from Romanticism and Consciousness: Essays in Criticism, ed. Harold Bloom (NY: WW Norton, 1970).

2 Nature and Consciousness
percipient and the representations." The progressive loss of the sense of participation, over the centuries, results in an idolatry of memory-images. In Barfield’s view, Romanticism arose as an icono clastic movement, seeking to smash the idols and return men to an original participation in phenomena. This Romantic iconoclasm is explored in the essay by Geoffrey FL Hartman, but here the dream of original participation is set aside, with the critic’s careful assumption that the divisions of selfconsciousness are inevitable for the Romantic and modern mind. Excessive subjectivity is considered as a necessary stage in the mind’s growth toward a more humanized imagination, marking the essay as a modern version of Wordsworthianism. The subsequent essay, drawn from J. H. Van den Berg’s Metabletica, a brilliant phenom enological theory of a historical psychology, is a contrary statement to Hartman’s, for it insists convincingly to me that the Romantic and Freudian estrangement from nature and other selves was and is unnecessary. The two remaining essays in this section, by Paul de Man and W. K. Wimsatt, Jr., move the discussion to the imagistic edge of consciousness, and illuminate the structure of Romantic imagery in contrary but complementary ways. De Man, more powerfully than any other critic, emphasizes the Romantic renunciation of the natural object, and enhances our awareness of the intentional separation between consciousness and nature in Romantic vision. Vimsatt, in his justly celebrated essay, defines the radical differ ence from the past that characterizes Romantic nature imagery, with its importation of tenor into vehicle, a microcosmic instance of the Romantic longing despite knowing better for unity. It may be noted that Burke as expounded by Monk, Hartman, and de Man tend to line up in one tradition, emphasizing the necessary disjunc tion between nature and consciousness, while Barfield, Van den Berg, and Wimsatt fit together in a contrary tradition a less Ro mantic one, setting a higher value on a union or reconciliation between nature and consciousness.

HAROLD BLOOM The Internalization of Quest-Romance t

Freud, in an essay written sixty years ago on the relation of the poet to daydreaming, made the surmise that all aesthetic pleasure is forepleasure, an "incitement premium" or narcissistic fantasy. The deepest satisfactions of literature, in this view, come from a release of tensions in the psyche. That Freud had found, as almost always, either part of the truth or at least a way to it, is clear enough, even if a student of Blake or Wordsworth finds, as probably he must, this Freudian view to be partial, reductive, and a kind of mirror image of the imagination’s truth. The deepest satisfactions of reading Blake or Wordsworth come from the realization of new ranges of tensions in the mind, but Blake and Wordsworth both be lieved, in different ways, that the pleasures of poetry were only forepleasures, in the sense that oems, finall were scaffoldin s for a more imanatyjj5]Qu. and not ends in themselves. I thin t a dii irreairs,orcando, is closely related to what Freud does or can do for his, which is to provide both a map of the mind and a profound faith that the map can bç put to a saving use. Not that the uses agree, or that the maps quite agree either, but the enterprise is a humanizing one in all three of these discoverers. The humanisms do riot a ree either Blake’s is Wordsworth’s is-some and times sublimely, sometimes uneasily-blende ofelemenls th, dominate in reud thought that even romance, with its elements of play, probably commenced in some actual experience whose "strong im pression on the writer had stirred up a memory of an earlier ex perience, generally belonging to childhood, which then arouses a wish that finds a fulfillment in the work in question, and in which elements of the recent event and the old memory should be dis cernible." Though this is a brilliant and comprehensive thought, it seems inadequate to the complexity of romance, particularly in the period during which romance as a genre, however displaced, became again the dominant form, which is to say the age of Romanticism. t First published in The Vale Review, Vol. LVIII, No. 4 Summer, 1969. Copy
right © 1969 by Harold Bloom.

3

Van den Berg.4 * Harold Bloom The Internalization of Quest-Romance tween Eros and Thanatos. From the Freudian view oint Romanticism is an "illusor thera I take the rase from Philip Rieff. Abrams. or to the intellectual currents that had flowed into the Revolution." As he shows.iUas been too with variousmodes Though much contemporay oflitonahism. It is in this highly individual sense that English Romanticism legit imately can be called. Shelley and Keats. this age may be defined as extending from the childhood of Blake and Wordsworth to the present mo ment. This process of the child and adult growing away from each other began in the eighteenth cen tury. Pychologically. historically they all stem directly from English reactions to the French Revolution. H. in admirable but doomed poets like Chatterton. 1iVhat allies Blake and Wordsworth. Freud’s embryonic theory of romance contains within it the po tential for an adequate account of Romanticism. but they do seem to be at the sources of the mid-eighteenth-century revival of a romance con sciousness. More than a revival. in which the major change from the Enlight enment to Romanticism manifested itself. historically speaking. and to stop treating the child as an adult. or yearning. since those roots go back to a psychology very different from ours. during which the half-dozen major English poets did their work. that may not have been ex periential. Possibl between Jung and German 5 For English-speaking readers. clustering around Rousseau and his age. Van den Berg. as traditionally it has been. brilliantly traces these patterns of what he calls "the apocalypse of imagina tion. and Milton. is their strong mutual conviction that they are reviving the true English tradition of poetry." Granting that Van den Berg is broadly correct he at least attempts to explain an apparent historical modulation in conscious ness that few historians of culture care to confront. before its internalization by the m. J. not so much as changes in consciousness. particularly of the quest variety. Changes in consciousness are of course very rare and no major synthesizer has come forth as yet.thsutTñThjitown integrity. they stem from the child’s vision of a motanic Qniverse that the English RomanticsioiTiiTTto abandon.the sanc of redem bein of some external spiritua1 . Some of these are ana lyzed in this volume. it is an internalization of romance. for Shil1çt1TeTj6tiitially savijg thoug usua y estructive crisis in which the imagination confronts its chöi ri. because made in the name of a hua apocaiyptic intensity. from the generations that have come after them. in an essay included in this volume. as a doctor. from any discipline. Shakespeare. particularly if we interpret his "memory of an earlier experience" to mean also the recall of an earlier insight. particularly when compared to the English Ro mantic heritage of Spenser. Blake and Coleridge do not set intellect and passion against one another. Convenience dictates that we distinguish the High Romantic period proper. victims of circumstance and of the false dawn of Sensibility. but the distinction is difficult to justify critically. It was then that the period of adolescence came into exis tence. and Frye in particular. an internalization made for more than therapeutic purposes. The movement of quest-romance. H. rather than in Blake or the English Romantics after him. Blake. because the dialectics are sought in Schiller or Heine or in German Romantic philosophy down to Nietzsche. scholarship atteiiii fTiiaTlish and continental Romanticism as a unified phe nomenon. or yielding to the illusive beauty of nature. and Collins. mostly after the death of Pope. The poet takes the ciuest-rona ce and of pat erns aelijp that the entire rhythm of the quest is heard_again in the movement of the poet himself from poem to poem. The immortal longings of the child. which they thought had vanished after the death of Milton. does not think this was necessarily an advance: "Ever since Rousseau the child has been keeping its distance. to the Freudians. then we are presented with another in a series of phenomena. If adolescne was aRo or Rousseauistic phenomenon oLe its con comitant was the very secular sense fTheingjwice-born fllif fisseiiThe iôurtTfTiapter of Emile." Van den Berg. by Barfield. Cowper. and Wordsworth. andihiiiFily djelley in birtjn vement of The Triumph of Life Th pains of sychic maturation e6the. thinks that Rousseau "was the first to view the child as a child. are mistaken or inade quate. any more than they arrive at the Freudian simplicity of the endless conflict be" cause of the clear associations easyor Romanticsm. whose introduction to a historical psychology I find crucial to an understanding of Romanticism. may not be at the roots of romance. it can be argued that the English Romantics tend to lose more than they gain by such study. Behind continental Romanticism there lay very little in the way of a congenial native tradition of major poets writing in an ancestral mode. a revival of ro mance. out of which nineteenth-century Romanticism largely came. or what reu himself specifically termed an "erotic illusion. and had reappeared in diminished form. M.nature to rede med nature." The dialectics of Romanticism. rather variously interpreted by Freud. to demonstrate to us whether Romanticism marks a genuine change in consciousness or not. but as changes in figuration.

