Sunday, March 18, 2007

“A full heart in an empty world”

. . . . Jacques Barzun’s description of Romanticism as “a full heart in an empty world." — Richard Nilsen. “[Emmanuel] Ax excels with passionate abandon”, Arizona Republican, March 18, 2007

Not Barzun’s, and not a description of Romanticism:

In his chapter [in Le GĂ©nie du Christianisme] on “le vague des passions” (intimations of passion) Chateaubriand defines his subject as “a state of the soul which . . . has not yet been adequately studied, namely, that which precedes the development of our passions when our faculties are young, active, and whole, but closed in and exercised only on themselves, without aim or object. . . . One is knowing without experience . . . One’s imagination is rich, abundant, full of wonders; life is dry and disenchanted; one lives with a full heart in an empty world.”
— Jacques Barzun, Berlioz and the Romantic Century, 1969 (1950), 162–163.