घररोमांटिकतावाद पुनर्जन्म: डॉ डेविड केली द्वारा एक प्रस्तावनाशिक्षाएटलस विश्वविद्यालय
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रोमांटिकतावाद पुनर्जन्म: डॉ डेविड केली द्वारा एक प्रस्तावना

रोमांटिकतावाद पुनर्जन्म: डॉ डेविड केली द्वारा एक प्रस्तावना

September 21, 2021

This Preface was originally published in Romanticism Reborn, by Walter Donway and has been reprinted with the author's permission.

Walter Donway is a prolific writer, with many works of fiction and nonfiction to his credit. In this volume, he turns to his major passion: the power of art, especially literature—and Romantic literature in particular—to  portray a life-changing and inspiring moral ideal.

The articles that make up this collection were composed at different times and published in different venues, which results in some repetition among them. But I found the repetition useful in making important points memorable. Some originated as talks, retaining the informal style of address to an audience. This, too, contributes to the enjoyment of his book: Overall, it has the feel of a great conversation or college seminar with an expert who can present deep insights inaccessible form.

Walter traces his understanding of the power of art to Ayn Rand and her novel Atlas Shrugged., telling us about the impact it had on him as a young man and its continuing impact throughout his life. The chapter “Incurable Atlas Fever” is a beautifully written autobiographical account of his discovery of the novel. “Atlas Shrugged, in a sense, slid like a key into a lock with the answer to the puzzle of my Romantic longing.” That gives this work a personal feel that is moving, and that I hope other fans of Atlas can relate to.

But the book goes far beyond the personal. The main theme is Romanticism: its nature, history, and varieties, with discussions of many historical and contemporary works in the genre. Walter refers often to Rand’s Romantic Manifesto, with illuminating observations drawn from his deep understanding of her Objectivist philosophy. But he goes far beyond Rand’s book in his detailed treatment of the Romantic movement. Even those well-versed in Objectivism will find arresting insights and applications.

The book begins with two of the longer essays that provide context for the other pieces. In “The Romantic Revolution: The Glory, the Paradoxes, the Future,”Donway discusses the history of Romanticism and the paradox it represents. Those who began their intellectual journey with Rand’s novels and non-fiction works may take her esthetic theory as totally consistent with her broader philosophy. And it is.

But most intellectual historians consider the Romanticism of the early 19thcentury a rejection of the Enlightenment. It was indeed a rejection of the Classicism typical of Enlightenment aesthetics, with its fixed standards for the form of art works—like the classical standards for architecture that Roark battles against in The Fountainhead. Historians, however, usually regard the Romantic movement as a broader rejection of Enlightenment ideas and values. Many Romantic novelists and poets celebrated feeling and intuition over reason. They looked back to folklore, myths, and the Middle Ages rather than the new world of capitalism and industry. Many of them turned away from these man-made advances to celebrate Nature. How then can Objectivism—an Enlightenment philosophy—embrace Romanticism in art?  Consider, for example, William Wordworth’s poem “The World Is Too Much With Us”:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:

Little we see in Nature that is ours…

How can that Romantic poem, with its rejection of commerce in favor of Nature, be part of the same artistic genre as the capitalist ideal in Atlas Shrugged?

Walter’s answer, in brief, is that Romanticism completed the Enlightenment’s project of liberating the individual. His analysis is a tour-de-force, integrating the historical evolution of Romanticism with a deep and original view of Rand’s concept of “sense of life” and the role of art in finding “the homeland of one’s soul.” This essay alone, in my view, is worth the price of the book.

The second chapter, “Atlas Shrugged Resuscitates Dying Romanticism,” covers some of the same ground as the first but goes deeper into Rand’s theory of literature, her opposition to Naturalism(or Realism), the philosophical ideas that undermined Romanticism in the 19thand 20th centuries, the differences between popular and literary Romanticism, and the way Atlas Shrugged offers the deepest, most consistent, portrayal of the Romantic focus on individual choice and commitment to values.

Walter argues here that the “resuscitation of Romanticism—in the form of Romantic Realism—was Ayn Rand's single most original philosophical achievement,” more significant than her insights in epistemology or ethics. As a philosopher who has written a good deal about her break-through insights in those fields, I can’t agree. But Walter’s argument for the claim is intriguing and invites further reflection.

