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By: (1863-1946)

As a simple story told, "The Romantic" is one of Sinclair’s tightest and most compelling. Charlotte Redhead, a young British secretary, finds herself in a degrading extra-marital affair with her boss. In reaction, she renounces Sex and links herself platonically to a handsome young Bohemian (John Conway) she meets by chance, tramping in the fields. Together, under a powerful romantic excitement, the two rush off to Belgium in the early weeks of World War I, having organized their own little volunteer ambulance corps. The romance of the adventure begins to break down when the various ambulance corps start to back-stab each other, each selfishly seeking to one-up the others for glory. The real crisis comes when the central characters begin to reveal the true human characters behind their romantic delusions, in the end turning the attention back to the genuine human suffering that was the real story of the hideous Great War. An indictment of the author’s own thrill-seeking past, as revealed in her "Journal of Impressions in Belgium," and showing some of the concerns of the so-called Lost Generation that included Hemingway and Dos Passos and Woolf, "The Romantic" weaves together a number of fascinating themes, re-interpreting with Sinclair’s inimitable frankness post-war attitudes about sex, war, patriotism, and even the new psychology.

First Page:




Every kind and beautiful thing on earth has been made so by some cruelty .

Saying of the Romantic


BOOK ONE Charlotte Redhead

BOOK TWO John Roden Conway





They turned again at the end of the platform.

The tail of her long, averted stare was conscious of him, of his big, tweed suited body and its behaviour, squaring and swelling and tightening in its dignity, of its heavy swing to her shoulder as they turned.

She could stave off the worst by not looking at him, by looking at other things, impersonal, innocent things; the bright, yellow, sharp gabled station; the black girders of the bridge; the white signal post beside it holding out a stiff, black banded arm; the two rails curving there, with the flat white glitter and sweep of scythes; pointed blades coming together, buried in the bend of the cutting... Continue reading book >>

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