A very perspicacious, persuasive and often brilliant dissection and discussion of the romantic tradition as a ""cultural form linking past and present"" -- a defense thereof, and a dismissal of popular judgments, terminology, and false generalities surrounding it. Tracing the romantic movement in art and literature and life, Barsun refutes many of the terms associated with romanticism, -- subjectivism, over expressiveness, sentimentality, and shows that the common romantic tendency is the creation of a new world after the destruction of the old. He shows how many movements, considered non-romantic, are basically still part of that tradition -- the realists, the impressionists, the symbolists, the naturalists. And he shows how the modern ego today, with its uncertainty, its deliberate emotional sterility, its ""debunking"", needs the faith, the idealism, of what is commonly angered at as romanticism in order to achieve something positive. A cultured, intellectual appraisal -- not for the general reader.