If I had to face the proverbial ‘stuck on a desert island with a small library of my choice’ dilemma, there is not a doubt about the books I would choose to bring along with me to my sandy purgatory. My first choice – of course – would be the King James Bible. After that, every other book in my library would be of the European and American Romantics of the 18th and 19th century. This decision would demand little consideration.
The poems of the Romantics (for me) remain the most enduringly profound literature, because they pack so much spiritual substance. The transcendent beauty of nature, the joys of children and family, the mysterious glory of God, the fleeting pleasures of youth, the inevitability of the grave – all of it is at the heart of the Romantics. In the end, what else is there to write about? From my view, this simply just is what all truly good literature needs to be about.