Because no great poet of English Romanticism was drawn to ballet, it seldom figures in discussions of that movement. Even so, while the ballet in London lacked a chronicler as thorough and knowledgeable and eloquent as Theophile Gautier, it occasionally caught the attention of Leigh Hunt. Hunt's general culture and intelligence, if not his talent, bear comparison with the Frenchman's, although their ballet criticism is hardly commensurate in scope and significance. I propose therefore to examine their differing responses to the art so as to throw light on what I believe to be a characteristically "primitivist" note in English Romanticism. Even though Hunt's interest in the ballet appears to have been fitful and a touch patronising, he was an authoritative critic of the drama, one of the first to review plays independently of management. And even his casual obiter dicta are worth analysing for the light they throw on his assumptions about the dance. Theodore Fenner has produced a satisfying overview of Hunt's ballet criticism, but whereas he uses the reviews to glean more information about the Romantic ballet per se, I shall focus instead on what Hunt's dance criticism tells us about Hunt in particular, and about English Romanticism in general.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.