The Quest of the Absolute: Birth and Decline of European Romanticism

University of Notre Dame Press (2013)

Abstract
This eagerly awaited study brings to completion Louis Dupré's planned trilogy on European culture during the modern epoch. Demonstrating remarkable erudition and sweeping breadth, _The Quest of the Absolute_ analyzes Romanticism as a unique cultural phenomenon and a spiritual revolution. Dupré philosophically reflects on its attempts to recapture the past and transform the present in a movement that is partly a return to premodern culture and partly a violent protest against it. Following an introduction on the historical origins of the Romantic Movement, Dupré examines the principal Romantic poets of England, Germany, and France, all of whom, from different perspectives, pursued an absolute ideal. In the chapters of the second part, he concentrates on the critical principles of Romantic aesthetics, the Romantic image of the person as reflected in the novel, and Romantic ethical and political theories. In the chapters of the third, more speculative, part, he investigates the comprehensive syntheses of romantic thought in history, philosophy, and theology. _The Quest of the Absolute_ is an important work both as the culmination of Dupré's ongoing project and as a classic in its own right. The book will meet the expectations of the specialist as well as appeal to more general readers with philosophical, cultural, and religious interests. "_The Quest of the Absolute _is the third volume in Louis Dupré's trilogy dealing with the origins and development of modernity and the major cultural currents defining its history. It follows _Passage to Modernity_ and _The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture_. This third volume deals with the Romantic movement. Dupré's account is concerned to restore something of the full dimensionalities to Romanticism as a whole, to acknowledge something of the immense intellectual, political, and spiritual ambitions at work in it, without reneging on a reflective critical relation to it." —_William Desmond, Catholic University Louvain and Villanova University_
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