Books Fatal to Their Authors
P. H. Ditchfield
Part 3 out of 3
Catherino, in his book entitled _L'Art d'Imprimer_, quotes the saying of
De Fourcey, a Jesuit of Paris, that "one might make a pretty large volume
of the catalogue of those who have entirely ruined their booksellers by
But the booksellers and printers whose hard fate I wish principally to
record are those who shared with the authors the penalties inflicted on
account of their condemned books. Unhappily there have been many such
whose fate has been recorded, and probably there are many more who have
suffered in obscurity the terrible punishments which the stern censors of
former days knew so well how to inflict.
One of the reputed discoverers of the art of printing, John Fust, is said
to have been persecuted; he was accused at Paris of multiplying the
Scriptures by the aid of the Devil, and was compelled to seek safety in
The booksellers of the historian Caesar Baronius, [Footnote: Cf. page 97.]
whose account of the Spanish rule in Sicily so enraged Philip III. of
Spain, were condemned to perpetual servitude, and were forced to endure
the terrible tortures inflicted on galley slaves.
The early printers of the Bible incurred great risks. Richard Grafton and
Edward Whitchurch, together with Miles Coverdale, were entrusted to
arrange for the printing of Thomas Mathew's translation. The work was
given to the printers in Paris, as the English printers were not very
highly esteemed. The book was nearly completed when the Inquisition
effectually stopped the further progress of the work by seizing the
sheets, and Grafton with his companions were forced to fly. Then Francis
Regnault, whose brother's colophon is the admiration of all bibliophiles,
undertook the printing of the New Testament, made by Miles Coverdale,
which was finished at Paris in 1538. Richard Grafton and Whitchurch
contrived to obtain their types from Paris, and the Bible was completed in
1539. Thus they became printers themselves, and as a reward for his
labour, when the Roman Catholics again became rulers in high places,
Richard Grafton was imprisoned. His printer's mark was a _graft_, or young
tree, growing out of a _tun_.
The title of the Bible which was begun in Paris and finished in London is
_The Byble in Englyshe. 1539. Folio_.
"The Byble in Englyshe, that is to saye the content of all the Holy
Scrypture, bothe of the Olde, and Newe Testament, truly translated
after the veryte of the Hebrue and Greke textes, by the dylygent
studye of dyuerse excellent learned men, expert in the forsayde
tongues. Printed by Rychard Grafton and Edward Whitchurche. Cum
This Grafton was also a voluminous author, and wrote part of Hall's
Chronicles, an abridgment of the Chronicles of England, and a manual of
Whether by accident or intention, a printer of the Bible in the reign of
Charles I. omitted the important negative in the Seventh Commandment. He
was summoned to appear before the High Commission Court, and fined three
thousand pounds. The story is also told of the widow of a German printer
who strongly objected to the supremacy of husbands, and desired to revise
the text of the passage in the Sacred Scriptures which speaks of the
subjection of wives (Genesis iii. 16). The original text is "He shall be
thy _lord_." For _Herr_ (lord) in the German version she substituted
_Narr_, and made the reading, "He shall be thy _fool_." It is said that
she paid the penalty of death for this strange assertion of "woman's
We must not omit the name of another martyr amongst the honourable rank of
printers of the Scriptures, Jacob van Liesvelt, who was beheaded on
account of his edition of the Bible, entitled _Bible en langue
hollandaise_ (_Antwerpen_, 1542, in-fol.).
John Lufftius, a bookseller and printer of Wuertemburg, incurred many
perils when he printed Luther's German edition of the Sacred Scriptures.
It is said that the Pope used to write Lufftius' name on paper once every
year, and cast it into the fire, uttering terrible imprecations and dire
threatenings. But the thunders of Roman pontiffs did not trouble the
worthy bookseller, who laughed at their threats, and exclaimed, "I
perspired so freely at Rome in the flame, that I must take a larger
draught, as it is necessary to extinguish that flame."
