The sickness of our times for me has been just this damn thing that everything has been getting smaller and smaller and less and less important, that the romantic spirit has dried up, that there is no shame today.... We're all getting so mean and small and petty and ridiculous, and we all live under the threat of extermination.
(Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. repr. In Conversations with Norman Mailer, ed. J. Michael Lennon (1988). "Hip, Hell, and the Navigator," no. 23, Western Review (Winter 1959).)
If you describe things as better than they are, you are considered to be a romantic; if you describe things as worse than they are, you will be called a realist; and if you describe things exactly as they are, you will be thought of as a satirist.
(Quentin Crisp (b. 1908), British author. The Naked Civil Servant, ch. 24 (1968).)
The concept of romantic love affords a means of emotional manipulation which the male is free to exploit, since love is the only circumstance in which the female is (ideologically) pardoned for sexual activity.
(Kate Millet (b. 1934), U.S. feminist, author. Sexual Politics, ch. 2, sct. 4 (1970).)
The importance of a lost romantic vision should not be underestimated. In such a vision is power as well as joy. In it is meaning. Life is flat, barren, zestless, if one can find one's lost vision nowhere.
(Sarah Patton Boyle, U.S. civil rights activist and author. The Desegregated Heart, part 1, ch. 19 (1962).
Boyle was a white Virginian who publicly advocated integration from the earliest days of the civil rights movement. The "vision" whose loss she lamented was that of sentimental, fully reciprocal love between white Southerners and the African American Southerners who served them. She had come to learn that this had always been merely a white illusion.)
We travellers are in very hard circumstances. If we say nothing but what has been said before us, we are dull and have observed nothing. If we tell anything new, we are laughed at as fabulous and romantic.
(Mary Wortley, Lady Montagu (1689-1762), British society figure, letter writer. letter, Mar. 10, 1718. Selected Letters, ed. Robert Halsband (1970).)
Prophecy today is hardly the romantic business that it used to be. The old tools of the trade, like the sword, the hair shirt, and the long fast in the wilderness, have given way to more contemporary, mundane instruments of doomthe book, the picket and the petition, the sit-in ... at City Hall.
(Jane Kramer (b. 1938), U.S. author. "The Ranks and Rungs of Mrs. Jacobs' Ladder," Off Washington Square (1963).)
The most passionate, consistent, extreme and implacable enemy of the Enlightenment and ... all forms of rationalism ... was Johann Georg Hamann. His influence, direct and indirect, upon the romantic revolt against universalism and scientific method ... was considerable and perhaps crucial.
(Isaiah Berlin (b. 1909), British educator, author. The Magus of the North: J.G. Hamann and the Origins of Modern Industrialism, p. 1, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (1993).)
The notion that the public accepts or rejects anything in modern art ... is merely romantic fiction.... The game is completed and the trophies distributed long before the public knows what has happened.
(Tom Wolfe (b. 1931), U.S. journalist, author. The Painted Word, ch. 2 (1975).)