O Art, Art,” exclaims Flaubert, “bitter deception, nameless phantom,
which gleams and lures us to our ruin!” He speaks elsewhere of “the
chimera of style which is wearing him out soul and body.” Attaching as
he did an almost religious importance to his quest of the exquisite
he became like so many other Rousseauists not merely æsthetic but
hyperæsthetic. He complains in his old age: “My sensibility is sharper
than a razor’s edge; the creaking of a door, the face of a bourgeois,
an absurd statement set my heart to throbbing and completely upset me.”
Hardly anywhere else, indeed, will one find such accents of bitterness,
such melancholy welling up unbidden from the very depths of the heart,
as in the devotees of art for art’s sake--Flaubert, Leconte de Lisle,
Théophile Gautier.

George Sand takes Flaubert to task with admirable tact for his failure
to subordinate art to something higher than itself. “Talent imposes
duties; and art for art’s sake is an empty word.” As she grew older she
says she came more and more to put truth above beauty, and goodness
before strength. “I have reflected a great deal on what is _true_,
and in this search for truth, the sentiment of my ego has gradually
disappeared.” The truth on which she had reflected was what she herself
calls total truth (_le vrai total_), not merely truth according to
the natural law, which received such exclusive emphasis towards the
middle of the nineteenth century as to lead to the rise of another
sham religion--the religion of science. “You have a better sense for
total truth,” she tells one of her correspondents “than Sainte-Beuve,
Renan and Littré. They have fallen into the German rut: therein lies
their weakness.” And Flaubert writes to George Sand: “What amazes and
delights me is the strength of your whole personality, not that of the
brain alone.”

Furthermore the holding of the human law that made possible this
rounded development, this growth towards total truth, was a matter not
of tradition but of immediate perception. George Sand had succeeded,
as Taine says, in making the difficult transition from an hereditary
faith to a personal conviction. Now this perception of the human law is
something very different from the pantheistic revery in which George
Sand was also an adept. To look on revery as the equivalent of vision
in the Aristotelian sense, as Rousseau and so many of his followers
have done, is to fall into sham spirituality. Maurice de Guérin falls
into sham spirituality when he exclaims “Oh! this contact of nature
and the soul would engender an ineffable voluptuousness, a prodigious
love of heaven and of God.” I am not asserting that George Sand herself
discriminated sharply between ethical and æsthetic perception or that
she is to be rated as a very great sage at any time. Yet she owes her
recovery of serenity after suffering shock upon shock of disillusion to
her having exercised in some degree what she terms “the contemplative
sense wherein resides invincible faith” (_le sens contemplatif où
réside la foi invincible_), and the passages that bear witness to her
use of this well-nigh obsolete sense are found in her correspondence.

Wordsworth lauds in true Rousseauistic fashion a “wise passiveness.”
But to be truly contemplative is not to be passive at all, but to be
“energetic” in Aristotle’s sense, or strenuous in Buddha’s sense. It
is a matter of no small import that the master analyst of the East and
the master analyst of the West are at one in their solution of the
supreme problem of ethics--the problem of happiness. For there can
be no doubt that the energy[282] in which the doctrine of Aristotle
culminates is the same as the “strenuousness”[283] on which Buddha puts
his final emphasis. The highest good they both agree is a contemplative
_working_. It is by thus working according to the human law that one
rises above the naturalistic level. The scientific rationalists of
the nineteenth century left no place for this true human spontaneity
when they sought to subject man entirely to the “law for thing.” This
scientific determinism was responsible for a great deal of spiritual
depression and _acedia_, especially in France during the second half
of the nineteenth century.[284] But even if science is less dogmatic
and absolute one needs to consider why it does not deserve to be given
the supreme and central place in life, why it cannot in short take the
place of humanism and religion, and the working according to the human
law that they both enjoin.

A man may indeed effect through science a certain escape from himself,
and this is very salutary so far as it goes; he has to discipline
himself to an order that is quite independent of his own fancies and
emotions. He becomes objective in short, but objective according to
the natural and not according to the human law. Objectivity of this
kind gives control over natural forces but it does not supply the
purpose for which these forces are to be used. It gives the airship,
for instance, but does not determine whether the airship is to go on
some beneficent errand or is to scatter bombs on women and children.
Science does not even set right limits to the faculty that it chiefly
exercises--the intellect. In itself it stimulates rather than curbs one
of the three main lusts to which human nature is subject--the lust of
knowledge. Renan, who makes a religion of science, speaks of “sacred
curiosity.” But this is even more dangerous than the opposite excess
of the ascetic Christian who denounces all curiosity as vain. The man
of science avers indeed that he does subordinate his knowledge to an
adequate aim, namely the progress of humanity. But the humanity of the
Baconian is only an intellectual abstraction just as the humanity of
the Rousseauist is only an emotional dream. George Sand found, as we
have seen, that the passage from one’s dream of humanity to humanity
in the concrete involved a certain disillusion. The scientific or
rationalistic humanitarian is subject to similar disillusions.[285]
Science not only fails to set proper limits to the activity of the
intellect, but one must also note a curious paradox in its relation
to the second of the main lusts to which man is subject, the lust
for emotion (_libido sentiendi_). The prime virtue of science is to
be unemotional and at the same time keenly analytical. Now protracted
and unemotional analysis finally creates a desire, as Renan says, for
the opposite pole, “the kisses of the naïve being,” and in general
for a frank surrender to the emotions. Science thus actually prepares
clients for the Rousseauist.[286] The man of science is also flattered
by the Rousseauistic notion that conscience and virtue are themselves
only forms of emotion. He is thus saved from anything so distasteful as
having to subordinate his own scientific discipline to some superior
religious or humanistic discipline. He often oscillates between the
rationalistic and the emotional pole not only in other things but also
in his cult of humanity. But if conscience is merely an emotion there
is a cult that makes a more potent appeal to conscience than the cult
of humanity itself and that is the cult of country. One is here at the
root of the most dangerous of all the sham religions of the modern
age--the religion of country, the frenzied nationalism that is now
threatening to make an end of civilization itself.

Both emotional nationalism and emotional internationalism go
back to Rousseau, but in his final emphasis he is an emotional
nationalist;[287] and that is because he saw that patriotic “virtue” is
a more potent intoxicant than the love of humanity. The demonstration
came in the French Revolution which began as a great international
movement on emotional lines and ended in imperialism and Napoleon
Bonaparte. It is here that the terrible peril of a science that is
pursued as an end in itself becomes manifest. It disciplines man and
makes him efficient on the naturalistic level, but leaves him ethically
undisciplined. Now in the absence of ethical discipline the lust
for knowledge and the lust for feeling count very little, at least
practically, compared with the third main lust of human nature--the
lust for power. Hence the emergence of that most sinister of all types,
the efficient megalomaniac. The final use of a science that has thus
become a tool of the lust for power is in Burke’s phrase to “improve
the mystery of murder.”

This union of material efficiency and ethical unrestraint, though
in a way the upshot of the whole movement we have been studying, is
especially marked in the modern German. Goethe as I have pointed
out is ready to pardon Faust for grave violations of the moral law
because of work which, so far from being ethical, is, in view of the
ruin in which it involves the rustic pair, Baucis and Philemon, under
suspicion of being positively unethical. Yet Goethe was far from being
a pure utilitarian and he had reacted more than most Germans of his
time from Rousseauism. Rousseau is glorified by Germans as a chief
source of their _Kultur_, as I have already pointed out. Now _Kultur_
when analyzed breaks up into two very different things--scientific
efficiency and emotionalism or what the Germans (and unfortunately not
the Germans alone) term “idealism.” There is no question about the
relation of this idealism to the stream of tendency of which Rousseau
is the chief representative. By his corruption of conscience Rousseau
made it possible to identify character with temperament. It was easy
for Fichte and others to take the next step and identify national
character with national temperament. The Germans according to Fichte
are all beautiful souls, the elect of nature. If they have no special
word for character it is because to be a German and have character are
synonymous. Character is something that gushes up from the primordial
depths of the German’s being without any conscious effort on his
part.[288] The members of a whole national group may thus flatter one
another and inbreed their national “genius” in the romantic sense, and
feel all the while that they are ecstatic “idealists”; yet as a result
of the failure to refer their genius back to some ethical centre, to
work, in other words, according to the human law, they may, so far as
the members of other national groups are concerned, remain in a state
of moral solitude.

Everything thus hinges on the meaning of the word work. In the abstract
and metaphysical sense man can know nothing of unity. He may, however,
by working in the human sense, by imposing, that is, due limits on his
expansive desires, close up in some measure the gap in his own nature
(the “civil war in the cave”) and so tend to become inwardly one. He
may hope in the same way to escape from the solitude of his own ego,
for the inner unity that he achieves through work is only an entering
into possession of his ethical self, the self that he possesses in
common with other men. Thus to work ethically is not only to become
more unified and happy but also to move away from what is less
permanent towards what is more permanent and therefore more peaceful
in his total nature; so that the problem of happiness and the problem
of peace turn out at last to be inseparable.

Souls, says Emerson, never meet; and it is true that a man never quite
escapes from his solitude. That does not make the choice of direction
any the less important. An infinite beckons to him on either hand. The
one inspires the divine discontent, the other romantic restlessness.
If instead of following the romantic lure he heeds the call from the
opposite direction, he will not indeed attain to any perfect communion
but he will be less solitary. Strictly speaking a man is never happy in
the sense of being completely satisfied with the passing moment,[289]
or never, Dr. Johnson would add, except when he is drunk. The happiness
of the sober and waking man resides, it may be, not in his content with
the present moment but in the very effort that marks his passage from a
lower to a higher ethical level.

The happiness of which Rousseau dreamed, it has been made plain, was
not this active and ethical happiness, but rather the passive enjoyment
of the beautiful moment--the moment that he would like to have last
forever. After seeking for the beautiful moment in the intoxication of
love, he turned as we have seen to pantheistic revery. “As long as it
lasts,” he says of a moment of this kind, “one is self-sufficing like
God.” Yes, but it does not last, and when he wakes from his dream of
communion with nature, he is still solitary, still the prisoner of
his ego. The pantheistic dreamer is passive in every sense. He is not
working either according to the human or according to the natural law,
and so is not gaining either in material or in ethical efficiency.
In a world such as that in which we live this seems too much like
picnicking on a battlefield. Rousseau could on occasion speak shrewdly
on this point. He wrote to a youthful enthusiast who wished to come
and live with him at Montmorency: “The first bit of advice I should
like to give you is not to indulge in the taste you say you have for
the contemplative life and which is only an indolence of the spirit
reprehensible at every age and especially at yours. Man is not made to
meditate but to act.”

The contemplative life is then, according to Rousseau, the opposite
of action. But to contemplate is according to an Aristotle or a
Buddha to engage in the most important form of action, the form that
leads to happiness. To identify leisure and the contemplative life
with pantheistic revery, as Rousseau does, is to fall into one of
the most vicious of confusions. Perhaps indeed the most important
contrast one can reach in a subject of this kind is that between a
wise strenuousness and a more or less wise passiveness, between the
spiritual athlete and the cosmic loafer, between a Saint Paul, let us
say, and a Walt Whitman.

The spiritual idling and drifting of the Rousseauist would be less
sinister if it did not coexist in the world of to-day with an intense
material activity. The man who seeks happiness by work according to the
natural law is to be rated higher than the man who seeks happiness in
some form of emotional intoxication (including pantheistic revery).
He is not left unarmed, a helpless dreamer in the battle of life. The
type of efficiency he is acquiring also helps him to keep at bay man’s
great enemy, ennui. An Edison, we may suppose, who is drawn ever onward
by the lure of wonder and curiosity and power, has little time to be
bored. It is surely better to escape from the boredom of life after the
fashion of Edison than after the fashion of Baudelaire.[290]

I have already pointed out, however, the peril in a one-sided working
of this kind. It makes man efficient without making him ethical. It
stimulates rather than corrects a fearless, formless expansion on the
human level. This inordinate reaching out beyond bounds is, as the
great Greek poets saw with such clearness, an invitation to Nemesis.
The misery that results from unrestraint, from failure to work
according to the human law, is something different from mere pain and
far more to be dreaded; just as the happiness that results from a right
working according to the human law is something different from mere
pleasure and far more worthy of pursuit.

The present alliance between emotional romanticists and
utilitarians[291] is a veritable menace to civilization itself. It
does not follow, as I said in a previous chapter, because revery or
“intuition of the creative flux” cannot take the place of leisure or
meditation, that one must therefore condemn it utterly. It may like
other forms of romanticism have a place on the recreative side of
life. What finally counts is work according to either the human or
the natural law, but man cannot always be working. He needs moments
of relief from tension and concentration and even, it should seem, of
semi-oblivion of his conscious self. As one of the ways of winning such
moments of relaxation and partial forgetfulness much may be said for
revery. In general one must grant the solace and rich source of poetry
that is found in communion with nature even though the final emphasis
be put on communion with man. It is no small thing to be, as Arnold
says Wordsworth was, a “priest of the wonder and bloom of the world.”
One cannot however grant the Wordsworthian that to be a priest of
wonder is necessarily to be also a priest of wisdom. Thus to promote to
the supreme and central place something that is legitimate in its own
degree, but secondary, is to risk starting a sham religion.

Those who have sought to set up a cult of love or beauty or science or
humanity or country are open to the same objections as the votaries
of nature. However important each of these things may be in its own
place, it cannot properly be put in the supreme and central place for
the simple reason that it does not involve any adequate conversion
or discipline of man’s ordinary self to some ethical centre. I have
tried to show that the sense of solitude or forlornness that is so
striking a feature of romantic melancholy arises not only from a loss
of hold on the traditional centres, but also from the failure of
these new attempts at communion to keep their promises. The number of
discomfitures of this kind in the period that has elapsed since the
late eighteenth century, suggests that this period was even more than
most periods an age of sophistry. Every age has had its false teachers,
but possibly no age ever had so many dubious moralists as this, an
incomparable series of false prophets from Rousseau himself down to
Nietzsche and Tolstoy. It remains to sum up in a closing chapter the
results of my whole inquiry and at the same time to discuss somewhat
more specifically the bearing of my whole point of view, especially the
idea of work according to the human law, upon the present situation.



It has been my endeavor throughout this book to show that classic and
romantic art, though both at their best highly imaginative, differ in
the quality of the imagination. I pointed out in my first chapter that
in his recoil from the intellectual romanticism of the Renaissance
and the mediæval romanticism of actual adventure the neo-classicist
came to rest his literary faith on “reason” (by which he meant either
ordinary good sense or abstract reasoning), and then opposed this
reason or judgment to imagination. This supposed opposition between
reason and imagination was accepted by the romantic rebels against
neo-classicism and has been an endless source of confusion to the
present day. Though both neo-classicists and romanticists achieved much
admirable work, work which is likely to have a permanent appeal, it
is surely no small matter that they both failed on the whole to deal
adequately with the imagination and its rôle whether in literature
or life. Thus Dryden attributes the immortality of the Æneid to its
being “a well-weighed judicious poem. Whereas poems which are produced
by the vigor of imagination only have a gloss upon them at the first
which time wears off, the works of judgment are like the diamond; the
more they are polished, the more lustre they receive.”[292] Read on
and you will find that Dryden thus stresses judgment by way of protest
against the Cavalier Marini and the imaginative unrestraint that he
and other intellectual romanticists display. Dryden thus obscures the
fact that what gives the immortalizing touch to the Æneid is not mere
judgment but imagination--a certain quality of imagination. Even the
reader who is to enter properly into the spirit of Virgil needs more
than judgment--he needs to possess in some measure the same quality
of imagination. The romantic answer to the neo-classic distrust of
the imagination was the apotheosis of the imagination, but without
sufficient discrimination as to its quality, and this led only too
often to an anarchy of the imagination--an anarchy associated, as we
have seen, in the case of the Rousseauist, with emotion rather than
with thought or action.

The modern world has thus tended to oscillate between extremes in its
attitude towards the imagination, so that we still have to turn to
ancient Greece for the best examples of works in which the imagination
is at once disciplined and supreme. Aristotle, I pointed out, is doing
little more than give an account of this Greek practice when he says
that the poet ranks higher than the historian because he achieves a
more general truth, but that he can achieve this more general truth
only by being a master of illusion. Art in which the illusion is not
disciplined to the higher reality counts at best on the recreative
side of life. “Imagination,” says Poe, “feeling herself for once
unshackled, roamed at will among the ever-changing wonders of a shadowy
and unstable land.”[293] To take seriously the creations of this type
of imagination is to be on the way towards madness. Every madhouse,
indeed, has inmates who are very imaginative in the fashion Poe here
describes. We must not confuse the concentric or ethical with the
eccentric imagination if we are to define rightly the terms classic
and romantic or indeed to attain to sound criticism at all. My whole
aim has been to show that a main stream of emotional sophistry that
takes its rise in the eighteenth century and flows down through the
nineteenth involves just such a confusion.

The general distinction between the two types of imagination would seem
sufficiently clear. To apply the distinction concretely is, it must be
admitted, a task infinitely difficult and delicate, a task that calls
for the utmost degree of the _esprit de finesse_. In any particular
case there enters an element of vital novelty. The relation of this
vital novelty to the ethical or permanent element in life is something
that cannot be determined by any process of abstract reasoning or by
any rule of thumb; it is a matter of immediate perception. The art of
the critic is thus hedged about with peculiar difficulties. It does not
follow that Aristotle himself because he has laid down sound principles
in his Poetics, would always have been right in applying them. Our
evidence on this point is as a matter of fact somewhat scanty.

Having thus admitted the difficulty of the undertaking we may ourselves
attempt a few concrete illustrations of how sound critical standards
tended to suffer in connection with the romantic movement. Leaving
aside for the moment certain larger aspects of the ethical imagination
that I am going to discuss presently, let us confine ourselves to
poetry. Inasmuch as the ethical imagination does not in itself give
poetry but wisdom, various cases may evidently arise: a man may be wise
without being poetical; he may be poetical without being wise; he may
be both wise and poetical.

We may take as an example of the person who was wise without being
poetical Dr. Johnson. Though most persons would grant that Dr. Johnson
was not poetical, it is well to remember that this generalization has
only the approximate truth that a literary generalization can have. The
lines on Levet have been inserted and rightly in anthologies. If not on
the whole poetical, Johnson was, as Boswell says, eminently fitted to
be a “majestic teacher of moral and religious wisdom.” Few men have had
a firmer grasp on the moral law or been freer from the various forms of
sophistry that tend to obscure it. Unlike Socrates, however, of whom he
reminds us at times by his ethical realism, Johnson rests his insight
not on a positive but on a traditional basis. To say that Johnson
was truly religious is only another way of saying that he was truly
humble, and one of the reasons for his humility was his perception
of the ease with which illusion in man passes over into delusion,
and even into madness. His chapter on the “Dangerous Prevalence of
Imagination” in “Rasselas” not only gives the key to that work but to
much else in his writings. What he opposes to this dangerous prevalence
of imagination is not a different type of imagination but the usual
neo-classical reason or judgment or “sober probability.” His defence
of wisdom against the gathering naturalistic sophistries of his time
is therefore somewhat lacking in imaginative prestige. He seemed to
be opposing innovation on purely formalistic and traditional grounds
in an age which was more and more resolutely untraditional and which
was determined above all to emancipate the imagination from its
strait-jacket of formalism. Keats would not have hesitated to rank
Johnson among those who “blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face.”

Keats himself may serve as a type of the new imaginative spontaneity
and of the new fullness and freshness of sensuous perception. If
Johnson is wise without being poetical, Keats is poetical without being
wise, and here again we need to remember that distinctions of this
kind are only approximately true. Keats has written lines that have
high seriousness. He has written other lines which without being wise
seem to lay claim to wisdom--notably the lines in which, following
Shaftesbury and other æsthetes, he identifies truth and beauty; an
identification that was disproved for practical purposes at least as
far back as the Trojan War. Helen was beautiful, but was neither good
nor true. In general, however, Keats’s poetry is not sophistical. It
is simply delightfully recreative. There are signs that Keats himself
would not have been content in the long run with a purely recreative
rôle--to be “the idle singer of an empty day.” Whether he would ever
have achieved genuine ethical purpose is a question. In working out a
wise view of life he did not, like Dante, have the support of a great
and generally accepted tradition. It is not certain again that he would
ever have developed the critical keenness that enabled a Sophocles to
work out a wise view of life in a less traditional age than that of
Dante. The evidence is rather that Keats would have succumbed, to his
own poetical detriment, to some of the forms of sham wisdom current in
his day, especially the new humanitarian evangel.[294]

In any case we may contrast Sophocles and Dante with Keats as examples
of poets who were not merely poetical but wise--wise in the relative
and imperfect sense in which it is vouchsafed to mortals to achieve
wisdom. Sophocles and Dante are not perhaps more poetical than
Keats--it is not easy to be more poetical than Keats. As Tennyson says,
“there is something magic and of the innermost soul of poetry in almost
everything he wrote.” Yet Sophocles and Dante are not only superior
to Keats, but in virtue of the presence of the ethical imagination in
their work, superior not merely in degree but in kind. Not that even
Sophocles and Dante maintain themselves uniformly on the level of
the ethical imagination. There are passages in Dante which are less
imaginative than theological. Passages of this kind are even more
numerous in Milton, a poet who on the whole is highly serious.[295] It
is in general easy to be didactic, hard to achieve ethical insight.

If Keats is highly imaginative and poetic without on the whole rising
to high seriousness or sinking to sophistry, Shelley, on the other
hand, illustrates in his imaginative activity the confusion of values
that was so fostered by romanticism. Here again I do not wish to be too
absolute. Shelley has passages especially in his “Adonais” that are
on a high level. Yet nothing is more certain than that the quality of
his imagination is on the whole not ethical but Arcadian or pastoral.
In the name of his Arcadia conceived as the “ideal” he refuses to
face the facts of life. I have already spoken of the flimsiness of his
“Prometheus Unbound” as a solution of the problem of evil. What is
found in this play is the exact opposite of imaginative concentration
on the human law. The imagination wanders irresponsibly in a region
quite outside of normal human experience. We are hindered from enjoying
the gorgeous iridescences of Shelley’s cloudland by Shelley’s own
evident conviction that it is not a cloudland, an “intense inane,” but
a true empyrean of the spirit. And our irritation at Shelley’s own
confusion is further increased by the long train of his indiscreet
admirers. Thus Professor C.H. Herford writes in the “Cambridge History
of English Literature” that what Shelley has done in the “Prometheus
Unbound,” is to give “magnificent expression to the faith of Plato and
of Christ”![296] Such a statement in such a place is a veritable danger
signal, an indication of some grave spiritual bewilderment in the
present age. To show the inanity of these attempts to make a wise man
of Shelley it is enough to compare him not with Plato and Christ, but
with the poet whom he set out at once to continue and contradict--with
Æschylus. The “Prometheus Bound” has the informing ethical imagination
that the “Prometheus Unbound” lacks, and so in its total structure
belongs to an entirely different order of art. Shelley, indeed, has
admirable details. The romanticism of nympholeptic longing may almost
be said to culminate, at least in England, in the passage I have
already cited (“My soul is an enchanted boat”). There is no reason why
in recreative moods one should not imagine one’s soul an enchanted
boat and float away in a musical rapture with the ideal dream companion
towards Arcady. But to suppose that revery of this kind has anything to
do with the faith of Plato and of Christ, is to fall from illusion into
dangerous delusion.

We may doubt whether if Shelley had lived longer he would ever have
risen above emotional sophistry and become more ethical in the quality
of his imagination. Such a progress from emotional sophistry to ethical
insight we actually find in Goethe; and this is the last and most
complex case we have to consider. Johnson, I have said, is wise without
being poetical and Keats poetical without being wise; Sophocles is
both poetical and wise, whereas Shelley is poetical, but with a taint
of sophistry or sham wisdom. No such clear-cut generalization can be
ventured about Goethe. I have already quoted Goethe’s own judgment
on his “Werther” as weakness seeking to give itself the prestige of
strength, and perhaps it would be possible to instance from his early
writings even worse examples of a morbid emotionalism (e.g. “Stella”).
How about “Faust” itself? Most Germans will simply dismiss such a
question as profane. With Hermann Grimm they are ready to pronounce
“Faust” the greatest work of the greatest poet of all times, and of
all peoples. Yet it is not easy to overlook the sophistical element
in both parts of “Faust.” I have already commented on those passages
that would seem especially sophistical: the passage in which the devil
is defined as the spirit that always says no strikes at the very root
of any proper distinction between good and evil. The passage again in
which Faust breaks down all precise discrimination in favor of mere
emotional intoxication is an extreme example of the Rousseauistic
art of “making madness beautiful.” The very conclusion of the whole
poem, with its setting up of work according to the natural law as a
substitute for work according to the human law, is an egregious piece
of sham wisdom. The result of work according to the human law, of
ethical efficiency in short, is an increasing serenity; and it is not
clear that Faust is much calmer at the end of the poem than he is at
the beginning. According to Dr. Santayana he is ready to carry into
heaven itself his romantic restlessness--his desperate and feverish
attempts to escape from ennui.[297] Perhaps this is not the whole truth
even in regard to “Faust”; and still less can we follow Dr. Santayana
when he seems to discover in the whole work of Goethe only romantic
restlessness. At the very time when Goethe was infecting others with
the wild expansiveness of the new movement, he himself was beginning
to strike out along an entirely different path. He writes in his
Journal as early as 1778: “A more definite feeling of limitation and
in consequence of true broadening.” Goethe here glimpses the truth
that lies at the base of both humanism and religion. He saw that the
romantic disease was the imaginative and emotional straining towards
the unlimited (_Hang zum Unbegrenzten_), and in opposition to this
unrestraint he was never tired of preaching the need of working within
boundaries. It may be objected that Goethe is in somewhat the same
case here as Rousseau: that the side of his work which has imaginative
and emotional driving power and has therefore moved the world is of an
entirely different order. We may reply that Goethe is at times both
poetical and wise. Furthermore in his maxims and conversations where
he does not rise to the poetical level, he displays a higher quality of
wisdom than Rousseau. At his best he shows an ethical realism worthy
of Dr. Johnson, though in his attitude towards tradition he is less
Johnsonian than Socratic. Like Socrates he saw on what terms a break
with the past may be safely attempted. “Anything that emancipates the
spirit,” he says, “without a corresponding growth in self-mastery, is
pernicious.” We may be sure that if the whole modern experiment fails
it will be because of the neglect of the truth contained in this maxim.
Goethe also saw that a sound individualism must be rightly imaginative.
He has occasional hints on the rôle of illusion in literature and life
that go far beneath the surface.

Though the mature Goethe, then, always stands for salvation by work,
it is not strictly correct to say that it is work only according
to the natural law. In Goethe at his best the imagination accepts
the limitations imposed not merely by the natural, but also by the
human law. However, we must admit that the humanistic Goethe has had
few followers either in Germany or elsewhere, whereas innumerable
persons have escaped from the imaginative unrestraint of the emotional
romanticist, as Goethe himself likewise did, by the discipline of

The examples I have chosen should suffice to show how my distinction
between two main types of imagination--the ethical type that gives
high seriousness to creative writing and the Arcadian or dalliant
type that does not raise it above the recreative level--works out in
practice. Some such distinction is necessary if we are to understand
the imagination in its relation to the human law. But in order to
grasp the present situation firmly we need also to consider the
imagination in its relation to the natural law. I have just said that
most men have escaped from the imaginative anarchy of the emotional
romanticist through science. Now the man of science at his best is
like the humanist at his best, at once highly imaginative and highly
critical. By this coöperation of imagination and intellect they are
both enabled to concentrate effectively on the facts, though on facts
of a very different order. The imagination reaches out and perceives
likenesses and analogies whereas the power in man that separates
and discriminates and traces causes and effects tests in turn these
likenesses and analogies as to their reality: for we can scarcely
repeat too often that though the imagination gives unity it does not
give reality. If we were all Aristotles or even Goethes we might
concentrate imaginatively on both laws, and so be both scientific and
humanistic: but as a matter of fact the ordinary man’s capacity for
concentration is limited. After a spell of concentration on either law
he aspires to what Aristotle calls “relief from tension.” Now the very
conditions of modern life require an almost tyrannical concentration
on the natural law. The problems that have been engaging more and more
the attention of the Occident since the rise of the great Baconian
movement have been the problems of power and speed and utility. The
enormous mass of machinery that has been accumulated in the pursuit of
these ends requires the closest attention and concentration if it is
to be worked efficiently. At the same time the man of the West is not
willing to admit that he is growing in power alone, he likes to think
that he is growing also in wisdom. Only by keeping this situation in
mind can we hope to understand how emotional romanticism has been
able to develop into a vast system of sham spirituality. I have said
that the Rousseauist wants unity without reality. If we are to move
towards reality, the imagination must be controlled by the power
of discrimination and the Rousseauist has repudiated this power as
“false and secondary.” But a unity that lacks reality can scarcely be
accounted wise. The Baconian, however, accepts this unity gladly. He
has spent so much energy in working according to the natural law that
he has no energy left for work according to the human law. By turning
to the Rousseauist he can get the “relief from tension” that he needs
and at the same time enjoy the illusion of receiving a vast spiritual
illumination. Neither Rousseauist nor Baconian carry into the realm
of the human law the keen analysis that is necessary to distinguish
between genuine insight and some mere phantasmagoria of the emotions.
I am speaking especially, of course, of the interplay of Rousseauistic
and Baconian elements that appear in certain recent philosophies like
that of Bergson. According to Bergson one becomes spiritual by throwing
overboard both thought and action, and this is a very convenient notion
of spirituality for those who wish to devote both thought and action to
utilitarian and material ends. It is hard to see in Bergson’s intuition
of the creative flux and perception of real duration anything more
than the latest form of Rousseau’s transcendental idling. To work with
something approaching frenzy according to the natural law and to be
idle according to the human law must be accounted a rather one-sided
view of life. The price the man of to-day has paid for his increase
in power is, it should seem, an appalling superficiality in dealing
with the law of his own nature. What brings together Baconian and
Rousseauist in spite of their surface differences is that they are both
intent on the element of novelty. But if wonder is associated with the
Many, wisdom is associated with the One. Wisdom and wonder are moving
not in the same but in opposite directions. The nineteenth century may
very well prove to have been the most wonderful and the least wise
of centuries. The men of this period--and I am speaking of course of
the main drift--were so busy being wonderful that they had no time,
apparently, to be wise. Yet their extreme absorption in wonder and the
manifoldness of things can scarcely be commended unless it can be shown
that happiness also results from all this revelling in the element
of change. The Rousseauist is not quite consistent on this point. At
times he bids us boldly set our hearts on the transitory. _Aimez_,
says Vigny, _ce que jamais on ne verra deux fois_. But the Rousseauist
strikes perhaps a deeper chord when looking forth on a world of flux he
utters the anguished exclamation of Leconte de Lisle: _Qu’est-ce que
tout cela qui n’est pas éternel?_ Even as one swallow, says Aristotle,
does not make a spring, so no short time is enough to determine whether
a man deserves to be called happy. The weakness of the romantic pursuit
of novelty and wonder and in general of the philosophy of the beautiful
moment--whether the erotic moment[298] or the moment of cosmic
revery--is that it does not reckon sufficiently with the something
deep down in the human breast that craves the abiding. To pin one’s
hope of happiness to the fact that “the world is so full of a number of
things” is an appropriate sentiment for a “Child’s Garden of Verse.”
For the adult to maintain an exclusive Bergsonian interest in “the
perpetual gushing forth of novelties” would seem to betray an inability
to mature. The effect on a mature observer of an age so entirely turned
from the One to the Many as that in which we are living must be that of
a prodigious peripheral richness joined to a great central void.

