Romanticism can be understood as based upon and leading to a rejection of Rome and a love of Greece. This book challenges this model by showing the complex engagement that took place between Romantic period writers and the specifically Roman elements of their classical inheritance. In particular, Rome provided a focus for discussion of how to co-ordinate present and past, cultural inheritance and contemporary experience. This introductory chapter contrasts firstly Hölderlin and Goethe, and then Shelley and Byron, in order to exemplify two of the dominant ways in which that co-ordination was attempted. It concludes with Stendhal, and his differing perspective on Rome. Stendhal's point of view is aligned with the aesthetics of the picturesque and is seen as implying both a different relation to the classical past and a new historiography.
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