In The Ethics of Romanticism Laurence Lockridge vigorously revives ethical criticism and at the same time brings to light the Romantics' profound engagement with ethical questions. He argues that a will to value is the pervasive motive of Romantic writers from Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge and De Quincey to Shelley, Hazlitt, Keats and Byron. They articulate a compelling ethics that has had a significant influence on modern thought. Yet its character has never before been systematically explored within the larger contexts of European thought. Lockridge argues that a focus on the ethical dimension of literature is the single most powerful strategy for structuring a writer's work as a whole, and that it can even prove congenial. He gives original, interrelated readings of the eight major British Romantic writers. In discussing the place of ethical criticism in modern letters, he qualifies or refutes opposing views - conservative, Marxist, and deconstructive. His book gives strong evidence of one direction criticism might fruitfully take in future years.