What leads the man of to-day to work with such energy according to
the natural law and to be idle according to the human law is his
intoxication with material success. A consideration that should
therefore touch him is that in the long run not merely spiritual
success or happiness, but material prosperity depend on an entirely
different working. Let me revert here for a moment to my previous
analysis: to work according to the human law is simply to rein in one’s
impulses. Now the strongest of all the impulses is the will to power.
The man who does not rein in his will to power and is at the same time
very active according to the natural law is in a fair way to become
an efficient megalomaniac. Efficient megalomania, whether developed
in individuals of the same group or in whole national groups in their
relations with one another, must lead sooner or later to war. The
efficient megalomaniacs will proceed to destroy one another along with
the material wealth to which they have sacrificed everything else; and
then the meek, if there are any meek left, will inherit the earth.

“If I am to judge by myself,” said an eighteenth-century Frenchman,
“man is a stupid animal.” Man is not only a stupid animal in spite
of his conceit of his own cleverness but we are here at the source
of his stupidity. The source is the moral indolence that Buddha with
his almost infallible sagacity defined long ago. In spite of the fact
that his spiritual and in the long run his material success hinge on
his ethical effort, man persists in dodging this effort, in seeking to
follow the line of least or lesser resistance. An energetic material
working does not mend but aggravate the failure to work ethically and
is therefore especially stupid. Just this combination has in fact led
to the crowning stupidity of the ages--the Great War. No more delirious
spectacle has ever been witnessed than that of hundreds of millions
of human beings using a vast machinery of scientific efficiency to
turn life into a hell for one another. It is hard to avoid concluding
that we are living in a world that has gone wrong on first principles,
a world that, in spite of all the warnings of the past, has allowed
itself to be caught once more in the terrible naturalistic trap. The
dissolution of civilization with which we are threatened is likely to
be worse in some respects than that of Greece or Rome in view of the
success that has been attained in “perfecting the mystery of murder.”
Various traditional agencies are indeed still doing much to chain
up the beast in man. Of these the chief is no doubt the Church. But
the leadership of the Occident is no longer here. The leaders have
succumbed in greater or less degree to naturalism[299] and so have been
tampering with the moral law. That the brutal imperialist who brooks
no obstacle to his lust for dominion has been tampering with this law
goes without saying; but the humanitarian, all adrip with brotherhood
and profoundly convinced of the loveliness of his own soul, has been
tampering with it also, and in a more dangerous way for the very
reason that it is less obvious. This tampering with the moral law, or
what amounts to the same thing, this overriding of the veto power in
man, has been largely a result, though not a necessary result, of the
rupture with the traditional forms of wisdom. The Baconian naturalist
repudiated the past because he wished to be more positive and critical,
to plant himself upon the facts. Yet the veto power is itself a
fact,--the weightiest with which man has to reckon. The Rousseauistic
naturalist threw off traditional control because he wished to be more
imaginative. Yet without the veto power the imagination falls into
sheer anarchy. Both Baconian and Rousseauist were very impatient of
any outer authority that seemed to stand between them and their own
perceptions. Yet the veto power is nothing abstract, nothing that one
needs to take on hearsay, but is very immediate. The naturalistic
leaders may be proved wrong without going beyond their own principles,
and their wrongness is of a kind to wreck civilization.

I have no quarrel, it is scarcely necessary to add, either with the man
of science or the romanticist when they keep in their proper place.
As soon however as they try, whether separately or in unison, to set
up some substitute for humanism or religion, they should be at once
attacked, the man of science for not being sufficiently positive and
critical, the romanticist for not being rightly imaginative.

This brings us back to the problem of the ethical imagination--the
imagination that has accepted the veto power--which I promised a
moment ago to treat in its larger aspects. This problem is indeed
in a peculiar sense the problem of civilization itself. A curious
circumstance should be noted here: a civilization that rests on dogma
and outer authority cannot afford to face the whole truth about the
imagination and its rôle. A civilization in which dogma and outer
authority have been undermined by the critical spirit, not only can
but must do this very thing if it is to continue at all. Man, a being
ever changing and living in a world of change, is, as I said at the
outset, cut off from immediate access to anything abiding and therefore
worthy to be called real, and condemned to live in an element of
fiction or illusion. Yet civilization must rest on the recognition
of something abiding. It follows that the truths on the survival of
which civilization depends cannot be conveyed to man directly but
only through imaginative symbols. It seems hard, however, for man to
analyze critically this disability under which he labors, and, facing
courageously the results of his analysis, to submit his imagination
to the necessary control. He consents to limit his expansive desires
only when the truths that are symbolically true are presented to him as
literally true. The salutary check upon his imagination is thus won at
the expense of the critical spirit. The pure gold of faith needs, it
should seem, if it is to gain currency, to be alloyed with credulity.
But the civilization that results from humanistic or religious control
tends to produce the critical spirit. Sooner or later some Voltaire
utters his fatal message:

    _Les prêtres ne sont pas ce qu’un vain peuple pense;_
    _Nôtre crédulité fait toute leur science._

The emancipation from credulous belief leads to an anarchic
individualism that tends in turn to destroy civilization. There is some
evidence in the past that it is not quite necessary to run through this
cycle. Buddha, for example, was very critical; he had a sense of the
flux and evanescence of all things and so of universal illusion keener
by far than that of Anatole France; at the same time he had ethical
standards even sterner than those of Dr. Johnson. This is a combination
that the Occident has rarely seen and that it perhaps needs to see. At
the very end of his life Buddha uttered words that deserve to be the
Magna Charta of the true individualist: “Therefore, O Ananda, be ye
lamps unto yourselves. Be ye refuges unto yourselves. Look to no outer
refuge. Hold fast as a refuge unto the Law (_Dhamma_).”[300] A man may
safely go into himself if what he finds there is not, like Rousseau,
his own emotions, but like Buddha, the law of righteousness.

Men were induced to follow Rousseau in his surrender to the emotions,
it will be remembered, because that seemed the only alternative to a
hard and dry rationalism. The rationalists of the Enlightenment were
for the most part Cartesians, but Kant himself is in his main trend a
rationalist. The epithet critical usually applied to his philosophy is
therefore a misnomer. For to solve the critical problem--the relation
between appearance and reality--it is necessary to deal adequately with
the rôle of the imagination and this Kant has quite failed to do.[301]
Modern philosophy is in general so unsatisfactory because it has raised
the critical problem without carrying it through; it is too critical
to receive wisdom through the traditional channels and not critical
enough to achieve insight, and so has been losing more and more its
human relevancy, becoming in the words of one of its recent votaries,
a “narrow and unfruitful eccentricity.” The professional philosophers
need to mend their ways and that speedily if the great world is not
to pass them disdainfully by and leave them to play their mysterious
little game among themselves. We see one of the most recent groups, the
new realists, flat on their faces before the man of science--surely an
undignified attitude for a philosopher. It is possible to look on the
kind of knowledge that science gives as alone real only by dodging the
critical problem--the problem as to the trustworthiness of the human
instrument through which all knowledge is received--and it would be
easy to show, if this were the place to go into the more technical
aspects of the question, that the new realists have been doing just
this--whether through sheer naïveté or metaphysical despair I am unable
to say. The truly critical observer is unable to discover anything
real in the absolute sense since everything is mixed with illusion.
In this absolute sense the man of science must ever be ignorant of
the reality behind the shows of nature. The new realist is, however,
justified relatively in thinking that the only thing real in the view
of life that has prevailed of late has been its working according to
the natural law and the fruits of this working. The self-deception
begins when he assumes that there can be no other working. What I have
myself been opposing to naturalistic excess, such as appears in the
new realism, is insight; but insight is in itself only a word, and
unless it can be shown to have its own working and its own fruits,
entirely different from those of work according to the natural law, the
positivist at all events will have none of it.

The positivist will not only insist upon fruits, but will rate
these fruits themselves according to their bearing upon his main
purpose. Life, says Bergson, can have no purpose in the human sense
of the word.[302] The positivist will reply to Bergson and to the
Rousseauistic drifter in general, in the words of Aristotle, that the
end is the chief thing of all and that the end of ends is happiness. To
the Baconian who wants work and purpose but according to the natural
law alone, the complete positivist will reply that happiness cannot be
shown to result from this one-sided working; that in itself it affords
no escape from the misery of moral solitude, that we move towards true
communion and so towards peace and happiness only by work according
to the human law. Now the more individualistic we are, I have been
saying, the more we must depend for the apprehension of this law on
the imagination, the imagination, let me hasten to add, supplemented
by the intellect. It is not enough to put the brakes on the natural
man--and that is what work according to the human law means--we must
do it intelligently. Right knowing must here as elsewhere precede
right doing. Even a Buddha admitted that at one period in his life
he had not been intelligent in his self-discipline. I need only to
amplify here what I have said in a previous chapter about the proper
use of the “false secondary power” by those who wish to be either
religious or humanistic in a positive fashion. They will employ their
analytical faculties, not in building up some abstract system, but in
discriminating between the actual data of experience with a view to
happiness, just as the man of science at his best employs the same
faculties in discriminating between the data of experience with a view
to power and utility.

I have pointed out another important use of the analytical intellect in
its relation to the imagination. Since the imagination by itself gives
unity but does not give reality, it is possible to discover whether a
unification of life has reality only by subjecting it to the keenest
analysis. Otherwise what we take to be wisdom may turn out to be only
an empty dream. To take as wise something that is unreal is to fall
into sophistry. For a man like Rousseau whose imagination was in its
ultimate quality not ethical at all but overwhelmingly idyllic to set
up as an inspired teacher was to become an arch-sophist. Whether or not
he was sincere in his sophistry is a question which the emotionalist
is very fond of discussing, but which the sensible person will dismiss
as somewhat secondary. Sophistry of all kinds always has a powerful
ally in man’s moral indolence. It is so pleasant to let one’s self go
and at the same time deem one’s self on the way to wisdom. We need to
keep in mind the special quality of Rousseau’s sophistry if we wish to
understand a very extraordinary circumstance during the past century.
During this period men were moving steadily towards the naturalistic
level, where the law of cunning and the law of force prevail, and
at the same time had the illusion--or at least multitudes had the
illusion--that they were moving towards peace and brotherhood. The
explanation is found in the endless tricks played upon the uncritical
and still more upon the half-critical by the Arcadian imagination.

The remedy is not only a more stringent criticism, but, as I have
tried to make plain in this whole work, in an age of sophistry, like
the present, criticism itself amounts largely to that art of inductive
defining which it is the great merit of Socrates, according to
Aristotle,[303] to have devised and brought to perfection. Sophistry
flourishes, as Socrates saw, on the confused and ambiguous use of
general terms; and there is an inexhaustible source of such ambiguities
and confusions in the very duality of human nature. The word nature
itself may serve as an illustration. We may take as a closely allied
example the word progress. Man may progress according to either the
human or the natural law. Progress according to the natural law has
been so rapid since the rise of the Baconian movement that it has
quite captivated man’s imagination and stimulated him to still further
concentration and effort along naturalistic lines. The very magic
of the word progress seems to blind him to the failure to progress
according to the human law. The more a word refers to what is above the
strictly material level, the more it is subject to the imagination and
therefore to sophistication. It is not easy to sophisticate the word
horse, it is only too easy to sophisticate the word justice. One may
affirm, indeed, not only that man is governed by his imagination but
that in all that belongs to his own special domain _the imagination
itself is governed by words_.[304]

We should not therefore surrender our imaginations to a general term
until it has been carefully defined, and to define it carefully we
need usually to practice upon it what Socrates would call a dichotomy.
I have just been dichotomizing or “cutting in two” the word progress.
When the two main types of progress, material and moral, have been
discriminated in their fruits, the positivist will proceed to rate
these fruits according to their relevancy to his main goal--the goal
of happiness. The person who is thus fortified by a Socratic dialectic
will be less ready to surrender his imagination to the first sophist
who urges him to be “progressive.” He will wish to make sure first that
he is not progressing towards the edge of a precipice.

Rousseau would have us get rid of analysis in favor of the “heart.”
No small part of my endeavor in this work and elsewhere has been to
show the different meanings that may attach to the term heart (and the
closely allied terms “soul” and “intuition”)--meanings that are a world
apart, when tested by their fruits. Heart may refer to outer perception
and the emotional self or to inner perception and the ethical self. The
heart of Pascal is not the heart of Rousseau. With this distinction
once obliterated the way is open for the Rousseauistic corruption of
such words as virtue and conscience, and this is to fling wide the door
to every manner of confusion. The whole vocabulary that is properly
applicable only to the supersensuous realm is then transferred to the
region of the subrational. The impulsive self proceeds to cover its
nakedness with all these fair phrases as it would with a garment. A
recent student of war-time psychology asks: “Is it that the natural
man in us has been masquerading as the spiritual man by hiding himself
under splendid words--courage, patriotism, justice--and now he rises up
and glares at us with blood-red eyes?” That is precisely what has been

But after all the heart in any sense of the word is controlled by
the imagination, so that a still more fundamental dichotomy, perhaps
the most fundamental of all, is that of the imagination itself. We
have seen how often the Arcadian dreaming of the emotional naturalist
has been labelled the “ideal.” Our views of this type of imagination
will therefore determine our views of much that now passes current
as idealism. Now the term idealist may have a sound meaning: it may
designate the man who is realistic according to the human law. But
to be an idealist in Shelley’s sense or that of innumerable other
Rousseauists is to fall into sheer unreality. This type of idealist
shrinks from the sharp discriminations of the critic: they are like
the descent of a douche of ice-water upon his hot illusions. But it
is pleasanter, after all, to be awakened by a douche of ice-water
than by an explosion of dynamite under the bed; and that has been the
frequent fate of the romantic idealist. It is scarcely safe to neglect
any important aspect of reality in favor of one’s private dream, even
if this dream be dubbed the ideal. The aspect of reality that one is
seeking to exclude finally comes crashing through the walls of the
ivory tower and abolishes the dream and at times the dreamer.

The transformation of the Arcadian dreamer into the Utopist is a
veritable menace to civilization. The ends that the Utopist proposes
are often in themselves desirable and the evils that he denounces are
real. But when we come to scrutinize critically his means, what we
find is not a firm grip on the ascertained facts of human nature but
what Bagehot calls the feeble idealities of the romantic imagination.
Moreover various Utopists may come together as to what they wish to
destroy, which is likely to include the whole existing social order;
but what they wish to erect on the ruins of this order will be found
to be not only in dreamland, but in different dreamlands. For with the
elimination of the veto power from personality--the only power that can
pull men back to some common centre--the ideal will amount to little
more than the projection of this or that man’s temperament upon the
void. In a purely temperamental world an affirmative reply may be given
to the question of Euryalus in Virgil: “Is each man’s God but his own
fell desire?” (_An sua cuique deus fit dira cupido?_)

The task of the Socratic critic at the present time is, then, seen
to consist largely in stripping idealistic disguises from egoism, in
exposing what I have called sham spirituality. If the word spirituality
means anything, it must imply, it should seem, some degree of escape
from the ordinary self, an escape that calls in turn for effort
according to the human law. Even when he is not an open and avowed
advocate of a “wise passiveness,” the Rousseauistic idealist is only
too manifestly not making any such effort--it would interfere with his
passion for self-expression which is even more deeply rooted in him
than his passion for saving society. He inclines like Rousseau to
look upon every constraint[305] whether from within or from without
as incompatible with liberty. A right definition of liberty is almost
as important as a right definition of imagination and derives from
it very directly. Where in our anarchical age will such a definition
be found, a definition that is at once modern and in accord with the
psychological facts? “A man has only to declare himself free,” says
Goethe, “and he will at once feel himself dependent. If he ventures to
declare himself dependent, he will feel himself free.” In other words
he is not free to do whatever he pleases unless he wishes to enjoy the
freedom of the lunatic, but only to adjust himself to the reality of
either the natural or the human law. A progressive adjustment to the
human law gives ethical efficiency, and this is the proper corrective
of material efficiency, and not love alone as the sentimentalist is so
fond of preaching. Love is another word that cries aloud for Socratic

A liberty that means only emancipation from outer control will result,
I have tried to show, in the most dangerous form of anarchy--anarchy
of the imagination. On the degree of our perception of this fact will
hinge the soundness of our use of another general term--democracy.
We should beware above all of surrendering our imaginations to this
word until it has been hedged about on every side with discriminations
that have behind them all the experience of the past with this form
of government. Only in this way may the democrat know whether he is
aiming at anything real or merely dreaming of the golden age. Here as
elsewhere there are pitfalls manifold for the uncritical enthusiast. A
democracy that produces in sufficient numbers sound individualists who
look up imaginatively to standards set above their ordinary selves, may
well deserve enthusiasm. A democracy, on the other hand, that is not
rightly imaginative, but is impelled by vague emotional intoxications,
may mean all kinds of lovely things in dreamland, but in the real world
it will prove an especially unpleasant way of returning to barbarism.
It is a bad sign that Rousseau, who is more than any other one person
the father of radical democracy, is also the first of the great

Enough has been said to show the proper rôle of the secondary power
of analysis that the Rousseauist looks upon with so much disfavor. It
is the necessary auxiliary of the art of defining that can alone save
us in an untraditional age from receiving some mere phantasmagoria of
the intellect or emotions as a radiant idealism. A Socratic dialectic
of this kind is needed at such a time not only to dissipate sophistry
but as a positive support to wisdom. I have raised the question in
my Introduction whether the wisdom that is needed just now should be
primarily humanistic or religious. The preference I have expressed
for a positive and critical humanism I wish to be regarded as very
tentative. In the dark situation that is growing up in the Occident,
all genuine humanism and religion, whether on a traditional or a
critical basis, should be welcome. I have pointed out that traditional
humanism and religion conflict in certain respects, that it is
difficult to combine the imitation of Horace with the imitation of
Christ. This problem does not disappear entirely when humanism and
religion are dealt with critically and is indeed one of the most
obscure that the thinker has to face. The honest thinker, whatever his
own preference, must begin by admitting that though religion can get
along without humanism, humanism cannot get along without religion.
The reason has been given by Burke in pointing out the radical defect
of Rousseau: the whole ethical life of man has its root in humility.
As humility diminishes, conceit or vain imagining rushes in almost
automatically to take its place. Under these circumstances decorum, the
supreme virtue of the humanist, is in danger of degenerating into some
art of going through the motions. Such was only too often the decorum
of the French drawing-room, and such we are told, has frequently been
the decorum of the Chinese humanist. Yet the decorum of Confucius
himself was not only genuine but he has put the case for the humanist
with his usual shrewdness. “I venture to ask about death,” one of his
disciples said to him. “While you do not know life,” Confucius replied,
“how can you know about death?”[306]

The solution of this problem as to the relation between humanism and
religion, so far as a solution can be found, lies in looking upon them
both as only different stages in the same path. Humanism should have
in it an element of religious insight: it is possible to be a humble
and meditative humanist. The type of the man of the world who is not
a mere worldling is not only attractive in itself but has actually
been achieved in the West, though not perhaps very often, from the
Greeks down. Chinese who should be in a position to know affirm again
that, alongside many corrupt mandarins, a certain number of true
Confucians[307] have been scattered through the centuries from the time
of the sage to the present.

If humanism may be religious, religion may have its humanistic side. I
have said, following Aristotle, that the law of measure does not apply
to the religious life, but this saying is not to be understood in an
absolute sense. Buddha is continually insisting on the middle path in
the religious life itself. The resulting urbanity in Buddha and his
early followers in India is perhaps the closest approach that that very
unhumanistic land has ever made to humanism.

It is right here in this joining of humanism and religion that
Aristotle, at least the Aristotle that has come down to us, does not
seem altogether adequate. He fails to bring out sufficiently the
bond between the meditative or religious life that he describes at
the end of his “Ethics” and the humanistic life or life of mediation
to which most of this work is devoted. An eminent French authority
on Aristotle,[308] complains that this separation of the two lives
encouraged the ascetic excess of the Middle Ages, the undue spurning
of the world in favor of mystic contemplation. I am struck rather
by the danger of leaving the humanistic life without any support in
religion. In a celebrated passage,[309] Aristotle says that the
“magnanimous” man or ideal gentleman sees all things including himself
proportionately: he puts himself neither too high nor too low. And
this is no doubt true so far as other men are concerned. But does the
magnanimous man put human nature itself in its proper place? Does he
feel sufficiently its nothingness and helplessness, its dependence on
a higher power? No one, indeed, who gets beyond words and outer forms
would maintain that humility is a Christian monopoly. Pindar is far
more humble[310] than Aristotle, as humble, one might almost maintain,
as the austere Christian.

A humanism sufficiently grounded in humility is not only desirable
at all times but there are reasons for thinking that it would be
especially desirable to-day. In the first place, it would so far as
the emotional naturalist is concerned raise a clear-cut issue. The
naturalist of this type denies rather than corrupts humanism. He is the
foe of compromise and inclines to identify mediation and mediocrity.
On the other hand, he corrupts rather than denies religion, turning
meditation into pantheistic revery and in general setting up a subtle
parody of what is above the ordinary rational level in terms of the
subrational. On their own showing Rousseau and his followers are
extremists,[311] and even more effective perhaps than to attack them
directly for their sham religion would be to maintain against them that
thus to violate the law of measure is to cease to be human.

Furthermore, a critical humanism would appear to be the proper
corrective of the other main forms of naturalistic excess at the
present time--the one-sided devotion to physical science. What keeps
the man of science from being himself a humanist is not his science but
his pseudo-science, and also the secret push for power and prestige
that he shares with other men. The reasons for putting humanistic
truth above scientific truth are not metaphysical but very practical:
the discipline that helps a man to self-mastery is found to have a
more important bearing on his happiness than the discipline that helps
him to a mastery of physical nature. If scientific discipline is not
supplemented by a truly humanistic or religious discipline the result
is unethical science, and unethical science is perhaps the worst
monster that has yet been turned loose on the race. Man in spite of
what I have termed his stupidity, his persistent evasion of the main
issue, the issue of his own happiness, will awaken sooner or later
to the fearful evil he has already suffered from a science that has
arrogated to itself what does not properly belong to it; and then
science may be as unduly depreciated as it has, for the past century
or two, been unduly magnified; so that in the long run it is in the
interest of science itself to keep in its proper place, which is below
both humanism and religion.

It would be possible to frame in the name of insight an indictment
against science that would make the indictment Rousseau has framed
against it in the name of instinct seem mild. The critical humanist,
however, will leave it to others to frame such an indictment. Nothing
is more foreign to his nature than every form of obscurantism. He
is ready indeed to point out that the man of science has in common
with him at least one important idea--the idea of habit, though its
scientific form seems to him very incomplete. One may illustrate from
perhaps the best known recent treatment of the subject, that of James
in his “Psychology.” It is equally significant that the humanist can
agree with nearly every line of James’s chapter on habit and that
he disagrees very gravely with James in his total tendency. That is
because James shows himself, as soon as he passes from the naturalistic
to the humanistic level, wildly romantic. Even when dealing with the
“Varieties of Religious Experience” he is plainly more preoccupied
with the intensity than with the centrality of this experience.[312]
He is obsessed with the idea that comes down to him straight from the
age of original genius that to be at the centre is to be commonplace.
In a letter to C. E. Norton (June 30, 1904) James praises Ruskin’s
Letters and adds: “Mere sanity is the most philistine and at bottom
unessential of a man’s attributes.” “Mere sanity” is not to be thus
dismissed, because to lack sanity is to be headed towards misery and
even madness. “Ruskin’s,” says Norton, who was in a position to know,
“was essentially one of the saddest of lives.”[313] Is a man to live
one of the saddest of lives merely to gratify romantic lovers of the
vivid and picturesque like James?

However, if the man of science holds fast to the results reached by
James and others regarding habit and at the same time avoids James’s
romantic fallacies he might perceive the possibility of extending the
idea of habit beyond the naturalistic level; and the way would then
be open for an important coöperation between him and the humanist.
Humanists themselves, it must be admitted, even critical humanists,
have diverged somewhat in their attitude towards habit, and that from
the time of Socrates and Aristotle. I have been dwelling thus far on
the indispensableness of a keen Socratic dialectic and of the right
knowledge it brings for those who aspire to be critical humanists.
But does right knowing in itself suffice to ensure right doing?
Socrates and Plato with their famous identification of knowledge and
virtue would seem to reply in the affirmative. Aristotle has the
immediate testimony of consciousness on his side when he remarks
simply regarding this identification: The facts are otherwise.[314]
No experience is sadder or more universal than that of the failure
of right knowledge to secure right performance: so much so that the
austere Christian has been able to maintain with some plausibility
that all the knowledge in the world is of no avail without a special
divine succor. Now the Aristotelian agrees with the Christian that mere
knowledge is insufficient: conversion is also necessary. He does not
incline, however, like the austere Christian to look for conversion to
“thunderclaps and visible upsets of grace.” Without denying necessarily
these pistol-shot transformations of human nature he conceives of
man’s turning away from his ordinary self--and here he is much nearer
in temper to the man of science--as a gradual process. This gradual
conversion the Aristotelian hopes to achieve by work according to
the human law. Now right knowledge though it supplies the norm, is
not in itself this working, which consists in the actual pulling back
of impulse. But an act of this kind to be effective must be repeated.
A habit is thus formed until at last the new direction given to the
natural man becomes automatic and unconscious. The humanistic worker
may thus acquire at last the spontaneity in right doing that the
beautiful soul professes to have received as a free gift from “nature.”
Confucius narrates the various stages of knowledge and moral effort
through which he had passed from the age of fifteen and concludes: “At
seventy I could follow what my heart desired without transgressing the
law of measure.”[315]

The keener the observer the more likely he is to be struck by the
empire of habit. Habit, as Wellington said, is ten times nature, and
is indeed so obviously a second nature that many of the wise have
suspected that nature herself is only a first habit.[316] Now Aristotle
who is open to criticism, it may be, on the side of humility, still
remains incomparable among the philosophers of the world for his
treatment of habit on the humanistic level. Any one who wishes to learn
how to become moderate and sensible and decent can do no better even at
this late day than to steep himself in the “Nicomachean Ethics.”

One of the ultimate contrasts that presents itself in a subject of
this kind is that between habit as conceived by Aristotle and nature
as conceived by Rousseau. The first great grievance of the critical
humanist against Rousseau is that he set out to be an individualist
and at the same time attacked analysis, which is indispensable if
one is to be a sound individualist. The second great grievance of the
humanist is that Rousseau sought to discredit habit which is necessary
if right analysis is to be made effective. “The only habit the child
should be allowed to form,” says Rousseau, “is that of forming no
habit.”[317] How else is the child to follow his bent or genius and
so arrive at full self-expression? The point I am bringing up is of
the utmost gravity, for Rousseau is by common consent the father of
modern education. To eliminate from education the idea of a progressive
adjustment to a human law, quite apart from temperament, may be to
imperil civilization itself. For civilization (another word that is
sadly in need of Socratic defining) may be found to consist above all
in an orderly transmission of right habits; and the chief agency for
securing such a transmission must always be education, by which I mean
far more of course than mere formal schooling.

Rousseau’s repudiation of habit is first of all, it should be pointed
out, perfectly chimerical. The trait of the child to which the sensible
educator will give chief attention is not his spontaneity, but his
proneness to imitate. In the absence of good models the child will
imitate bad ones, and so, long before the age of intelligent choice and
self-determination, become the prisoner of bad habits. Men, therefore,
who aim at being civilized must come together, work out a convention
in short, regarding the habits they wish transmitted to the young.
A great civilization is in a sense only a great convention. A sane
individualist does not wish to escape from convention in itself;
he merely remembers that no convention is final--that it is always
possible to improve the quality of the convention in the midst of which
he is living, and that it should therefore be held flexibly. He would
oppose no obstacles to those who are rising above the conventional
level, but would resist firmly those who are sinking beneath it. It
is much easier to determine practically whether one has to do with an
ascent or a descent (even though the descent be rapturous like that
of the Rousseauist) than our anarchical individualists are willing to

The notion that in spite of the enormous mass of experience that has
been accumulated in both East and West we are still without light as
to the habits that make for moderation and good sense and decency, and
that education is therefore still purely a matter of exploration and
experiment is one that may be left to those who are suffering from an
advanced stage of naturalistic intoxication--for example, to Professor
John Dewey and his followers. From an ethical point of view a child has
the right to be born into a cosmos, and not, as is coming to be more
and more the case under such influences, pitch-forked into chaos. But
the educational radical, it may be replied, does stress the idea of
habit; and it is true that he would have the young acquire the habits
that make for material efficiency. This, however, does not go beyond
Rousseau who came out very strongly for what we should call nowadays
vocational training.[318] It is the adjustment to the human law against
which Rousseau and all the Rousseauists are recalcitrant.

Self-expression and vocational training combined in various
proportions and tempered by the spirit of “service,” are nearly the
whole of the new education. But I have already said that it is not
possible to extract from any such compounding of utilitarian and
romantic elements, with the resulting material efficiency and ethical
inefficiency, a civilized view of life. It is right here indeed in
the educational field that concerted opposition to the naturalistic
conspiracy against civilization is most likely to be fruitful. If
the present generation--and I have in mind especially American
conditions--cannot come to a working agreement about the ethical
training it wishes given the young, if it allows the drift towards
anarchy on the human level to continue, it will show itself, however
ecstatic it may be over its own progressiveness and idealism, both
cowardly and degenerate. It is very stupid, assuming that it is not
very hypocritical, to denounce _Kultur_, and then to adopt educational
ideas that work out in much the same fashion as _Kultur_, and have
indeed the same historical derivation.

