Art has a double visage: it looks before and after. Romance is its forward-looking face. The germ of growth is in romanticism. Formalism, on the other hand, consolidates tradition; gleans what has been gained and makes it facile to the hand or the mind; economizes the energy of genius.
Genius is that in which the soul of a race bums at its brightest, revealing and preserving its vision; works of art are great and significant in proportion to the clarity and fulness with which they incarnate this vision.
The critic is genius at one remove; he is not unlike an actor on the stage, and incarnates in his mind, as the actor embodies in his person, another's work; only thus does he understand art, realize it, know it; and having arrived at this, his task is done.
A marvellous power of expression over language often distinguishes genius; but Shakespeare in his phrases seems independent of the bonds of language as of the bonds of metre.
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