«Victor Hugo in his famous preface to Cromwell preferred to associate Romanticism above all with "the grotesque". Christianity, he argues, with its sense of sin brought melancholy into the world (surely one of the strangest assertions ever made). Man now realized the paradox of his imperfect nature -
Magnificent out of the dust we came,
And abject from the spheres
With this melancholy grew up the sense of "the grotesque" - whether horrible, or ludicrous, or both (like Hugo's own Hunchbach); and hence arouse that habit of mingling the grotesque with the tragic or sublime, which Classicism forbids, but life confirms.»
F. L. Lucas. The Decline and Fall of the Romantic Ideal. Cambridge University Press, 1963.