ABSTRACT. From its cradle, the romantic revolution unfolded in directions as many as the number of its initial rebellious and whimsical, but brilliant and exuberant, fathers, bearing the marks of their numerous idiosyncrasies. This state of affairs led to the notion that literary history contains as many “romanticisms” (Lovejoy 1924) as there were leading romantics. Be that as it may, underlying the protean forms assumed by this phenomenon – that was to reach epic proportions through its unparalleled creations, even becoming in the 20th century something of a mass phenomenon (see versions of it as expressed in Sinclair Lewis’s works) – was a doctrine of boundary-breaking and threshold-crossing that masked an interest in paradoxes of reality such as that named by Nikolaus Cusanus the coincidentia oppositorum. By postulating that infinity is here and now in the finite visible reality, the romantics were touching a crucial point regarding reality’s paradoxical nature: the cosmos perpetually sets its own thresholds or boundary conditions in order to build a simultaneously stable and fluid reality, which, consequently, contains fixed laws (the stability pole) and freedom (the fluidity pole). Only by such a structure is creativity possible, the romantics implicitly realized. Thus, creativity was a main prerogative of the romantic genius who set out on its path, from the very beginning, as a creator-demiurge. By understanding that in the cosmos there is an inescapable dance and symphony of boundary-breaking (the freedom pole: romanticism proper in the arts and sciences) and boundary-making (the law pole: classicism proper in the arts and sciences), they, without perhaps even knowing, created one stupendous doctrine of the golden section – namely of that kind of structure in the universe that best expresses Cusanus’s coincidentia oppositorum as the living perpetual encounter between two incommensurables: finitude and infinity, or, in the older philosophical language of Philolaos, peras and apeiron. pp. 91–121

Keywords: golden section; threshold; creative boundary-breaking; universal progressive poetry; alchemy; correspondence; abundance; exuberance; unity

Mihai A. Stroe
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University of Bucharest, Romania

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