The same fatality befell Robert Stephanus, the Parisian printer. His
family name was Estienne, but, according to the fashion of the time, he
used the Latin form of the word. He edited and published a version of the
Sacred Scriptures, showing the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin texts, and adding
certain notes which were founded upon the writings of Francois Vatable,
Abbot of Bellozane, but also contained some of the scholarly reflections
of the learned bookseller. On the title-page the name of the Abbot appears
first, before that of Stephanus. But considerable hostility was raised
against him by this and other works on the part of the doctors of the
Sorbonne. He was compelled to seek safety in flight, and found a secure
resting-place in Geneva. His enemies were obliged to content themselves
with burning his effigy. This troubled Stephanus quite as little as the
Papal censures distressed Lufftius. At the time when his effigy was being
burnt, the Parisian printer was in the snowy mountains of the Auvergne,
and declared that he never felt so cold in his life.
The printers seem ever to have been on the side of the Protestants. In
Germany they produced all the works of the Reformation authors with great
accuracy and skill, and often at their own expense; whereas the Roman
Catholics could only get their books printed at great cost, and even then
the printing was done carelessly and in a slovenly manner, so as to seem
the production of illiterate men. And if any printer, more conscientious
than the rest, did them more justice, he was jeered at in the market-
places and at the fairs of Frankfort for a Papist and a slave of the
This Robert Stephanus (Estienne or Stephens, as the name is usually
called) was a member of one of the most illustrious families of learned
printers the world has ever seen. The founder of the family was Henry
Stephens, born at Paris in 1470, and the last of the race died there in
1674. Thus for nearly two centuries did they confer the greatest
advantages on literature, which they enriched quite as much by their
learning as by their skill. Their biographies have frequently been
written; so there is no occasion to record them. This Robert Stephens, who
was exiled on account of his books, was one of the most illustrious
scholars of his age. He printed, edited, and published an immense number
of works in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, amongst others the _Biblia Latina_
(1528), _Latinae linguae Thesaurus_ (1531), _Dictionarium latino-gallicum_
(1543), _Ecclesiastica Historia Eusebii, Socrates, Theodoreti_ (1544),
_Biblia Hebraica_ (1544 and 1546), and many others. In the Bible of 1555
he introduced the divisions of chapter and verse, which are still used.
With regard to the accuracy of his proofs we are told that he was so
careful as to hang them up in some place of public resort, and to invite
the corrections of the learned scholars who collected there. At Geneva his
printing-press continued to pour forth a large number of learned works,
and after his death, one of his sons, named Charles, carried on the
Another son of Robert Stephens, named Henry, was one of those scholars who
have ruined themselves by their love of literature, devoting their lives
and their fortunes to the production of volumes on some special branch of
study in which only a few learned readers are interested. Hence, while
they earn the gratitude of scholars and enrich the world of literature by
their knowledge, the sale of their books is limited, and they fail to
enrich themselves. The _Thesaurus Linguae Graecae_ cost poor Henry
Stephens ten years of labour and nearly all his fortune. This is a very
valuable work, and has proved of immense service to subsequent generations
of scholars. A second edition was published in London in 1815 in seven
folio volumes, and recently another edition has appeared in Paris.
One of his works aroused the indignation of the Parisian authorities. It
was entitled _Introduction au Traite des Merveilles anciennes avec les
modernes, ou Traite preparatif a l'Apologie pour Herodote, par Henri
Estienne_ (1566, in-8). This work was supposed to contain insidious
attacks upon the monks and priests and Roman Catholic faith, comparing the
fables of Herodotus with the teaching of Catholicism, and holding up the
latter to ridicule. At any rate, the book was condemned and its author
burnt in effigy. M. Peignot asserts in his _Dictionnaire Critique,
Litteraire, et Bibliographique_ that it was this Henry Stephens who
uttered the _bon mot_ with regard to his never feeling so cold as when his
effigy was being burnt and he himself was in the snowy mountains of the
Auvergne. Other authorities attribute the saying to his father, as we have
Noble martyrs Literature has had, men who have sacrificed ease, comfort,
and every earthly advantage for her sake, and who have shared with Henry
Stephens the direst straits of poverty brought about by the ardour of
their love. Such an one was a learned divine, Simon Ockley, Vicar of
Swavesey in 1705, and Professor of Arabic at Cambridge in 1711, who
devoted his life to Asiatic researches. This study did not prove
remunerative; having been seized for debt, he was confined in Cambridge
Castle, and there finished his great work, _The History of the Saracens_.