Romanticism Reborn goes on to discuss a number of specific works in depth, including Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo. To my mind, the most interesting are the two chapters devoted to  Henryk Sienkiewicz, the Polish author of the immensely popular Quo Vadis? That novel depicts the struggles of the earliest Christians in Rome during Emperor Nero’s reign; Ayn Rand considered it in the top rank of Romantic novels. But Sienkiewicz is more celebrated in Poland for his “Trilogy,” three novels of Poland’s struggles against invaders in the 17th century. The trilogy was completed in 1887 but translated into English only in 1991. “The great universal themes of the Trilogy,” Walter says, are that no nation survives loss of its founding ideas and values, and that the salvation of a nation ultimately lies in the mind of each citizen.

Notable glories of the books are the portrayal of courage, comradeship, and valor in war; achingly intense and beautiful romance; depth of analysis of the moral corruption that brings a great country to enslavement; and the blazingly colorful, complex characters and their moral grandeur.

A later chapter, “The Great Romantic Novel You Haven’t Read,” covers Sienkiewicz’s The Knights of the Cross. Like most readers, as Walter’s title surmises, I haven’t read the novel. It’s on my list now.

What about contemporary novels? Popular Romanticism, of course, survives in many forms: detective stories, thrillers, and much science fiction. They count as Romantic because they involve heroes fighting for their values, but, as Walter notes, they “all deal with values mostly in terms of crime and punishment or good agents versus malefactors.” Yet Walter comments extensively (“What Is Romanticism, Today?”) on current popular novels, including a new wave of fantasy and young adult fiction, selecting his favorites.

In another chapter on contemporary writers inspired by Rand, Walter singles out several authors whose novels rise above the popular level, Vinay Kolhatkar and D.K. Halling, with extended discussions of their works. (A fuller list of such authors was compiled by Marilyn Moore for The Atlas Society website: “Fiction Under the Influence: Ayn Rand’s Literary Legacy,” https://www.atlassociety.org/post/fiction-under-the-influence-ayn-rands-literary-legacy.)

Finally, the book includes two great chapters on poetry. Rand did not have a lot to say about the genre, though she requested that a poem, Rudyard Kipling’s “If,” be read at her funeral (another Kipling poem was read for her husband Frank O'Connor). In any case, Walter is an accomplished poet himself, with extensive knowledge about the history of the genre. “Who Stole Poetry and Left Us Only Free Verse?” begins with a humorous description of his experience in poetry workshops where most of the participants offer “free verse.” The problem is that “free verse is not poetry”; free verse dispenses with meter, the regular patterns of stress in each line, and meter is the defining characteristic of poetry.

Walter expands on that point in a longer chapter that includes a tutorial on the varieties of meter and their artistic effects, for those of us who have forgotten the differences among iambic, anapestic, and other meters that we learned about in school (when schools still taught this material).

This chapter also makes the bold claim in its title, “Poetry: The Supreme Art.” Fasten your seat belt for Walter’s argument that poetry is supreme because it includes elements of every other form of art, from dance to painting. In aid of his argument, he reminds us that poetry is not limited to the short lyric form we are familiar with today. Much of the great literature in Western history was in verse—from the epics of Homer to Virgil’s Aeneid, to Dante’s Divine Comedy, to Shakespeare's plays, to mention just a few.

These chapters are a testament to the immense power of poetry, to its glorious history—and to the depth of Walter’s love for this art.

But enough from me: It’s time for you to explore the riches in the book itself.

David Kelley Ph.D
About the author:
David Kelley Ph.D

David Kelley founded The Atlas Society (TAS) in 1990 and served as Executive Director through 2016. In addition, as Chief Intellectual Officer, he was responsible for overseeing the content produced by the organization: articles, videos, talks at conferences, etc.. Retired from TAS in 2018, he remains active in TAS projects and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees.

केली एक पेशेवर दार्शनिक, शिक्षक और लेखक हैं। 1975 में प्रिंसटन विश्वविद्यालय से दर्शनशास्त्र में पीएचडी अर्जित करने के बाद, वह वासर कॉलेज के दर्शनशास्त्र विभाग में शामिल हो गए, जहां उन्होंने सभी स्तरों पर विभिन्न प्रकार के पाठ्यक्रम पढ़ाए। उन्होंने ब्रैंडिस विश्वविद्यालय में दर्शनशास्त्र भी पढ़ाया है और अन्य परिसरों में अक्सर व्याख्यान दिया है।

