Books: Disquieting Syrup

OPIUM AND THE ROMANTIC IMAGINATION by Althhea Hayter. 388 pages. University of California. $7.50.

As old as art itself is the artist's hope that some easily repeated trick of technique, some simple arrangement of circumstances or some infallible method of tapping the subconscious, may induce those high moments of creativity that are as precious as they are rare.

The English Romantics were inclined to place their bet on dreams. Essayist Charles Lamb wrote of a friend who used to measure aspiring poets by their answers to his question: "Young man, what sort of dreams...

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