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Feather's Miscellany: The Critic, The Romantic And The Cynic

...Cynicism has turned my generation into grumpy old men and women who see all the wrongs of life and nothing right!...

But John Waddington-Feather senses a return to romanticism.

The critic analyses life, the Romantic adorns it, the cynic sneers at it; and over the past few decades cynicism has spread through English life like a cancer.

Observe a commentator on television and see his curled lip. Read the sourness of reviewers in the press; see how they turn commentary into mockery. Is it any wonder that Romanticism is not in favour among the chattering pundits of the literary world? That the Romantic imagination has been smothered by ‘factual reality’? To write a Romantic novel or poem with a happy theme or ending is to have it killed stone dead by reviewers. Cynicism has turned my generation into grumpy old men and women who see all the wrongs of life and nothing right!

But, as always, the pendulum is swinging back. Romanticism is slowly coming back into favour. The former Poet Laureate is unashamedly Romantic – and he uses traditional verse forms more often than not. Romanticism takes us out of ourselves and we need the exercise of the imagination to project us beyond the immediate; to open new dimensions in life; to take us beyond this realism into another unknown one; to take us into the exhilarating world of the Romantic.

I sense a brighter horizon is dawning in the media and literature; hence the number of nineteenth century Romantic novels being serialised on the television. Perhaps one day we’ll have twenty first century Romantic novels being shown there, instead of the current dead diet of soaps, crime, sex and violence which is spooned to us.

For too long cynics have had their way and reduced us to a chronic state of depression in which even the comfort of traditional religion is passed over. Our churches have become the casualties of the cynics, who see only the negative side of religion. They ignore the work done for the marginalised and deprived by church people in the communities they serve and in the world beyond.

Indeed, the cynics have coined that awful term “do-gooder” as a term of abuse for people who are doing good; as if doing good is something to be ashamed of. And why? Simply because the cynic himself is quite incapable of doing good in the world. He observes all the ills of society, sneers – then does nothing.

John Waddington-Feather ©


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