The dehumanizing influences I have been tracing are especially to be
deprecated in higher education. The design of higher education, so far
as it deserves the name, is to produce leaders, and on the quality of
the leadership must depend more than on any other single factor the
success or failure of democracy. I have already quoted Aristotle’s
saying that “most men would rather live in a disorderly than in a
sober manner.” This does not mean much more than that most men would
like to live temperamentally, to follow each his own bent and then
put the best face on the matter possible. Most men, says Goethe in a
similar vein, prefer error to truth because truth imposes limitations
and error does not. It is well also to recall Aristotle’s saying that
“the multitude is incapable of making distinctions.”[319] Now my whole
argument is that to be sound individualists we must not only make the
right distinctions but submit to them until they become habitual.
Does it follow that the whole experiment in which we are engaged is
foredoomed to failure? Not quite--though the obstacles to success are
somewhat greater than our democratic enthusiasts suspect. The most
disreputable aspect of human nature, I have said, is its proneness to
look for scapegoats; and my chief objection to the movement I have
been studying is that more perhaps than any other in history it has
encouraged the evasion of moral responsibility and the setting up of
scapegoats. But as an offset to this disreputable aspect of man, one
may note a creditable trait: he is very sensitive to the force of a
right example. If the leaders of a community look up to a sound model
and work humanistically with reference to it, all the evidence goes to
show that they will be looked up to and imitated in turn by enough of
the rank and file to keep that community from lapsing into barbarism.
Societies always decay from the top. It is therefore not enough, as
the humanitarian would have us believe, that our leaders should act
vigorously on the outer world and at the same time be filled with the
spirit of “service.” Purely expansive leaders of this kind we have
seen who have the word humanity always on their lips and are at the
same time ceasing to be human. “That wherein the superior man cannot
be equalled,” says Confucius, “is simply this--his work which other
men cannot see.”[320] It is this inner work and the habits that result
from it that above all humanize a man and make him exemplary to the
multitude. To perform this work he needs to look to a centre and a

We are brought back here to the final gap that opens between classicist
and romanticist. To look to a centre according to the romanticist
is at the best to display “reason,” at the worst to be smug and
philistine. To look to a true centre is, on the contrary, according
to the classicist, to grasp the abiding human element through all the
change in which it is implicated, and this calls for the highest use
of the imagination. The abiding human element exists, even though it
cannot be exhausted by dogmas and creeds, is not subject to rules and
refuses to be locked up in formulæ. A knowledge of it results from
experience,--experience vivified by the imagination. To do justice to
writing which has this note of centrality we ourselves need to be in
some measure experienced and imaginative. Writing that is romantic,
writing in which the imagination is not disciplined to a true centre
is best enjoyed while we are young. The person who is as much taken by
Shelley at forty as he was at twenty has, one may surmise, failed to
grow up. Shelley himself wrote to John Gisborne (October 22, 1821): “As
to real flesh and blood, you know that I do not deal in those articles;
you might as well go to a ginshop for a leg of mutton as expect
anything human or earthly from me.” The mature man is likely to be
dissatisfied with poetry so unsubstantial as this even as an intoxicant
and still more when it is offered to him as the “ideal.” The very mark
of genuinely classical work, on the other hand, is that it yields its
full meaning only to the mature. Young and old are, as Cardinal Newman
says, affected very differently by the words of some classic author,
such as Homer or Horace. “Passages, which to a boy are but rhetorical
commonplaces, neither better nor worse than a hundred others which any
clever writer might supply … at length come home to him, when long
years have passed, and he has had experience of life, and pierce him,
as if he had never before known them, with their sad earnestness and
vivid exactness. Then he comes to understand how it is that lines, the
birth of some chance morning or evening at an Ionian festival or among
the Sabine hills, have lasted generation after generation for thousands
of years, with a power over the mind and a charm which the current
literature of his own day, with all its obvious advantages, is utterly
unable to rival.”

In the poets whom Newman praises the imagination is, as it were,
centripetal. The neo-classic proneness to oppose good sense to
imagination, and the romantic proneness to oppose imagination to good
sense, have at least this justification, that in many persons, perhaps
in most persons, the two actually conflict, but surely the point to
emphasize is that they may come together, that good sense may be
imaginative and imagination sensible. If imagination is not sensible,
as is plainly the case in Victor Hugo, for example, we may suspect a
lack of the universal and ethical quality. All men, even great poets,
are more or less immersed in their personal conceit and in the zones of
illusion peculiar to their age. But there is the question of degree.
The poets to whom the world has finally accorded its suffrage have not
been megalomaniacs; they have not threatened like Hugo to outbellow
the thunder or pull comets around by the tail.[321] Bossuet’s saying
that “good sense is the master of human life” does not contradict but
complete Pascal’s saying that “the imagination disposes of everything,”
provided only due stress be laid on the word human. It would not be
easy to live a more imaginative life than Hugo, but his imagination was
so unrestrained that we may ask whether he lived a very human life,
whether he was not rather, in Tennyson’s phrase, a “weird Titan.” Man
realizes that immensity of his being of which Joubert speaks only in so
far as he ceases to be the thrall of his own ego. This human breadth he
achieves not by throwing off but by taking on limitations, and what he
limits is above all his imagination. The reason why he should strive
for a life that is thus increasingly full and complete is simply,
as Joubert suggests, that it is more delectable, that it is found
practically to make for happiness.




Perhaps the closest approach in the past to the movement of which
Rousseau is the most important single figure is the early Taoist
movement in China. Taoism, especially in its popular aspects, became
later something very different, and what I say is meant to apply above
all to the period from about 550 to 200 B.C. The material for the
Taoism of this period will be found in convenient form in the volume
of Léon Wieger (1913)--_Les Pères du Système taoïste_ (Chinese texts
with French translations of Lao-tzŭ, Lieh-tzŭ and Chuang-tzŭ). The Tao
Tê King of Lao-tzŭ is a somewhat enigmatical document of only a few
thousand words, but plainly primitivistic in its general trend. The
phrase that best sums up its general spirit is that of Wordsworth--a
“wise passiveness.” The unity at which it aims is clearly of the
pantheistic variety, the unity that is obtained by breaking down
discrimination and affirming the “identity of contradictories,” and
that encourages a reversion to origins, to the state of nature and the
simple life. According to the Taoist the Chinese fell from the simple
life into artificiality about the time of the legendary Yellow Emperor,
Hoang-ti (27th century B.C.). The individual also should look back
to beginnings and seek to be once more like the new-born child[322]
or, according to Chuang-tzŭ, like the new-born calf.[323] It is in
Chuang-tzŭ indeed that the doctrine develops its full naturalistic and
primitivistic implications. Few writers in either East or West have
set forth more entertainingly what one may term the Bohemian attitude
towards life. He heaps ridicule upon Confucius and in the name of
spontaneity attacks his doctrine of humanistic imitation.[324] He
sings the praises of the unconscious,[325] even when obtained through
intoxication,[326] and extols the morality of the beautiful soul.[327]
He traces the fall of mankind from nature into artifice in a fashion
that anticipates very completely both Rousseau’s Discourse on the Arts
and Sciences[328] and that on the Origin of Inequality.[329] See also
the amusing passage in which the brigand Chi, child of nature and
champion of the weak against the oppressions of government, paints
a highly Rousseauistic picture of man’s fall from his primitive
felicity.[330] Among the things that are contrary to nature and purely
conventional, according to Chuang-tzŭ and the Taoists, are, not only
the sciences and arts and attempts to discriminate between good and
bad taste,[331] but likewise government and statecraft,[332] virtue
and moral standards.[333] To the artificial music of the Confucians,
the Taoists oppose a natural music that offers startling analogies to
the most recent programmatic and descriptive tendencies of Occidental
music.[334] See especially Chuang-tzŭ’s programme for a cosmic symphony
in three movements[335]--the _Pipes of Pan_ as one is tempted to call
it. This music that is supposed to reflect in all its mystery and
magic the infinite creative processes of nature is very close to the
primitivistic music (“L’arbre vu du côté des racines”) with which
Hugo’s satyr strikes panic into the breasts of the Olympians.

The Taoist notion of following nature is closely related, as in other
naturalistic movements, to the idea of fate whether in its stoical
or epicurean form.[336] From the references in Chuang-tzŭ[337]
and elsewhere to various sects and schools we see that Taoism was
only a part of a great stream of naturalistic and primitivistic
tendency. China abounded at that time in pacifists,[338] in apostles
of brotherly love, and as we should say nowadays Tolstoyans. A true
opposite to the egoistic Yang-chu was the preacher of pure altruism
and indiscriminate sympathy, Mei-ti. Mencius said that if the ideas
of either of these extremists prevailed the time would come, not only
when wolves would devour men, but men would devour one another.[339]
In opposing discrimination and ethical standards to the naturalists,
Mencius and the Confucian humanists were fighting for civilization.
Unfortunately there is some truth in the Taoist charge that the
standards of the Confucians are too literal, that in their defence of
the principle of imitation they did not allow sufficiently for the
element of flux and relativity and illusion in things--an element for
which the Taoists had so keen a sense that they even went to the point
of suppressing the difference between sleeping and waking[340] and
life and death.[341] To reply properly to the Taoist relativist the
Confucians would have needed to work out a sound conception of the rôle
of the imagination--the universal key to human nature--and this they
do not seem to have done. One is inclined to ask whether this is the
reason for China’s failure to achieve a great ethical art like that of
the drama and the epic of the Occident at their best. The Taoists were
richly imaginative but along romantic lines. We should not fail to note
the Taoist influence upon Li Po and other Bohemian and bibulous poets
of the Tang dynasty, or the relation of Taoism to the rise of a great
school of landscape painting at about the same time. We should note
also the Taoist element in “Ch’an” Buddhism (the “Zen” Buddhism[342] of
Japan), some knowledge of which is needed for an understanding of whole
periods of Japanese and Chinese art.

In these later stages, however, the issues are less clear-cut than
in the original struggle between Taoists and Confucians. The total
impression one has of early Taoism is that it is a main manifestation
of an age of somewhat sophistical individualism. Ancient Chinese
individualism ended like that of Greece at about the same time in
disaster. After a period of terrible convulsions (the era of the
“Fighting States”), the inevitable man on horseback appeared from the
most barbaric of these states and “put the lid” on everybody. Shi
Hwang-ti, the new emperor, had many of the scholars put to death and
issued an edict that the writings of the past, especially the Confucian
writings, should be destroyed (213 B.C.). Though the emperor behaved
like a man who took literally the Taoist views as to the blessings of
ignorance, it is not clear from our chief authority, the historian
Ssŭ-ma Ch’ien, that he acted entirely or indeed mainly under Taoist

It is proper to add that though Lao-tzŭ proclaims that the soft is
superior to the hard, a doctrine that should appeal to the Occidental
sentimentalist, one does not find in him or in the other Taoists the
equivalent of the extreme emotional expansiveness of the Rousseauist.
There are passages, especially in Lao-tzŭ, that in their emphasis on
concentration and calm are in line with the ordinary wisdom of the
East; and even where the doctrine is unmistakably primitivistic the
emotional quality is often different from that of the corresponding
movement in the West.


My only justification for these very unsystematic bibliographical notes
is that, bringing together as they do under one cover material somewhat
scattered and inaccessible to most readers, they may help to add to
the number, now unfortunately very small, of those who have earned
the right to have an opinion about romanticism as an international
movement. A list of this kind is a fragment of a fragment. I have
given, for example, only a fraction of the books on Rousseau and
scarcely any of the books, thousands in numbers, which without being
chiefly on Rousseau, contain important passages on him. I may cite
almost at random as instances of this latter class, the comparison
between Burke and Rousseau in the fifth volume of Lecky’s _History of
the Eighteenth Century_; the stanzas on Rousseau in the third canto
of _Childe Harold_; the passage on Rousseau in Hazlitt’s essay on the
_Past and Future_ (_Table Talk_).

The only period that I have covered with any attempt at fullness is
that from about 1795 to 1840. Books that seem to me to possess literary
distinction or to deal authoritatively with some aspect of the subject
I have marked with a star. I make no claim, however, to have read
all the books I have listed, and my rating will no doubt often be
questioned in the case of those I have read.

I have not as a rule mentioned articles in periodicals. The files of
the following special publications may often be consulted with profit.
Those that have current bibliographies I have marked with a dagger.

† _Revue d’Histoire littéraire de la France._--† _Annales
romantiques._--† _Revue germanique_ (Eng. and German).

† _Englische Studien_--_Anglia_.--† _Mitteilungen über Englische
Sprache und Literatur_ (Beiblatt zur Anglia).--† _Archiv für
das Studium der neueren Sprachen_ (_Herrigs Archiv_).--†
_Zeitschrift für französische Sprache und Literatur_--_Kritischer
Jahresbericht der romanischen Philologie_--_Germanisch-Romanische
Monatschrift_--_Euphorion_ (German lit.).--† _Zeitschrift für deutsches
Altertum und deutsche Literatur._

_Publications of the Modern Language Association of America._--†
_Modern Language Notes_ (Baltimore).--_Modern Philology_
(Chicago).--_The Journal of English and Germanic Philology_ (Urbana,
Ill.).--† _Studies in Philology_ (Univ. of North Car.).--† _The Modern
Language Review_ (Cambridge, Eng.).

Works that are international in scope and that fall either wholly
or in part in the romantic period are as follows: L. P. Betz: ✱ _La
Littérature Comparée, Essai bibliographique_, 2e éd. augmentée,
1904.--A. Sayous: _Le XVIIIe siècle à l’étranger_, 2 vols. 1861.--H.
Hettner: ✱ _Literaturgeschichte des 18. Jahr._ 1872. 6 vols. 5th edn.
1909. (Still standard.)--G. Brandes: ✱ _Main Currents in 19th Century
Literature_, 6 vols. 1901 ff. Originally given as lectures in Danish at
the University of Copenhagen and trans. into German, 1872 ff. (Often
marred by political “tendency.”)--T. Süpfle: _Geschichte des deutschen
Kultureinflusses auf Frankreich_, 2 vols. 1886-90.--V. Rossel: _Hist.
de la litt. fr. hors de France_. 2e éd. 1897.--C. E. Vaughan: _The
Romantic Revolt_, 1900.--T. S. Omond: _The Romantic Triumph_, 1900. (A
somewhat colorless book.)


✱ _The Cambridge History of English Literature_, vols. X, XI, XII, 1913
ff. (Excellent bibliographies.)--See also articles and bibliographies
in ✱ _Dictionary of National Biography_, Chambers _Encyclopædia of
English Literature_ (new edn.) and _Encyclopædia Britannica_ (11th

L. Stephen: ✱ _History of English Thought in the 18th Century_, 1876.
(To be consulted for the deistic prelude to emotional naturalism. The
author’s horizons are often limited by his utilitarian outlook.)--T.
S. Seccombe: _The Age of Johnson_, 1900.--E. Bernbaum’s _English
Poets of the 18th Century_, 1918. (An anthology so arranged as
to illustrate the growth of sentimentalism.)--W. L. Phelps: _The
Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement_, 1893.--H. A. Beers: _A
History of English Romanticism in the 18th Century_, 1898. _A History
of English Romanticism in the 19th Century_, 1901. (Both vols. are
agreeably written but start from a very inadequate definition of
romanticism.)--C. H. Herford: _The Age of Wordsworth_, 1897.--G.
Saintsbury: _Nineteenth Century Literature_, 1896.--A. Symons: _The
Romantic Movement in English Poetry_, 1909. (Ultra-romantic in
outlook.)--W. J. Courthope: _History of English Poetry_, vols. V and
VI, 1911.--O. Elton: ✱ _A Survey of English Literature, 1780-1830_,
1912. (A distinguished treatment of the period, at once scholarly and
literary. The point of view is on the whole romantic, as appears in the
use of such general terms as “beauty” and the “infinite.”)--H. Richter:
_Geschichte der englischen Romantik_, 1911 ff.--W. A. Neilson: _The
Essentials of Poetry_, 1912. (The point of view appears in a passage
like the following, pp. 192-93: According to Arnold high seriousness
“is the final criterion of a great poet. One might suggest it as a more
fit criterion for a great divine. … The element for which Arnold was
groping when he seized on the σπουδή of Aristotle was not seriousness
but intensity.”)--P. E. More: ✱ _The Drift of Romanticism_ (_Shelburne
Essays, Eighth Series_), 1913. (Deals also with the international
aspects of the movement, especially in the essay on Nietzsche. The
point of view has much in common with my own.)

George Lillo: _The London Merchant_; or _The History of George
Barnwell_, 1731. _Fatal Curiosity_, 1737. Both plays ed. with intro.
by A. W. Ward, 1906. (Bibliography.)--E. Bernbaum: _The Drama of
Sensibility, 1696-1780_, 1915.

=S. Richardson=, 1689-1761: _Novels_, ed. L. Stephen, 12 vols. 1883.

D. Diderot: _Eloge de R._, 1761. Reprinted in _Œuvres complètes_, vol.
v.--J. Jusserand: _Le Roman Anglais_, 1886.--J. O. E. Donner: _R. in
der deutschen Romantik_, 1896.--W. L. Cross: _The Development of the
English Novel_ (chap. II, “The 18th Century Realists”), 1899.--J.
Texte: ✱ _J.-J. Rousseau et les Origines du Cosmopolitisme littéraire_.
Eng. trans. by J.W. Matthews, 1899.--C. L. Thomson: _Samuel Richardson:
a Biographical and Critical Study_, 1900.--A. Dobson: _S. R._, 1902.

=L. Sterne=, 1713-68: Collected Works, ed. G. Saintsbury, 6 vols. 1894.
Ed. W. L. Cross, 12 vols. 1904.

P. Fitzgerald: _Life of S._, 2 vols. 1864. 3d edn. 1906.--P. Stapfer:
_Laurence Sterne_, 1870.--H. D. Traill: _Sterne_, 1882.--L. Stephen:
_Sterne. Hours in a Library_, vol. III, 1892.--J. Czerny: _Sterne,
Hippel, und Jean Paul_, 1904.--H. W. Thayer: _L. S. in Germany_,
1905.--P. E. More: _Shelburne Essays_, 3d Series, 1905.--W. L. Cross:
_The Life and Times of L. S._, 1909.--W. Sichel: ✱ _Sterne_, 1910.--L.
Melville: _The Life and Letters of L. S._, 2 vols. 1911.--F. B. Barton:
_Etude sur l’influence de S. en France au XVIIIe siècle_, 1911.

Henry Mackenzie: _The Man of Feeling_, 1771.--Horace Walpole: _The
Castle of Otranto_, 1765.--Clara Reeve: _The Champion of Virtue_, 1777.
Title changed to _The Old English Baron_ in later edns.--Thomas Amory:
_Life of John Buncle, Esq._, 4 vols. 1756-66. New edn. (with intro.
by E. A. Baker), 1904.--Henry Brooke: _The Fool of Quality_, 5 vols.
1766-70. Ed. E. A. Baker, 1906.--William Beckford: _An Arabian Tale_
[_Vathek_], 1786. In French, 1787. Ed. R. Garnett, 1893.--L. Melville:
_The Life and Letters of William Beckford_, 1910.--P. E. More: _W. B._,
in _The Drift of Romanticism_, 1913.

=Edward Young=, 1683-1765: _Works_, 6 vols. 1757-78. _Poetical Works_
(Aldine Poets), 1858.--George Eliot: _The Poet Y._, in _Essays_, 2d
edn. 1884.--W. Thomas: _Le poète E. Y._, 1901.--J. L. Kind: _E. Y. in
Germany_, 1906.--H. C. Shelley: _The Life and Letters of E. Y._, 1914.

=James Macpherson=, 1736-96: _Fingal_, 1762. _Temora_, 1763. _The Works
of Ossian_, ed. W. Sharp, 1896.--For bibliography of Ossian and the
Ossianic controversy see _Lowndes’s Bibliographer’s Manual_, part VI,
1861.--J. S. Smart: ✱ _James Macpherson_, 1905.

Thomas Percy: _Reliques of Ancient English Poetry_, 3 vols. 1765. Ed.
H. B. Wheatley, 3 vols. 1876 and 1891.--A. C. C. Gaussen: _Percy,
Prelate and Poet_, 1908.

=Thomas Chatterton=, 1752-70: _Complete Poetical Works_, ed. with
intro. and bibliography by H. D. Roberts, 2 vols. 1906. _Poetical
Works_, with intro. by Sir S. Lee, 2 vols. 1906-09.--A. de Vigny:
_Chatterton_. Drame, 1835--D. Masson: _Chatterton_ in _Essays_,
1856.--T. Watts-Dunton: Introduction to poems of C., in _Ward’s English
Poets_.--C. E. Russell: _Thomas Chatterton_, 1909.--J. H. Ingram: _The
True Chatterton_, 1910.

Thomas Warton: _The History of English Poetry_, 1774-88.--C. Rinaker:
_Thomas Warton_, 1916.--Joseph Warton: _Essay on the Genius and
Writings of Pope_, 2 vols. 1756-82.--Paul-Henri Mallet: _Introduction
à l’Hist. de Dannemarc_, 2 vols. 1755-56--F. E. Farley: _Scandinavian
Influence on the English Romantic Movement_, 1903 (Bibliography).--R.
Hurd: _Letters on Chivalry and Romance_, 1762; ed. E. J. Morley, 1911.

=W. Godwin=, 1756-1836: _Political Justice_, 1793. _Caleb Williams_,

C. K. Paul: _W. G., his Friends and Contemporaries_, 2 vols 1876.--W.
Hazlitt: _W. G._, in _The Spirit of the Age_, 1902.--L. Stephen: _W.
G.’s Novels. Studies of a Biographer_, vol. III, 1902.--P. Ramus:
_W. G. der Theoretiker des kommunistischen Anarchismus_, 1907.--H.
Saitzeff: _W. G. und die Anfänge des Anarchismus im xviii Jahrhundert_,
1907.--Helene Simon: _W. G. und Mary Wollstonecraft_, 1909.--H.
Roussin: _W. G._, 1912.

=R. Burns=, 1759-96: _The Complete Poetical Works_, ed. J. L.
Robertson, 3 vols. 1896.--J. C. Ewing: _Selected List of the Works of
R. B., and of Books upon his Life and Writings_, 1899.

W. Wordsworth: _Letter to a Friend of R. Burns_, 1816.--T. Carlyle:
_Burns_, 1828. Rptd. 1854. _On Heroes and Hero-Worship_, 1841.--J.
G. Lockhart: _Life of R. Burns_, 1828.--H. A. Taine: _Histoire de la
Littérature Anglaise_, vol. III, 1863-64.--J. C. Shairp: _R. Burns_,
1879.--R. L. Stevenson: _Familiar Studies of Men and Books_, 1882.--M.
Arnold: _Essays in Criticism, Second Series_, 1888.--A. Angellier: ✱
_R. Burns: la vie et les œuvres_, 2 vols. 1893.--T. F. Henderson: _R.
Burns_, 1904.--W. A. Neilson: _Burns: How to Know Him_, 1917.

=W. Blake=, 1759-1827: _The Poetical Works_, ed. with an intro. and
textual notes by J. Sampson, 1913.

A. Gilchrist: _Life of B._, 2 vols. 1863. New edn. 1906.--A.
C. Swinburne: _W. B._, 1868. New edn. 1906.--A. T. Story: _W.
B._, 1893.--J. Thomson (B.V.): _Essay on the Poems of W. B._, in
_Biographical and Critical Studies_, 1896.--W. B. Yeats: _Ideas of Good
and Evil_, 1903.--F. Benoit: _Un Maître de l’Art. B. le Visionnaire_,
1906.--P. E. More: _Shelburne Essays, Fourth Series_, 1906.--P. Berger:
_W. B._, 1907.--S. A. Brooke: _Studies in Poetry_, 1907.--E. J. Ellis:
_The Real B., a Portrait Biography_, 1907.--B. de Selincourt: _W.
B._, 1909.--G. Saintsbury: _A History of English Prosody_, vol. III,
1910.--J. H. Wicksteed: _B.’s Vision of the Book of Job_, 1910.--H. C.
Beeching: _B.’s Religious Lyrics, Essays and Studies by Members of the
Eng. Association_, vol. III, 1912.--A. G. B. Russell: _The Engravings
of W. B._, 1912.

=W. Wordsworth=, 1770-1850: _Poetical Works_, ed. T. Hutchinson, 1904.
_Poems_, chosen and edited by M. Arnold, 1879. _Prose Works_, ed. W.
Knight, 2 vols. 1896. _Wordsworth’s Literary Criticism_, ed. N. C.
Smith, 1905.

W. Hazlitt: _The Spirit of the Age_, 1825.--C. Wordsworth: _Memoirs of
W. W._, 2 vols. 1851.--T.B. Macaulay: _Critical and Historical Essays_,
1852.--J. R. Lowell: _Among my Books_, 1870.--R. H. Hutton: _Essays
Theological and Literary_, 2 vols. 1871.--J. C. Shairp: _W._, 1872.--S.
A. Brooke: _Theology in the English Poets_, 1874. 10th edn. 1907.--E.
Dowden: _Studies in Literature_, 1878. _New Studies in Literature_,
1895.--W. Bagehot: _Literary Studies_, 1879.--F. W. H. Myers: _W._,
1881.--J. H. Shorthouse: _On the Platonism of W._, 1882.--W. A. Knight:
_Memorials of Coleorton_, 2 vols. 1887. _Letters of the Wordsworth
Family from 1787 to 1855_, 1907.--M. Arnold: ✱ _Essays in Criticism,
Second Series_, 1888.--P. Bourget: _Etudes et Portraits_, vol. II,
1888.--W. H. Pater: _Appreciations_, 1889.--L. Stephen: _Hours
in a Library_, vol. II, 1892. _Studies of a Biographer_, vol. I,
1898.--Dorothy Wordsworth: _Journals_, ed. W. Knight, 2 vols, 1897.--E.
Legouis: ✱ _The Early Life of W., 1770-98_. Trans. by J.W. Matthews,
1897.--E. Yarnall: _W. and the Coleridges_, 1899.--W. A. Raleigh: _W._,
1903.--K. Bömig: _W. W. im Urteile seiner Zeit_, 1906.--A. C. Bradley:
_Eng. Poetry and German Philosophy in the Age of W._, 1909.--M.
Reynolds: _The Treatment of Nature in Eng. Poetry between Pope and
W._, 1909. (Bibliography.)--L. Cooper: _A Concordance to the Poems of
W. W._, 1911.--E. S. Robertson: _Wordsworthshire. An Introduction to a
Poet’s Country_, 1911.

=W. Scott=, 1771-1832: _Poetical Works_, ed. J. L. Robertson, 1904.
_The Waverly Novels_ (Oxford edn.), 25 vols. 1912. _The Miscellaneous
Prose Works_, 30 vols. 1834-71.

W. Hazlitt: _The Spirit of the Age_, 1825.--J. G. Lockhart: ✱ _Memoirs
of the Life of Sir W. S. Baronet_, 2 vols. 1837-38.--T. Carlyle: _Sir
W.S._, 1838.--G. Grant: _Life of Sir W. S._, 1849.--L. Stephen: _Hours
in a Library_, vol. I, 1874. _The Story of S.’s Ruin, Studies of a
Biographer_, vol. II, 1898.--R. H. Hutton: _Sir W. S._, 1876.--W.
Bagehot: _The Waverley Novels in Literary Studies_, vol. II, 1879.--G.
Smith: _Sir W. S._, in _Ward’s English Poets_, vol. IV, 1883.--R.
L. Stevenson: _A Gossip on Romance_ in _Memories and Portraits_,
1887.--J. Veitch: _The Feeling for Nature in Scottish Poetry_, 2 vols.
1887. Vol. II. _History and Poetry of the Scottish Border_. 2d edn.
2 vols. 1893.--C.D. Yonge: _Life of Sir W.S._ (bibliography by J.P.
Anderson), 1888.--V. Waille: _Le Romantisme de Manzoni_, 1890.--A.
Lang: _Life and Letters of J.G. Lockhart_, 2 vols. 1896. _L. and the
Border Minstrelsy_, 1910.--F.T. Palgrave: _Landscape in Poetry_,
1896.--A.A. Jack: _Essays on the Novel as illustrated by S. and Miss
Austen_, 1897.--G. Saintsbury: _Sir W.S._, 1897.--L. Maigron: ✱ _Le
Roman historique à l’époque romantique. Essai sur l’influence de W.S._,
1898.--W.L. Cross: _Development of the English Novel_, 1899.--M.
Dotti: _Delle derivazioni nei Promessi sposi di A. Manzoni dai Romanzi
di W.S._, 1900.--W.H. Hudson: _Sir W.S._, 1901.--W.S. Crockett: _The
Scott Country_, 1902. _Footsteps of S._, 1907. _The Scott Originals_,
1912.--A. Ainger: _S. Lectures and Essays_, vol. I. 1905.--A.S.G.
Canning: _History in S.’s Novels_, 1905. _Sir W.S. studied in Eight
Novels_, 1910.--G. Agnoli: _Gli Albori del romanzo storico in Italia e
i primi imitatori di W.S._, 1906.--C.A. Young: _The Waverley Novels_,
1907.--G. Wyndham: _Sir W.S._, 1908.--F.A. MacCunn: _Sir W.S.’s
friends_, 1909.

=S. T. Coleridge=, 1772-1831: _Dramatic Works_, ed. D. Coleridge, 1852.
_Poetical Works_, ed. with biographical intro. by J.D. Campbell, 1893.
_Complete Poetical Works_, ed. E.H. Coleridge, 2 vols. 1912. _Prose
Works_, 6 vols. in _Bohn’s Library_, 1865 ff.--_Biographia Literaria_,
ed. with his æsthetical essays by I. Shawcross, 2 vols. 1907. _Anima
Poetae_, ed. E.H. Coleridge, 1895. C.’s _Literary Criticism_, with
intro. by J.W. Mackail, 1908. _Biographia epistalaris_, ed. A. Tumbull,
2 vols. 1911.

W. Hazlitt: _Mr. C._, in _The Spirit of the Age_, 1825.--T. Allsop:
_Letters, Conversations, and Recollections of S.T.C._, 2 vols.
1836.--T. Carlyle: _Life of John Sterling_ (part I, chap, VIII),
1851.--Sara Coleridge: _Memoirs and Letters of Sara Coleridge_, 2
vols. 1873.--H.D. Traill: _Coleridge_, 1884.--A. Brandl: _S.T.C.
und die englishe Romantik_, 1886. Eng. trans. by Lady Eastlake,
1887.--W. Pater: _Coleridge. Appreciations_, 1889.--T. De Quincey:
_S.T.C._, 1889.--L. Stephen: _Coleridge, Hours in a Library_, vol.
III, 1892.--J.D. Campbell: _S.T.C._, 1894. 2d edn.; 1896.--E. Dowden:
_C. as a Poet. New Studies in Literature_, 1895.--E.V. Lucas: _Charles
Lamb and the Lloyds_, 1898.--R.H. Shepherd: _The Bibliography of C._,
1900.--C. Cestre: _La Révolution française et les poètes anglais
(1789-1809)_, 1906.--J. Aynard: _La vie d’un poète_. _Coleridge_,
1907.--A.A. Helmholtz: _The Indebtedness of S.T.C. to A.W. Schlegel_,
1907.--A.A. Jack and A.C. Bradley: _Short Bibliography of C._, 1912.