and Blake’s. was overtly against dualism. and the essential question of the psy chology of the twentieth century. that is of finding p dises within a reno is to widen con1 . the saving movement in each is backwards into lost time. The grief over t eir eat is e a too. It is: the libido leaves the inn f when the self has become too u n or er to prevent it from being in er thT has toaimifselUn objects outside the self. observing that every fresh attempt of Modernism to go be yond Romanticism ends in the gradual realization of the Romantics’ inventionof continued priority. where the cause of his patients’ illnesses was located. . It was not necessary. But Wordsworth. who rightly compared his own intellectual revolution to those of Copernicus and Darwin." This is simply not true of Blake or Wordsworth or Shelley or Keats. ". if never quite between man and man. is the Blake and of Wordsworth. Freud a crisis-analyst. however precari ously. sometimes magical. turning away from the present. and lingering misap prehensions about the Romantics still abide. Yeats and Wallace Stevens. nor is the statement of Marius Bewley’s that Howe quotes approvingly." Is Van den Berg right? The question is as crucial for Wordsworth and Romanticism as it is for Freud and psychoanalysis. it is evi dent that we still need to clear our minds of Eliotic cant on this subject. The most searching critique of Romanticism that I know is Van den Berg’s critique of Freud. and that progressively learned to devalue contact between the self and others. Blake calls this spirit of solitude a Spectre. to heal the division within man. abundantly shows. Paul de Man terms this phenomenon the post-Romantic di lemma. What prompts the libido to leave the inner self? In 1914 Freud asked himself this question-the essential ques tion of his psychology. Obects are of im ortance onl in an extreme urgency. ut the quest is shadowed by a spirit that tends to narrow consciousness to an acute preoccupation with self. The Romantic movement is from wardinglyna rie. One of the essays by Geoffrey H. Human bern s. or the genuine Satan. which develops beyond or surmounts its debt to Wordsworth’s great trinity of Tintern Abbey. as re- I F The Internalization of Quest-Romance * 7 prof und as ferusalem or ThePrelude. The dreadful paradox of Wordsworth’s great ness is that his uncanny originality. ultimately man must begin to love in order not to get ill. This shadow of imagination is hat Shelley calls the avenging daimon who is a baffled residue of the self. no . and the imagination’s freedom is frequently purgatorial.ar istended covering. But what is the movement of loss. because he came at the end of a tradition of intellectual error that began with the extreme Cartesian dualism. Irving Howe. in the mistaken hope of escaping this inwardness though it was unconscious that this was its prime motive. Since neither Howe nor Bewley is writing as an enemy of the Romantics. the self and the outer world. can enclose their selves. but criti cism until recently was tardy in catching up. andUdo nOtEiöw of a Ion ten in ng is since w 1 is ei er as egitimately difficuj. His answer ended the process of interiorization. redemptive in direction but destructive of the 1 self. Wordsworth’s prophecy. as the de spairing surrender of the imagination’s autonomy. torn. for hiving been awakened from the merely given condition that to Shelley.to-the1iãiiiãfii1rfreedom sometimes a reluctant freedom. as their best work. the more influential because more apparently accessible of the two I myself would argue that he is the more difficult because the more problematic poet. was but the sleep of death-in-life. both statements are excellent guides to what the major Romantics regarded as human defeat or a living death. says of the Ro mantic poets that "they do not surrender the wish to discover in the universe a network of spiritual meaning which. In this. Modern poetry. and the Intimations of Immortality ode. Hartman in this volume concerns the Romantic search for an anti-self a way out of the morass of inwardness. Wordworth is a crisis-poet. determined to be compensated for its loss of natural assurance.sness ell as to interisi it. in an otherwise acute essay on literary modernism. and between man and the world." So that is what it is. Wordsworth strongly resembles Freud. B. however happily ignorant its wHer. Modernist poetry in English organized itself. the last phases of W. in English. as to Blake. to the past. in the desperation of the moment. to an excessive extent. has been so influential that we have lost sight of its audacity and its arbitrariness. still the most astonishing break with tradition in the language. Van den Berg quietly sees "Freud. Nor can I find a thödern lyric. the Thanatos or death instinct in every natural man.. Modernist poets learned better. and thus making them suffer from the past and mak ing our existence akin to their suffering. each said." In deed. Resolution and Independence. the groaning of an overfilled inner self. they came. Thus. too. that the Romantics’ central desire is "to merge oneself with what is greater than oneself. as a sup posed revolt against Romanticism. in poet and in analyst? Van den Berg’s suggestion is that Freud unnecessarily sacrificed the present moment.6 * Harold Bloom thority. particularly the description of "The Subject and his Landscape" included in this anthology: Ultimately the enigma of grief is the libido’s inclination toward exterior things. the self and the body. T1iigcoLafJomantic internalization.

