. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)The spectacle of his age and his life overpowered him into art. His immense energy assaulted journalism, the theatre and finally fiction where it spilled out into glorious English that could find no peace with itself. It was the first expression that could find no peace with itself. It was the first expression in prose of the legacy of romanticism. Ackroyd calls the style ‘passionate, comic, direct, plangent, farcical, lachrymose’ and adds with casual brilliance: ‘Prose as a principle of animation.’ Academic English departments should study such superb critical distillations and then abolish themselves.