Aesthetics: From Metaphysical to Romantic

  • John Hoyles
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas/ Archives internationales d’histoire des ideés book series (ARCH, volume 39)


It may seem perverse to find characteristics of Romanticism in the work of a pre-Augustan poet; but only in the context of an emerging modernity, figuring the break-up of Renaissance literature and die foretaste of Romantic literature, can we make sense of More’s poetry, and relate it to a principle common to his philosophical and theological work. More was the only Cambridge Platonist to write poetry, and though few would judge his reputation enhanced by this work, it would be misleading not to take it into serious consideration. Such a consideration would correct the traditional view, implied in Coleridge’s attitude towards the Cambridge Platonists, that while More and Cudworth’s ideas could be regarded by the Romantic poets as important for aesthetic theory, their literary performance was without value. This divorce between More’s poetic achievement, for what it is worth, and his relevance to aesthetic theory, obscures the homogeneity of More’s modernity. More has a position in literature corresponding to his position in philosophy and theology. This can be established firtsly by examining his relevance to aesthetic theory, not only in an absolute Coleridgean sense, but also relative to his own literary context at the watershed between Renaissance and modern; and secondly by putting into evidence his literary achievement.


Free Heat Aesthetic Theory Romantic Poet Mere Sign Aesthetic Principle 
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© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1971

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  • John Hoyles

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