jn the since God can appear as fire whn Ju s$iga tãhfRomantic quest the Promethean hero st dafiully. for men without_ without credulity. Wordsworth’s Copernican revolution in poetry is marked by the evanescence of any subject but subjectivity. 1e. one rejects a poetry t at is not "about" something. the archetype of The Roma ics tended to the heroic y defeated methji. is the spirtual foi ofromance? How can a poet’s or any man’s life be one of continuous allegory as Keats thought Shakespeare’s must have been in redutiveuni versth. and still ask of his radical subjectivity: was it necessary? Without hoping to find an answer. but which ac counts for everything that is major in The Prelude and in the central crisis lyrics associated with it. cirbe taken as the greatest examples of this kind-traces a salem Promethean and revolutionary quest. founded on A. The hero of internJjze quest is thç poet liru. This is the Egotistical ut Keats knew his debt to Sublime of hkkKfs comp aine Wordsworth.jester. as most poets since do not. there is no such reconciliation in Wordsworth’s poetry. J can steal onl Jrc. up weLhJsoiv sçJs all thefire_thej This realization leads neither and li to nihilism nor to solipsism. in Mont Blanc.lImodern lyric from Wordsworth to Hart Crane. a Bljcean Prolific that nearly choked in an excess of its own deli hts. This is the force that Coleridge sensed and feared in Wordsworth. . like Van den Berg on Freud. one has little use for or understand ing of Wordsworth. explores the analogue between questromance and the dream: "Translated into dream terrnsuet romance is the search of the fulfillment but will still cont in n erna ize romance-and The re u e and Jeru t a rea i y. and the healing function is performed only when the poetry shows the power of the mind over outward sense. which Arnold evidently never noticed." the potential of an im agination too fierce to be contained by nature. the loss ofwhat a oem is "about. in what he beautifully calls "possible sublim ity" or "something evermore about to be. was an antinature poetry. Bradley stressed the strong side of Wordsworth’s imagination. and such idealizations are dreadful for whole societies. Words worthian nature. t1fleyond thatirma ossi I b the a ocal se of img ime y u terance gave t au t re ie is t e Words r redemption f the poet’s worthian formula for the sanity by the poem already writtn.8 Harold Bloom ThJnternalizion of Quest-Romance * 9 ‘ more overcame a fundamental dualism than Freud did. Most simply. the antagonists of quest are everything in the self that blocks . partly by showing its dangers through Satan’s /Js ///q. Wordsworth made his kind of poetry out of an extreme urgency. its Miltonic sublimity. despite a long critical history of misrepresentation.nahia. each dis crete from the next? Though all men are questers. Though Wordsworth came as a healer. though Byron plays with the former and all fear the latter. The dangers of idealizing the libido are of course constant in the life of the individual." If. like the late Yvor Winters. for attempting to reconcile man with nature. and out of a gvcrjilled inner self. it is certainly no basis for us to complain. one can explore the question so as to come again to the central prob lem of Romantic and post-Romantic poetry: what. in Wordsworth’s own terms. C. Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound is the most drastic High Romantic version of internalized quest.creative proces is the heroRomantic nory. self. and Shelley attacked him. and a horoughly internalized one.4 . of every kind. but found it only in flashes. though they present themselves as parodistic. as in the series of marvelous interior quests by Stevens. what is the relevance of quest in a gray world of continuities and homogenized enterprises? Or. thanks to Arnold and the critical tradition he fostered. necessarily mus be the antagonists of the poetic quest. but the internalization of quest-romance had to accept these dangers. quite alone. The special puzzle of Ro manticism is the dialectical role that nature had to take in the re vival of the mode of romance. a çhpiclij’j modern c ticism has not followed them. in hi theory o myt s. one can un derstand and love Wordsworth. though the insights of recent critics have begun to develop a better interpretative tradition. But. Romantic nature poetry. a separated realm of atomized meanings. but there are more drastic versions still in our own age. Bradley’s opposition to Arnold’s view. and cannot be translated into dream terms. has been misunderstood. an mig s and as a motto for -vt the history of t. for in it the libido turns inward into the self. As Milton curbed his own Prometheanism. in his introductory verses to Paradise Lost. and imaginative inhibitions. even the least. Essentially this was Blake’s complaint against him. and is remarkably akin to that strength in Milton that Marvell urbanely says he feared. But they had a genuine in their selves and an iñht i to the affinity etwi’Ient elemen in Milton that he would externalize only in a demonic at is heroic about Milton’s Satan is a real Prometheanism form. even in Wordsworth who sought a reciprocity or even a dialogue with nature. which fare valid for every major Romantic. The strength of renovation in Wordsworth resides only in the spirit’s splendor. that go from The Comedian As the Letter C to the climactic Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction. whatknowledgmiht1etbe purchased exce t by the loss of ower? Frye.

but Blake and Shelley do not accept such a unity as a goal. the Imagination" Blake’s phase. best of all. so as to searçJjyithin the self and itsambiguities. Darley. and Keats. says that "in Romanticism the main direction of the quest of identity tends increasingly to be ownwa and inward." Probably only Joyce and Stevens. the leading romance theorist we have had at least since Ruskin. an account of learning both the enormous strength of nature. "Meet" is too hopeful. Coleridge calls the antagonist by a bewildering variety Tiiis since. Or at least attempts to do so. the quest is aije Prometheus nature is an sivenes . most simply and perhaps most powerfully. demands some thing more than a natural man to carry it through. what Blake calls the Spectre of Urthona. Even Northrop Frye. worked out an elaborate sub-myth of the poet as antithetical quester. and Wade down to Yeats and Lawrence in our time. Shelley the unwilling dross that checks the spirit’s flight. in Wordsworth. and Keats. in The Prelude. marked by a deep involve ment in political. Proust. can be termed unreconstructed naturalists. the first mode can be called Prometheus and the second "the Real Man.text of nature as quires much laboring. think is not. or their darker followers in later generations. Hyperion and Apollo in Keats. while Yeats. Enlarged and more numerous senses are necessary. and a direct. Keats’s closest approach to an apocalyp tic vision comes when he studies Moneta’s face. tpoems of symbolic in a continuous tradition from Shey s voi1aFove Qytends to see the con tortoYeats’s1ie W for the mature ima ination This point re . and a standing aside from polemic and satire. concept of nature. including historically oriented Christianity. stage. a human countenance made only more solitary in its growing alienation from nature. Frye still speaks of the Romantics as seeking a final unity between man and his nature.10 * Harold Bloom The Internalization of Quest-Romance * 11 version of the heroic quest.il in its purest version f lest fqm. though ralways a wounded and. and Yeats. past "the lily and the snow. In the cove nant between Wordsworth and nature. Shelley. even satirical attack on the institutional orthodoxies of European and English society. particularly in its Enlightenment phas ea an. in a trium hant letter wriyIen he expected deathenerally römetheu s the jet-as-hero in thuit iT1flijiiest. a withdrawn onIfH söitmes Real Man. while Wordsworth’s visions of "first and last and midst and without end" preserve the unyielding forms both of nature and of man. two powers that are totally separate from each other. as though sexuality was antithetical to the imagination. The internalization of romance brought the. which is typified by a relative disengagement from revolutionary activism. and literary revolution. If Wordsworth.d al y.. from Bed does. in later Romantic tradition. but even that vision is essentially Words worthian. at the climax of The Fall of Hyperion. were oddly closer both to orthodox Christian myth and to pantheism or some form of nature-worship. The program of Romanticism. and "blend" would express Wordsworth’s ideal and not his achievement. as the influence of ol er views of Romanti cism is very hard to slough off. Wordsworth the sad perplexity or fear that kills or. toward ween man and nature. still less were Blake. and potentially destructive of the other. or naturalistic human ists. and Shaw all break through uneasy natural contexts. the hope that is unwilling to be fed. and poetic consciousness itself. enemy to be overcome is a recalcitrance in the self. was not questing for unity with nature. and . though with subtle misgivings. Pater. In brinLjhethe stage. and not just in Blake. the Child and the Man. so Wordsworth learned to restrain his. why nature could not provide an adequate context. Implicit in all the Romantics. into a relationship they had never had before the advent of Romanticism in the later eighteenth cen tury. tjnginatiou. If the goal of Romantic internalization of the quest was a wider con sciousness that would be free of the excesses of e1fns a consideration of the rigors of experiential psychology will show. and the neoclassic literary and intellectual tradition. oganicand cathe Ore and Los in Blake. he is the most hag-rid en byanxietjç. of all these poets. but even their major poems hardly approxi mate nature poetry. partly through making his own quest-romance. Coleridge and Byron. so frequently and absurdly called a pantheist. Later Romantics as various as Eliot. the Imagma emerges after terrible crises in thmaor-sttgtifttm an ic quest. an enormous virtue of Ro mantic poetry clearly being that it not only demands such expansion but begins to make it possible. try to meet in a dialectic of love. Romantic or internaljed romne. seeing as it does a perpetual change that cannot be ended by change. very much in the mode of Shelley’s poetry. nature is the im ediate though not the ultimate antagcnit. quite rapidly. and na ture’s wise and benevolent reining-in of its own force. the Identity. unless a total transformation of man and nature can precede unity. and a kind of naturalistic entropy that has gone beyond natural contraries. is a difficult distinction between two modes of energy. social. the very last of the High Romantics. in their very different ways. and very explicit in Blake. but the try itself is definitive of Wordsworth’s strangeness and continued relevance as a poet. For convenience." a hidden basis or ground of identity al I The directional_part of this statement is true. Prometheus bound and unboundiiT Shelley.