=C. Lamb=, 1775-1834: _Life and Works_, ed. A. Ainger, 12 vols.
1899-1900. _The Works of Charles and Mary L._, ed. E.V. Lucas, 7 vols.
1903-05. _The Works in Prose and Verse of Charles and Mary L._, ed. T.
Hutchinson, 2 vols. 1908. _The Letters of C.L._ Intro, by H.H. Harper,
5 vols. 1907. _Dramatic Essays of C.L._, ed. B. Matthews, 1891.

G. Gilfillan: _C.L._, vol. II, 1857.--B.W. Proctor: _C.L._, 1866.--P.
Fitzgerald: _C.L._, 1866.--A. Ainger: _C.L., a Biography_, 1882.
_Lectures and Essays_, vol. II, 1905.--W. Pater: _C.L. Appreciations_,
1889.--E.V. Lucas: _Bernard Barton and his Friends_, 1893. _C.L. and
the Lloyds_, 1898. _The Life of C.L._, 2 vols. 1905.--F. Harrison: _L.
and Keats_, 1899.--G.E. Woodberry: _C.L._, 1900.--H. Paul: _C.L. Stray
Leaves_, 1906.

=W. Hazlitt=, 1778-1830: _Works_, edd. A.R. Waller and A. Glover, 12
vols. and index, 1902-06.

L. Hunt: _Autobiography_, 3 vols. 1850.--W. C. Hazlitt: _Memoirs of W.
H._, 2 vols. 1867. _Four Generations of a Literary Family_, 2 vols.
1897. _Lamb and H._, 1899.--G. Saintsbury: _H. Essays in English
Literature (1780-1860)_, 1890.--L. Stephen: _Hours in a Library_, vol.
II, 1892.--A. Birrell: _W. H._, 1902.--P. E. More: _The Shelburne
Essays, Second Series_, 1905.--J. Douady: _Vie de W. H._, 1907.--_Liste
chronologique des œuvres de W. H._, 1906.

=Lord Byron=, 1788-1824: _The Works of Lord B._, ed. by R. H. Coleridge
and R. E. Prothero, 13 vols. 1898-1904. _Complete Poetical Works_, ed.
with intro., etc., by P. E. More, 1905.--_Poetry of B._, chosen and
arranged by M. Arnold, 1881.

S. E. Brydges: _Letters on the Character and Poetical Genius of Lord
B._, 1824.--T. Medwin: _Journal of the Conversations of Lord B._,
1824.--L. Hunt: _Lord B. and Some of his Contemporaries_, 3 vols.
1828.--J. Galt: _The Life of Lord B._, 1830, 1908.--V. E. P. Chasles:
_Vie et influence de B. sur son époque_, 1850.--T. B. Macaulay: _Lord
B._, 1853.--H. Beyle: _Lord B. en Italie_, in _Racine et Shakespeare_,
1824.--K. Elze: _Lord B._, 1870.--H. von Treitschke: _Lord B. und
der Radicalismus_, in _Historische und politische Aufsätze_, vol. I,
1871.--E. Castelar: _Vida de Lord B._, 1873.--A. C. Swinburne: B.,
in _Essays and Studies_, 1875.--C. Cant: _Lord B. and his Works_,
1883.--J. C. Jeaffreson: _The Real Lord B._, 2 vols. 1883.--M. Arnold:
✱ _Essays in Criticism, Second Series_, 1888.--R. Noel: _Life of
B._ (bibliography by J. P. Anderson), 1890.--O. Schmidt: _Rousseau
und B._, 1890.--S. Singheimer: _Goethe und Lord B._, 1894.--K.
Bleibtreu: _B. der Übermensch_, 1897. _Das Byron-Geheimnis_, 1912.--R.
Ackermann: _Lord B._, 1901.--F. Melchior: _Heines Verhältnis zu Lord
B._, 1902.--G. K. Chesterton: _The Optimism of B., in Twelve Types_,
1902.--E. Koeppel: _Lord B._, 1903.--J. C. Collins: _The Works of Lord
B., in Studies in Poetry and Criticism_, 1905.--W. E. Leonard: _B.
and Byronism in America_, 1905.--M. Eimer: _Lord B. und die Kunst_,
1907.--E. Estève: ✱ _B. et le romantisme français_, 1907.--J. Calcaño:
_Tres Poetas pesimistas del siglo xix_ (_Lord B., Shelley, Leopardi_),
1907.--P. H. Churchman: _B. and Espronoeda_, 1909.--R. Edgcumbe: B.;
_The Last Phase_, 1909.--B. Miller: _Leigh Hunt’s Relations with B._,
1910.--C. M. Fuess: _Lord B. as a Satirist in Verse_, 1912.--E. C.
Mayne: B., 2 vols. 1912.

=T. De Quincey=, 1785-1859. _Select Essays_, ed. D. Masson, 2 vols.
1888. _Collected Writings_, ed. D. Masson, 14 vols. 1889-90. _Literary
Criticism_, ed. H. Darbishire, 1909.

A. H. Japp: _T. De Q.: His Life and Writings._. 2 vols. 1877. New
edn. 1890. _De Q. Memorials_, 2 vols. 1891.--S. H. Hodgson: _Outcast
Essays_, 1881.--D. Masson: _T. De Q._, 1881.--G. Saintsbury: _De Q.
Essays in English Literature (1780-1860)_, 1890.--L. Stephen: _Hours in
a Library._ New edn. vol. I. 1892.--J. Hogg: _De Q. and his Friends_,
1895.--A. Barine: _Névrosés: De Q._, etc., 1898.--A. Birrell: _Essays
about Men, Women and Books_, 1901.--H. S. Salt: _De Q._, 1904.--J. A.
Green: _T. De Q.: a Bibliography_, 1908.

=P. B. Shelley=, 1792-1822: _Complete Poetical Works_, ed. T.
Hutchinson, 1904. _Prose Works_, 4 vols. Ed. H. B. Forman, 1880.
_Prose Works_, ed. R. H. Shepherd, 2 vols. 1888, 1912. _S.’s Literary
Criticism_, ed. J. Shawcross, 1909. _Letters to Elizabeth Hitchener_,
ed. B. Dobell, 1909. The _Letters of S._, ed. R. Ingpen, 2 vols. 1909.
New edn. 1912.

L. Hunt: _Lord Byron and his Contemporaries_, 1828.--T. Medwin: _The
Shelley Papers_, 1833. _Life of S._, 2 vols. 1847. Ed. H. B. Forman,
1913.--T. J. Hogg: _Life of S._, 2 vols. 1858. Ed. E. Dowden, 1906.--E.
J. Trelawny: _Recollections of the Last Days of S. and Byron_, 1858.
Ed. E. Dowden, 1906.--D. Masson: _Wordsworth, S., Keats, and other
Essays_, 1874.--J. A. Symonds: _S._, 1878.--J. Todhunter: _A Study
of S._, 1880.--_Shelley Society Publications_, 1884-88.--F. Rabbe:
_S._, 1887.--J. C. Jeaffreson: _The Real S._, 2 vols. 1885.--E.
Dowden: _Life of S._, 2 vols. 1886. Revised and condensed, 1896.--W.
Sharp: _Life of S._, 1887.--M. Arnold: ✱ _Essays in Criticism, Second
Series_, 1888.--F. S. Ellis: _A Lexical Concordance to the Poetical
Works of S._, 1892.--W. Bagehot: _Literary Studies_. New edn., vol. I,
1895.--H. Richter: _P. B. S._, 1898.--W. B. Yeats: _The Philosophy of
S.’s Poetry_, 1903.--S. A. Brooke: _The Lyrics of S._, etc. _Studies
in Poetry_, 1907.--E. S. Bates: _A Study of S.’s Drama The Cenci_,
1908.--F. Thompson: _S._, 1909.--A. C. Bradley: _S.’s View of Poetry_,
in _Oxford Lectures on Poetry_, 1909. _Short Bibliography of S._,
English Association Leaflet, no. 23, 1912.--A. Clutton-Brock: _S.,
the Man and the Poet_, 1910.--P. E. More: _S._, in _Shelburne Essays,
Seventh Series_, 1910.--A. H. Koszul: _La Jeunesse de Shelley_,
1910.--H. R. Angeli: _S. and his Friends in Italy_, 1911.--F. E.
Schelling: _The English Lyric_, 1913.--H. N. Brailsford: _S. and
Godwin_, 1913.--R. Ingpen: _S. in England_, 2 vols. 1917.

=J. Keats=, 1795-1821: _Poetical Works_, ed. with an intro., etc.,
by H. B. Forman, 1906. _Poems_, ed. Sir S. Colvin, 2 vols. 1915.
_Letters._ Complete revised edn., ed. H. B. Forman, 1895. _Keats
Letters, Papers and other Relics_, ed. G. C. Williamson, 1914.

M. Arnold: _Selections from K.’s Poems_, with _Introduction_, in
_Ward’s English Poets_, vol. IV, 1880. Also in ✱ _Essays in Criticism,
Second Series_, 1888.--A. C. Swinburne: _Miscellanies_, 1886.--W. M.
Rossetti: _Life of J. K._ (bibliography by J. P. Anderson), 1887.--S.
Colvin: _K._, 1887.--W. Watson: _Excursions in Criticism_, 1893.--J.
Texte: _K. et le neo-hellénisme dans la poésie anglaise_ in _Etudes
de littérature européenne_, 1898.--P. E. More: _Shelburne Essays,
Fourth Series_, 1906.--S. A. Brooke: _Studies in Poetry_, 1907.--A. E.
Hancock: _J. K._, 1908.--A. C. Bradley: _The Letters of K._, in _Oxford
Lectures on Poetry_, 1909.--L. Wolff: _An Essay on K.’s Treatment of
the Heroic Rhythm and Blank Verse_, 1909. _J. K., sa vie et son œuvre_,
1910.--J. W. Mackail: _Lectures on Poetry_, 1912.--Sir S. Colvin: ✱
_Life of J. K._, 1917.


Bibliography: G. Lanson: ✱ _Manuel bibliographique de la litt. fr.
moderne, 1500-1900_, vols. III and IV. Nouvelle éd. revue et complétée,
1915.--H. P. Thieme: _Guide bibliographique de la litt. fr. de
1800-1906_, 1907.--Asselineau: _Bibliographie romantique_, 3d edn.,
1873. Histories of French Literature: D. Nisard: _Histoire de la litt.
fr._, 4 vols. 1844-61. (For N.’s type of classicism see my _Masters
of Mod. Fr. Crit._, pp. 87 ff.)--F. Brunetière: _Manuel de l’histoire
de la litt. fr._, 1899.--G. Lanson: ✱ _Histoire de la litt. fr._ 11th
edn. 1909.--C. H. C. Wright: _A History of Fr. Lit._ (bibliography),
1912.--C.-M. Des Granges: _Histoire illustrée de la litt. fr._, 1915.

Eighteenth century: F. Baldensperger: _Lénore de Bürger dans la litt.
fr._, in _Etudes d’hist. litt._ 1e série, 1907. _Young et ses Nuits
en France_, _ibid._--J. Reboul: _Un grand précurseur des romantiques,
Ramond (1755-1827)_, 1911.--D. Mornet: _Le romantisme en Fr. au XVIIIe
siècle_, 1912.--P. van Tieghem: _Ossian en Fr._, 2 vols. 1917.

E. Bersot: _Etudes sur le XVIIIe siècle_, 1855. _Hist. des idées
morales et politiques en Fr. au XVIIIe siècle_, 2 vols. 1865-67.--H.
Taine: ✱ _L’Ancien Régime_, 1876. Vol. I of _Les Origines de la Fr.
contemporaine_.--E. Faguet: ✱ _XVIIIe siècle_, 1892.--Rocafort: _Les
Doctrines litt. de l’Encyclopédie_, 1890.--G. Lanson: _Le Rôle de
l’expérience dans la formation de la philosophie du XVIIIe siècle_,

Abbé Prévost: _Manon Lescaut_, 1731.--Harrisse: _Bibliographie et Notes
pour servir à l’hist. de Manon Lescaut_, 1875. _L’Abbé Prévost: hist.
de sa vie et de ses œuvres_, 1896.--Heilborn: _Abbé Prévost und seine
Beziehungen zur deutschen Lit._, 1897.

_Œuvres complètes de Gessner_, trad. par Huber, 3 vols. 1768. H.
Heis: _Studien aber einige Beziehungen zwischen der deutschen und der
französischen Lit. im XVII. Jahr._ I. _Der Uebersetzer und Vermittler
Huber_, 1909.

G. Lanson: ✱ _Nivelle de La Chaussée et la comédie larmoyante_, 1887.
2d edn. 1903.--E. Lintilhac: _Beaumarchais et ses œuvres_, 1887.--L.
Béclard: _Sébastien Mercier_, 1903.--Günther: _L’œuvre dramatique de
Sedaine_, 1908.--F. Gaiffe: _Etude sur le drame en Fr. au XVIIIe
siècle_, 1910.

=J.-J. Rousseau=, 1712-1778: _Discours sur les sciences et les arts_,
1750. _Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité_, 1755.
_Nouvelle Héloïse_, 1761. _Emile_, 1762. _Le contrat social_, 1762.
Ed. Dreyfus-Brisác, 1896. Ed. Beaulavon, 1903. 2 éd. revue, 1914.
_Confessions_, 1782-88. Ed. A. van Beyer, 1914. ✱ _The Political
Writings of R._, ed. with intro., etc. by C. E. Vaughan, 2 vols. 1915.
(Excellent work on the text. The estimate of the political influence
seems to me to lack penetration.) Collected works: Ed. Petitain, 22
vols. 1819-20. Ed. Musset-Pathay, 23 vols. 1823-26. Ed. Hachette, 13
vols. 1887. (No good collected ed. as yet.)

Streckeisen-Moultou: _Œuvres et Correspondance inédites de J.-J. R._,
1861. _J.-J. R., ses amis et ses ennemis_ (Lettres à R.), 1865.: E.
Asse: _Bibliographie de J.-J. R._ [no date]. For current bibliography
see ✱ _Annales de la Société J.-J. Rousseau_, 1905 ff. _Extraits de
J.-J. R._ publiés avec intro. p. L. Brunel. 3e éd. 1896.--_Morceaux
choisis de J.-J. R._ avec intro. etc., p. D. Mornet, 1911.

Studies (chiefly biographical): Musset-Pathay: _Histoire de la Vie
et des Ouvrages de J.-J. R._, 2 vols. 1821.--Gaberel: _R. et les
Génevois_, 1858.--H. Beaudoin: _La Vie et les Œuvres de J.-J. R._, 2
vols. 1891 (bibliography).--F. Mugnier: _Mme. de Warens et J.-J. R._,
1891.--F. Macdonald: _Studies in the France of Voltaire and R._, 1895.
_J.-J. R., a New Criticism_, 2 vols. 1906. (The evidence offered as to
the tampering with the memoirs of Mad. d’Epinay is of value. The work
is in general uncritical.)--E. Ritter: ✱ _La famille et la jeunesse
de J.-J. R._, 1896.--Stoppolini: _Le donne nella vita di G.-G. R._,
1898.--E. Rod: _L’affaire J.-J. R._, 1906.--Comte de Girardin: ✱
_Iconographie de J.-J. R._, 1908. _Iconographie des Œuvres de J.-J.
R._, 1910.--H. Buffenoir: _Les Portraits de J.-J. R._--E. Faguet: _Vie
de R._, 1912.--G. Gran: _J.-J. R._, 1912.

Hume: _Exposé succint de la contestation qui s’est élevée entre M. Hume
et M. Rousseau_, 1766.--Dussaulx: _De mes rapports avec J.-J. R._,
1798.--Comte d’Escherny: _Mélanges de littérature_, etc., 1811.--D.
Guillaume: _J.-J. R. à Motiers_, 1865.--Metzger: _J.-J. R. à l’île
Saint-Pierre_, 1875. _La conversion de Mme. Warens_, 1887. _Une
poignée de documents inédits sur Mme. Warens_, 1888. _Pensées de Mme.
Warens_, 1888. _Les dernières années de Mme. Warens_ [no date]. G.
Desnoiresterres: _Voltaire et J.-J. R._ (vol. VI of ✱ _Voltaire et la
société fr. au XVIIIe siècle_) 2e éd. 1875.--G. Maugras: _Voltaire
et J.-J. R._, 1886.--F. Berthoud: _J.-J. R. au Val de Travers_,
1881. _J.-J. R. et le pasteur de Montmollin_, 1884.--T. de Saussure:
_J.-J. R. à Venise, notes et documents_, recueillis par Victor
Ceresole 1885.--P. J. Möbius: ✱ _J.-J. R.’s Krankheitsgeschichte_,
1889.--Chatelain: _La Folie de J.-J. R._, 1890.--F. Mugnier: _Nouvelles
Lettres de Mme. Warens_, 1900.--A. de Montaigu: _Démêlés du Comte
Montaigu et de son secrétaire J.-J. R._, 1904.--B. de Saint-Pierre:
_La Vie et les Ouvrages de J.-J. R._, éd. critique p. par M. Souriau,
1907.--C. Collins: _J.-J. R. in England_, 1908.--A. Rey: _J.-J. R.
dans la vallée de Montmorency_, 1909.--D. Cabanès: _Le Cabinet secret
de l’histoire_, 3e série, 1909.--F. Girardet: _La Mort de J.-J. R._,
1909.--P.-P. Plan: _R. raconté par les gazettes de son temps_, 1913.

General Studies (chiefly critical): Bersot: _Etudes sur le XVIIIe
siècle_, t. II, 1855.--J. Morley: ✱ _R._, 1873. 2d edn. 2 vols.,
1886--Saint-Marc Girardin: _J.-J. R., sa vie et ses œuvres_,
1874.--H.-F. Amiel: _Caractéristique générale de R._, in _J.-J. R.
jugé par les Génevois d’aujourd’hui_, 1878.--Mahrenholtz: _J.-J. R.’s
Leben_, 1889.--Chuquet: _J.-J. R._, 1893.--H. Höffding: _R. und seine
Philosophie_, 1897.--J.-F. Nourrisson: _J.-J. R. et le Rousseauisme_,
1903.--Brédif: _Du Caractère intellectuel et moral de J.-J. R._,
1906.--J. Lemaître: _J.-J. R._, 1907.--L. Claretie: _J.-J. R. et
ses amis_, 1907.--L. Ducros: _J.-J. R. (1712-57)_, 1908. _J.-J. R.
(1757-65)_, 1917.--B. Bouvier: _J.-J. R._, 1912.

Special Studies (chiefly critical): Sainte-Beuve: ✱ _Lundis_, t. II
(_R. et Mme. de Franqueville_), 1850; t. III (_les Confessions_),
1850; t. XV (_Œuvres et Correspondance inédites_), 1861. _Nouveaux
Lundis_, t. IX (_Mad. de Verdelin_), 1865.--J. R. Lowell: _R. and
the Sentimentalists, in Lit. Essays_, II, 1867.--Brunetière: _Etudes
critiques_, t. III (1886) et IV (1890).--C. Borgeaud: _J.-J. R.’s
Religionsphilosophie_, 1883.--A. Jansen: _R. als Musiker_, 1884.
_R. als Botaniker_, 1885.--Espinas: _Le système de R._, 1895.--T.
Davidson: _J.-J. R. and Education according to Nature_, 1898.--M.
Liepmann: _Die Rechtsphilosophie des J.-J. R._ 1898.--F. Haymann:
_J.-J. R.’s Sozial-Philosophie_, 1898.--P. E. Merriam: _History of
the Theory of Sovereignty since R._, 1900.--E. Duffau: _La profession
de foi du Vicaire Savoyard_, 1900.--J. L. Windenberger: _Essai sur le
Système de politique étrangère de J.-J. R._, 1900.--A. Pougin: _J.-J.
R. musicien_, 1901.--G. Schumann: _Religion und Religion-Erziehung
bei R._, 1902.--Faguet: _Politique comparée de Montesquieu, Voltaire
et R._, 1902.--M. Gascheau: _Les Idées économiques chez quelques
philosophes du XVIIIe siècle_, 1903.--Grand-Carteret: _La Montagne à
travers les âges_, 1903.--Albalat: _Le Travail du Style enseigné par
les corrections manuscrites des grands écrivains_, 1903.--A. Geikie:
_Landscape in History and other Essays_, 1905.--B. Lassudrie-Duchesne:
_J.-J. R. et le Droit des gens_, 1906.--G. del Vecchio: _Su la teoria
del Contratto Sociale_, 1906.--P. E. More: _Shelburne Essays_, VI
(_Studies in Religious Dualism_), 1909.--D. Mornet: _Le sentiment
de la nature en France, de J.-J. R. à B. de S. Pierre_, 1907.--L.
Gignoux: _Le théâtre de J.-J. R._, 1909.--H. Rodet: _Le Contrat Social
et les idées politiques de J.-J. R._, 1909.--A. Schinz: _J.-J. R., a
Forerunner of Pragmatism_, 1909.--G. Fusseder: _Beiträge zur Kenntnis
der Sprache R.’s_, 1909.--J.-J. Tiersot: _R._, 1912 (_Les Maîtres de
la Musique_).--G. Vallette: _J.-J. R. Génevois_, 1911.--E. Faguet: _R.
contre Molière_, 1912. _Les Amies de R._, 1912. _R. Artiste_, 1913. _R.
Penseur_, 1913.

Sources: Dom Cajot: _Les Plagiats de J.-J. R. de Genève sur
l’Education_, 1765.--J. Vuy: _Origine des ideés politiques de
J.-J. R._, 1878.--G. Krüger: _Emprunts de J.-J. R. dans son
premier Discours_, 1891.--J. Texte: ✱ _J.-J. R. et les origines du
Cosmopolitisme littéraire au XVIIIe siècle_, 1895.--C. Culcasi: _Degli
influssi italiani nell’ opera di J.-J. R._--G. Chinni: _Le fonti dell’
Emile de J.-J. R._, 1908.--D. Villey: _L’influence de Montaigne sur les
idées pédagogiques de Locke et de R._, 1911.

Reputation and Influence: Mme. de Staël: _Lettres sur le caractère et
les ouvrages de J.-J. R._, 1788.--Mercier: _De J.-J. R. considéré comme
l’un des premiers auteurs de la Révolution_, 1791.--Kramer: _A.-H.
Francke, J.-J. R., H. Pestalozzi_, 1854.--E. Schmidt: _Richardson,
Rousseau und Goethe_, 1875.--Dietrich: _Kant et R._, 1878.--Nolen:
_Kant et J.-J. R._, 1880.--O. Schmidt: _R. et Byron_, 1887.--Pinloche:
_La réforme de l’éducation en Allemagne au XVIIIe siècle, Basedow
et le philanthropinisme_, 1889. _Pestalozzi et l’éducation populaire
moderne_, 1891.--Lévy-Bruhl: _L’Allemagne depuis Leibnitz_, 1890.
_La Philosophie de Jacobi_, 1894.--J. Grand-Carteret: _J.-J. R.
jugé par les Français d’aujourd’hui_, 1890.--R. Fester: _R. und
die deutsche Geschichtsphilosophie_, 1890.--H. Gössgen: _R. und
Basedow_, 1891.--C. H. Lincoln: _J.-J. R. and the French Revolution_,
1898.--A. Chalybans: _J.-J. R.’s Einfluss auf die französische
Revolution und die Socialdemokratie_, 1899.--V. Delbos: _Essai sur
la formation de la philosophie pratique de Kant_, 1903.--C. Cestre:
_La Révolution française et les Poètes anglais_, 1906.--P. Lasserre:
✱ _Le Romantisme français_, 1907.--Natorp: _Gesammelte Abhandlungen
zur Sozialpädagogik_, erste Abteilung: _Historisches (Pestalozzi
et R.)_, 1907.--M. Schiff: _Editions et traductions italiennes des
œuvres de J.-J. R._, 1908.--H. Buffenoir: _Le Prestige de J.-J.
R._, 1909.--E. Champion: _J.-J. R. et la Révolution française_,
1910 (superficial).--A. Meynier: _J.-J. R. révolutionnaire_, 1913
(superficial).--_Revue de métaphysique et de morale_, May, 1912.
Symposium on R. and his influence by E. Boutroux, B. Bosanquet, J.
Jaurès, etc. For similar symposium (by G. Lanson, H. Höffding, E.
Gosse, etc.) see _Annales de la Soc. J.-J. R._, VIII (1912). For
symposium by Italian writers see _Per il IIo centenario di G. G. R.
(Studi pubblicati dalla Rivista pedagogica)_, 1913.--P. M. Masson: ✱
_La Religion de J.-J. R._, 3 vols. 1917. (A storehouse of information
for the growth of deism and religious sentimentalism in France in the
18th century. Unfortunately the author is himself confused as to the
difference between genuine religion and mere religiosity.)

=D. Diderot=, 1713-84: _Œuvres_, p. par Assézat et Tourneux, 20 vols.
1875-79. _Diderot. Extraits_, avec intro., etc., par J. Texte, 1909
(excellent). _Pages choisies de D._, p. avec intro. par G. Pellissier,
1909 (excellent).

Naigeon: _Mémoire sur la vie et les ouvrages de D._, 1798. _Mémoires
de Mme. de Vandeul_, 1830.--Sainte-Beuve: _Portraits litt._, I (1830).
_Lundis_, III, (1851).--Rosenkranz: _D.’s Leben und Werke_, 2 vols.
1866.--E. Scherer: ✱ _D._, 1880.--Caro: _La fin du Dix-huitième
Siècle_, t. I, 1880.--E. Faguet: _Dix-huitième Siècle_, 1892.--J.
Morley: ✱ _Diderot and the Encyclopædists_, 2 vols. 1891.--L. Ducros:
_D., l’homme et l’écrivain_, 1894.--J. Reinach: _D._, 1894.--A.
Collignon: _D., sa vie, ses œuvres, sa correspondance_, 1895.--Bersot:
_Etudes sur le Dix-huitième Siècle_, t. II, 1855.--Brunetière: _Etudes
critiques_, t. II. _Les Salons de D._, 1880.--J. Bédier: _Le Paradoxe
sur le Comédien est-il de D.? Etudes Critiques_, 1903.

=Bernardin de Saint-Pierre=, 1737-1814: _Etudes de la nature_, 3
vols. 1784; 4 vols. 1787 (4th vol. contains _Paul et Virginie_); éd.
augmentée, 5 vols. 1792. _œuvres complètes_, p. par Aimé Martin, 12
vols. 1818-20. Supplément, 1823. _Correspondance_, p. par A. Martin, 3
vols. 1826.--A. Barine: _B. de Saint-Pierre_, 1891.--F. Maury: _Etude
sur la vie et les œuvres de B. de Saint-Pierre_, 1892.

Nineteenth Century: A. Nettement: _Histoire de la litt. fr. sous le
gouvernement de juillet_, 2 vols. 1854.--A. Michiels: _Histoire des
idées lit. en Fr._, 2 vols. 1842.--G. Pellissier: ✱ _Le mouvement
litt. au XIXe siècle_. (Eng. trans.) 6th edn. 1900.--E. Faguet: _Le
XIXe siècle_, 1887. ✱ _Politiques et Moralistes du XIXe siècle_, 3
vols. 1891-99.--F. Brunetière: ✱ _L’Evolution de la poésie lyrique
en Fr. au XIXe siècle_, 2 vols. 1894.--C. Le Goffie: _La Litt. fr.
au XIXe siècle_, 1910.--F. Strowski: _Histoire de la litt. fr. au
XIXe siècle_, 1911. Important material bearing on the romantic period
will also be found in the critical essays of G. Planche, D. Nisard,
Sainte-Beuve, A. Vinet, E. Scherer, Barbey d’Aurevilly, H. Taine, E.
Montégut, F. Brunetière, P. Bourget, E. Biré, E. Faguet, J. Lemaître,
G. Larroumet, G. Pellissier, R. Doumic, etc. For fuller information
see bibliography of my _Masters of Mod. Fr. Crit._, 395 ff. For tables
of contents of the different volumes of these and other critics see
Thieme: _Guide bibliographique_, 499 ff.

History, Critical Studies and Special Topics: Stendhal: _Racine
et Shakespeare_, 1823.--D. Sauvageot: _Le Romantisme_ (t. VIII de
_L’Hist. de la Litt. fr._, publiée sous la direction de Petit de
Julleville).--T. Gautier: _Hist. du Romantisme_, 1874.--Fournier:
_Souvenirs poétiques de l’Ecole Romantique_, 1880.--R. Bazin:
_Victor Pavie_, 1886.--T. Pavie: _Victor Pavie, sa jeunesse, ses
relations littéraires_, 1887.--L. Derôme: _Les éditions originales
des romantiques_, 2 vols. 1887.--G. Allais: _Quelques vues générales
sur le Romantisme fr._ 1897.--J. Texte: _L’influence allemande dans
le Romantisme fr._, in _Etudes de litt. européenne_, 1898.--E. Asse:
_Les petits romantiques_, 1900.--E. Dubedout: _Le sentiment chrétien
dans la poésie romantique_, 1901.--Le Roy: _L’Aube du théâtre
romantique_, 1902.--R. Canat: _Du sentiment de la solitude morale
chez les romantiques et les parnassiens_, 1904.--E. Barat: _Le style
poétique et la révolution romantique_, 1904.--H. Lardanchet: _Les
enfants perdus du romantisme_, 1905.--A. Cassagne: _La théorie de l’art
pour l’art en France_, 1906.--E. Kircher: _Philosophie der Romantik_,
1906.--E. Estève: ✱ _Byron et le Romantisme fr._, 1907.--Lasserre:
✱ _Le Romantisme fr._, 1907. (A very drastic attack on Rousseau and
the whole Rousseauistic tendency.)--L. Séché: _Le Cénacle de La Muse
Fr. (1823-27)_, 1908.--E. Seillière: _Le Mal romantique, essai sur
l’impérialisme irrationnel_, 1908. (One of about 18 vols. in which S.
attacks the underlying postulates of the Rousseauist. Like the other
leaders of the crusade against romanticism in France, S. seems to me
unsound on the constructive side.)--A. Pavie: _Médaillons romantiques_,
1909.--W. Küchler: _Französische Romantik_, 1909.--C. Lecigne: _Le
Fléau romantique_, 1909.--P. Lafond: _L’Aube romantique_, 1910.--L.
Maigron: ✱ _Le Romantisme et les mœurs_, 1910. _Le Romantisme et
la mode_, 1911.--G. Michaut: _Sur le Romantisme, une poignée de
définitions_ (extraits du _Globe_) in _Pages de critique et d’hist.
litt._, 1910.--J. Marsan: _La Bataille romantique_, 1912.--P. van
Tieghem: _Le Mouvement romantique_, 1912.--G. Pellissier: _Le Réalisme
du romantisme_, 1912.--A. Bisi: _L’Italie et le romantisme français_,
1914.--C. Maurras: _L’Avenir de l’intelligence._ 2e éd. 1917.--L.
Rosenthal: _Du Romantisme au réalisme_, 1918.

