Arthur Lovejoy, the influential American philosopher, argues that the word Romanticism “offers one of the most complicated, fascinating, and instructive of all problems in semantics.” This is because we have many paradoxical varieties and definitions of Romanticism. This paper discusses some key perspectives of Romanticism during the twentieth century, incorporating Arthur Lovejoy, Rene Wellek and Morse Peckham. It calls attention to their critical and conceptual perceptions of Romanticism and holds them as particularly the most important and, perhaps, the most realistic assessments of Romanticism in the history of the literary theory. Through the perceptions of those three scholars, the paper discusses the various and truly paradoxical interpretations of Romanticism and concludes by saying that the difficulties of having a multitude of incongruent assessments of Romanticism explains why we do not have a theory that speaks of a Romanticism with a unified and precise nature and not of a plurality of truly paradoxical romanticisms. Indeed, those paradoxical and many interpretations render the very concept of Romanticism impossible to define up to this day.
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Lovejoy, A. O. (1924). On the discrimination of Romanticisms. In M. H. Abrams (Ed.), English romantic poets: Modern essays in criticism. (1960). New York: Oxford University Press.
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Wellek, R. (1973). The concept of Romanticism in literary history. In S. G. Jr. Nicholas (Ed.), Concepts of criticism. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
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