His martyrdom was lifelong, as he died in destitution, having always (to
use his own words) given the possession of wisdom the preference to that
of riches. Floyer Sydenham, who died in a debtors' prison in 1788, and
incurred his hard fate through devoting his life to a translation of the
_Dialogues_ of Plato, was another martyr; from whose ashes arose the
Royal Literary Fund, which has prevented many struggling authors from
sharing his fate. Seventeen long years of labour, besides a handsome
fortune, did Edmund Castell spend on his _Lexicon Heptaglotton_; but a
thankless and ungrateful public refused to relieve him of the copies of
this learned work, which ruined his health while it dissipated his
fortune. These are only a few names which might be mentioned out of the
many. What a noble army of martyrs Literature could boast, if a roll-call
Amongst our booksellers we must not omit the name of Page, who suffered
with John Stubbs in the market-place at Westminster on account of the
latter's work entitled _The Discoverie of a Gaping Gulf whereinto England
is like to be swallowed by another French marriage, if the Lord forbid not
the banes by letting her Majestie see the sin and punishment thereof_
(1579). Both author and publisher were condemned to the barbarous penalty
of having their right hands cut off, as we have already recorded.
[Footnote: Cf. page 129.]
"Sturdy John," as the people called John Lilburne of Commonwealth fame,
was another purveyor of books who suffered severely at the hands of both
Royalists and Roundheads. At the early age of eighteen he began the
circulation of the books of Prynne and Bastwick, and for this enormity he
was whipped from the Fleet to Westminster, set in the pillory, gagged,
fined, and imprisoned. At a later stage in his career we find him
imprisoned in the Tower by Cromwell, for his _Just Reproof to
Haberdashers' Hall_, and fined L1,000; and his bitter attack on the
Protector, entitled _England's New Chains Discovered_, caused him to pay
another visit to the Tower and to be tried for high treason, of which he
was subsequently acquitted. To assail the "powers that be" seemed ever to
be the constant occupation of "Sturdy John" Lilburne. From the above
example, and from many others which might be mentioned, it is quite
evident that Roundheads, when they held the power, could be quite as
severe critics of publications obnoxious to them as the Royalists, and
troublesome authors fared little better under Puritan regime than they did
under the Stuart monarchs.
Another learned French printer was Etienne Dolet, who was burned to death
at Paris on account of his books in 1546. He lived and worked at Lyons,
and, after the manner of the Stephens, published many of his own writings
as well as those of other learned men. He applied his energies to reform
the Latin style, and in addition to his theological and linguistical works
cultivated the art of poetry. Bayle says that his Latin and French verses
"are not amiss." In the opinion of Gruterus they are worthy of a place in
the _Deliciae Poetarum Gallorum_; but the impassioned and scurrilous
Scaliger, who hated Dolet, declares that "Dolet may be called the Muse's
Canker, or Imposthume; he wildly affects to be absolute in Poetry without
the least pretence to wit, and endeavours to make his own base copper pass
by mixing with it Virgil's gold. A driveller, who with some scraps of
Cicero has tagged together something, which he calls Orations, but which
men of learning rather judge to be Latrations. Whilst he sung the fate of
that great and good King Francis, his name found its own evil fate, and
the Atheist suffered the punishment of the flames, which both he and his
verses so richly merited. But the flames could not purify him, but were by
him rather made impure. Why should I mention his Epigrams, which are but a
common sink or shore of dull, cold, unmeaning trash, full of that
thoughtless arrogance that braves the Almighty, and that denies His
Being?" The conclusion of this scathing criticism is hardly meet for
polite ears. A private wrong had made the censorious Scaliger more bitter
than usual. In spite of the protection of Castellan, a learned prelate,
Dolet at length suffered in the flames, but whether the charge of Atheism
was well grounded has never been clearly ascertained.