A. Jullien: _Le Romantisme et l’éditeur Renduel_, 1897.--P. Nebout: _Le
Drame romantique_, 1897.--F. Baldensperger: ✱ _Goethe en France_, 1904.
_Bibliographie critique de Goethe en France_, 1907.--C. Latreille:
_La Fin du théâtre romantique et François Ponsard_, 1899.--R. Canat:
_La renaissance de la Grèce antique (1820-50)_, 1911.--G. Gendarme
de Bévotte: _La Légende de Don Juan_, 2 vols. 1911.--L. Séché: _Le
Cénacle de Joseph Delorme_, 2 vols. 1912.--J. L. Borgerhoff: _Le
théâtre anglais à Paris sous la Restauration_, 1913.--M. Souriau: _De
la convention dans la tragédie classique et dans le drame romantique_,

Anthologies: _Anthologie des poètes fr. du XIXe siècle_ (Lemerre), 4
vols. 1887-88.--_French Lyrics of the Nineteenth Century_, ed. by G.
N. Henning, 1913. (An excellent selection.)--_The Romantic Movement in
French Literature_, traced by a series of texts selected and edited by
H. F. Stewart and A. Tilley, 1910.

The Press: _La Muse Française_, 1823-24. Reprinted with intro. by J.
Marsan, 2 vols. 1907-09.--P. F. Dubois: _Fragments litt._, articles
extraits du _Globe_, 2 vols. 1879.--T. Ziessing: _“Le Globe” de 1824 à
1830, considéré dans ses rapports avec l’école romantique_, 1881.--F.
Davis: _French Romanticism and the Press, “The Globe”_, 1906.--C. M.
Desgranges: ✱ _Le Romantisme et la critique, la presse litt. sous la
Restauration_, 1907.

B. Constant: _Adolphe_, 1816; avec préface de Sainte-Beuve, 1867; de
P. Bourget, 1888; d’A. France, 1889.--Sainte-Beuve: _Portraits litt._,
1844. _Lundis_, XI (sur _Adolphe_); _Nouveaux Lundis_, I, 1862.--E.
Faguet: _Politiques et Moralistes_, 1re série, 1891.--G. Rudler: _La
jeunesse de B. Constant (1767-94)_, 1909. _Bibliographie critique des
œuvres de B. C._, 1908.--J. Ettlinger: _B. C., der Roman eines Lebens_,

=Madame de Staël=, 1766-1817: _De la littérature_, 1801. Delphine,
1802. _Corinne_, 1807. _De l’Allemagne_, 1814. _Œuvres complètes_, 3
vols. 1836.

Biography: Mme. Necker de Saussure: _Notice en tête de l’édition des
Œuvres_, 1820.--Mme. Lenormant: _Mme. de S. et la grande duchesse
Louise_, 1862. _Mme. Récamier_, 1872.--A. Stevens: _Mme. de S._, 2
vols. 1881.--D’Haussonville: _Le Salon de Mme. Necker_, 1882.--Lady
Blennerhassett: ✱ _Mme. de S. et son temps_, traduit de l’allemand p.
A. Dietrich, 3 vols. 1890.--A. Sorel: _Mme. de S._, 1890.--Dejob: _Mme.
de S. et l’Italie_, 1890.--E. Ritter: _Notes sur Mme. de S._, 1899.--P.
Gautier: _Mme. de S. et Napoléon_, 1903.

Critical Studies: Sainte-Beuve: _Portraits Littéraires_, t. III, 1836.
_Portraits de Femmes_, 1844. _Nouveaux Lundis_, t. II, 1862.--Vinet:
_Etudes sur la litt. française. Mme. de S. et Chateaubriand_, 1849. New
edn. published by P. Sirven, 1911.--Faguet: _Politiques et Moralistes_,
1891.--F. Brunetière: _Evolution de la Critique_, 1892.--U. Mengin:
_L’Italie des Romantiques_, 1902.--Maria-Teresa Porta: _Mme. de S. e
l’Italia (bibliographia)_, 1909.--G. Muoni: _Ludovico di Breme e le
prime polemiche intorno a Mme. de S. ed al Romanticismo in Italia_.--E.
G. Jaeck: _Mme. de S. and the Spread of German Literature_, 1915.--P.
Kohler: _Mme. de S. et la Suisse_, 1916.--R. C. Whitford: _Mme. de S.’s
Reputation in England_, 1918.

=François René de Chateaubriand=, 1768-1848. _Essai sur les
Révolutions_, 1797.--Atala, 1801. _Le Génie du Christianisme_,
1802. _René_, 1802. _Les Martyrs_, 1809. _Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe_,
1849-50; éd. Biré, 6 vols. 1898-1901. _œuvres complètes_, 12 vols.
1859-61. _Correspondance générale_, p. par L. Thomas, vols. I-IV,
1912-13.--Rocheblave: _Pages choisies de C._, 1896.--V. Giraud:
_Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe: Pages choisies_, 1912.

Biography: Vinet: _Etudes sur la litt. française. Mme. de Staël et
C._, 1849. New edn. published by P. Sirven, 1911.--A. France: _Lucile
de Chateaubriand_, 1879.--A. Bardoux: _Mme. de Beaumont_, 1884. _Mme.
de Custine_, 1888. _Mme. de Duras_, 1898.--F. Saulnier: _Lucile de
Chateaubriand_, 1885.--G. Pailhès: _Mme. de C._, 1887. _Mme. de C.,
lettres inédites à Clausel de Coussergues_, 1888. _C., sa femme et ses
amis_, 1896. _Du nouveau sur Joubert, C._, etc., 1900.--J. Bédier: _C.
en Amérique_, 1899. _Etudes critiques_, 1903.--E. Biré: _Les dernières
années de C. (1830-48)_, 1902.--A. Le Braz: _Au pays d’exil de C._,
1909.--A. Beaunier: _Trois amies de C._, 1910.--A. Cassagne: _La vie
politique de C._, 1911.

Critical Studies: Sainte-Beuve: _Portraits Contemporains_, t. I, 1834,
1844. _Lundis_, ts. I, II, 1850; X, 1854. _Nouveaux Lundis_, t. III,
1862. ✱ _C. et son groupe littéraire sous l’Empire_, 1848.

Villemain: _C._, 1853.--Comte de Marcellus: _C. et son temps_,
1859.--P. Bourget: _C._, in _Etudes et Portraits_, 1889.--C. Maurras:
_Trois idées politiques (C., Michelet, Sainte-Beuve)_, 1898.--F.
Gansen: _Le rapport de V. Hugo à C._, 1900.--Lady Blennerhassett:
_Die Romantik und die Restaurationsepoche in Frankreich, C._,
1903.--E. Dick: _Plagiats de C._, 1905.--G. Daub: _Der Parallelismus
zwischen C. und Lamartine_, 1909.--E. Michel: _C., interprétation
médico-psychologique de son caractère_, 1911.--Portiquet: _C. et
l’hystérie_, 1911.--V. Giraud: _Nouvelles études sur C._, 1912.--J.
Lemaître: _C._, 1912.--G. Chinard: ✱ _L’Exotisme américain dans l’œuvre
de C._, 1918. (This volume with its two predecessors: _L’Exotisme
américain au XVIe siècle_ (1911), and _L’Amérique et le rêve exotique
au XVIIe et au XVIIIe siècle_ (1913) is an important repertory of
material for the legend of the “noble savage” and allied topics.)

=E. P. de Senancour=, 1770-1846: _Rêveries_, 1798, 1800. Ed. critique,
pub. par J. Merlant, vol. I, 1911. _Obermann_, 1804, 2d edn. with
preface by Sainte-Beuve, 1833.--J. Levallois: _Un précurseur,
Senancour_, 1897.--A. S. Tornudd: _S._, 1898--J. Troubat: _Essais
critiques_, 1902.--J. Merlant: _S., poète, penseur religieux et
publiciste_, 1907.--R. Bouyer: _Un contemporain de Beethoven, Obermann
précurseur et musicien_, 1907.--G. Michaut: _S., ses amis et ses
ennemis_, 1909.

=Charles Nodier=, 1783-1844: _Œuvres_, 13 vols. 1832-41
(incomplete).--S. de Lovenjoul: _Bibliographie et critique_, 1902.
_Œuvres choisies de N._ Notices p. A. Cazes, 1914.--Sainte-Beuve:
_Portraits littér._, I, 1840.--P. Mérimée: _Portraits histor. et
littér._, 1874.--E. Montégut: _Nos morts contemp._, I, II, 1884.--M.
Salomon: _C. N. et le groupe romantique d’après des documents inédits_,
1908.--J. Marsan: _Notes sur C. N., documents inédits, lettres_, 1912.

=Alphonse de Lamartine=, 1790-1869: _Méditations poétiques_, 1820.
_Nouvelles méditations poétiques_, 1823. _Harmonies poétiques et
religieuses_, 1832. _Jocelyn_, 1836. _Œuvres complètes_, 41 vols.
1860-66. _Œuvres_ (éd. Lemerre), 12 vols. 1885-87. _Correspondance_, p.
par V. de Lamartine, 6 vols. 1872-75.

Biographical and General Studies: F. Falconnet: _A. de L._,
1840.--Chapuys-Montlaville: _L._, 1843.--E. de Mirecourt: _L._,
1853.--E. Ollivier: _L._, 1874.--H. de Lacretelle: _L. et ses
amis_, 1878.--P. Bourget: _L._, in _Etudes et Portraits_, 1889.--De
Pomairols: _L._, 1889.--Baron de Chamborand de Périssat: _L. inconnu_,
1891.--F. Reyssié: _La jeunesse de L._, 1892.--Deschanel: _L._,
1893.--A. France: _L’Elvire de L._, 1893.--R. Doumic: _Elvire à
Aix-les-Bains_, in _Etudes sur la litt. française_, 6e série, 1909.
_L._, 1912.--Zyromski: _L. poète lyrique_, 1897.--Larroumet: _L._, in
_Nouvelles études de litt. et d’art_, 1899.--L. Séché: _L. de 1816
à 1830_, 1905. _Le Roman d’Elvire_, 1909. _Les amitiés de L., 1re
série_, 1911.--E. Sugier: _L._, 1910.--P.-M. Masson: _L._, 1911.--P. de
Lacretelle: _Les origines et la jeunesse de L._, 1911.

Critical Studies: G. Planche: _Portraits littéraires_, t. I, 1836.
_Nouveaux Portraits_, 1854.--Sainte-Beuve: ✱ _Lundis_, ts. I, IV,
X, 1849-54. _Portraits contemporains_, t. I, 1832-39.--J. Lemaître:
_Les Contemporains_, 6e série, 1896.--E. Faguet: _XIXe siècle_,
1897--Brunetière: _L’évolution de la poésie lyrique en France au XIXe
siècle_, 1894.--A. Roux: _La question de Jocelyn_, 1897.--M. Citoleux:
_La poésie philosophique au XIXe siècle, L._, 1905.--C. Maréchal:
_Le véritable Voyage en Orient de L._, 1908.--P. de Lacretelle: _Les
origines et la jeunesse de L._, 1911.--L. Séché: _Les Amitiés de L._,
1912.--R. Doumic: _L._, 1912.--H. R. Whitehouse: _The Life of L._, 2
vols. 1918.

=Alfred de Vigny=, 1797-1863: _Eloa_, 1824. _Poèmes antiques et
modernes_, 1826. _Cinq-Mars_, 1826. _Chatterton_, 1835. _Les
Destinées_, 1864. _Œuvres_ (Lemerre), 8 vols. 1883-85. _Le Journal
d’un poète_, p. par L. Ratisbonne, 1867. _La Correspondance d’A. de
V._, 1906 (incomplete).--S. de Lovenjoul: _Les Lundis d’un chercheur_,
1894.--E. Asse: _A. de V. et les éditions originales de ses poésies_,
1895.--J. Langlais: _Essai de bibliographie de A. de V._, 1905.

Biography: L. Séché: _A. de V. et son temps_ [no date].--E. Dupuy:
_La Jeunesse des Romantiques_, 1905. _A. de V., ses amitiés, son rôle
littéraire_, 2 vols. 1912.

Critical Studies: Sainte-Beuve: _Portraits littéraires_, t. III, 1844.
_Nouveaux Lundis_, t. VI, 1863.--Barbey d’Aurevilly: _Les Œuvres et
les Hommes_, III, 1862.--A. France: _A. de V._, 1868.--P. Bourget:
_Etudes et Portraits_, 1889.--Brunetière: _L’évolution de la poésie
lyrique_, 1894.--Faguet: _XIXe siècle_, 1897.--Paléologue: _A. de
V._, 1891.--Dorison: _A. de V. poète, philosophe_, 1891.--J. Lemaître:
_Contemporains_, VII, 1899.--E. Sakellaridès: _A. de V., auteur
dramatique_, 1902.--Marabail: _De l’influence de l’esprit militaire
sur A. de V._, 1905.--H. Schmack: _A. de V.’s Stello und Chatterton_,
1905.--P.-M. Masson: _A. de V._, 1908.--P. Buhle: _A. de V.’s biblische
Gedichte und ihre Quellen_, 1909.--E. Lauvrière: _A. de V._, 1910.--F.
Baldensperger: _A. de V._, 1912.--L. Séché: _A. de V._, 2 vols.
1914.--A. Desvoyes: _A. de V. d’après son œuvre_, 1914.--J. Aicard: _A.
de V._ 1914.

=Victor Hugo=, 1802-85: _Œuvres complètes_, ed. _ne varietur d’après
les manuscrits originaux_, 48 vols. 1880-85. _Œuvres inédites_, 14
vols. 1886-1902. _Correspondence (1815-84)_, 2 vols. 1896. _Lettres à
la fiancée (1820-22)_, 1901.

Biography: Mme. Victor Hugo: _V. H. raconté par un témoin de sa
vie_, 2 vols. 1863.--E. Biré: _V. H. avant 1830_, 1883. _V. H. après
1830_, 2 vols. 1891. _V. H. après 1852_, 1894.--G. Larroumet: _La
maison de V. H., impressions de Guernsey_, 1895.--A. Jullien: _Le
Romantisme et l’éditeur Renduel_, 1897.--A. Barbou: _La Vie de V. H._,
1902.--G. Simon: _L’Enfance de V. H._, 1904.--E. Dupuy: _La Jeunesse
des Romantiques_, 1905.--C. Maréchal: _Lamennais et V. H._, 1906.--L.
Séché: _Le Cénacle de Joseph Delorme._ I, _V. H. et les Poètes._
II, _V. H. et les artistes_, 1912.--L. Guimbaud: _V. H. et Juliette
Drouet_, 1914.

Critical Studies: G. Planche: _Portraits littéraires_, ts. I, II, 1836.
_Nouveaux Portraits littéraires_, t. I, 1854.--Barbey d’Aurevilly: _Les
Misérables de M. Victor Hugo_, 1862.--Sainte-Beuve: _Portraits litt._,
t, I (1827); t. II (1840); t. III (1829); _Portraits contemporains_,
t. I (1830-35).--Rémusat: _Critiques et études littéraires du passé
et du présent_, 2e éd., 1857.--E. Zola: _Nos auteurs dramatiques_,
1881. _Documents littéraires_, 1881.--A. C. Swinburne: _Essay on
V. H._, 1886.--E. Dupuy: _V. H., l’homme et le poète_, 1887.--G.
Duval: _Dictionnaire des métaphores de V. H._, 1888.--P. Bourget: _V.
H._, in _Etudes et Portraits_, 1889.--Nisard: _Essais sur l’école
Romantique_, 1891.--L. Mabilleau: _V. H._, 1893.--C. Renouvier: _V.
H., le poète_, 1893. _V. H., le philosophe_, 1900.--A. Ricard: _Mgr.
de Miollis, évêque de Digne_, 1893.--Brunetière: _L’évolution de la
poésie lyrique_, 1894. _Les époques du théâtre français_, 1892.--A.
Blanchard: _Le théâtre de V. H. et la parodie_, 1894.--Morel Fatio:
_L’Histoire dans Ruy Blas_, in _Etudes sur l’Espagne, 1re série_,
1895.--A. J. Theys: _Métrique de V. H._, 1896.--M. Souriau: _La préface
de Cromwell_, 1897. _Les idées morales de V. H._, 1908.--A. Rochette:
_L’Alexandrin chez V. H._, 1899 and 1911.--F. Ganser: _Beiträge zur
Beurteilung des Verhältnisses von V. H. zu Chateaubriand_, 1900.--E.
Rigal: _V. H. poète épique_, 1900.--P. Stapfer: _V. H. et la grande
poésie satirique en France_, 1901.--T. Gautier: _V.H._, 1902.--P.
and V. Glachant: _Essai critique sur le théâtre de V. H., Drames
en vers. Drames en prose_, 2 vols., 1902 and 1903.--P. Levin: _V.
H._, 1902.--_Leçons faites à l’Ecole Normale sous la direction de F.
Brunetière_, 2 vols. 1902.--F. Gregh: _Etude sur V. H._, 1902.--H.
Peltier: _La philosophie de V. H._, 1904.--H. Galletti: _L’opera di
V.H. nella letteratura italiana_, 1904.--E. Huguet: _La couleur, la
lumière et l’ombre dans les métaphores de V. H._, 1905.--L. Lucchetti:
_Les images dans les œuvres de V. H._, 1907.--P. Bastier: _V. H. und
seine Zeit._, 1908.--Maria Valente: _V. H. e la lirica italiana_,
1908.--A. Guiard: _La fonction du poète, étude sur V. H._, 1910.
_Virgile et V. H._, 1910.--C. Grillet: _La Bible dans V. H._, 1910.--P.
Berret: _Le moyen âge européen dans La Légende des Siècles_, 1911.--A.
Rochette: _L’Alexandrin chez V. H._, 1911.--P. Dubois: _V. H. Ses Idées
religieuses de 1802-25_, 1913.

H. Berlioz: _Correspondance inédite (1819-68)_, pub. par D. Bernard,
1879. _Lettres intimes_, pub. par Ch. Gounod, 1882. _Berlioz; les
années romantiques (1819-42), Correspondance_, pub. par J. Tiersot,
1907.--A. Boschot: _La Jeunesse d’un romantique, H. Berlioz (1803-31)_,
1906. _Un romantique sous Louis Philippe, Berlioz (1831-42)_, 1908. _Le
Crépuscule d’un romantique, Berlioz (1842-69)_, 1913.

=Alexandre Dumas=, 1803-70: _Henri III et sa cour_, 1829. _Antony_,
1831. _Les Trois Mousquetaires_, 1844. _Le Comte de Monte Cristo_,

J. Janin: _A.D._, 1871.--B. Matthews: In _Fr. Dramatists of the 19th
cent._ , 1881.--B. de Bury: _A. D._, 1885.--E. Courmeaux: _A. D._,
1886.--J. J. Weiss: _Le théâtre et les mœurs_, 3e éd. 1889.--H.
Parigot: _Le drame d’ A. D._, 1898. _A. D._, 1901.--H. Lecomte: _A.
D._, 1903.--J. Lemaître: _Impressions de théâtre_, t. III (1890), IV
(’95), VIII (’95), IX (’96).--R. Doumic: _De Scribe à Ibsen_, 1896;
also in _Hommes et idées du XIXe Siècle_, 1903.

=George Sand=, 1804-76: _Indiana_, 1832. _Lélia_, 1833. _Jacques_,
1834. _Consuelo_, 1842-43. _La petite Fadette_, 1849. _Histoire
de ma vie_, 4 vols. 1854-55.--_Correspondance_, 6 vols. 1882-84.
_Correspondance de G. S. et d’ A. de Musset_, p. par F. Decori, 1904.
_Œuvres complètes_ (éd. C. Lévy), 105 vols.--S. de Lovenjoul: _Etude
bibliographique sur les œuvres de G. S._, 1868.

Biography: H. Lapaire and F. Roz: _La bonne dame de Nohant_,
1897.--Ageorges: _G. S. paysan_, 1901.--A. Le Roy: _G. S. et ses amis_,
1903.--H. Harrisse: _Derniers moments et obsèques de G. S., souvenirs
d’un ami_, 1905.--A. Séché and J. Bertaut: _La vie anecdotique et
pittoresque des grands écrivains, G. S._, 1909.

Critical Studies: G. Planche: _Portraits littéraires_, t. II, 1836.
_Nouveaux Portraits littéraires_, t. II, 1854.--Sainte-Beuve: ✱
_Lundis_, t. I, 1850. _Portraits Contemporains_, 1832.--E. Caro: _G.
S._, 1887.--P. Bourget: _Etudes et Portraits_, 1889.--J. Lemaître:
_Les Contemporains_, t. IV, 1889. _Impressions de théâtre_, ts. I, IV,
1888-92.--Marillier: _La sensibilité et l’imagination chez G. S._,
1896.--W. Karénine: _G. S._, 3 vols. 1899-1912.--R. Doumic: _G. S._,
1909.--L. Buis: _Les théories sociales de G. S._, 1910.--E. Moselly:
_G. S._, 1911.

=Gérard de Nerval=, 1808-55: _Œuvres compl._, 5 vols. 1868. M.
Tourneux: _G. de N._, 1867.--T. Gautier: _Portr. et souvenirs
littér._, 1875.--Arvède Barine: _Les Névrosés_, 1898.--Mlle.
Cartier: _Un intermédiaire entre la France et l’Allemagne, G. de
N._, 1904.--Gauthier-Ferrières: _G. de N., la vie et l’œuvre_,
1906.--J. Marsan: _G. de N., lettres inédites_, 1909.--_Correspondance
(1830-55)_, p. par J. Marsan, 1911.--A. Marie: _G. de N._, 1915.

=Alfred de Musset=, 1810-57: _Œuvres Complètes_ (Charpentier),
10 vols. 1866, 10 vols. (Lemerre), 1886. 9 vols. p. par E. Biré,
1907-08.--Rocheblave: _Lettres de George Sand à Musset et à
Sainte-Beuve_, 1897.--_Correspondance de George Sand et d’A. de M._,
p. par F. Decori, 1904.--_Correspondance d’A. de M._, p. par L. Séché,
1907.--S. de Lovenjoul: _Etude critique et bibliographique des œuvres
d’A. de M._, 1867.--M. Clouard: _Bibliographie des œuvres d’A. de M._,

Biography: G. Sand: _Elle et Lui_, 1859.--P. de Musset: _Lui et Elle_,
1859. _Biographie d’A. de M._, 1877.--Louise Colet: _Lui_, 1859.--S. de
Lovenjoul: _La véritable histoire de Elle et Lui_, 1897.--P. Mariéton:
_Une histoire d’amour, George Sand et A. de M._, 1897.--E. Lefébure:
_L’état psychique d’A. de M._, 1897.--E. Faguet: _Amours d’hommes de
lettres_, 1906.--L. Séché: _A. de M._, 1907. _La Jeunesse dorée sous
Louis-Philippe_, 1910.

Critical Studies: Sainte-Beuve: _Portraits Contemporains_, t. II,
1833. ✱ _Lundis_, I., 1850, XIII, 1857.--D. Nisard: _Etudes d’hist. et
de lit._, 1859. _Mélanges d’hist. et de lit._, 1868.--P. Lindau: _A.
de M._, 1876.--H. James: _Fr. Poets and Novelists_, 1878.--D’Ancona:
_A. de M. e l’Italia_, in _Varieta Storiche e Letterarie_, 2 vols.
1883-85.--J. Lemaître: _Impr. de théâtre_, I, II (’88), VII (’93), IX
(’96), X (’98).--Arvède Barine: _A. de M._, 1893.--L. P. Betz: _H.
Heine und A. de M._, 1897.--L. Lafoscade: _Le théâtre d’A. de M._,
1901.--G. Crugnola: _A. de M. e la sua opera_, 2 vols. 1902-03.--J.
d’Aquitaine: _A. de M., l’œuvre, le poète_, 1907.--Gauthier-Ferrières:
_M., la vie de M., l’œuvre, M. et son temps_, 1909.--M. Donnay: _A. de
M._, 1914.--C. L. Maurras: ✱ _Les Amants de Venise_, Nou. éd., 1917.

=Théophile Gautier=, 1811-72: _Les Jeune-France_, 1833. _Mlle. de
Maupin_, 1836-36. _Emaux et Camées_, 1852. _Histoire du romantisme_,
1874. _Œuvres Compl._ (éd. Charpentier). 37 vols. 1883.--M. Tourneux:
_T. G., sa bibliographie_, 1876.--S. de Lovenjoul: _Histoire des œuvres
de T. G._, 2 vols. 1887.

Sainte-Beuve: _Premiers Lundis_, t. II, 1838. _Portraits
Contemporains_, II. 1846. _Nouveaux Lundis_, VI, 1863.--Barbey
d’Aurevilly: _Les Œuvres et les Hommes_, 1865.--Baudelaire: _L’Art
romantique_, 1874.--E. Feydeau: _T. G., souvenirs intimes_, 1874.--H.
James: _Fr. Poets and Novelists_, 1878.--E. Bergerat: _T. G._,
1880.--M. Du Camp: _T. G._, 1890.--E. Richet: _T. G., l’homme, la vie
et l’œuvre_, 1893.


Bibliography: Goedeke: ✱ _Grundriss zur Geschichte der deutschen
Dichtung_, 2 edn. vol. VI, 1898.--R. M. Meyer: _Grundriss der neuren
deutschen Literaturgeschichte_, 2 edn. 1907.--A. Bartels: _Handbuch
zur Geschichte der deutschen Literatur_, 2 edn. 1909.--_Jahresberichte
für neuere deutsche Literaturgeschichte_, 1892 ff. (bibliographical
notes on romanticism by O. F. Walzel).

General Studies: H. Heine: ✱ _Die romantische Schule_, 1836. Eng.
trans, in _Bohn’s Library_. (Filled with political “tendency.” A
brilliant attack on romanticism by a romanticist.)--J. v. Eichendorff:
_Ueber die ethische und religiöse Bedeutung der neuren romantischen
Poesie in Deutschland_, 1847.--J. Schmidt: _Geschichte der Romantik im
Zeitalter der Reformation und der Revolution_, 2 vols. 1848-50.--H.
Hettner: ✱ _Die romantische Schule in ihrem inneren Zusammenhange
mit Goethe und Schiller_.--R. Haym: ✱ _Die romantische Schule_,
1870. Unrevised reprint, 1902. (Heavy reading but still the standard
treatment.)--Ricarda Huch: ✱ _Blütezeit der Romantik_, 1899. ✱
_Ausbreitung und Verfall der Romantik_, 1902. (Attractively written.
The point of view, like that of practically all Germans, is very
romantic.)--Marie Joachimi: _Die Weltanschauung der deutschen
Romantik_, 1905.--O. F. Walzel: ✱ _Deutsche Romantik_, 3 edn. 1912.--R.
M. Wernaer: _Romanticism and the Romantic School in Germany_, 1909.
(The outlook, which professes to be humanistic, seems to me in the
main that of the beautiful soul.)--A. Farinelli: _Il romanticismo in
Germania_, 1911. (Simply reeks with the “infinite” in the romantic
sense. “Sono, ahimè, stoffa di ribelle anch’io.” Useful bibliographical
notes.)--A. W. Porterfield: _An Outline of German Romanticism_, 1914.
(Of no importance from the point of view of ideas. The bibliography is
useful.)--J. Bab: _Fortinbras, oder der Kampf des 19. Jahr. mil dem
Geist der Romantik_, 1912. (An attack on romanticism.)

See also A. Kobersteim: _Geschichte der deutschen Nationalliteratur_,
vol. IV, pp. 543-955, 1873.--G. G. Gervinus: _Geschichte der deutschen
Dichtung_, vol. V, pp. 631-816, 1874.--R. M. Meyer: _Die deutsche
Literatur des 19. Jahr._, pp. 1-243, 1898.--R. v. Gottschall:
_Die deutsche Nationalliteratur des 19. Jahr._, vol. I, 1901.--K.
Francke: _A History of German Literature_, 1901. (The point of view
is sociological rather than literary.)--W. Scherer: _Geschichte der
deutschen Literatur_, pp. 614-720, 1908.--C. Thomas: _A History of
German Literature_, pp. 328-76, 1909.--J. G. Robertson: _Outlines
of the History of German Literature_, pp. 178-253, 1911.--A. Biese:
_Deutsche Literaturgeschichte_, vol. II, pp. 288-693, 1912.

Anthologies: _Stürmer und Dränger_. An anthology ed. by A. Sauer.
_Deutsche Nat. Lit._, vols. 79, 80, 81, 1883.--_Sturm und Drang.
Dichtungen aus der Geniezeit_, ed. by Karl Freye.--A. Spiess: _Die
deutschen Romantiker_, 1903. (Poetry and prose.)--F. Oppeln-Bronikowski
and L. Jacobowski: _Die blaue Blume. Eine Anthologie romantischer
Lyrik_, 1908.

Philosophy: L. Noack: _Schelling und die Philosophie der Romantik_,
2 vols. 1859.--E. Grucker: _François Hemsterhuis, sa vie et ses
œuvres_, 1866.--E. Meyer: _Der Philosoph F. Hemsterhuis_, 1893.--W.
Dilthey: ✱ _Leben Schleiermachers_, 1870.--J. Royce: _The Spirit of
Modern Philosophy_, 1892.--L. Lévy-Bruhl: _La Philosophie de Jacobi_,
1894.--H. Höffding: _A History of Modern Philosophy_ (bk. VIII: _The
Philosophy of Romanticism_), 1900.--R. Burck: _H. Steffens, Ein Beitrag
zur Philosophie der Romantik_, 1906.--W. Windelband: _Geschichte der
neuren Philosophie_, 4 edn. 2 vols. 1907 (Eng. trans.).

Music and painting: H. Riemann: ✱ _Geschichte der Musik seit
Beethoven_, 1800-1900, pp. 106-356, 1901.--D. G. Mason: _The Romantic
Composers_, 1906.--E. Istel: ✱ _Die Blütezeit der musikalischen
Romantik in Deutschland_, 1909.--✱ _The Oxford History of Music_,
vol. VI (_The Romantic Period_, 1905).--C. Gurlitt: _Die deutsche Kunst
des 19. Jahr._, especially pp. 180-279, 1899.--A. Aubert: _Runge und
die Romantik_, 1909.--R. Muther: _Geschichte der Malerei_, 3 vols.
(vol. III for romantic period in Germany and other countries), 1909.

