The debate of ‘romantic’ and ‘classical’ in its older and severer forms is not worth reviving. Already the issue had long been explored in a number of contradictory ways before Alfred de Musset dealt with it with such agile wit in 1836 in his Lettres de Dupuis et Cotonet. Two provincial abonnés of a Paris revue had been troubled by the meaning of the word ‘romanticism’. They thought that the words applied to drama only: Shakespeare was romantic because he broke the unities and sent his characters journeying to London, Athens, Alexandria, all in a quarter of an hour. Then, suddenly, to their consternation they discovered that there were romantic and classical poems, novels and even odes: ‘quand nous recûmes cette nouvelle, nous ne pûmes fermer l’oeil de la nuit.’ The confusions of the two provincials, of which these sleepless nights were only the first symptom, are typical of a debate longer and productive of more contradictory results than any other in literary history. Nor are these difficulties confined to de Musset’s provincials. J. G. Robertson has instanced 1 one in which he was himself involved. In 1923 he had published a brilliant and 8learned book, entitled Studies in the Genesis of Romantic Theory in the Eighteenth Century, to show that the origins of romanticism in England in the eighteenth century derived ultimately from the work of a little known group of Italian critics of the settecento. In the same year at Bologna there appeared a work 1 by Giuseppe Toffanin suggesting that this same group of critics could be regarded as ‘the heirs of the classic spirit of the Italian Renaissance’. Not only has the debate of ‘classical’ and ‘romantic’ led to contradictions, but it has proceeded to strange and unprofitable places. In its old form of the ‘querelle des anciens et des modernes’, to which Swift’s The Battle of the Books was an entertaining colophon, it became strangely inverted. The advocates of the classical were there not satisfied with Homer, for Fontenelle and Perrault maintained that he needed revision to make him more regular.