The issue of periodization

Yesterday I was hit hard with a paradigm shift from four different sources.
1. Teaching "Transition from the Classical Period to the Romantic" in Music for Humanities.
2. Reading George Fee's arguments for viewing Georg Benda as a "classic-romantic".
3. Learning about Kant and Herder's aesthetic arguments in Music of the Classical Period class.
and 4. Struggling through Mark Bonds's "Musical Rhetoric" involving the gradual shift from rhetorical to organic musical organization.
I'm interested in different theories about this question of Classical vs. Romantic. It came particularly to a head when I had to generalize for the Humanities class and paint a picture that I myself don't quite agree with. It becomes such a divisive rift: either "Classical" composers are emotionally stifled formalists, or "Romantic" composers are selfish, bohemian radicals. Makes for good movies, but that's about it. I like the idea of these two aspects of humanity existing side by side, much like Milton's "Il Penseroso" and "L'Allegro".
I truly must explore this... after I do my homework.

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