There are people who think of such a book as a glorified comic book. You know, little graphics on every page to make a point. Actually, I felt that way when I first saw this text. But, then, I found philosophy too boring a subject to take seriously when I was in college. In fact, I'm still somewhat amazed that "philosophers" have as much influence as they do.
But romanticism has interested me. It's, what, unenlightened? So I got this little gem.
There's a surprising wealth of information in this book, enough that it has induced me to buy a few other philosophy books (something I said twenty years ago that I'd never do!) Lots of names, how the romanticists of various nationalities were motivated (I found the Germans particularly interesting, maybe because I've been someone interested in Schopenhauer and Kant over the years).
Don't be put off by the graphics. They are effective at adding more substance than a paragraph or two can cover. And they're simple but well done.
The bulk of the text covered European romanticism, so I wondered where's the American breed of that animal. The final portion of the book didn't let me down. It covered the likes of Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others, all of them characteristic American romanticists.
Most of us are "lay persons" with respect to philosophy as a discipline. This book will at least introduce us to the roots of romanticism, even to its critics. And, among the things I learned from it is that there is not a black and white break between romanticism and its compatriots. Some European romanticists, for example, were closer to postmodernist, according to the authors, and others claimed to be "Neoclassisist," apparently pre-evolved romanticists. So where one ends and the other begins isn't as clear as, frankly, I wish it were (so I could define them all more clearly!
It's such a good read that I bought the book on Postmodernism from the same series! Expect to see names you've never seen before, but read it!