Special Topics (18th and 19th Centuries): L. Friedländer: _Ueber die
Entstehung und Entwickelung des Gefühls für das Romantische in der
Natur_, 1873.--J. Minor: _J. G. Hamann in seiner Bedeutung für die
Sturm und Drangperiode_, 1881. _Das Schicksalsdrama._ _Deutsche Nation.
Lit._, vol. 151. _Die Schicksalstragödie in ihren Hauptvertretern_,
1883.--R. Unger: ✱ _Hamann und die Aufklärung_, 1911.--G. Bonet-Maury:
_Bürger et les origines anglaises de la ballade littéraire en
Allemagne_, 1890.--S. Lublinski: _Die Frühzeit der Romantik_, 1899.--T.
S. Baker: _The Influence of L. Sterne upon German Literature_ in
_Americana Germanica_, vol. II, 1900.--R. Tombo: _Ossian in Germany_,
1902 (bibliography).--E. Ederheimer: _Jakob Boehme und die Romantiker_,
1904.--L. Hirzel: _Wieland’s Beziehungen zu den deutschen Romantikern_,
1904.--K. Joel: _Nietzsche und die Romantik_, 1904.--S. Schultze:
_Die Entwickelung des Naturgefühls in der deutschen Literatur des
19. Jahr._ 1906.--M. Joachimi-Dege: _Deutsche Shakespeare-Probleme
im 18. Jahr. und im Zeitalter der Romantik_, 1907.--E. Vierling:
_Z. Werner: La conversion d’un romantique_, 1908.--E. Glöckner:
_Studien zur romantischen Psychologie der Musik_, 1909.--R. Benz:
_Märchen-Dichtung der Romantiker_, 1909.--F. Brüggemann: _Die Ironie
als entwicklungsgeschichtliches Moment_, 1909.--O. F. Walzel: _Das
Prometheussymbol von Shaftesbury zu Goethe_, 1910.--F. Strich: _Die
Mythologie in der deutschen Literatur von Klopstock bis Wagner_,
1910.--F. G. Shneider: _Die Freimaurerei und ihr Einfluss auf die
geistige Kultur in Deutschland am Ende des 18. Jahr._ 1909.--R.
Buchmann: _Helden und Mächte des romantischen Kunstmärchens_, 1910.--K.
G. Wendriner: _Das romantische Drama_, 1909.--O. F. Walzel and H. Hub:
✱ _Zeitschriften der Romantik_, 1904.--J. Bobeth: _Die Zeitschriften
der Romantik_, 1910.--J. E. Spenlé: _Rahel, Mme. Varnhagen v. Ense.
Histoire d’un salon romantique en Allemagne_, 1910.--P. Wächtler: _E.
A. Poe und die deutsche Romantik_, 1910.--W. Brecht: _Heinse und das
ästhetische Immoralismus_, 1911.--E. Mürmig: _Calderon und die ältere
deutsche Romantik_, 1912.--G. Gabetti: _Il dramma di Z. Werner_,
1917.--J. J. A. Bertrand: _Cervantes et le Romantisme allemand_, 1917.

=J. G. Herder=, 1744-1803: _Fragmente über die neuere deutsche
Literatur_, 1767. _Kritische Wälder_, 1769. _Volkslieder_, 1778.
_Vom Geist der Ebräischen Poesie_, 1782. _Ideen zur Philosophie der
Geschichte der Menschheit_, 1784-85. _Sämt. Werke_, ed. B. Suphan, 32
vols. 1877-99.--Joret: _Herder_, 1876.--R. Haym: _Herder nach seinem
Leben und seinen Werken dargestellt_, 2 vols. 1885.--E. Kühnemann:
_Herder_, 2 edn. 1907.

=J. W. v. Goethe=, 1749-1832: _Götz von Berlichingen_, 1773. _Die
Leiden des jungen Werthers_, 1774. _Faust: Ein Fragment_, 1790.
Collected Works (Jubiläums Ausgabe), ed. E. von der Hellen, 40 vols.
1902-12.--T. Carlyle: _Essays on G._ in Critical and Mis. Essays, vols.
I, IV, 1828-32.--J. W. Appell: ✱ _Werther und seine Zeit._, 1855.
4 edn. 1896.--E. Schmidt: _Richardson, Rousseau und G._, 1875.--A.
Brandl: _Die Aufnahme von G.’s Jugendwerken in England. Goethe-Jahrb._,
vol. III, 1883.--R. Steig: _G. und die Gebrüder Grimm_, 1892.--J. O. E.
Donner: _Der Einfluss Wilhelm Meisters auf den Roman der Romantiker_,
1893.--E. Oswald: _G. in England and America_, 1899.--A. Brandl: _Ueber
das Verhältnis G.’s zu Lord Byron. Goethe-Jahrb._, vol. 20, 1900.--K.
Schüddekopf and O. F. Walzel: ✱ _Goethe und die Romantik, Briefe mit
Erläuterungen_, vols. 13 and 14 of the pub. of the Goethegesellschaft,
1893-94.--S. Waetzold: _G. und die Romantik_, 2 edn. 1903.--O.
Baumgarten: _Carlyle und G._, 1906.--H. Röhl: _Die älteste Romantik und
die Kunst des jungen G._, 1909.

=J. C. F. Schiller=, 1759-1805: _Die Räuber_, 1781. _Briefe über
die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen_, 1795. _Ueber naïve u.
sentimentalische Dichtung_, 1795-96. (Trans. of these and other
æsthetic treatises of S. in _Bohn’s Library_.) Collected works, ed.
E. von der Hellen, 16 vols. 1904-05.--C. Alt: _S. und die Brüder
Schlegel_, 1904.--E. Spenlé: _Schiller et Novalis_, in _Etudes sur
Schiller publiées pour le Centenaire_, 1905.--A. Ludwig: ✱ _Schiller
und die deutsche Nachwelt_ (especially pp. 52-202), 1909.

=J. P. F. Richter=, 1763-1825: _Titan_, 1803. _Flegeljahre_, 1804.
_Die Vorschule der Æsthetik_, 1804. Selected works with intro. by R.
Steiner, 8 vols. (Cotta, no date).--P. Nerrlich: _Jean Paul und seine
Zeitgenossen_, 1876. _Jean Paul; sein Leben und seine Werke_, 1889.--J.
Müller: _Jean Paul und seine Bedeutung für die Gegenwart_, 1894.
_Jean Paul-Studien_, 1900.--W. Hoppe: _Das Verhältnis Jean Pauls zur
Philosophie seiner Zeit_, 1901.--H. Plath: _Rousseau’s Einfluss auf
Jean Paul’s “Levana”_, 1903.

=J. C. F. Hölderlin=, 1770-1843: _Gesammelte Dichtungen_. Int. by B.
Litzmann, 2 vols. (Cotta, no date). _Werke_, ed. M. Joachimi-Dege,
1913. _Hölderlin’s Leben in Briefen von und an Hölderlin_, ed. K. K.
T. Litzmann, 1890.--C. Müller-Rastatt: _F. H. Sein Leben und seine
Dichtungen_, 1894.--W. Dilthey: ✱ _Das Erlebnis und die Dichtung_, pp.
330-455, 1907.--E. Bauer: _H. und Schiller_, 1908.--L. Bohme: _Die
Landschaft in den Werken H.’s und Jean Pauls_, 1908.

=Friedrich Leopold, Freiherr von Hardenberg (Novalis)=, 1772-1801:
_Die Lehrlinge zu Saïs_, 1798. _Die Christenheit oder Europa_, 1799.
_Heinrich von Ofterdingen_, 1800. _Hymnen an die Nacht_, 1800.
Schriften, ed. E. Heilborn, 3 vols. 1901. _Schriften_, ed. J. Minor, 4
vols. 1907. _Werke_, ed. H. Friedemann [1913].--Carlyle: N., in _Crit.
Essays_, vol. II, 1829.--_Friedrich v. Hardenberg._ A collection of
documents from the family archives by a member of the family, 1873.--J.
Bing: _Novalis_, 1893.--C. Busse: _N.’s Lyrik_, 1898.--E. Heilborn:
_N., der Romantiker_, 1901.--E. Spenlé: ✱ _Novalis_, 1904.--W.
Olshausen: _F. v. Hardenbergs Beziehungen zur Naturwissenschaft seiner
Zeit_, 1905.--W. Dilthey: ✱ _Das Erlebnis und die Dichtung_, pp.
201-82, 1906.--H. Lichtenberger: ✱ _Novalis_, 1912.

=A. W. v. Schlegel=, 1767-1845: _Vorlesungen über dramatische Kunst und
Literatur_, 1809-11. Eng. trans. 1814. Fr. trans. 1815. Ital. trans.
1817. _Sämtliche Werke_, 12 vols. 1846-47; also _œuvres écrites en
français_, 3 vols. and Opera latine scripta, 1 vol. 1846.--_Vorlesungen
über schöne Literatur und Kunst_ (1801-03), ed. with intro. by J.
Minor in _Literaturdenkmäler des 18. und 19. Jahrs._ nos. 17-19,
1884.--Selections with intro. by O. F. Walzel in _Deutsche Nat. lit._,
vol. 143.--M. Bernays: _Zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Schlegelschen
Shakespeare_, 1872.--E. Sulger-Gebing: _Die Brüder A. W. und F.
Schlegel in ihrem Verhältnisse zur bildenden Kunst_, 1897.

=Friedrich v. Schlegel=, 1772-1829: Lucinde, 1799. _Ueber die
Weisheit und Sprache der Indier_, 1808. _Sämt. Werke_, 15 vols.
1847. ✱ _Jugendschriften_ (1794-1802), ed. J. Minor, 1906. _F.
Schlegels Philosophische Vorlesungen aus den Jahren 1804 bis 1806.
Aus dem Nachlass_, von C. F. H. Windischmann, 2 vols. 1836-37.--✱
_F. Schlegel’s Briefe an seinen Brüder August Wilhelm_, ed. O. F.
Walzel, 1890. Schleiermacher: _Vertraute Briefe über die Lucinde_,
1800. (New edn. ed. by R. Frank, 1907.)--I. Rouge: _F. Schlegel et
la genèse du Romantisme allemand_, 1904.--_Dorothea und F. Schlegel.
Briefe an die Familie Paulus_, ed. R. Unger, 1913.--C. Enders: _F.
Schlegel. Die Quellen seines Wesens und Werdens_, 1913. (Attaches great
importance to the influence on S. of Hemsterhuis, a philosopher of
Neo-Platonic and Rousseauistic tendency.)--H. Horwitz: _Das Ich-Problem
der Romantik. Die historische Stellung F. S.’s innerhalb der modernen
Geistesgeschichte_, 1916.

=J. L. Tieck=, 1773-1853: _William Lovell_, 1796. _Der blonde Eckbert_,
1796. _Prinz Zerbino_, 1798. _Franz Sternbalds Wanderungen_, 1798.
_Leben und Tod der heiligen Genoveva_, 1799. _Schriften_, 28 vols.
1828-54. _Ausgewählte Werke_, ed. H. Welti, 8 vols. 1888. Two of
the tales trans. in Carlyle’s _German Romance_, 1841. ✱ _Briefe an
Ludwig Tieck_, selected and edited by K. von Holtei, 4 vols. 1864.--H.
Petrich: _Drei Kapitel vom romantischen Stil_, 1878.--J. Minor:
_T. als Novellendichter_, in _Akademische Blätter_, pp. 128-61 and
193-220, 1884.--J. Ranftl: _L. T.’s Genoveva als romantische Dichtung
betrachtet_, 1899.--K. Hassler: _L. T.’s Jugendroman William Lovell und
der Paysan perverti_, 1902.--H. Günther: _Romantische Kritik und Satire
bei L. T._, 1907.--G. H. Danton: _The Nature Sense in the Writings of
L. T._, 1907.--F. Brüggemann: _Die Ironie in T.’s William Lovell und
seinen Vorläufern_, 1909.--S. Krebs: _Philipp Otto Runge und L. T._,
1909.--W. Steinert: _L. T. und das Farbenempfinden der romantischen
Dichtung_, 1910.--E. Schönebeck: _T. und Solger_, 1910.

=W. H. Wackenroder=, 1773-98: _Herzensergiessungen eines kunstliebenden
Klosterbruders_, 1797, ed. by K. D. Jessen, 1904. _Tieck und
Wackenroder (Phantasien über die Kunst)_, ed. J. Minor in _Deutsche
Nat. Lit._, vol. 145.--P. Koldewey: _Wackenroder und sein Einfluss auf
Tieck_, 1903.

=Friedrich Baron de La Motte Fouqué=, 1777-1843: _Undine_, 1811.
_Lebensgeschichte des Baron F. de La M. Fouqué, ausgezeichnet durch ihn
selbst_, 1840. _Ausgewählte Werke_, 12 vols. 1841.--W. Pfeiffer: _Ueber
Fouqués Undine_, 1903.--L. Jeuthe: _Fouqué als Erzähler_, 1910.

=E. T. A. Hoffmann=, 1776-1822: _Sämt. Werke_. Intro. by E. Grisebach,
15 vols. 1899. _Ausgewählte Erzählungen._ _Bücher der Rose_ series,
vol. 6, 1911. _Contes fantastiques_, trad. par Loève-Veimars, 20 vols.
1829-33. G. Ellinger: _E. T. A. H.: sein Leben und seine Werke_,
1894.--G. Thurau: _H.’s Erzählungen in Frankreich_, 1896.--A. Barine:
_Poètes et Névrosés_, pp. 1-58, 1908.--P. Cobb: _The Influence of H.
on the Tales of E. A. Poe_, 1908.--A. Sakheim: _Hoffmann: Studien zu
seiner Persönlichkeit und seinen Werken_, 1908.--C. Schaeffer: _Die
Bedeutung des Musikalischen und Akustischen in H.’s literarischen
Schaffen_, 1909.--E. Kroll: _H.’s musikalische Anschauungen_, 1909.--P.
Sucher: _Les sources du merveilleux chez H._, 1912.

=Heinrich v. Kleist=, 1777-1811: _Sämt. Werke_, ed. F. Muncker, 4
vols. 1893. _Werke_, ed. E. Schmidt [1905].--A. Wilbrandt: _H. v.
K._, 1863.--R. Bonafous: _H. de K. Sa vie et ses œuvres_, 1894.--G.
Minde-Pouet: _H. v. K. Seine Sprache und sein Stil_, 1897.--R. Steig:
_K.’s Berliner Kämpfe_, 1901.--S. Rahmer: _Das Kleist-Problem_, 1903.
_H. v. K. als Mensch und Dichter_, 1909.--M. Lex: _Die Idee im Drama
bei Goethe, Schiller, Grillparzer, K._, 1904.--E. Kayka: _K. und die
Romantik_, 1906.--W. Herzog: _H. v. K. Sein Leben und seine Werke_,
1911.--H. Meyer-Benfey: _Das Drama H. v. K.’s_, 2 vols. 1911-13.--K.
Günther: _Die Entwickelung der novellistischen Kompositionstechnik K.’s
bis zur Meisterschaft_, 1911.--W. Kühn: _H. v. K. und das deutsche
Theater_, 1912.

=C. M. Brentano=, 1778-1842: _Gesammelte Schriften_, 9 vols. 1852-55.
_Godwi_, ed. A. Ruest, 1906.--A. Kerr: _Godwi; ein Kapitel deutscher
Romantik_, 1898.

=A. v. Chamisso=, 1781-38: _Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte_,
1814. _Gesammelte Werke_, ed. M. Koch, 4 vols. 1883. _Werke_, ed. O. F.
Walzel. _Deutsche Nat. Lit._, vol. 148, 1892. _Werke_, ed. M. Sydow,
2 vols. 1912. _Aus Chamisso’s Frühzeit. Ungedruckte Briefe_, ed. L.
Geiger, 1905.--K. Fulda: _Chamisso und seine Zeit._, 1881.--X. Brun:
_A. de Chamisso de Boncourt_, 1896.

=Achim v. Arnim=, 1781-1831: _Des Knaben Wunderhorn_ (first 3 vols.),
1808. Werke, ed. M. Jacobs, 2 vols. 1910. _Arnims Tröst Einsamkeit_,
ed. F. Pfaff, 1883.--R. Steig and H. Grimm: ✱ _A. v. Arnim und die ihm
nahe standen_, 3 vols. 1894-1904.--F. Rieser: _Des Knaben Wunderhorn
und seine Quellen_, 1908.--K. Bode: _Die Bearbeitung der Vorlagen in
des Knaben Wunderhorn_, 1909.

=J. L. Uhland=, 1787-1862: _Werke_, ed. H. Fischer, 6 vols. 1892.
_Gedichte_, ed. E. Schmidt and J. Hartmann, 2 vols. 1898.--F. Notter:
_L. U.; seine Leben und seiner Dichtungen_, 1863.--K. Mayer: _L.
U.; seine Freunde und Zeitgenossen_, 1867.--A. v. Keller: _U. als
Dramatiker_, 1877.--G. Schmidt _U.’s Poetik_, 1906.--W. Reinhöhl: _U.
als Politiker_, 1911.

=J. v. Eichendorff=, 1788-1857: _Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts_,
1826. _Werke_, ed. R. v. Gottschall, 4 vols. [no date].--J. Nadler:
_Eichendorff’s Lyrik und ihre Geschichte_, 1908.

=Heinrich Heine=, 1797-1856: _Sämt. Werke_, ed. E. Elster, 7 vols.
1887-90. _H.’s Autobiographie, nach seinen Werken, Briefen und
Gesprächen_, ed. G. Karpeles, 1888. Trans. by Arthur Dexter, 1893.
_Erinnerungen an H. H. und seine Familie_ by his brother, Maximilien
Heine, 1868.--A. Meissner: _H. H.: Erinnerungen_, 1856.--A. Strodtmann:
_H. H.’s Leben und Werke_, 1884.--M. Arnold: ✱ _H. H._, in _Essays
in Criticism_, 4th edn., 1884.--George Eliot: _German Wit: H. H._,
in _Essays_, 1885.--K. R. Prölls: _H. H.: Sein Lebensgang und seine
Shriften_, 1886.--G. Karpeles: _H. H. und seine Zeitgenossen_, 1888.
_H. H.: Aus seinem Leben und aus seiner Zeit._, 1899.--A. Kohut: _H.
H. und die Frauen_, 1888.--Wm. Sharp: _Life of H. H._ (bibliography by
J. P. Anderson), 1888.--T. Odinga: _Ueber die Einflüsse der Romantik
auf H. H._, 1891.--T. Gautier: _Portraits et souvenirs littéraires_,
pp. 103-28, 1892.--L. P. Betz: _Die französische Litteratur im Urteile
H. H.’s._, 1897. _H. H. und A. de Musset_, 1897.--J. Legras: _H. H.,
Poète_, 1897.--G. M. C. Brandes: _Ludwig Börne und H. H._, 2n ed.
1898.--O. zur Linde: _H. H. und die deutsche Romantik_, 1899.--F.
Melchior: _H. H.’s Verhältnis zu Lord Byron_, 1903.--E. A. Schalles:
_H.’s Verhältnis zu Shakespeare_, 1904.--A. W. Fischer: _Ueber die
volkstümlichen Elemente in den Gedichten H.’s_, 1905.--W. Ochsenbein:
_Die Aufnahme Lord Byrons in Deutschland und sein Einfluss auf den
jungen H._, 1905.--R. M. Meyer: _Der Dichter des Romanzero in Gestalten
und Probleme_, pp. 151-63, 1905.--A. Bartels: _H. H.: Auch ein
Denkmal_, 1906.--H. Reu: _H. H. und die Bibel_, 1909.--C. Puetzfeld:
_H. H.’s Verhältnis zur Religion_, 1912.

=Nikolaus Lenau=, 1802-50: _Sämt. Werke_, ed. A. Grüss [no year].--A.
X. Schurz: _L.’s Leben_, 2 vols. 1855.--L. A. Frankl: _Zur Biographie
L.’s._, 1885.--T. S. Baker: _L. and Young Germany in America_,
1897.--L. Roustan: _L. et son temps_, 1898.--J. Saly Stern: _La vie
d’un poète, essai sur L._, 1902.--A. W. Ernst: _L.’s Frauengestalten_,
1902.--T. Gesky: _L. als Naturdichter_, 1902.--C. v. Klenze: _Treatment
of Nature in the Works of N. L._, 1903.--L. Reynaud: _N. L., poète
lyrique_, 1905.


[1] See, for example, in vol. IX of the _Annales de la Société
Jean-Jacques Rousseau_ the bibliography (pp. 87-276) for 1912--the year
of the bicentenary.

[2] _Literature and the American College_ (1908); _The New Laokoon_
(1910); _The Masters of Modern French Criticism_ (1912).

[3] See his Oxford address _On the Modern Element in Literature_.

[4] These two tendencies in Occidental thought go back respectively at
least as far as Parmenides and Heraclitus.

[5] In his _World as Imagination_ (1916) E. D. Fawcett, though
ultra-romantic and unoriental in his point of view, deals with a
problem that has always been the special preoccupation of the Hindu.
A Hindu, however, would have entitled a similar volume _The World
as Illusion_ (māyā). Aristotle has much to say of fiction in his
_Poetics_ but does not even use the word imagination (φαντασία). In the
_Psychology_, where he discusses the imagination, he assigns not to it,
but to mind or reason the active and creative rôle (νοῦς ποιητικός).
It is especially the notion of the _creative_ imagination that is
recent. The earliest example of the phrase that I have noted in French
is in Rousseau’s description of his erotic reveries at the Hermitage
(_Confessions_, Livre IX).

[6] Essay on Flaubert in _Essais de Psychologie contemporaine_.

[7] _Le Romantisme et les mœurs_ (1910).

[8] _Annales de la Société Jean-Jacques Rousseau_, VIII, 30-31.

[9] I should perhaps say that in the case of Buddha I have been able to
consult the original Pāli documents. In the case of Confucius and the
Chinese I have had to depend on translations.

[10] See appendix on Chinese primitivism.

[11] See, for example, _Majjhima_ (Pāli Text Society), I, 265. Later
Buddhism, especially Mahāyāna Buddhism, fell away from the positive and
critical spirit of the founder into mythology and metaphysics.

[12] Buddha expressed on many occasions his disdain for the _Vedas_,
the great traditional authority of the Hindus.

[13] I have explained the reasons for giving this place to Bacon in
chapter II of _Literature and the American College_.

[14] _Eth. Nic._, 1179 a.

[15] I scarcely need remind the reader that the extant Aristotelian
writings which have repelled so many by their form were almost
certainly not meant for publication. For the problems raised by these
writings as well as for the mystery in the method of their early
transmission see R. Shute, _History of the Aristotelian Writings_
(1888). The writings which Aristotle prepared for publication and
which Cicero describes as a “golden stream of speech” (_Acad._ II,
38, 119) have, with the possible exception of the recently recovered
_Constitution of Athens_, been lost.

[16] See his _Essai sur le genre dramatique sérieux_.

[17] Quoted in Grimm’s Dictionary.

[18] Ex lectione quorundam romanticorum, i.e. librorum compositorum
in gallico poeticorum de gestis militaribus, in quibus maxima pars
fabulosa est.

[19] Perhaps the most romantic lines in English are found in one of
Camillo’s speeches in _The Winter’s Tale_ (IV, 4):

        a wild dedication of yourselves
    To unpath’d waters, undream’d shores.

This “wild dedication” is, it should be noted, looked upon by Camillo
with disfavor.

[20] _Pepys’s Diary_, 13 June, 1666.

[21] Thomas Shadwell, Preface to the _Sullen Lovers_, 1668.

[22] _Spectator_, 142, by Steele.

[23] Pope, 2d Epistle, _Of the Character of Women_.

[24] Cf. _Revue d’hist. litt._, XVIII, 440. For the Early French
history of the word, see also the article _Romantique_ by A. François
in _Annales de la Soc. J.-J. Rousseau_, V, 199-236.

[25] First edition, 1698; second edition, 1732.

[26] Cf. his _Elégie à une dame_.

    Mon âme, imaginant, n’a point la patience
    De bien polir les vers et ranger la science.
    La règle me déplaît, j’écris confusément:
    Jamais un bon esprit ne fait rien qu’aisément.
    Je veux faire des vers qui ne soient pas contraints
    Chercher des lieux secrets où rein ne me déplaise,
    Méditer à loisir, rêver tout à mon aise,
    Employer toute une heure à me mirer dans l’eau,
    Ouïr, comme en songeant, la course d’un ruisseau.
    Ecrire dans un bois, m’interrompre, me taire,
    Composer un quatrain sans songer à le faire.

[27] _Caractères_, ch. V.

[28] His psychology of the memory and imagination is still
Aristotelian. Cf. E. Wallace, _Aristotle’s Psychology_, Intr.,

[29] _An Essay upon Poetry_ (1682).

[30] The French Academy discriminates in its _Sentiments sur le Cid_
between two types of probability, “ordinary” and “extraordinary.”
Probability in general is more especially reserved for action. In the
domain of action “ordinary” probability and decorum run very close
together. It is, for example, both indecorous and improbable that
Chimène in the _Cid_ should marry her father’s murderer.

[31] In his _Preface_ to Shakespeare.

[32] For a similar distinction in Aristotle see _Eth. Nic._, 1143 b.

[33] The Platonic and Aristotelian reason or mind (νοῦς) contains an
element of intuition.

[34] In his _Lettre à d’Alembert sur les spectacles_.

[35] _Rousseau contre Molière_, 238.

[36] _Letters on Chivalry and Romance._

[37] See verses prefixed to Congreve’s _Double-Dealer_.


    Change l’état douteux dans lequel tu nous ranges,
    Nature élève-nous à la clarté des anges,
    Ou nous abaisse au sens des simples animaux.

                                        _Sonnet_ (1657?).

[39] See, for example, A. Gerard’s _Essay on Genius_ (1774), _passim_.

[40] The English translation of this part of the _Critique of
Judgment_, edited by J. C. Meredith, is useful for its numerous
illustrative passages from these theorists (Young, Gerard, Duff, etc.).

[41] Mrs. Katharine Fullerton Gerould has dealt interestingly with this
point in an article in the _Unpopular Review_ (October, 1914) entitled
_Tabu and Temperament_.

[42] See _Biographia literaria_, ch. XXII.

[43] This message came to him in any case straight from German
romanticism. See Walzel, _Deutsche Romantik_, 22, 151.

[44] “De tous les corps et esprits, on n’en saurait tirer un
mouvement de vraie charité; cela est impossible, et d’un autre ordre,
surnaturel.” _Penseés_, Article XVII. “Charité,” one should recollect,
here has its traditional meaning--the love, not of man, but of God.

[45] See poem, _Ce siècle avait deux ans_ in the _Feuilles d’Automne_.

[46] For amusing details, see L. Maigron, _Le Romantisme et la mode_
(1911), ch. V.

[47] For Disraeli see Wilfrid Ward, _Men and Matters_, 54 ff. Of
Bulwer-Lytton at Nice about 1850 Princess von Racowitza writes
as follows in her _Autobiography_ (p. 46): “His fame was at its
zenith. He seemed to me antediluvian, with his long dyed curls and
his old-fashioned dress … with long coats reaching to the ankles,
knee-breeches, and long colored waistcoats. Also, he appeared always
with a young lady who adored him, and who was followed by a man
servant carrying a harp. She sat at his feet and appeared as he did
in the costume of 1830, with long flowing curls called _Anglaises_.
… In society, however, people ran after him tremendously, and spoilt
him in every possible way. He read aloud from his own works, and, in
especially poetic passages, his ‘Alice’ accompanied him with arpeggios
on the harp.”

[48] See essay by Kenyon Cox on _The Illusion of Progress_, in his
_Artist and Public_.

[49] See _Creative Criticism_ by J. E. Spingarn, and my article on
_Genius and Taste_, reviewing this book, in the _Nation_ (New York), 7
Feb., 1918.

[50] One should note here as elsewhere points of contact between
scientific and emotional naturalism. Take, for example, the educational
theory that has led to the setting up of the elective system. The
general human discipline embodied in the fixed curriculum is to be
discarded in order that the individual may be free to work along the
lines of his bent or “genius.” In a somewhat similar way scientific
naturalism encourages the individual to sacrifice the general human
discipline to a specialty.

[51] See his poem _L’Art_ in _Emaux et Camées_.


    Quel esprit ne bat la campagne?
    Qui ne fait châteaux en Espagne?
    Picrochole, Pyrrhus, la laitière, enfin tous,
      Autant les sages que les fous
    Chacun songe en veillant; il n’est rien de plus doux.
    Une flatteuse erreur emporte alors nos âmes;
      Tout le bien du monde est à nous,
      Tous les honneurs, toutes les femmes.
    Quand je suis seul, je fais au plus brave un défi,
    Je m’écarte, je vais détrôner le sophi;
      On m’élit roi, mon peuple m’aime;
    Les diadèmes vont sur ma tête pleuvant:
    Quelque accident fait-il que je rentre en moi-même,
      Je suis gros Jean comme devant.

[53] _Rasselas_, ch. XLIV.

[54] _Nouvelle Héloïse_, Pt. II, Lettre XVII.

[55] Rostand has hit off this change in the Balcony Scene of his
_Cyrano de Bergerac_.

[56] Essay on _Simple and Sentimental Poetry_.

[57] The life of Rousseau by Gerhard Gran is written from this point of


    The world’s great age begins anew,
      The golden years return, etc.

                           _Hellas_, vv. 1060 ff.

[59] For an excellent analysis of Shelley’s idealism see Leslie
Stephen’s _Godwin and Shelley_ in his _Hours in a Library_.

[60] _Letters_, II, 292.

[61] See his letter to Wordsworth, 30 January, 1801.

[62] _Dramatic Art and Literature_, ch. I.

[63] Cf. Voltaire: On ne peut désirer ce qu’on ne connaît pas.

[64] Cf. Sainte-Beuve, _Causeries du lundi_. XV, 371: “Le romantique
a la nostalgie, comme Hamlet; il cherche ce qu’il n’a pas, et jusque
par delà les nuages; il rêve, il vit dans les songes. Au dix-neuvième
siècle, il adore le moyen âge; au dix-huitième, il est déjà
révolutionnaire avec Rousseau,” etc. Cf. also T. Gautier as quoted in
the _Journal des Goncourt_, II, 51: “Nous ne sommes pas Français, nous
autres, nous tenons à d’autres races. Nous sommes pleins de nostalgies.
Et puis quand à la nostalgie d’un pays se joint la nostalgie d’un
temps … comme vous par exemple du dix-huitième siècle … comme moi de
la Venise de Casanova, avec embranchement sur Chypre, oh! alors, c’est

[65] See article _Goût_ in _Postscriptum de ma vie_.

[66] Schlegel’s _Dramatic Art and Literature_, Lecture XXII.

[67] For a discussion of this point see I. Rouge: _F. Schlegel et la
Genèse du romantisme allemand_, 48 ff.

[68] For a development of this point of view see the essay of Novalis:
_Christianity or Europe_.

[69] _Confessions_, Livre IX (1756).

[70] This is Goethe’s very classical definition of genius: Du nur,
Genius, mehrst in der Natur die Natur.

[71] Greek literature, after it had lost the secret of selection and
the grand manner, as was the case during the Alexandrian period, also
tended to oscillate from the pole of romance to the pole of so-called
realism--from the _Argonautica_ of Apollonius of Rhodes, let us say, to
the _Mimes_ of Herondas.

[72] _Emile_, Livre II.

[73] _Etudes de la nature._

[74] See, for example, _Tatler_, 17 November, 31 December, 1709 (by

[75] See her letter to Gustavus III, King of Sweden, cited in _Gustave
III et la cour de France_, II, 402, par A. Geffroy.