but part always remains in the ego. and without it no civilized values are possible. that translates: a nal Milton for the Romantics E[ nature-according to the precept of Poetic Genius-and cleave to his iviuse or Imagination. and the whole development of Keats. reason. literary and human. It is. but the popular notion that High Romanticism takes a very different view of love is a sounder insight into the Romantics than most scholarly critics ever achieve or at least state. desire wholly taken up into the imagination. Nothing in Romantic poetry is more difficult to comprehend. 5THiUthe imagination is tried by nature’s best aspect. The best single name for the antagonist is Keats’s Identity. but his specifically erotic poems. that all romance is necessarily a mode of ego-romance. but the most traditional is the Selfhood. This may be true. the scientific attitude." as a phrase. simply. as two principles intertwine in the resistance to enchantment-one "organic. the Imagination. For the Romantics. The most intense effort of the Romantic quest is made when the Promethean stage of quest is renounced. In Freud. so as to cast it out by continuous satire and demonic farce. and the other "creative. and in its humane gloom it echoes a great line of realists who culminate in Freud. Here the Romantics. to use Shelley’s phrasing. the difficulty being the Shelleyan and Romantic vision of love. is founded upon enchantment. the same doubhin of the e o into passive and active components is present in t e ot er poets wherever they attempt their highest flights and so spurn the earth. or. is not like psychic maturation in poets before the Ro mantics. where the poet enjoys the fruit and drink of paradise just before he has his confrontation with Moneta. and what the value of that resistance is. part company with Freud’s dialectics of human nature. loved ones are not confined to their obective that would ma e t em enizens of Blake’s state of Genera- . all of them I think. for the Romantics as for such Christian vi sionaries as Eckhart before them. found j y1d theearthly displacement of earlier mythology. working through the great disenchanter. but precisely that part of the erotic that can not be released in the dialectic of love. and the purgatorial crisis that follows by an extraordinary moves near to resolution. for me anyway.______ 12 * Harold Bloom The Internalization of Quest-Romance - * 13 the most humanly vulnerable. This doubling is clearest in Blake’s mythology. including some within Christianity." an anxiety principle masquerading as a reality principle and identical to the ego’s self-love that never ventures out to others. and so I shall use it here. part of the ego’s own self-love is projected onto an outward object. whether between man and man. than the process that begins after each poet’s renun ciation of Prometheus. The Selfhood is not the erotic principle. is definitive on this distinction. have been undervalued be cause they are so very difficult. Shelley having written little else. Freud’s beautiful sentence on marriage is a formula against which leavefather and the Romantic Eros can be tested: "A man shall nir-according to the Biblical precept-and then are tenderness and sensuality united. a series of great lyrics and the dazzling Epipsychidion. but the creative Eros of the Romantics is notrenuncia tory thQugh it i $elf-transcendeut. total because the force mov ing out is not only the Promethean libido." which resists --‘--. burns in Hell. Freud and the Romantics differ principally in their judgment as to what it is in us that resists enchantment. real and deceptive. but rather a fusion be tween the libido and the active or imaginative element in the ego. But. or man and nature. for the incarnation of the Real Man. the first being the realm of family romance and the second of apocalyptic romance. The love that transcends the Selfhood has its analogues in the renunciatory love of many traditions. All romance. a total going-out from our own natures. of nature and the female. on these very different grounds. For Freud it is the reality principle. whose shrine must be reached by mounting purgatorial stairs. Byron and Beddoes do not so much name the antagonist as mock it. in which the objects of love altogether lose their object dimension. Instances of the interweaving of purgatory and paradise include nearly everything Blake says about the state of being he calls Beulah. then are the generous and the formula has ceased to be Freudian and has become High Ro mantic. is rather than just before it. "Shelley’s love poetry. from Endymion. Somewhere else Freud remarks that all romance is really a form of what he calls "f ily-r2pancj" one could as justly say. is almost a redundancy. "The Keys to the Gates. with its den or cave of Quietude. though less schematically. enchantment in the name of a higher mode than the sympathetic imagination. this is again a dialectical matter. and who resist. Blake distinguished between Beulah and Eden as states of being Frye’s essay. when and where they can. in his terms. I!!l romance or_Beulah. and even the projected portion can find its way back again." By the canons of inter poet shal leave his Great Origi nalized romance. Somewhere Freud has a splendid sentence that anyone unhappy in love can take to heart: "Object-libido was at first ego-libido and can be again transformed into ego-libido. on to the structure of The Fall of Hyperion. who suffer the enchant ments. even Keats. where there are two egos. the Spectre of Urthona and Los." which is to say that a certain degree of narcissistic mobility is rather a good thing. Only the Selfhood." included in this anthology.