Certainly the pious prayer which he uttered, when the faggots were piled
around him, would seem to exonerate him from such a charge: "My God, whom
I have so often offended, be merciful to me; and I beseech you, O Virgin
Mother, and you, divine Stephen, to intercede with God for me a sinner."
The Parliament of Paris condemned his works as containing "damnable,
pernicious, and heretical doctrines." The Faculty of Theology censured
very severely Dolet's translation of one of the _Dialogues_ of Plato,
entitled _Axiochus_, and especially the passage "Apres la mort, tu ne
seras rien," which Dolet rendered, "Apres la mort, tu ne seras _plus_ rien
_du tout_." The additional words were supposed to convict Dolet of heresy.
He certainly disliked the monks, as the following epigram plainly
_Ad Nicolaum Fabricium Valesium
"Incurvicervicum cucullatorum habet
Grex id subinde in ore, se esse mortuum
Mundo: tamen edit eximie pecus, bibit
Non pessime, stertit sepultum crapula,
Operam veneri dat, et voluptatum assecla
Est omnium. Idne est mortuum esse mundo?
Aliter interpretare. Mortui sunt Hercule
Mundo cucullati, quod inors tense sunt onus,
Ad rem utiles nullam, nisi ad scelus et vitium."
Amongst the works published and written by Dolet may be mentioned:--
_Summaire des faits et gestes de Francois I., tant contre l'Empereur
que ses sujets, et autres nations etrangeres, composes d'abord en
latin par Dolet, puis translates en francais par lui-meme. Lyon,
Etienne Dolet, 1540, in-4_.
_Stephani Doleti Carminum, Libri IV. Lugduni, 1538, in-4_.
_Brief Discours de la republique francoyse, desirant la lecture des
livres de l'Ecriture saincte luy estre loisable en sa langue vulgaire.
Etienne Dolet, 1544, in-16_.
_La fontaine de vie, in-16_.
Several translations into French of the writings of Erasmus and
Melanchthon may also be remembered, and the Geneva Bible, which was
printed by Dolet.
One of the few remaining copies of _Cymbalum mundi, en francais, contenant
quatre Dialogues poetiques, antiques, joyeux, et facetieux, par Thomas
Duclevier (Bonaventure Desperiers, Valet de chambre de la Reyne de
Navarre_) (Paris, Jehan Morin, 1537, in-8) reveals the fact that the
printer, Jean Morin, was imprisoned on account of this work. Therein it is
recorded that he presented the copy to the Chancellor with the request
that he might be released from prison, where he had been placed on account
of this work. The reasons given for its condemnation are various. Some
state that the author, a friend of Clement Marot, intended to preach by
the use of allegories the Reformed religion. Others say that it was
directed against the manners and conduct of some members of the Court.
Whether Morin's request was granted I know not, nor whether Desperiers
shared his imprisonment. At any rate, the author died in 1544 from an
attack of frenzy.
Another famous printer at Paris in the sixteenth century was Christian
Wechel, who published a large number of works. He was persecuted for
publishing a book of Erasmus entitled _De esu interdicto carnium_, and
some declare that he fell into grievous poverty, being cursed by God for
printing an impious book. Thus one writer says that "in the year 1530
arose this abortive child of hell, who wrote a book against the Divine
Justice in favour of infants dying without baptism, and several have
wisely observed that the ruin of Christian Wechel and his labours fell out
as a punishment for his presses and characters being employed in such an
infamous work." However, there is reason to believe that the book was not
so "impious," expressing only the pious hope that the souls of such
infants might not be lost, and also that no great "curse" fell upon the
printer, and that his poverty was apocryphal. At any rate, his son Andrew
was a very flourishing printer; but he too was persecuted for his
religious opinions, and narrowly escaped destruction in the Massacre of
St. Bartholomew. He ran in great danger on that eventful night, and states
that he would have been slaughtered but for the kindness of Hubert
Languet, who lodged in his house. Andrew Wechel fled to Frankfort, where
he continued to ply his trade in safety; and when more favourable times
came re-established his presses at Paris. He had the reputation of being
one of the most able printers and booksellers of his time.