[76] See Hastings Rashdall: _Is Conscience an Emotion?_ (1914),
especially ch. I. Cf. _Nouvelle Héloïse_. (Pt. VI, Lettre VII):
“Saint-Preux fait de la conscience morale un sentiment, et non pas un

[77] _Nouvelle Héloïse_, Pt. V, Lettre II.

[78] _Ibid._

[79] _Ibid._, Pt. IV, Lettre XII.

[80] Schiller’s definition is well known: “A beautiful soul we call
a state where the moral sentiment has taken possession of all the
emotions to such a degree that it may unhesitatingly commit the
guidance of life to instinct,” etc. (_On Grace and Dignity._) Cf.
Madame de Staël: “La vertu devient alors une impulsion involontaire,
un mouvement qui passe dans le sang, et vous entraîne irrésistiblement
comme les passions les plus impérieuses.” (_De la Littérature: Discours

[81] _Avenir de la Science_, 354.

[82] _Ibid._, 179-180.

[83] _Avenir de la Science_, 476.

[84] Madame de Warens felt the influence of German pietism in her
youth. See _La Jeunesse de J.-J. Rousseau_ par E. Ritter; ch. XIII.

[85] _Lettre à M. Molé_ (21 October, 1803).

[86] _Le romantisme français_, 215.

[87] See _Les Amours de Milord Bomston_ at the end of _La Nouvelle

[88] _Sultan Mourad_ in _La Légende des Siècles_.

[89] _Correspondence_, III, 213 (June, 1791). The date of this letter
should be noted. Several of the worst terrorists of the French
Revolution began by introducing bills for the abolition of capital

[90] See Burton’s _Hume_, II, 309 (note 2).

This sentimental trait did not escape the authors of the _Anti-Jacobin_:

    Sweet child of sickly Fancy--Her of yore
    From her lov’d France Rousseau to exile bore;
    And while midst lakes and mountains wild he ran
    Full of himself and shunn’d the haunts of man,
    Taught her o’er each lone vale and Alpine steep
    To lisp the stories of his wrongs and weep;
    Taught her to cherish still in either eye
    Of tender tears a plentiful supply,
    And pour them in the brooks that babbled by--
    Taught her to mete by rule her feelings strong,
    False by degrees and delicately wrong,
    For the crush’d Beetle, _first_--the widow’d Dove,
    And all the warbled sorrows of the grove,
    _Next_ for poor suff’ring Guilt--and _last_ of all,
    For Parents, Friends, or King and Country’s fall.


    Shepherds, dwellers in the valleys, men
    Whom I already loved;--not verily
    For their own sakes, but for the fields and hills
    Where was their occupation and abode.



    Once more the Ass, with motion dull,
    Upon the pivot of his skull
    Turned round his long left ear.

“The bard who soars to elegize an ass” and the “laureate of the
long-eared kind” (_English Bards and Scotch Reviewers_) is, however,
not Wordsworth but Coleridge. See his poem _To a Young Ass, its mother
being tethered near it_.

[93] See the poem _Acte d’accusation_ in _Les Contemplations_.

[94] _Le Crapaud_ in _La Légende des Siècles_.

[95] See _Apology_ 31D.

[96] His _Language and Wisdom of the Hindus_ appeared in 1808.

[97] See _Jugendschriften_, ed. by J. Minor, II, 362.

[98] _Dhammapada._

[99] _Sutta-Nipāta_, v. 149 (_Metta-sutta_).

[100] _Second Dialogue._

[101] _Letters_, II, 298. For Ruskin and Rousseau see _Ibid._ I, 360:
“[Ruskin] said that great parts of _Les Confessions_ were so true to
himself that he felt as if Rousseau must have transmigrated into his

[102] “If a poet wishes an atmosphere of indistinct illusion and of
moving shadow, he must use the romantic style. … Women, such as we know
them, such as they are likely to be, ever prefer a delicate unreality
to a true or firm art.” Essay on _Pure, Ornate, and Grotesque Art in
English Poetry_ (1864).

[103] “Die Romanze auf einem Pferde” utters the following lines in the
Prologue to Tieck’s _Kaiser Octavianus_:

    Mondbeglänzte Zaubernacht,
    Die den Sinn gefangen hält,
    Wundervolle Märchenwelt
    Steig’ auf in der alten Pracht.

A special study might be made of the rôle of the moon in Chateaubriand
and Coleridge--even if one is not prepared like Carlyle to dismiss
Coleridge’s philosophy as “bottled moonshine.”

[104] O. Walzel points out that as soon as the women in H. von Kleist’s
plays become conscious they fall into error (_Deutsche Romantik_, 3.
Auflage, 147).

[105] Byron, _Sardanapalus_, IV, 5. Cf. Rousseau, _Neuvième Promenade_:
“Dominé par mes sens, quoi que je puisse faire, je n’ai jamais pu
résister à leurs impressions, et, tant que l’objet agit sur eux, mon
cœur ne cesse d’en être affecté.” Cf. also Musset, _Rolla_:

    Ce n’était pas Rolla qui gouvernait sa vie,
    C’étaient ses passions; il les laissait aller
    Comme un pâtre assoupi regarde l’eau couler.

[106] _Modern Painters_, Part V, ch. XX.

[107] _Confessions_, Pt. II, Livre IX (1756).


    With nature never do _they_ wage
    A foolish strife; they see
    A happy youth and their old age
    Is beautiful and free.

                         Wordsworth: _The Fountain_.

[109] The phrase imaginative insight is, I believe, true to the spirit
of Plato at his best, but it is certainly not true to his terminology.
Plato puts the imagination (φαντασία) not only below intuitive
reason (νοῦς) and discursive reason or understanding (διάνοια), but
even below outer perception (πίστις). He recognizes indeed that it
may reflect the operations of the understanding and even the higher
reason as well as the impressions of sense. This notion of a superior
intellectual imagination was carried much further by Plotinus and
the neo-Platonists. Even the intellectual imagination is, however,
conceived of as passive. Perhaps no Greek thinker, not even Plato,
makes as clear as he might that reason gets its intuition of reality
and the One with the aid of the imagination and, as it were, through
a veil of illusion, that, in Joubert’s phrase, “l’illusion est une
partie inté, grante de la réalité” (_Pensées_, Titre XI, XXXIX).
Joubert again distinguishes (_ibid._, Titre III, XLVII, LI) between
“l’imaginative” which is passive and “l’imagination” which is active
and creative (“l’œil de l’âme”). In its failure to bring out with
sufficient explicitness this _creative_ rôle of the imagination and in
the stubborn intellectualism that this failure implies is to be found,
if anywhere, the weak point in the cuirass of Greek philosophy.

[110] See Xenophon, _Memorabilia_, IV, 16, 3.

[111] Σωφροσύνη.

[112] See his _Lettre à d’Alembert_.

[113] _Varieties of Religious Experience_, 387.

[114] _Blütezeit der Romantik_, 126.

[115] “Parfaite illusion, réalité parfaite” (Alfred de Vigny). “Die
Welt wird Traum, der Traum wird Welt” (Novalis). “This sort of dreaming
existence is the best; he who quits it to go in search of realities
generally barters repose for repeated disappointments and vain regrets”

[116] _Lit. Ang._, IV, 130.

[117] About 1885.

[118] _Le Théâtre en France_, 304.


                  Je suis une force qui va!
    Agent aveugle et sourd de mystères funèbres.

[120] E.g., Lillo’s _Fatal Curiosity_ (1736) had a marked influence on
the rise of the German fate tragedy.


    Wo ist der, der sagen dürfe,
    So will ich’s, so sei’s gemacht,
    Unser Taten sind nur Würfe
    In des Zufalls blinde Nacht.

                            _Die Ahnfrau._

[122] “So that in the first place, I put for a general inclination of
all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of Power after power, that
ceaseth only in Death.” _Leviathan_, Part I, ch. XI.

[123] See _Unpopular Review_, October, 1915.

[124] E. Seillière has been tracing, in _Le Mal romantique_ and
other volumes, the relation between Rousseauism and what he terms an
“irrational imperialism.” His point of view is on the constructive side
very different from mine.

[125] The best account of Rousseau’s German influence is still that of
H. Hettner in his _Literaturgeschichte des 18. Jahrhunderts_. Compared
with Rousseau’s German influence, says Professor Paul Hensel in his
_Rousseau_ (1907), “his influence in France seems almost trifling.” In
Germany “Rousseau became the basis not of a guillotine but of a new
culture (Kultur). … We have drawn his spirit over to us, we have made
it our own.” (121.) See also Professor Eugen Kühnemann, _Vom Weltreich
des deutschen Geistes_ (1914), 54-62, and _passim_. German idealism is,
according to Kühnemann, the monument that does the greatest honor to


    A robin redbreast in a cage
    Puts all Heaven in a rage.
    He who shall hurt the little wren
    Shall never be belov’d by men.
    He who the ox to wrath has mov’d
    Shall never be by woman lov’d.
    Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
    For the Last Judgment draweth nigh.

                            _Auguries of Innocence._

[127] See _Hart-Leap Well_.

[128] _Beyond Good and Evil_, ch. IV.

[129] “Out into distant futures, which no dream hath yet seen, into
warmer souths than ever sculptor conceived. … Let this love be your new
nobility,--the undiscovered in the remotest seas,” etc. (_Thus Spake
Zarathustra_, translated by Thomas Common, 240, 248.)

[130] “On trouverait, en rétablissant les anneaux intermédiaires de
la chaîne, qu’à Pascal se rattachent les doctrines modernes qui font
passer en première ligne la connaissance immédiate, l’intuition, la vie
intérieure, comme à Descartes … se rattachent plus particulièrement les
philosophies de la raison pure.” _La Science française_ (1915), I, 17.

[131] Cf. Tennyson:

        Fantastic beauty, such as lurks
        In some wild poet when he works
    Without a conscience or an aim--

[132] Addison writes:

    ’Twas then great Marlbro’s mighty soul was proved,
    That, in the shock of changing hosts unmoved,
    Amidst confusion, horror, and despair,
    Examin’d all the dreadful scenes of war;
    In peaceful thought the field of death survey’d.

So far as Marlborough deserved this praise he was a general in the
grand manner.

[133] “Beauty resides in due proportion and order,” says Aristotle
(_Poetics_, ch. VII).

[134] _A Survey of English Literature, 1780-1830_ (1912), II, 191.

[135] Confucius and the Chinese sages were if anything even more
concerned than Plato or Aristotle with the ethical quality of music.

[136] Like Bishop Blougram’s his “interest’s on the dangerous edge of


    Does he take inspiration from the church,
    Directly make her rule his law of life?
    Not he: his own mere impulse guides the man.
    Such is, for the Augustine that was once,
    This Canon Caponsacchi we see now.

                                     X, 1911-28.

[138] See X, 1367-68.

[139] Letter to Joseph d’Ortigue, January 19, 1833.

[140] Here is an extreme example from Maigron’s manuscript collection
(_Le Romantisme et les mœurs_, 153). A youth forced to be absent
three weeks from the woman he loves writes to her as follows: “Trois
semaines, mon amour, trois semaines loin de toi! … Oh! Dieu m’a maudit!
… Hier j’ai erré toute l’après-midi comme une bête fauve, une bête
traquée. … Dans la forêt, j’ai hurlé, hurlé comme un démon … je me suis
roulé par terre … j’ai broyé sous mes dents des branches que mes mains
avaient arrachées. … Alors, de rage, j’ai pris ma main entre mes dents;
j’ai serré, serré convulsivement; le sang a jailli et j’ai craché au
ciel le morceau de chair vive … j’aurais voulu lui cracher mon cœur.”

[141] Maxime Du Camp asserts in his _Souvenirs littéraires_ (I, 118)
that this anæmia was due in part to the copious blood-letting to which
the physicians of the time, disciples of Broussais, were addicted.

[142] This perversion was not unknown to classical antiquity. Cf.
Seneca, _To Lucilius_, XCIX: “Quid turpius quam captare in ipso luctu
voluptatem; et inter lacrymas quoque, quod juvet, quærere?”

[143] _Nouvelle Héloïse_, Pt. III, Lettre VI.

[144] _Confessions_, Livre IV.

[145] _The New Laokoon_, ch. V.

[146] _Franciscae meæ laudes_, in _Les Fleurs du mal_.

[147] _Architecture and Painting_, Lecture II. This diatribe may have
been suggested by Byron’s _Don Juan_, Canto XIII, IX-XI:

    Cervantes smiled Spain’s chivalry away:
    A single laugh demolished the right arm
    Of his own country, etc.

[148] “Nondum amabam, et amare amabam, quærebam quid amarem, amans

[149] Cf. Shelley’s _Alastor_:

                              Two eyes,
    Two starry eyes, hung in the gloom of thought
    And seemed with their serene and azure smiles
    To beckon.

[150] “Some of us have in a prior existence been in love with an
Antigone, and that makes us find no full content in any mortal tie.”
Shelley to John Gisborne, October 22, 1821.

[151] _Confessions_, Livre XI (1761).

[152] _Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe_, November, 1817.

[153] “Je me faisais une félicité de réaliser avec ma sylphide mes
courses fantastiques dans les forêts du Nouveau Monde.”

_Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe_, December, 1821.

[154] Peacock has in mind _Childe Harold_, canto IV, CXXI ff.

[155] Rousseau plans to make a nympholept of his ideal pupil, Emile:
“Il faut que je sois le plus maladroit des hommes si je ne le rends
d’avance passionné sans savoir de quoi”, etc. _Emile_, Liv. IV.

[156] Cf. René’s letter to Céluta in _Les Natchez_: “Je vous ai tenue
sur ma poitrine au milieu du désert, dans les vents de l’orage,
lorsque, après vous avoir portée de l’autre côté d’un torrent, j’aurais
voulu vous poignarder pour fixer le bonheur dans votre sein, et pour me
punir de vous avoir donné ce bonheur.”

[157] The romantic lover, it should be observed, creates his dream
companion even less that he may adore her than that she may adore him.

[158] Walter Bagehot has made an interesting study of the romantic
imagination in his essay on a figure who reminds one in some respects
of Gérard de Nerval--Hartley Coleridge.

[159] Don Juan bids his servant give a coin to the beggar not for the
love of God but for the love of humanity.


    Demandant aux forêts, à la mer, à la plaine,
    Aux brises du matin, à toute heure, à tout lieu,
    La femme de son âme et de son premier voeu!
    Prenant pour fiancée un rêve, une ombre vaine,
    Et fouillant dans le cœur d’une hécatombe humaine,
    Prêtre désespéré, pour y trouver son Dieu.

                               A. de Musset, _Namouna_.

“Don Juan avait en lui cet amour pour la femme idéale; il a couru le
monde serrant et brisant de dépit dans ses bras toutes les imparfaites
images qu’il croyait un moment aimer; et il est mort épuisé de fatigue,
consumé de son insatiable amour.” Prévost-Paradol, _Lettres_, 149.

[161] See Scott’s (2d) edition of Swift, XIII, 310.


    Aimer c’est le grand point. Qu’importe la maîtresse?
    Qu’importe le flacon pourvu qu’on ait l’ivresse?

[163] It has been said that in the novels of George Sand when a lady
wishes to change her lover God is always there to facilitate the

[164] “Tous les hommes sont menteurs, inconstants, faux, bavards,
hypocrites, orgueilleux ou lâches, méprisables et sensuels; toutes
les femmes sont perfides, artificieuses, vaniteuses, curieuses et
dépravées; le monde n’est qu’un égout sans fond où les phoques les
plus informes rampent et se tordent sur des montagnes de fange; mais
il y a au monde une chose sainte et sublime, c’est l’union de deux de
ces êtres si imparfaits et si affreux. On est souvent trompé en amour;
souvent blessé et souvent malheureux; mais on aime et quand on est sur
le bord de sa tombe, on se retourne pour regarder en arrière, et on se
dit: J’ai souffert souvent, je me suis trompé quelquefois, mais j’ai
aimé. C’est moi qui ai vécu, et non pas un être factice créé par mon
orgueil et mon ennui.” (The last sentence is taken from a letter of
George Sand to Musset.) _On ne badine pas avec l’Amour_, II, 5.

[165] _Table-Talk. On the Past and Future._

[166] _The Plain Speaker. On Reading Old Books._

[167] _The Round Table. On the Character of Rousseau._

[168] “Aujourd’hui, jour de Pâques fleuries, il y a précisément
cinquante ans de ma première connaissance avec Madame de Warens.”

[169] Even on his death-bed the hero of Browning’s _Confessions_ gives
himself up to impassionated recollection:

    How sad and bad and mad it was--
    But then, how it was sweet.

In his _Stances à Madame Lullin_ Voltaire is at least as poetical and
nearer to normal experience:

    Quel mortel s’est jamais flatté
    D’un rendez-vous à l’agonie?

[170] See especially _Lyceum fragment_, no. 108.

[171] A well-known example of the extreme to which the romanticists
pushed their Fichtean solipsism is the following from the _William
Lovell_ of the youthful Tieck: “Having gladly escaped from anxious
fetters, I now advance boldly through life, absolved from those irksome
duties which were the inventions of cowardly fools. Virtue is, only
because I am; it is but a reflection of my inner self. What care I for
forms whose dim lustre I have myself brought forth? Let vice and virtue
wed. They are only shadows in the mist,” etc.

[172] _Beyond Good and Evil_, ch. IV.

[173] _On Contemporary Literature_, 206. The whole passage is excellent.

[174] M. Legouis makes a similar remark in the _Cambridge History of
English Literature_ XI, 108.

[175] I scarcely need say that Wordsworth is at times genuinely
ethical, but he is even more frequently only didactic. The _Excursion_,
as M. Legouis says, is a “long sermon against pessimism.”

[176] “Quia fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum, donec
requiescat in te.”

[177] _Eth. Nic._, 1177 b.

[178] Cf. the chapter on _William Law and the Mystics_ in _Cambridge
History of English Literature_, IX, 341-67; also the bibliography of
Boehme, _ibid._, 560-74.

[179] See _Excursion_, I, VV. 943 ff.

[180] In his attitude towards sin Novalis continues Rousseau and
anticipates the main positions of the Christian Scientist.


    Prune thou thy words,
      The thoughts control
    That o’er thee swell and throng.
      They will condense within the soul
    And change to purpose strong.
    But he who lets his feelings run
      In soft, luxurious flow,
    Shrinks when hard service must be done
      And faints at every foe.

[182] Wesley had no liking for Boehme and cut out from Brooke’s book
the theosophy that had this origin.

[183] Writing was often associated with magic formulæ. Hence γράμμα
also gave Fr. “grimoire.”

[184] _Thus Spake Zarathustra_, LXIX (The Shadow to Zarathustra).

[185] _Katha-Upanishad._ The passage is paraphrased as follows by P. E.
More in his _Century of Indian Epigrams_:

      Seated within this body’s car
      The silent Self is driven afar,
      And the five senses at the pole
    Like steeds are tugging restive of control.

      And if the driver lose his way,
      Or the reins sunder, who can say
      In what blind paths, what pits of fear
    Will plunge the chargers in their mad career?

      Drive well, O mind, use all thy art,
      Thou charioteer!--O feeling Heart,
      Be thou a bridle firm and strong!
    For the Lord rideth and the way is long.

[186] See Brandes: _The Romantic School in Germany_, ch. XI.

[187] Alfred de Musset saw his double in the stress of his affair with
George Sand (see _Nuit de Décembre_), Jean Valjean (_Les Misérables_)
sees his double in the stress of his conversion. Peter Bell also sees
his double at the emotional crisis in Wordsworth’s poem of that name.

[188] _Thus Spake Zarathustra_, LXIX.

[189] F. Schlegel: _Lyceumfragment_, no. 42.

[190] E.g., canto III, CVII-CXI.

[191] _Confessions_, Livre XII (1765).

[192] Cf. Th. Gomperz, _Greek Thinkers_, I, 402.

[193] Wordsworth: _Miscellaneous Sonnets_, XII.

[194] In much the same spirit the Japanese hermit, Kamo Chōmei
(thirteenth century), expresses the fear that he may forget Buddha
because of his fondness for the mountains and the moon.--See article on
nature in Japan by M. Revon in _Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics_.

[195] _Confessions_, Bk. X, ch. IX.

[196] Cf. Cicero: “Urbem, urbem, mi Rufe, cole et in ista luce vive.”
(_Ad Fam._, II, 22.)

[197] March 23, 1646.

[198] It was especially easy for the poets to go for their landscapes
to the painters because according to the current theory poetry was
itself a form of painting (_ut pictura poesis_). Thus Thomson writes in
_The Castle of Indolence_:

      Sometimes the pencil, in cool airy halls,
      Bade the gay bloom of vernal landskips rise,
      Or autumn’s varied shades embrown the walls:
      Now the black tempest strikes the astonish’d eyes;
      Now down the steep the flashing torrent flies;
      The trembling sun now plays o’er ocean blue,
      And now rude mountains frown amid the skies;
      Whate’er _Lorrain_ light touch’d with softening hue,
    Or savage _Rosa_ dash’d, or learned _Poussin_ drew.

                                          (C. I, st. 38.)


      Disparaissez, monuments du génie,
    Pares, jardins immortels, que Le Nôtre a plantés;
    De vos dehors pompeux l’exacte symmétrie,
    Etonne vainement mes regards attristés.
      J’aime bien mieux ce désordre bizarre,
    Et la variété de ces riches tableaux
    Que disperse l’Anglais d’une main moins avare.

Bertin, 19e Elégie of _Les Amours_.

[200] Pt. IV, Lettre XI.

[201] _Nouvelle Héloïse_, Pt. IV, Lettre XI.

[202] _Ibid._

[203] _Ibid._, Pt. IV, Lettre XVII.

[204] _Confessions_, Livre V (1732).

[205] See especially _Childe Harold_, canto II, XXV ff.

[206] _Ibid._, canto II, XXXVII.

[207] _Ibid._, canto III, LXXII.

[208] _Ibid._, canto IV, CLXXVII.

[209] See _La Perception du changement_, 30.

[210] ASIA

      My soul is an enchanted boat,
      Which like a sleeping swan, doth float
    Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;
      And thine doth like an angel sit
      Beside a helm conducting it,
    Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.
      It seems to float ever, for ever
      Upon that many-winding river,
      Between mountains, woods, abysses,
      A paradise of wildernesses!
      Meanwhile thy spirit lifts its pinions
      In music’s most serene dominions;
    Catching the winds that fan that happy heaven.
      And we sail on away, afar,
      Without a course, without a star,
      But by the instinct of sweet music driven;
      Till through Elysian garden islets
      By thee, most beautiful of pilots,
      Where never mortal pinnace glided
      The boat of my desire is guided;
      Realms where the air we breathe is love--

                       _Prometheus Unbound_, Act II, Sc. V.

[211] “Si tu souffres plus qu’un autre des choses de la vie, il ne faut
pas t’en étonner; une grande âme doit contenir plus de douleurs qu’une

[212] Cf. Shelley, _Julian and Maddalo_:

                        I love all waste
    And solitary places; where we taste
    The pleasure of believing what we see
    Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be.

[213] Cf. for example, the passage of Rousseau in the seventh
_Promenade_ (“Je sens des extases, des ravissements inexprimables à
me fondre pour ainsi dire dans le système des êtres,” etc.) with the
revery described by Wordsworth in _The Excursion_, I, 200-218.

[214] O belles, craignez le fond des bois, et leur vaste silence.

[215] _Faust_ (Miss Swanwick’s translation).

[216] _Artist and Public_, 134 ff.


    Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
    What if my leaves are falling like its own!
    The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

    Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
    Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
    My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
    Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
    Like withered leaves, etc.

Cf. Lamartine:

    Quand la feuille des bois tombe dans la prairie,
    Le vent du soir s’élève et l’arrache aux vallons;
    Et moi, je suis semblable à la feuille flétrie;
    Emportez-moi comme elle, orageux aquilons.


[218] Cf. Hettner, _Romantische Schule_, 156.

[219] See appendix on Chinese primitivism.

[220] G. Duval has written a _Dictionnaire des métaphores de Victor
Hugo_, and G. Lucchetti a work on _Les Images dans les œuvres de Victor
Hugo_. So far as the ethical values are concerned, the latter title is
alone justified. Hugo is, next to Chateaubriand, the great imagist.

[221] The French like to think of the symbolists as having rendered
certain services to their versification. Let us hope that they did,
though few things are more perilous than this transfer of the idea of
progress to the literary and artistic domain. Decadent Rome, as we
learn from the younger Pliny and others, simply swarmed with poets who
also no doubt indulged in many strange experiments. All this poetical
activity, as we can see only too plainly at this distance, led nowhere.

[222] Grant Allen writes of the laws of nature in _Magdalen Tower_:

    They care not any whit for pain or pleasure,
    That seems to us the sum and end of all,
    Dumb force and barren number are their measure,
    What shall be shall be, tho’ the great earth fall,
    They take no heed of man or man’s deserving,
    Reck not what happy lives they make or mar,
    Work out their fatal will unswerv’d, unswerving,
    And know not that they are!

[223] Fragment de l’_Art de jouir_, quoted by P.-M. Masson in _La
Religion de J.-J. Rousseau_, II, 228.

[224] If nature merely reflects back to a man his own image, it follows
that Coleridge’s celebrated distinction between fancy and imagination
has little value, inasmuch as he rests his proof of the unifying
power of the imagination, in itself a sound idea, on the union the
imagination effects between man and outer nature--and this union is on
his own showing fanciful.

[225] If I had had this consecration Wordsworth says, addressing Peele

    I would have planted thee, thou hoary Pile,
    Amid a world how different from this!
    Beside a sea that could not cease to smile;
    On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss.
    A Picture had it been of lasting ease,
    _Elysian quiet, without toil or strife_, etc.

_Elegiac Stanzas suggested by a picture of Peele Castle in a storm._

[226] Cf. Doudan, _Lettres_, IV, 216: “J’ai parcouru le _Saint-Paul_
de Renan. Je n’ai jamais vu dans un théologien une si grande
connaissance de la flore orientale. C’est un paysagiste bien supérieur
à Saint-Augustin et à Bossuet. Il sème des résédas, des anémones, des
pâquerettes pour recueillir l’incrédulité.”

[227] In his _Mal romantique_ (1908) E. Seillière labels the
generations that have elapsed since the rise of Rousseauism as follows:

    1. Sensibility (_Nouvelle Héloïse_, 1761).

    2. Weltschmerz (Schiller’s _Æsthetic Letters_, 1795).

    3. Mal du siècle (Hugo’s _Hernani_, 1830).

    4. Pessimism (vogue of Schopenhauer and Stendhal, 1865).

    5. Neurasthenia (culmination of _fin de siècle_ movement, 1900).

[228] _Eckermann_, September 24, 1827.

[229] See _La Nuit de Mai_.

[230] These lines are inscribed on the statue of Musset in front of the
Théâtre Français. Cf. Shelley:

    Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

[231] Translation by J. E. Sandys of fragment cited in Stobæus, _Flor._

[232] _Pythian Odes_, III, 20 ff.

[233] _Pythian Odes_, III, 81-82.

[234] _Song of the Banjo_, in the _Seven Seas_.

[235] XVII, 446-47.

[236] A brief survey of melancholy among the Greeks will be found in
Professor S. H. Butcher’s _Some Aspects of the Greek Genius_.

[237] The exasperated quest of novelty is one of the main traits
both of the ancient and the modern victim of ennui. See Seneca, _De
Tranquillitate animi_: “Fastidio illis esse cœpit vita, et ipse mundus;
et subit illud rabidorum deliciarum: quousque eadem?” (Cf. La Fontaine:
Il me faut du nouveau, n’en fût-il plus au monde.)

[238] “A quoi bon m’avoir fait naître avec des facultés exquises pour
les laisser jusqu’à la fin sans emploi? Le sentiment de mon prix
interne en me donnant celui de cette injustice m’en dédommageait en
quelque sorte, et me faisait verser des larmes que j’aimais a laisser
couler.” _Confessions._ Livre IX (1756).

[239] _Nouvelle Héloise_, Pt. VI, Lettre VIII.

[240] “Encore enfant par la tête, vous êtes déjà vieux par le cœur.”

[241] See the examples quoted in Arnold: _Essays in Criticism_, Second
Series, 305-06.

[242] This is the thought of Keats’s _Ode to Melancholy_:

    Ay, in the very temple of Delight
      Veil’d Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
    Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
      Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine.

Cf. Chateaubriand: _Essai sur les Révolutions_, Pt. II, ch. LVIII: “Ces
jouissances sont trop poignantes: telle est notre faiblesse, que les
plaisirs exquis deviennent des douleurs,” etc.

[243] See his sonnet _Les Montreurs_. This type of Rousseauist is
anticipated by “Milord” Bomston in _La Nouvelle Héloïse_. Rousseau
directed the engraver to depict him with “un maintien grave et stoïque
sous lequel il cache avec peine une extrême sensibilité.”

[244] “Qui es-tu? À coup sûr tu n’es pas un être pétri du même limon et
animé de la même vie que nous! Tu es un ange ou un démon mais tu n’es
pas une créature humaine. … Pourquoi habiter parmi nous, qui ne pouvons
te suffire ni te comprendre?” G. Sand, _Lélia_, I, 11.

[245] See p. 51.

[246] See _Lara_, XVIII, XIX, perhaps the best passage that can be
quoted for the Byronic hero.

[247] Cf. Gautier, _Histoire du romantisme_: “Il était de mode
alors dans l’école romantique d’être pâle, livide, verdâtre, un peu
cadavéreux, s’il était possible. Cela donnait l’air fatal, byronien,
giaour, dévoré par les passions et les remords.”

[248] Hugo, _Hernani_.


    Lorsque, par un décret des puissances suprêmes,
    Le Poète apparaît dans ce monde ennuyé,
    Sa mère épouvantée et pleine de blasphèmes
    Crispe ses poings vers Dieu, qui la prend en pitié.

                               _Fleurs du mal: Bénédiction._

Cf. _Nouvelle Héloïse_, Pt. III, Lettre XXVI:

“Ciel inexorable! … O ma mère, pourquoi vous donna-t-il un fils dans sa

[250] Coleridge has a side that relates him to the author of _Les
Fleurs du mal_. In his _Pains of Sleep_ he describes a dream in which
he felt

    Desire with loathing strangely mix’d,
    _On wild or hateful objects fix’d_.

[251] Keats according to Shelley was an example of the _poète maudit_.
“The poor fellow” he says “was literally hooted from the stage of
life.” Keats was as a matter of fact too sturdy to be snuffed out by an
article and had less of the quivering Rousseauistic sensibility than
Shelley himself. Cf. letter of Shelley to Mrs. Shelley (Aug. 7, 1820):
“Imagine my despair of good, imagine how it is possible that one of
so weak and sensitive a nature as mine can run further the gauntlet
through this hellish society of men.”

[252] Euripides speaks of the Χάρις γόων in his Ἱκέτιδες (Latin,
“dolendi voluptas”; German, “die Wonne der Wehmut”).