but they retain it nevertheless. Milton." All outward movement. ansoe Romantic poet turned_away. is a particularly intense version of the longing for the mother. If Romantic love love can be judged as "erotic reduction. Romantic love. Only pure self-love has a per fection to it. Adonais. is anything but a dialectic of transformation. The poem would not require that much rewriting. If his myth of love is so sparse. and downwards.. Though Ro mantic love. is likely to end in listening to the wind. but from 1jii f6hàt was more inFH an naTure. the Imagina tion. these are the definitive Romantic achievement. by Jung and Lawrence in particular. rather less than a creative Word. particularly in the very Wordsworthian The Auroras of Autumn. and sickening into a false creation or creation-fall. since it is as doomed to overvalue the surrogate as it compulsively overvalues the mother.14 Harold Bloom The Internalization of Quest-Romance * 15 tion or mere Experience. Our age begins to abound in late Romantic "completions" of Freud. as there is no satisfaction in satisfaction anyway. the figure of Beatrice is not an accurate analogue to the various Romantic visions of the beloved. Freud pain fully walked a middle way. a rapid sketch of the major phase of this erotic quest. for it can now be read as a prophetic satire on Freud. If Romantic love is the sublime. One longs for Blake to come again and rewrite The Book of Urizen as a satire on this ‘cosrnogony of love. love begins as ego-libido. ra ther than the replacement. but the Romantic critiques of him. into the world of objects. in which that last phrase taks on its full range of meanings.itself. Prometheus Unbound. wit in imseTe widened consciousness of the poet i not give im intimations . central study of Romantic poetry." That last is only the first stage of the Romantic quest. perhaps even of spirit. not rom society to nature. Yet it is not quite what Philip Rieff claims for it." and the prophets of the reality principle are in danger always of the Urizenic boast: I have sought for a joy without pain. then Freudian love is the pathetic. And Romantic love. than to study his monuments: The Four Zoas. day and night. the two Hyperions. the reality principle. particularhy in Wordsworth and Shelley. is a fall that results from "an overfihled inner self. unfair as it is to attribute to the Freudians a censorious repressive ness. in the Freudian psychodynamics. even those which had risen to liberate men had the discon certin tendenc to turn into censorious moralities. To Freud. The Prelude and the Recluse fragment. and the mature Romanti cism which is self-transcendent in its major poets. the one this discussion calls Prometheus. it is still open both to analytic modification and to a full acceptance of everything that can come out of the psyche. hoping to hear an instant of a fleeting voice. Ujçij being a superego certainly over filled }yjfli. and Jerusalem. a stasis without loss. and moderately friendly to Eros. or better. There is no better way to explore the Real Man. and it is beautifully subversive of Freud. There is no useful analogue to Romantic or imaginative love.. and The Triumph of Life. What follows is only an epitome. and truer of course to the phenomenon insofar as it is merely natural. and necessarily is ever after a history of sorrow." which would sicken within if it did not fall outwards. Death’s Jest-Book. reason. Don Juan. But the saving dialectic of this picaresque is that it is better thus. on this account. and so of power and freedom gained. to Freud. The Ancient Mariner and Christabel. of knowledge not purchased by the loss of power. The sketch. There is a subtly defiant attempt to make the imago do the work of the imagination by Stevens. and of other selves. the words that were and will be. have not touched the strength of his erotic pessimism. for sublimation is not an element in the movement from Prometheus to Man. But to Blake and the Romantics. but there is a useful contrary in the melancholy wisdom of Freud on natural love. a love in which the imago is loved. and the contrary has the helpful clarity one always finds in Freud. For a solid without fluctuation Why will you die 0 Eternals? Why live in unquenchable burnings? The answer is the Romantic dialectic qf Eros and Imagination. since in the Freudian view all erotic partners are somewhat inadequate replacements for the initial sexual objects. through a going-out of our nature. has been compared to what Charles Williams calls the Romantic Theology of Dante. with every outward movement of love away from the ego. The movement to the reality of Eden is one of re-creation. and one remembers again Van den Berg’s mordant observation on Freud: "Ultimately the enigma of grief is the libido’s inclination toward exterior things. The internalization of uest-romance made of the poet-hero a seeker not a ter nature but a ter his own mature owers. but of course it is highly indirect. there is an ironic loss of energy. For Freud. Yet a direct Romantic countercritique of Freud’s critique of Romantic love emerges from any prolonged. to expire at last if lucky in the compromising arms of the ugliest of Muses. a picaresque chronicle in which the ever-vulnerable ego stumbles from delusion to frustra tion. parents. like any which attempts to trace the visionary company of love. not un riendly to the poetic imagination. as it does not erase "the gap between therapeutic rationalism and self-assertive romanticism. There remains a considerable gap between the subtle perfection to which Freud brought therapeutic rationalism.

