Robin Camille Davis
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March 08, 2010
Tags: gorgeous, outdoors, photography, poetry, words

I was recently asked to specify my first New Year's Resolution, which was to "Be more romantic." I find romantic a difficult word to define; happily, a few lexicographers have done the job for me. Their entries are quite poetic in themselves, I think.

Oxford English Dictionary

romantic, adj.
b. Mus. Characterized by the subordination of form to theme, and by imagination and passion.
3. Of projects, etc.: Fantastic, extravagant, quixotic; going beyond what is customary or practical.
4. a. Having a bent or tendency towards romance; readily influenced by the imagination.

romance, n.
3. A fictitious narrative in prose of which the scene and incidents are very remote from those of ordinary life ...
6. An extravagant fiction, invention, or story; a wild or wanton exaggeration; a picturesque falsehood.

Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms & Literary Theory

Romance. ... In the 13th c. a romance was almost any sort of adventure story, be it of chivalry or of love. Gradually more and more romances were written in prose. ... It is usually concerned with characters (and thus with events) who live in a courtly world somewhat remote from the everyday. This suggests elements of fantasy, improbability, extravagance, and naïvety.

I suppose, then, that I want the improbability and wildness without the falsehoods and naivete. While acknowledging the practical and what is real, I want to be prone to flights of fancy and whimsical extravagances.