[253] Chesterton is anticipated in this paradox by Wordsworth:

    In youth we love the darksome lawn
    Brushed by the owlet’s wing.
    Then Twilight is preferred to Dawn
    And autumn to the spring.
    Sad fancies do we then affect
    In luxury of disrespect
    To our own prodigal excess
    Of too familiar happiness.

                    _Ode to Lycoris._

[254] _Souvenirs d’enfance et de jeunesse_, 329-30.

[255] “[Villiers] était de cette famille des néo-catholiques
littéraires dont Chateaubriand est le père commun, et qui a produit
Barbey d’Aurevilly, Baudelaire et plus récemment M. Joséphin Peladan.
Ceux-là ont goûté par-dessus tout dans la religion les charmes du
péché, la grandeur du sacrilège, et leur sensualisme a caressé les
dogmes qui ajoutaient aux voluptés la suprême volupté de se perdre.” A.
France, _Vie Littéraire_, III, 121.

[256] _Première Promenade._

[257] _Ibid._

[258] E.g., Hölderlin and Jean Polonius.

[259] A striking passage on solitude will be found in the _Laws of
Manu_, IV, 240-42. (“Alone a being is born: alone he goes down to
death.” His kin forsake him at the grave; his only hope then is in the
companionship of the Law of righteousness [Dharma]. “With the Law as
his companion he crosses the darkness difficult to cross.”)

[260] “Be good and you will be lonely.”

[261] In the poem by the Swiss poet C. Didier from which Longfellow’s
poem seems to be derived, the youth who persists in scaling the heights
in spite of all warnings is Byron!

    Et Byron … disparaît aux yeux du pâtre épouvanté.

(See E. Estève, _Byron en France_, 147).

[262] In the _Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe_ Chateaubriand quotes from the
jottings of Napoleon on the island of Elba. “Mon cœur se refuse aux
joies communes comme à la douleur ordinaire.” He says of Napoleon
elsewhere in the same work: “Au fond il ne tenait à rien: homme
solitaire, il se suffisait; le malheur ne fit que le rendre au désert
de sa vie.”

[263] The solitude of the “genius” is already marked in Blake:

    O! why was I born with a different face?
    Why was I not born like the rest of my race?
    When I look, each one starts; when I speak, I offend;
    Then I’m silent and passive and lose every friend.

[264] Froude’s _Carlyle_, II, 377.

[265] No finer lines on solitude are found in English than those in
which Wordsworth relates how from his room at Cambridge he could look
out on

    The antechapel where the statue stood
    Of Newton with his prism and silent face,
    The marble index of a mind for ever
    Voyaging through strange seas of thought alone.

                             (_Prelude_ III, 61-63.)

Cf. also the line in the Sonnet on Milton:

    His soul was like a star and dwelt apart.

[266] _Eth. Nic._, 1109 b.

[267] James Thomson in _The City of Dreadful Night_ says that he would
have entered hell

            gratified to gain
    That positive eternity of pain
    Instead of this insufferable inane.

[268] R. Canat has taken this phrase as the title of his treatment of
the subject: _La Solitude morale dans le mouvement romantique_.

[269] Decadent Rome had the equivalent of Des Esseintes. Seneca (_To
Lucilius_, CXXII) speaks of those who seek to affirm their originality
and attract attention to themselves by doing everything differently
from other people and, “ut ita dicam, _retro vivunt_.”

[270] Tennyson has traced this change of the æsthetic dream into a
nightmare in his _Palace of Art_.

[271] _Contemporains_, I, 332.

[272] _Génie du Christianisme_, Pt. II, Livre III, ch. IX.


    L’orage est dans ma voix, l’éclair est sur ma bouche;
    Aussi, loin de m’aimer, voilà qu’ils tremblent tous,
    Et quand j’ouvre les bras, on tombe à mes genoux.


    Que vous ai-je donc fait pour être votre élu?
    Hélas! je suis, Seigneur, puissant et solitaire,
    Laissez-moi m’endormir du sommeil de la terre!


    Le juste opposera le dédain à l’absence
    Et ne répondra plus que par un froid silence
    Au silence éternel de la Divinité.

[276] See Sainte-Beuve’s poetical epistle _A. M. Villemain_ (_Pensées
d’Août 1837_).

[277] See _Masters of Modern French Criticism_, 233, 238.

[278] Wordsworth writes

      A piteous lot it were to flee from man
    Yet not rejoice in Nature.

                       (_Excursion_, IV, 514.)

This lot was Vigny’s:

    Ne me laisse jamais seul avec la Nature
    Car je la connais trop pour n’en avoir pas peur.

[279] Madame Dorval.

[280] _La Maison du Berger._ Note that in Wordsworth the “still sad
music of humanity” is very closely associated with nature.

[281] _La Bouteille à la Mer._

[282] See Book IX of the _Nicomachean Ethics_.

[283] “All salutary conditions have their root in strenuousness”
(appamāda), says Buddha.

[284] See _Masters of Modern French Criticism_, Essay on Taine,
_passim_. Paul Bourget in his _Essais de Psychologie contemporaine_ (2
vols.) has followed out during this period the survivals of the older
romantic melancholy and their reinforcement by scientific determinism.

[285] “Le pauvre M. Arago, revenant un jour de l’Hôtel de Ville en 1848
après une épouvantable émeute, disait tristement à l’un de ses aides
de camp au ministère de la marine: ‘En vérité ces gens-là ne sont pas
raisonnables.’” Doudan, _Lettres_, IV, 338.

[286] See Preface (pp. viii-ix) to his _Souvenirs d’enfance et de
jeunesse_ and my comment in _The New Laokoon_, 207-08.

[287] Most of the political implications of the point of view I am
developing I am reserving for a volume I have in preparation to be
entitled _Democracy and Imperialism_. Some of my conclusions will be
found in two articles in the (New York) _Nation: The Breakdown of
Internationalism_ (June 17 and 24, 1915), and _The Political Influence
of Rousseau_ (Jan. 18, 1917).

[288] _Reden an die deutsche Nation_, XII.

[289] I should perhaps allow for the happiness that may be experienced
in moments of supernormal consciousness--something quite distinct from
emotional or other intoxication. Fairly consistent testimony as to
moments of this kind is found in the records of the past from the early
Buddhists down to Tennyson.

[290] I scarcely need say that I am speaking of the man of science only
in so far as he is purely naturalistic in his point of view. There may
enter into the total personality of Edison or any particular man of
science other and very different elements.

[291] M. René Berthelot has written a book on pragmatism and similar
tendencies in contemporary philosophy entitled _Un Romantisme
utilitaire_. I have not read it but the title alone is worth more than
most books on the subject I have read.

[292] _Dedication of the Æneis_ (1697).

[293] _Adventure of one Hans Pfaal._

[294] His attempt to rewrite _Hyperion_ from a humanitarian point of
view is a dismal failure.

[295] There is also a strong idyllic element in _Paradise Lost_ as
Rousseau (_Emile_, V) and Schiller (_Essay on Naïve and Sentimental
Poetry_) were among the first to point out. Critics may be found even
to-day who, like Tennyson, prefer the passages which show a richly
pastoral imagination to the passages where the ethical imagination
is required but where it does not seem to prevail sufficiently over

[296] XII, 74.

[297] _Three Philosophical Poets_, 188.

[298] After telling of the days when “il n’y avait pour moi ni passé
ni avenir et je goûtais à la fois les délices de mille siècles,”
Saint-Preux concludes: “Hélas! vous avez disparu comme un éclair. Cette
éternité de bonheur ne fut qu’un instant de ma vie. Le temps a repris
sa lenteur dans les moments de mon désespoir, et l’ennui mesure par
longues années le reste infortuné de mes jours” (_Nouvelle Héloïse_,
Pt. III, Lettre VI).

[299] The Church, so far as it has become humanitarian, has itself
succumbed to naturalism.

[300] _Sutta of the Great Decease._

[301] If a man recognizes the supreme rôle of fiction or illusion in
life while proceeding in other respects on Kantian principles, he
will reach results similar to the “As-if Philosophy” (_Philosophie
des Als Ob_) of Vaihinger, a leading authority on Kant and co-editor
of the _Kantstudien_. This work, though not published until 1911, was
composed, the author tells us in his preface, as early as 1875-78. It
will be found to anticipate very strikingly pragmatism and various
other isms in which philosophy has been proclaiming so loudly of late
its own bankruptcy.

[302] “C’est en vain qu’on voudrait assigner à la vie un but, au sens
humain du mot.” _L’Evolution créatrice_, 55.

[303] _Metaphysics_, 1078 b.

[304] In the beginning was the Word! To seek to substitute, like Faust,
the Deed for the Word is to throw discrimination to the winds. The
failure to discriminate as to the _quality_ of the deed is responsible
for the central sophistry of _Faust_ (see p. 331) and perhaps of our
modern life in general.

[305] “J’adore la liberté; j’abhorre la gêne, la peine,
l’assujettissement.” _Confessions_, Livre I.

[306] _Analects_, XI, CXI. Cf. _ibid._, VI, CXX: “To give one’s self
earnestly to the duties due to men, and while respecting spiritual
beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom.” Much that has
passed current as religion in all ages has made its chief appeal, not
to awe but to wonder; and like many humanists Confucius was somewhat
indifferent to the marvellous. “The subjects on which the Master did
not talk were: extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder and
spiritual beings” (_ibid._, VII, CXX).

[307] One of the last Chinese, I am told, to measure up to the
Confucian standard was Tsêng Kuo-fan (1811-1872) who issued forth
from poverty, trained a peasant soldiery and, more than any other one
person, put down the Taiping Rebellion.

[308] See J. Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire’s Introduction to his translation
of the _Nicomachean Ethics_, p. cxlix.

[309] _Eth. Nic._, 1122-25.

[310] I have in mind such passages as _P._, VIII, 76-78, 92-96; _N._,
VI, 1-4; _N._, XI, 13-16.

[311] “II n’y eut jamais pour moi d’intermédiaire entre tout et rien.”
_Confessions_, Livre VII.

[312] Some wag, it will be remembered, suggested as an alternative
title for this work: _Wild Religions I have known_.

[313] _Letters_, II, 298; cf. _ibid._, 291: “I have never known a life
less wisely controlled or less helped by the wisdom of others than his.
The whole retrospect of it is pathetic; waste, confusion, ruin of one
of the most gifted and sweetest natures the world ever knew.”

[314] _Nic. Eth._, 1145 b. The opposition between Socrates or Plato
and Aristotle, when put thus baldly, is a bit misleading. Socrates
emphasized the importance of practice (μελέτη) in the acquisition of
virtue, and Plato has made much of habit in the _Laws_.

[315] _Analects_, II, CIV.

[316] This belief the Oriental has embodied in the doctrine of Karma.

[317] “La seule habitude qu’on doit laisser prendre à l’enfant est de
n’en contractor aucune.” _Emile_, Livre I.

[318] Emile was to be trained to be a cabinet-maker.

[319] _Eth. Nic._, 1172 b.

[320] _Doctrine of the Mean_ (c. XXXIII, v. 2).

[321] See his poem _Ibo_ in _Les Contemplations_.

[322] La. 55, p. 51. (In my references La. stands for Lao-tzŭ, Li. for
Lieh-tzŭ, Ch. for Chuang-tzŭ. The first number gives the chapter; the
second number the page in Wieger’s edition.)

[323] Ch. 22 C, p. 391.

[324] Ch. 12 n, p. 305.

[325] Ch. 11 D, p. 291. Ibid. 15, p. 331. See also Li. 31, p. 113.

[326] Ch. 19 B, p. 357.

[327] Ch. 19 L, p. 365.

[328] Ch. 10, pp. 279-80.

[329] Ch. 9, pp. 274-75.

[330] Ch. 29, pp. 467 ff.

[331] Ch. 2, p. 223.

[332] La. 27, p. 37.

[333] Ch. 8 A, p. 271.

[334] Li. 5, p. 143.

[335] Ch. 14 C, p. 321.

[336] For an extreme form of Epicureanism see the ideas of Yang-chu,
Li. 7, pp. 165 ff. For stoical apathy see Ch. 6 C., p. 253. For fate
see Li. 6, p. 165, Ch. 6 K, p. 263.

[337] Ch. 33, pp. 499 ff.

[338] Ch. 33 C, p. 503.

[339] Bk. III, Part 2, ch. 9.

[340] Li. 3, p. 111. Ch. 24, pp. 225-27.

[341] Ch. 6 E, p. 255.

[342] See _The Religion of the Samurai: a Study of Zen Philosophy_
(1913) by Kaiten Nukariya (himself a Zenist), p. 23.


    Abelard, 238.

    Addison, 12, 35, 37, 38, 202 _n._

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    Ajax, 144.

    Allen, Grant, 299 _n._

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    Angélique, Mother, 123.

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    Aquinas, St. Thomas, 101, 112.

    Arago, 244 _n._

    Ariosto, 264.

    Aristophanes, 181, 243, 285.

    Aristotle, xv _n._, xix, xxi, xxii, 4, 12 _n._, 15-19, 24, 28
    _n._, 29, 33, 47, 148, 166, 171, 173, 202, 205 _n._, 211, 222,
    237, 253, 254, 295, 329, 330, 343, 349, 354, 355, 363, 365,
    372, 374, 381, 382, 385, 386, 389, 390.

    Arnold, Matthew, xi, 281, 308, 315 _n._, 323, 325, 351.

    Augustine, St., 116, 213, 224, 252, 273, 304 _n._

    Bacon, F., xxi _n._, 26, 63, 64, 119, 122.

    Bacon, Roger, 26.

    Bagehot, W., 25, 41, 159, 231 _n._, 377.

    Balzac, 11, 58, 106, 107, 192, 193.

    Barbauld, Mrs., 154.

    Barbey d’Aurevilly, 92, 324.

    Baudelaire, 63, 222, 230, 251, 319, 321, 324 _n._, 332, 350.

    Bayle, Pierre, 114.

    Beaumarchais, 2.

    Bergson, Henri, xii, xiii, 1, 147, 167, 186, 200, 281, 295,
    300, 364, 372.

    Berlioz, 79, 112, 162, 211, 215.

    Berthelot, René, 350 _n._

    Bertin, Edouard, 275 _n._

    Blake, William, 47, 94, 152, 168, 196, 197, 242, 254-256, 297,
    327 _n._

    Boehme, Jacob, 46, 254, 255, 258.

    Boileau, 5, 11, 16, 20, 21, 27, 66, 76, 87, 268.

    Bossuet, 251, 304 _n._, 392.

    Boswell, 356.

    Boufflers, Mme. de, 129.

    Bourget, Paul, xvi, 343 _n._

    Bowles, Samuel, 101.

    Brandes, G., 262 _n._

    Brooke, Henry, 258.

    Broussais, 215 _n._

    Browne, Sir Thomas, 286.

    Brownell, W. C., 67.

    Browning, Robert, 211-213, 216, 217, 234, 236 _n._, 287, 307.

    Brunetière, F., 28.

    Buddha, xix-xxi, 149-153, 272 _n._, 343, 349, 367, 370, 372,

    Buffon, 56, 57, 66.

    Bulwer-Lytton, 62.

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    Burke, Edmund, 128, 142, 147, 346, 380.

    Burns, Robert, 229.

    Burton, 143 _n._

    Butcher, S. H., 312 _n._

    Byrom, John, 257, 258.

    Byron, 54, 101, 161 _n._, 181, 186, 220, 223 _n._, 228, 229,
    232, 266, 269, 280, 283, 308, 318, 322, 324, 327 _n._

    Calvin, 118.

    Canat, R., 332 _n._

    Carlyle, 52, 53, 147, 154, 159 _n._, 193, 300, 309, 327-329.

    Catullus, 229, 285.

    Cervantes, 99, 176, 223, 224, 264.

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    Chapelain, 28.

    Charpentier, Julie von, 226.

    Chateaubriand, 50, 54, 57, 58, 60, 61, 91, 126, 134, 151, 155,
    159 _n._, 206, 207, 209, 227-229, 232, 249, 252, 276-278, 281,
    283-285, 297 _n._, 304, 309, 310, 313, 316 _n._, 318, 322, 324
    _n._, 327 _n._, 333, 334.

    Chatterton, 90, 320, 321.

    Chaucer, 334.

    Chesterfield, 24, 25.

    Chesterton, G., 322.

    Christ (Jesus), 36, 52, 115, 254, 265, 304, 336, 359, 360, 379.

    Cicero, xxii, 134, 273 _n._

    Clifford, W. K., 138, 139.

    Coleridge, Hartley, 231 _n._

    Coleridge, Samuel T., 51, 52, 126, 146 _n._, 154, 159 _n._,
    181, 296, 303, 305, 319 _n._

    Common, T., 198 _n._

    Confucius, xix-xxi, 176, 211 _n._, 380, 386, 390.

    Congreve, 35 _n._

    Constant, Benjamin, 316.

    Cortez, F., 277.

    Cowley, 12.

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    Croce, Benedetto, xiii.

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    Daunou, 99.

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    Descartes, xvi, 26, 27, 138, 168, 169, 172, 176, 200.

    Dewey, John, xiii, 388.

    Diderot, xi, xii, 38, 70, 100, 122, 126, 130, 191, 192, 326.

    Didier, C., 327 _n._

    Disraeli, 62.

    Dorval, Mme., 337 _n._

    Doudan, 214, 304 _n._, 344 _n._

    Dryden, 13, 34, 223, 353, 354.

    Du Camp, M., 215 _n._

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    D’Urfé, 76.

    Duval, G., 297 _n._

    Eckermann, 96, 309.

    Edison, 350.

    Edwards, Jonathan, 123, 124, 139.

    Elton, O., 206.

    Emerson, R. W., x, 67, 93, 111, 176, 257, 348.

    Epicurus, 270.

    Euripides, 183, 204, 244, 322 _n._

    Evelyn, 6, 274.

    Faguet, E., 30.

    Fawcett, E. D., xv _n._

    Fichte, 241, 347.

    FitzGerald, 204.

    Flaubert, xvi _n._, 67, 87, 105, 107-109, 218, 299, 314,

    Fontenelle, 27.

    Foster, John, 8, 9, 96.

    France, A., 88, 265, 324 _n._, 370.

    Francis, St., 222.

    François, A. F., 7 _n._

    Francueil, Mme. de, 155.

    Froude, 309, 327 _n._

    Galileo, 119.

    Galsworthy, John, 252.

    Gautier, T., 60, 61, 67, 93 _n._, 108, 230, 318 _n._, 320, 341.

    Geffroy, A., 129 _n._

    Gerard, A., 40 _n._

    Gérard de Nerval, 230, 231 _n._

    Gerould, Katherine F., 49 _n._

    Gisborne, John, 227 _n._, 391.

    Gissing, George, 309.

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    Godwin, Mary, 226.

    Goethe, xi, xvii, xviii, 2, 19, 22, 23, 32, 73, 85, 86, 89, 92,
    96, 101, 103 _n._, 147, 170, 171, 192, 215, 224, 246, 252, 275,
    309, 310, 331, 339, 346, 360-363, 378, 389.

    Gomperz, Th., 268 _n._

    Gran, Gerhard, 78 _n._

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    Greville, F., 6.

    Grillparzer, 191.

    Grimm, H., 360.

    Guérin, M. de, 281, 342.

    Gustavus III, 129.

    Hardy, T., 191.

    Havemeyer, H. O., 141.

    Hawthorne, N., 67, 326, 327.

    Hazlitt, 97, 181, 186 _n._, 224, 235, 236, 289.

    Hearn, Lafcadio, 111.

    Heidigger, 7, 8.

    Heine, 31, 221, 265.

    Hensel, P., 194 _n._

    Heraclitus, xiii _n._

    Herder, 97, 98.

    Herford, C. H., 359.

    Herondas, 104.

    Hettner, H., 194 _n._, 292 _n._

    Hitchener, Elizabeth, 266.

    Hobbes, 12, 13, 131, 192, 196, 197.

    Hoffmann, E. T. A., 86, 262.

    Hölderlin, 81, 82, 86, 90, 98, 110, 325 _n._

    Homer, 38, 80, 92, 144, 146, 208, 295, 311, 312, 391.

    Horace, 24, 36, 77, 81, 115, 285, 379, 391.

    d’Houdetot, Mme., 227.

    Huch, Ricarda, 184, 261.

    Hugo, 50, 52, 57, 59, 94, 140-142, 146, 189, 190, 213, 214,
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    Hurd, 31.

    Hutcheson, 44, 121, 131, 179.

    Huysmans, 332.

    Ibsen, H., 330.

    James, W., xiii, 78, 181, 183, 384.

    Johnson, Dr. Samuel, xx, 12, 21, 25, 33, 46, 50, 69, 71, 72,
    91, 174, 223, 256, 348, 356, 357, 360, 362, 370.

    Jonson, Ben, 209.

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    Kamo Chōmei, 272 _n._

    Kant, xvi, 40, 42, 43, 70, 370.

    Keats, 316 _n._, 321 _n._, 357, 358, 360.

    Keble, 285.

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    Kleist, H. von, 160 _n._

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    Kühnemann, E., 194 _n._

    La Bruyère, 11, 125.

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    La Harpe, 100.

    Lamartine, 61, 103, 126, 187, 236, 279, 281, 292 _n._, 310.

    Lamb, Charles, 91, 92, 209.

    La Motte Houdard, 55.

    Lanson, Gustave, xvii, xviii.

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    Lasserre, Pierre, 140.

    Law, 258.

    Leconte de Lisle, xiv, 149, 299, 317, 324, 341, 365.

    Legouis, E., 249 _n._, 250 _n._

    Lemaître, Jules, 106, 127, 141, 155, 332.

    Lenau, 91.

    Lenclos, Ninon de, 307.

    Le Nôtre, 275.

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    Levet, 356.

    Lillo, 190 _n._

    Lionardo da Vinci, 117.

    Littré, 234.

    Locke, 12, 26, 32.

    Longfellow, H. W., 327 _n._

    Longinus, 37.

    Lorrain, C., 274 _n._

    Loti, Pierre, 232.

    Louis XIV, 154.

    Lowell, J. R., 10, 270, 286, 287.

    Lucchetti, G., 297 _n._

    Lucretius, 270.

    Maeterlinck, 52, 295, 296.

    Maigron, L., xvi, 61 _n._, 215 _n._

    Malherbe, 11.

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    Marat, 340.

    Marinetti, 208.

    Marini, Cavalier, 353.

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    Mary, the Virgin, 221, 222.

    Masson, P. M., 302, 303 _n._, 304.

    Mather, F. J., Jr., 192.

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    Mercier, 100.

    Meredith, J. C., 40 _n._

    Mérimée, P., 203.

    Michelet, 209.

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    Mirabeau, Bailli de, 74.

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    More, Paul Elmer, 261 _n._

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    Nisard, D., 23.

    Norton, C. E., 90, 158, 163, 384.

    Novalis, 74, 86, 94, 99 _n._, 110, 166, 186 _n._, 226, 241,
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    d’Ortigue, J., 215 _n._

    Osborn, Henry Fairfield, 295, 296.

    Ossian, 38, 276.

    Ovid, 92, 129.

    Parmenides, xiii _n._

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    200, 246, 266, 304, 375, 393.

    Pater, W., 292.

    Paul, St., 78, 349.

    Peacock, 229.

    Peladan, Joséphin, 324 _n._

    Pepys, 6 _n._

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    Perrault, 27.

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    Petit de Julleville, 188.

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    Pliny, the Younger, 298 _n._

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    Plutarch, 84.

    Poe, E. A., 50, 63, 230, 292, 321, 326, 354, 355.

    Polonius, Jean, 325 _n._

    Pope, 6 _n._, 12, 25, 33, 34, 38, 91, 174, 177, 268.

    Poussin, 274 _n._

    Prévost-Paradol, 231 _n._

    Rabelais, 117, 268.

    Racine, 100.

    Racowitza, Princess von, 62 _n._

    Radcliffe, Anne, 106.

    Rambouillet, Marquise de, 75.

    Raphael, 289, 290.

    Rashdall, Hastings, 131 _n._

    Rawnsley, Canon, 328.

    Régnier, M., 62.

    Renan, xi, 133, 183, 203, 238, 251, 265, 304, 323, 342, 344,

    Revon, M., 272 _n._

    Richardson, 208.

    Richter, Jean Paul, 93, 264.

    Ritter, E., 134 _n._

    Rivarol, xxiii, 215, 225.

    Robespierre, M., 135, 136, 180, 340.

    Rochambeau, 278.

    Ronsard, 11.

    Rosa, Salvator, 274.

    Rostand, 76 _n._, 89, 295.

    Rouge, I., 96 _n._

    Rousseau, ix, xv _n._, xvii, xviii, 1, 5, 7, 23-25, 30, 32, 34,
    43-45, 47, 50, 54, 58, 60, 61, 63, 68, 70, 72-82, 85-87, 90,
    93, 97, 98, 102-104, 106-108, 110-112, 114, 115, 117, 119, 122,
    123, 126-132, 135, 136, 140, 143, 144, 147, 153-158, 160-167,
    174, 175, 179-181, 183, 185, 187, 188, 193-197, 210, 216, 218,
    220, 221, 224, 227, 229, 234, 236, 245, 247, 248, 253, 256,
    258, 263, 267, 269, 270, 275, 278, 279, 281, 282, 284-286, 289,
    292, 300, 302, 303, 305-307, 309, 314, 317 _n._, 322, 325, 326,
    330, 331, 342, 345-349, 352, 358 _n._, 361, 362, 364, 370, 373,
    375, 377, 379, 380, 382, 383, 386-388.

    Ruskin, 83, 90, 158, 163, 164, 269, 279, 290, 301, 328, 384.

    Rymer, T., 13, 14.

    Sainte-Beuve, xi, 14, 50, 57, 58, 93 _n._, 305, 313, 333, 336,

    Saint-Evremond, 39, 166.

    Saint-Hilaire, Geoffroy, 270.

    Saint-Hilaire, J. Barthélemy, 381 _n._

    Saint-Pierre, B. de, 122.

    Sand, George, 107, 232, 233 _n._, 262 _n._, 318 _n._, 328,
    338-342, 344.

    Sandys, J. E., 311 _n._

    Santayana, G., 77, 361.

    Sappho, 229.

    Sargent, John, 291.

    Scaliger, 19, 144, 146, 273.

    Schelling, 293-295.

    Schiller, 43, 44, 70, 77, 80-82, 96-98, 102, 110, 112, 129, 132
    _n._, 140, 141, 241, 307 _n._, 312, 330, 358 _n._

    Schlegel, A. W., 92, 94-97, 101, 149, 241, 293.

    Schlegel, F., 95-99, 148, 149, 182, 241, 242, 245, 251, 263-265

    Schomberg, Marshal, 73.

    Schopenhauer, 149, 307 _n._

    Scott, Walter, 232 _n._, 260.

    Seillière, E., 194 _n._, 307 _n._

    Senancour, 308, 315, 323.

    Seneca, 216 _n._, 313 _n._, 332 _n._

    Shackleton, Sir Ernest, 277.

    Shadwell, T., 6 _n._

    Shaftesbury, 44, 45, 121, 122, 131, 179, 196, 197, 207, 253,
    257, 294, 324, 357.

    Shakespeare, 21 _n._, 33, 38, 41, 99, 208, 264, 281, 290, 295.

    Shelley, 82, 137, 161, 180, 196, 206, 224, 225 _n._-228, 256,
    266, 282-284 _n._, 291, 310 _n._, 321 _n._, 358-360, 376, 391.

    Shelley, Mrs., 161, 321 _n._

    Sherman, Stuart P., 243.

    Shute, R., xxii _n._

    Sidney, Sir Phillip, 6, 18.

    Smith, Horace, 227.

    Socrates, 1, 112, 146, 147, 175, 195, 242-245, 266, 272, 356,
    362, 374, 375, 385.

    Solomon, 295.

    Solon, xxi.

    Sophocles, 23, 48, 53, 174, 204, 358, 360.

    Spingarn, J. E., 65 _n._

    Staël, Mme. de, 45, 99, 101, 132 _n._, 306, 316.

    Stedman, E. C., 230.

    Steele, 6 _n._, 127 _n._

    Stendhal, 192, 213, 307 _n._, 317.

    Stephen, Leslie, 82 _n._, 107, 258.

    Sterne, L., 144.

    Stobæus, 311 _n._

    Swanwick, Miss, 288 _n._

    Swift, 8, 266, 267.

    Synge, 243.

    Tagore, 149.

    Taine, 28, 89, 170, 188, 237, 275, 337, 343 _n._

    Talleyrand, 24, 25.

    Tasso, 85, 89.

    Taylor, Jeremy, 115.

    Tennyson, 92, 197, 202 _n._, 312, 332 _n._, 348 _n._, 358, 393.

    Theocritus, 238, 281, 285.

    Thiers, 321.

    Thomson, James (author of _The Seasons_), 8, 274 _n._

    Thomson, James (“B.V.”), 332 _n._

    Tiberius, 313.

    Tieck, 94, 159 _n._, 241 _n._, 243, 292.

    Titian, 291.

    Tolstoy, 197, 198, 352.

    Tsêng Kuo-fan, 381 _n._

    Turner, 290.

    Twain, Mark, 326.

    Uhland, 293.

    Vaihinger, H., 370.

    Vida, 144.

    Vidal, Pierre, 238.

    Vigny, A. de., 186 _n._, 305, 320, 324, 335-338, 365.

    Villemain, 336 _n._

    Villers, 45.

    Villiers de l’Isle Adam, 88, 322, 324 _n._

    Villon, 238.

    Violet, 278.

    Virgil, 19, 271, 312, 354, 377.

    Viviani, Emilia, 228.

    Voltaire, 32-34, 39, 93 _n._, 100, 103, 119, 177, 216, 236
    _n._, 369.

    Wackenroder, 86.

    Wagner, 170, 210, 230.

    Wallace, E., 12 _n._

    Walpole, H., 127, 314.

    Walzel, O. F., 52 _n._, 160 _n._

    Ward, Wilfrid, 62 _n._

    Warens, Mme. de, 74, 134 _n._, 135, 236.

    Wellington, 386.

    Wesley, John, 258.

    West, Richard, 323.

    Westbrook, Harriet, 226.

    Whitman, Walt, 137, 166, 286, 349.

    Wilde, Oscar, 238.

    Williams, Mrs., 226.

    Wolseley, R., 65.

    Wordsworth, xvii, 1, 52, 74, 83, 91, 92 _n._, 145, 146, 166
    _n._, 171, 197, 237, 247-250 _n._, 256, 262 _n._, 272, 277,
    279, 283-285, 293, 296, 301-303, 322 _n._, 328, 337 _n._, 343,

    Xenophon, 175 _n._

    Yalden, 50.

    Yeats, W. B., 149.

    Young, E., 37, 38, 40.

    Zola, 58, 103, 106, 107, 187, 220.

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