particu larly in Shelley’s. by opening himself to vision. which must complete a dialectic of love by uniting the Imagination with its bride. in fact. Blake and Wordsworth had long lives. In Shelley. as soon as the imagination truly enters. Tharmas is a shepherdfigure. and to clarify the imaginative component in the ego by its strife of contraries with its dark brother. The contrary view to Yeats is that of C.16 * Harold Bloom The Internalization of Quest-Romance * 17 of a former union with nature or the Divine. but there are still hints of what the Imagination’s triumph would have been in Keats. and so was the regent of Innocence. stronger even than it is for the other Romantics. Tharmas being the Zoa or Giant Form in Blake’s mythology who was the unfallen human potential for realizing instinctual desires. It is within the ego itself that the quest must turn. the first being the inward overcoming of the Selfhoods and the second the out tjig thafIrngpon. Prometheus rises from the id." Wordsworth’s greatness was in his feeling the terror of discon tinuity as acutely as any poet could. but the man who had believed so fervently that the . desperately starved and uneasily allied to the Spectre of Urthona. they did not complete their development. In its restraint of vision.Th." Differ ent as the major Romantics were in their attitudes towards religion. the analogue of the search for evidences drops out. besides being the shepherd image of human divinity. as the id or appetite is inchoate. writing on Keats. but their death-frag ments. as well as its peculiar nakedness before the moment. but not at all of a traditional kind. would have become increasingly ironic. and each completed his ver sion of this dialectic. Both views are mistaken. and Richmond while under Blake’s influence is Biblical pastoralism. who held that Shelley. but at its best produces a saving urgency that protects the imagination from the strong enchantments of nature. despite their fecundity. The Selfhdölfifls itse f wit romet eus against the repressive force Shelley calls Jupiter. who is a transformed ongoing creation of the Imagination rather than a redeemed nature. as in his insistence that Shelley. the passive ego he has projected outward to meet an object-world from which he has been severed so unwillingly. even had he lived into mid dle age. and Wordsworth seems to quest for ‘evidences’ in the form of intima tions of continuity. any quest within nature is thus at last irrelevant to the medi ating ego. Coleridge gave up the quest. and Blake as a temptation to prophetic wrath and withdrawal that had to be withstood. and Freud had no particular interest in further dividing the ego itself. Yet this is a false impression. doomed to undergo a merely cyclic movement from appetite to repression. With Shelley. is present in the poet himself as a desperate desire for con tinuity in the self. the Selfhood’s strong en chantment. S. though the quest goes back and forth through it. and became only an occasional poet. of actual shepherds Wordsworth had seen in his boyhood. while Byron’s quest. Shelley frequently gives the impression of encountering enchfint1nnt he does not em brace. and Shelley at twenty-nine. Words worth’s Tharmas. yet overcoming this terror nevertheless. Hartman. this resembles an extreme Protestantism. This Romantic pastoral vision its pictorial aspect can be studied in the woodcuts of Blake’s Virgil series. prophesy the final phase of the quest in them. they were united except for Coleridge in not striving for unity with anything but what might be called their Tharmas or id com ponent.n1Lwith. Frye. great poet as he certainly was. since every enchantment is an authentic inspiration. though Yeats sometimes received it. and there is profound despair in each. and can best be thought of as the force of libido. and an Orphic strain takes its place. . his equivalent in Wordsworth being a number of visions of man against the sky. . calls the imaginative ego identity-with and the selfhood ego identity-as. writing on Wordsworth. and in the work done by Palmer. which clarifies Keats’s ambiguous use of "identity" in this context. The Fall of Hyperion and The Triumph of Life. For Shelley. his version of Blake’s Urizen or Freud’s superego. is one that would keep him from ever concludin the Prometheus hase ojest. though Ion . for no other En hish oet gives so continuous an im ression of rel in on a most Ii ere eats knew the Selfhood as an attractive strength of distinct identity that had to be set aside. In Freud the ego mediates between id and superego. and Wordsworth as a continuity he longed for yet learned to resist. Keats died at twenty-five. This temptation calls the poet to ppial revolution. points to the radical Protestant analogue to the Romantic quest: "The terror of discon tinuity or separation enters.4epratJyto see the tyranni of hiitihie overturned renj it at the of is overturn the tyranny of time itself. but rather of his former selfless self. Lewis. and Shelley. and then back again. more than any other "heathen" poet the word is from Lewis. There are thus two main elements in the major phase of the Romantic quest. lacked a Vision of Evil. Blake’s Tharmas is inchoate when fallen. In Ro mantic psychic mythology. to engage the an tagonist proper. drove home the truth of Original Sin. Selfhood_su]4jd. Eclniorkhredcs. the final despair may be total. free of further internalizations-though "outward" and "inward" become cloven fictions or false conceptual distinctions in this triumph. Calvert. a desperation that at its worst sacrifices the living moment. One thinks of Yeats’s Blakean declaration: "I’m looking for the face I had / Before the world Was made.

begins to move into the light of a Last Judgment. The Four Zoas. Here there is an alternation be tween vision sweeping outwards into the nightmare world of the reality principle. In The Prelude. The Prelude is an autobiographical romance that frequently seeks expression in the sublime mode. The first is more palpably in a displaced romance mode. is a long poem so rich and strange it has defied almost all description. and a subsequent defeat. The poet’s antagonist is himself. Enitharmon. What is there already. Blake-Los struggles on against this enchantment of despair. involving as it does symbolic journeys downwards to our world by Milton and his emanation or bride of creation. It determines every movement in the growth of the child’s consciousness. Selfhood or Identity-As. of a kind passed by every man upon himself. for the later one introduces the doubling of the ego into Spectre of Urthona and Los. is essentially a poem of Prometheus. and Imagination or Identity-With. desires that emerge . almost without warning. But this renunciation was completed not before he attempted to move the entire poem from the Prometheus stage to the Imagination. yet he h insigl t into it. The recognition compels Satan to a full epiphany. Though Blake. as The BoTderers already had shown. attempts a continuity based on thematic juxtaposition and simultaneity. not to us The Four Zoas. even to himself. There is very little in the poem of the Prometheus phase. and many since happily have noted. The two major stages of the mature phase of quest dominate the structure of Milton. and we can go back to it and see what is deliberately lacking in The Triumph of Life. the poem’s first part being the most harrowing and tormented ac count of genius tempted to the madness of self-righteousness. begins. but its peculiar mixture of displaced genre and inappropriate style works. yet from which he turned when he renounced the entire poem by declining to engrave it. The struggle with the Selfhood moves from the quarrel between Pala mabron Blake and Satan Hayley in the introductory "Bard’s Song" on to Milton’s heroic wrestling match with Urizen. The entrance into the mature stage of the quest is clearly shown by the two different versions of Night the Seven. The Prelude’s only rival as the finest long poem of the nineteenth century. Its place in his canon was filled. rather than on consecutiveness. which is an invitation to aesthetic disaster. Wordsworth did not have the Promethean temperament. yet there Wordsworth works within rational limits. Ololon. and it achieves great power in Book VI. The Prelude follows a rough naturalistic chronology through Wordsworth’s life down to the middle of the journey. the quest in Milton is primarily Milton’s and not Blake’s. it was not fully clarified by Blake. for Blake’s own process of creative matura tion came to its climax while he worked on The Four Zoas. the explosive and Promethean Night the Ninth. taking as texts Jerusalem and The Prelude. in what Blake specifically terms a preparation for a going forth to the great harvest and vintage of the nations. The Prelude ought to be an outrageous poem. always seen as a violation of the established natural order. and so he refused to regard the poem as a definitive vision. Urizen. and sohipsistic withdrawal even in the Romantic period. and the Fall and Triumph. and a wholly inward vision of conflict in Blake’s ego between the Spectre and Los. by the doubleromance Milton and Jerusalem. Blake having already de voted to that a series of prophetic poems. from America and Europe through The Book of Urizen and on to the magnificent if unsatis factory to him. these two last with supplementary refer ence to crucial earlier erotic poems of Keats and Shelley. particularly in Jerusalem. in which the end less cycle between the two is fully exposed. Though skillfully handled. in which Milton recognizes Satan as his own Selfhood. leaves him in a state of prepara tion for a further greatness that never came. frus trated anger. Milton then confronts Ololon. and climaxes in the direct confrontation between Milton and Satan on the Felpham shore. he is in such sure control of his own procedure that his work is less difficult to summarize than The Prelude. But even this could not be Blake’s final Word. The Excursion is an aesthetic disaster. a con trast that tends to startle inexperienced readers of Blake and of Wordsworth. What follows is a rapid attempt to trace the major phase of quest in the four poets. Being The Last Judgment. who descend from an orthodox Eternity in a mu tual search for one another. which in itself is one of Blake’s greatest works.18 * Harold Bloom The Internalization of Quest-Romance 19 good time would come had already given a vision of imaginative completion in the closing Act of Prometheus Unbound. the poem ending in an epiphany contrary to Satan’s. because its internalization of quest is the inevitable story for its age. more or less. where it. Blake gives us the most comprehensive sin gle version of the Romantic quest. the initial quest phase of the poet-as-Prome theus is diffuse but omnipresent. until the poem quietly. In Jerusalem. Of Blake’s long poems the first. devoting itself to the cyclic strife between the Promethean Ore and the moral censor. Byron. and the quest’s antagonist is still somewhat externalized. The poem ends in an apocalypse. besides the invention of the modern lyric. In the poem’s final plates the reconciliation of ‘Los and his emanative portion. as Hazlitt. when the onset of the French Revolution is associated with the poet’s own hidden desires to surmount nature. like any modern reader. and we approach the completion of quest. the characteristic irony being that they could never find one another in a traditional heaven.