केली के दार्शनिक लेखन में नैतिकता, महामारी विज्ञान और राजनीति में मूल कार्य शामिल हैं, उनमें से कई नई गहराई और नई दिशाओं में वस्तुवादी विचारों को विकसित कर रहे हैं। वह द एविडेंस ऑफ द सेंसेज के लेखक हैं, जो महामारी विज्ञान में एक ग्रंथ है; ऑब्जेक्टिविस्ट आंदोलन के मुद्दों पर, ऑब्जेक्टिविज्म में सच्चाई और सहनशीलता; अनगढ़ व्यक्तिवाद: परोपकार का स्वार्थी आधार; और द आर्ट ऑफ रीजनिंग, परिचयात्मक तर्क के लिए व्यापक रूप से इस्तेमाल की जाने वाली पाठ्यपुस्तक, अब अपने 5 वें संस्करण में है।

केली ने राजनीतिक और सांस्कृतिक विषयों की एक विस्तृत श्रृंखला पर व्याख्यान और प्रकाशन किया है। सामाजिक मुद्दों और सार्वजनिक नीति पर उनके लेख हार्पर्स, द साइंसेज, रीजन, हार्वर्ड बिजनेस रिव्यू, द फ्रीमैन, ऑन प्रिंसिपल और अन्य जगहों पर दिखाई दिए हैं। 1980 के दशक के दौरान, उन्होंने समतावाद, आव्रजन, न्यूनतम मजदूरी कानून और सामाजिक सुरक्षा जैसे मुद्दों पर बैरोन्स फाइनेंशियल एंड बिजनेस पत्रिका के लिए अक्सर लिखा।

उनकी पुस्तक ए लाइफ ऑफ वन्स ओन: इंडिविजुअल राइट्स एंड द वेलफेयर स्टेट कल्याणकारी राज्य के नैतिक परिसर और निजी विकल्पों की रक्षा की आलोचना है जो व्यक्तिगत स्वायत्तता, जिम्मेदारी और गरिमा को संरक्षित करते हैं। 1998 में जॉन स्टोसेल के एबीसी / टीवी विशेष "लालच" में उनकी उपस्थिति ने पूंजीवाद की नैतिकता पर एक राष्ट्रीय बहस छेड़ दी।

ऑब्जेक्टिविज्म पर एक अंतरराष्ट्रीय स्तर पर मान्यता प्राप्त विशेषज्ञ, उन्होंने ऐन रैंड, उनके विचारों और उनके कार्यों पर व्यापक रूप से व्याख्यान दिया है। वह एटलस श्रग्ड के फिल्म रूपांतरण के सलाहकार थे, और एटलस श्रग्ड: द नॉवेल, द फिल्म्स, द फिलॉसफी के संपादक थे


प्रमुख कार्य (चयनित):

"अवधारणाएं और प्रकृति: यथार्थवादी मोड़ पर एक टिप्पणी (डगलस बी रासमुसेन और डगलस जे डेन यूयल द्वारा)," रीजन पेपर 42, नंबर 1, (समर 2021); हाल की एक पुस्तक की इस समीक्षा में अवधारणाओं के ऑन्कोलॉजी और महामारी विज्ञान में एक गहरी गोता शामिल है।

ज्ञान की नींव। ऑब्जेक्टिविस्ट एपिस्टेमोलॉजी पर छह व्याख्यान।

"अस्तित्व की प्रधानता" और "धारणा की महामारी विज्ञान," जेफरसन स्कूल, सैन डिएगो, जुलाई 1985

"यूनिवर्सल्स एंड इंडक्शन," जीकेआरएच सम्मेलनों में दो व्याख्यान, डलास और एन आर्बर, मार्च 1989

"संदेह," यॉर्क विश्वविद्यालय, टोरंटो, 1987

"फ्री विल की प्रकृति," पोर्टलैंड इंस्टीट्यूट में दो व्याख्यान, अक्टूबर 1986

"आधुनिकता की पार्टी," कैटो नीति रिपोर्ट, मई / जून 2003; और नेविगेटर, नवंबर 2003; पूर्व-आधुनिक, आधुनिक (प्रबुद्धता) और उत्तर आधुनिक विचारों के बीच सांस्कृतिक विभाजन पर एक व्यापक रूप से उद्धृत लेख।

"मुझे नहीं करना है" (आईओएस जर्नल, वॉल्यूम 6, नंबर 1, अप्रैल 1996) और "मैं कर सकता हूं और मैं करूंगा" (द न्यू इंडिविजुअलिस्ट, फॉल / विंटर 2011); व्यक्तियों के रूप में हमारे जीवन पर हमारे नियंत्रण को वास्तविक बनाने पर साथी टुकड़े।

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