Enter now two egotists, who have little in common save their egotism, two outsiders who upset most of the conventional American rules for winning the literary race, two men of genius, in short, about whom we are still quarreling, and whose distinctive quality is more accurately perceived in Europe
than it has ever been in the United States
were Romanticists by temperament.
Both shared in the tradition and influence of European Romanticism.
But they were also late comers, and they were caught in the more morbid and extravagant phases of the great European
movement while its current was beginning to ebb. Their acquaintance with its literature was mainly at second-hand and through the medium of British and American periodicals.
, who was older than Whitman
by ten years,