are not wish fulfillments. his wavering Prometheanism early defeated not so much by his Selfhood as by his Urizenic fear of his own imaginative en ergy. as infants we dream for half the time we are asleep. and final movement to wards imaginative love. The fullest development of the Roman tic quest. in Book XII of The Prelude. is M. father. only. At its mercy. is in Keats’s Endymion and Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound. the dream is rare. is presented only in directly in the 1805 Prelude. included in this book. Wordsworth learns the supernatural and superhuman strength of his own imagination. as does the second phase of crisis. The motto of this poetry might well be its descendant. The essay on the Greater Romantic Lyric. The Promethean quest fails. The Imagi nation phase of his quest does not witness the surrender of his Selfhood and the subsequent inauguration of a new dialectic of love. Christabel. In this second generation of Romantic questers the same first phase of Prometheanism appears. but to recover the dream for the health of life. the mani fest and latent content of the dream can be distinct. The more direct Promethean failure. blest by faith: what we have loved Others will love. and may prove to be true. to Shelley and Keats. Freud is again a clear-headed guide." in which the immediate power of the mind over outward sense is so great that the ordinary forms of nature seem to have withdrawn. cited earlier: Rousseau and the Romantics discovered not only the alienation between child and adult. after Blake’s mythology and Wordsworth’s exemplary re fusal of mythology. and we will teach them how. a polemical Romanticism matures. But in Keats and Shelley. we depend / Upon it. Yet he wins a provi sional triumph over himself. and the reality principle can too easily be debased into a principle of surrender. and the argu ment of the dream with reality becomes an equivocal one. We return to the observation of Van den Berg. and as we age we dream less and less. and he yields to its dark enchantment. And the final vision of The Prelude is not of a redeemed nature. Eliot thought that the poet of Adonais and The Tn umph of Life had never "progressed" beyond the ideas and ideals of adolescence. It was a high price for the release he had achieved in his brief phase of exploring the romance of the marvelous. It is not Keats but Moneta. the dream with its ambiguities centers in Beulah. but the relation of the quest’ to the world of the reality principle has changed. the poet’s actual abandonment of Annette Vallon. overcoming of Selfhood. What is called real is too often an exhausted phantas magoria. Dreams. Every reader can be left to his own judgment of the relative maturity of Ash Wednesday and The Witch of Atlas. but in the poem they come together. an accommodation with death-in-life. as it is in Blake. purged of the natural heart. posthumously published Prelude of i8o. and in another with the series of shocks to the poet’s moral being when England wars against the Revolution. or The Cocktail Party and The Cenci. / Because. In Wordsworth. Romanticism guessed at a truth our doctors begin to measure. in one way in the Alps when chastened by nature. Stevens’ "The mind is the terriblest force in the world. but the loss it self produced a few poems of unique value. and drops out completely from the re vised. or else a state the poet calls "visionary dreariness. but of a liberated creativity transforming its creation into the be loved: Prophets of Nature. the passionate and wrong-headed Muse in The Fall of Hyperion.20 * Harold Bloom The Internalization of Quest-Romance * 21 in the great passages clustered around the Simplon Pass. Wordsworth the saving terror of the force. or at least of what Eliot had believed in his own adolescence. but it is a fa miliar Romantic conceit. H. Abrams’ pioneering and greatly illuminating explanation of how Coleridge preceded Wordsworth in the inven tion of a new kind of poetry that shows the mind in a dialogue with itself. it. Instruct them how the mind of man becomes A thousand times more beautiful than the earth On which he dwells. Keats and Shelley began with a passion closer to the Prometheus phase of Blake than of Wordsworth or Coleridge. and the Revolution betrays itself. and is free to formulate his . but the second birth of psychic maturation or adolescence. and die with them. In his crisis. above this frame of things . can defend / Against itself. the purgatorial lower paradise of sexuality and benevolent nature. the version most readers encounter. In Blake. antipodes. addressed here as the other Prophet of Nature. who first confounds poets and dreamers as one tribe. We are our imaginations. Coleridge. and in the closing stanzas of Resolution and Independence and the Great Ode. even opposite. re nounced his own demonic version of the Romantic quest clearest in the famous triad of Kubla Khan. The doctors have not yet told us that utterly dreamless sleep directly prophesies or equals death. and betokens either a prolepsis of the imagination abolishing na ture. But his anxiety for continuity is too strong for him. The younger Romantics do not seek to render life a dream. in chief. we to them will speak A lasting inspiration. the Dejection Ode in particular. renounced quest. and then insists they are totally distinct and even sheer op posites. and The Ancient Mariner. and is able to begin a passage to the mature phase of his quest. sanctified By reason." Coleridge emphasizes the mercy.

