A happy medium, also known as the “golden mean” is a classical concept, which is considered both philosophical and practical. It refers to the striking of a balance between the extremes, thus avoiding the effects of excess, and it was thought that such a middle ground helped to maintain an individual's rationality, contentment, and perspective.
The idea was particularly emphasized by philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle.
Jane Austen is among other nineteenth-century authors to explore the same idea. Austen most notably compares these different forms of romance by juxtaposing the experiences of the emotive Marianne and the practical Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (1811).