Gentle Reader, you’re surely familiar with the twin concepts of Romanticism and Classicism? I’ve written about them before, after all. And provided a laborious transcript of a quiz that would allow you to determine which, in fact, you were? If you don’t remember or aren’t familiar, here’s an excellent resource. Miss Ward hadn’t realized that I’d put that online. Miss Ward, feeling her own nostalgia for the test, searched for one of the answers that stood out in her mind – the phrase “Robust, Athletic, and Manly.”
Hilariously, that search led Miss Ward, a dear friend of mine for more than half my life, to my blog. We laughed; we both retook the test for the millionth time, and then -for me- it was time for bed. When I arose, Miss Ward had taken my transcript and made it into a quiz that actually does the math for you, which is available right here.
You’ve no notion how important this quiz is, Gentle Reader. It defined an era. Naturally, as young proto-Bohemians in High School, we were enamoured with the Romantic Movement – the Shelleys, the Villa Diodati,
Lord Byron, and poor, sainted Keats – with orgies and absinthe and graveyards and overripe fruit and rotting leaves and all that sort of rot.
During the FPA years, we’d sometimes play Romanticism-Classicism Test, treating it as a party game.
Secretly, we’d use it to determine how far we’d drifted from our youthful ideals, how we should interact or relate to our guests, where we were at in our lives, whether we were who we thought we were once upon a time.
I’m proud to say that I’m much more Romantic than I was those many years ago. I was a hidebound Classicist, using assumed Moral Superiority™ to shame others and try to fit people into little boxes they had no desire to fit into. I also had rigid ideas about dress, manners, gender roles, sexuality, religion, etc. and if you didn’t agree with me or society at large you were completely wrong and lessened in my eyes. At the same time, most of my close friends, passionate Romantics when we were young – all for wild hedonism and damn the costs – have mellowed. No one’s going to their death in a rowboat because they want to feel what it’s like to be a leaf in the wind. We’ve all mellowed. And that’s life, isn’t it? At the same time, on taking stock of our lives again, and taking the test again, Miss Ward and I were both very relieved to find that we’re both still Romantics.