are subtle and wavering. it has achieved the quest. rises from the abyss and stops history.poethood. In this realm. this is the cause of the poem’s radical unity.22 * Harold Bloom The Internalization of Quest-Romance * 23 own dialectics of progression. We wish for more. the dialectic of history. Yet the poem is also a daimonic shadow in motion. the poem’s entire thrust is at one with the Poet-hero’s self-destruction. and necessarily for Coleridge. The mazes of romance in Endymion are so winding that they sug gest the contrary to vision. Perhaps the most remarkable :ele ment in the preternatural rapidity of maturation in Keats and Shelley is their early renunciation of the Prometheus phase of the quest. for the Muse herself has been transformed by the poet’s persistence and integrity. is in despair of any victory. to a purga tonal encounter with the Selfhood. or rather. nothing narrows to an intensity. and places a deeper trust in the dream. as I have fallen. for at least the dream itself is not reductive. moving always in a tragic rhythm out from and back to the isolated ego. The temptation to go on with the poem must have been very great after its magnificent begin nings. necessarily. in the last lines he wrote. but the image of the poet forever wakeful amidst the cone of night. but only now begin to understand how much we have received. In reaction. but for his tradition. his own poetic ambitions. and attempts the objective epiiii roeii1flentity is strong but waning fast. The Infernal Grove grows thick with virtues. in the high function and responsi bilities of a Wordsworthian humanism. past its own Promethean adolescence. Though the poem breaks off before it attempts the dialectic of love. On a cosmic scale. and the fragment of the poem’s Book III introduces an Apollo whose selfidentity is in the act of being born. the joy which waked like heaven’s glance The sleepers in the oblivious valley. becoming more intense as it narrows into the light. Demogorgon. rises from his icy crucifixion by refusing to continue the cycles of revolution and repression that form an ironic continuity between himself and Jupiter. in Shelley and in Keats. So fused do the ideal and these masks be come that Shelley. by his renunciation. where the hero. and long before the day Was old. for Shelley. Desire for what one lacks becomes . The Fall of Hyperion. this is part of the burden of Pnometheus Un bound. and the excessive price of the quest in the poet’s alienation from other selves. I have scanted the dialectic of love in all of these poets. Romantic love. and nearly ended time’s bondage. The way again is down and out. but the Selfhood’s tempta tions. and mask themselves in the forms of the ideal. the fate of Endymion’s own search for his goddess. he meets the danger of her challenge not by asserting his own identity. but Keats’s letters are firm in renouncing it. Lewis rightly observed as giving a marvelous sense of the poet’s being at one with his subject. it shows us nature’s revenge upon the imagina tion. So Rousseau speaks here not for him- self alone. And some grew weary of the ghastly dance. Wordsworth. but by finding his true form in the merged identity of the. Rousseau was not a failed poet. Shelley’s poetry after this does not maintain the celebratory strain of Act IV of his lyrical drama. as Wordsworth had done before him. and every passionate impulse widens out to a diffuseness. illuminating it as the star Lucifer does. S. who massively represents the bound pro phetic power of all men. the image Shelley leaves with us at his end is not this falling-away from the quest. which is the quest of the Freudian Eros. a labyrinthine nature in which all quest must be forlorn. their dialectical complexity in simultaneously pre senting the necessity and the inherent limitation of this phase. indeed for poetry itself. and engages instead the demon of subjectivity. fading as the star. even in this broken monument. though it is Shelley’s Rousseau and not Shelley himself who actually chants: thus on the way Mask after mask fell from the countenance And form of all. Keats turns from the enchantments of identity to the romance-fragment. which C. died. Yet rightly or wrongly. inaugurates in the microcosm of the individual imagi nation. Keats chastens his own Prometheanism. by the waysideFor Shelley. Con fronted by Moneta. and the Promethean Shelley as well. The Promethean quest. thus completing in the macrocosmic shadow what Prometheus. however we reduce it in our dissections. nature. is not the possessive love of the natural heart. That is the love Blake explicitly rejected: Let us agree to give up Love And root up the Infernal Grove Then shall we return and see The worlds of happy Eternity Throughout all Eternity I forgive you you forgive me . but rather the poet whose influence had resulted in an imaginative revolution. or the liberating dream taken up into the self. is from the start uneasy about its equivocal ally. In Alastor. but these are the sel fish virtues of the natural heart. And fell.

nor proved the final form of his love. iii. and a tendency to overemphasize the value of reason in art. VIII. Monk. 103. 38. ravit. 55. an interest in the emotional effect of objects definitely pointed to the individual response rather than to a code of externally 1. theories of sublimity were all more or less derived from Longinus. only latent was a too great stan dardization of literature under the current theory of a universalized nature. 16. and the question of why certain objects and certain subjects give pleasure can be approached. 1705. Rhetoric London 1736. De la Manière d’Enseigner et d’Etudier les Belles Lettres. per haps. The man prophesied by the Romantics is a central man who is always in the process of becoming his own begetter. Such a description as Quintihian gives of the effect of Cicero’s defense of Cornelius is typical. although there was a general opinion that Pen Hupsous was in adequate in its methods of analysing the sthetic experience. The preoccupation with emotions on the part of theorists wasin every way healthful. and as such Freud understood and accepted it. p. and ecstasy. 41. It must make all things new. never have studied the question had not the rhetoricians of antiquity and of their own age based much of the persuasive power of their art on the emotions which the great style evokes. the sublime can be sought in all the arts. in England. All such love is an entropy.2 It is against a background of rhetoric. Longinus lent himself as readily to this point of view as he did to that expressed in the nascent sthetic of England. Wm. Done into English by London." Boileau had reinforced the conception of the sublime as primarily emotive in his much-paraphased "en lève. But it learns. the brilliance. 1752. p. to persuade against the will and the reason of the audience. and it was this that the English began to do. and Lowth with the relation of the sublime to the pathetic bears witness to the continuation of the rhetorical tradition. Seconde Edition Paris. pp. 54. horror. and it is no matter for surprise that it should take on a certain coloring from its origins. cited almost at random. Stevenson London. splendour. Le Clerc. It would be useless to quote from all of these works. and our ecstasy is a reduc tion. MONK The Sublime: Burke’s Enquiry t During the first half of the eighteenth century. Re printed by permission dl The University clamorous enthusiasm. Vol. took over the word sub lime and kept alive the conception that it represents a device for persuading through the emotions." and the writers of manuals of oratory and rhetoric. . pp. and the weight of his eloquence that evoked such f From The Sublime: A Study of Criti cal Theories in XVIJJ-Century England by Samuel H. 2. 85. the imagination. 1700. and in the other they are regarded as the source of sthetic pleasure. They would. Rollin. Copyright © 1960 by the University o Michigan. Par rhasiana. and though his major poems perhaps have been written. that it cannot define what it is. it seeks to define itself through the analogue of each man’s creative potential. The difference between the rhetorical sublime and the pathetic sub lime of the early eighteenth-century theorists is largely that in the one emotions have a practical value. both in France and in England. Traité de l’Eloquence Paris. 9. When the emo tions that the sublime traditionally awakened could be regarded as an end in themselves. Institutio Oratoria. but only what it will be. SAMUEL H. rather than as a means to an end. Monk The Sublime: Burke’s Enquiry 1 * 25 a habit of possession. The preoccupation of critics and theorists such as Dennis. pp. He says that it was "the sublimity. The speed with which theOrists assimilated under the Longinian sublime the emotions of terror. 104. Jacob. 1722. can suffice. Moreover. and the Selfhood’s jealousy murders the Real Man. and then marry what it has made. A few references.24 * Samuel H. But never capable of answering Whatever else the love that the full Romantic quest aims at may be. and love only its mitigation? To cast off the idiot Questioner who is always questioning. 37. Gibert. of Michigan Press. for all of them say the same thing with damnable itera tion. The latent danger of the neo-classical theory almost always. he has not as yet fleshed out his prophecy. Is this the human condition. an s thetic theory was possible. tr. transporte. Less urgently. through its poets. then. and the vast and more overwhelming aspects of the natural world bears witness to the need which was felt for a method of making respectable the more un-neo-classical elements of art. 16. It was only in the works which we have studied that the sublime began to free itself from rhetoric. it cannot be a therapy. Fénelon. that the sublime begins to emerge. 213. as we have seen. Réflexions sur la Rhetorique Paris. In the latter case. The sublime came as a justifiable category into which could be grouped the stronger emotions and the more irrational elements of art. We become aware of others only as we learn our separation from them. ‘II. 1728. But Boileau had made it possible to consider the sublime apart from the high style. Dialogue Concerning Eloquence in General. pp.

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