The Revolutionary period in France was not a safe time for either authors
or booksellers. Jacques Froulle was condemned to death in 1793 for
publishing the lists of names of those who passed sentence on their King,
Louis XVI., and doomed him to death. This work was entitled _Liste
comparative des cinq appels nominaux sur le proces et jugement de Louis
XVI., avec les declarations que les Deputes ont faites a chacune des
seances_ (Paris, Froulle, 1793, in-8). He gives the names of the deputies
who voted on each of the five appeals, until at length the terrible
sentence was pronounced, 310 voting for the reprieve and 380 for the
execution of their monarch. The deputies were so ashamed of their work
that they doomed the recorder of their infamous deed to share the
punishment of their sovereign.
We have few instances of the illustrators of books sharing the misfortunes
of authors and publishers, but we have met with one such example. Nicolas
Godonesche made the engravings for a work by Jean Laurent Boursier, a
doctor of the Sorbonne, entitled _Explication abregee des principales
questions qui ont rapport aux affaires presentes_ (1731, in-12), and found
that work fatal to him. This book was one of many published by Boursier
concerning the unhappy contentions which for a long time agitated the
Church of France. Godonesche, who engraved pictures for the work, was sent
to the Bastille, and the author banished.
In all ages complaints are heard of the prolific writers who have been
seized by the scribbling demon, and made to pour forth page after page
which the public decline to read, and bring grief to the publishers.
Pasquier's _Letters_ contains the following passage, which applies perhaps
quite as forcibly to the present age as to his own time: "I cannot forbear
complaining at this time of the calamity of this age which has produced
such a plenty of reputed or untimely authors. Any pitiful scribbler will
have his first thoughts to come to light; lest, being too long shut up,
they should grow musty. Good God! how apposite are these verses of
"'Et tant ceux d'aujourd'huy me fashent,
Qui des lors que leurs plumes laschent
Quelque-trait soit mauvais ou bon,
En lumiere le vont produire,
Pour souvent avec leur renom,
Les pauvres Imprimeurs destruire.'"
This has been translated as follows:--
"The scribbling crew would make one's vitals bleed,
They write such trash, no mortal e'er will read;
Yet they will publish, they must have a name;
So Printers starve, to get their authors fame."
One would be curious to see the form of agreement between such prolific
authors and their deluded publishers, and to learn by what arts, other
than magical, the former ever induced the latter to undertake the
publication of such fatal books.
The story of the establishment of the liberty of the Press in England is
full of interest, and tells the history of several books which involved
their authors and publishers in many difficulties. The censors of books
did not always occupy an enviable post, and were the objects of many
attacks. "Catalogue" Fraser lost his office for daring to license Walker's
book on the _Eikon Basilike_, which asserted that Gauden and not Charles
I. was the author. His successor Bohun was deprived of his orffice as
licenser and sent to prison for allowing a pamphlet to be printed entitled
_King William and Queen Mary, Conquerors_. The Jacobite printers suffered
severely when they were caught, which was not very frequent. In obscure
lanes and garrets they plied their secret trade, and deluged the land with
seditious books and papers. One William Anderton was tracked to a house
near St. James's Street, where he was known as a jeweller. Behind the bed
in his room was discovered a door which led to a dark closet, and there
were the types and a press, and heaps of Jacobite literature. Anderton was
found guilty of treason, and paid the penalty of death for his crime. In
1695 the Press was emancipated from its thraldom, and the office of
licenser ceased to exist. Henceforward popular judgment and the general
good sense and right feeling of the community constituted the only
licensing authority of the Press of England. Occasionally, when a
publisher or author makes too free with the good name of an English
citizen, the restraint of a prison cell is imposed upon the audacious
libeller. Sometimes when a book offends against the public morals, and
contains the outpourings of a voluptuous imagination, its author is
condemned to lament in confinement over his indecorous pages. The world
knows that Vizetelly, the publisher, was imprisoned for translating and
publishing some of Zola's novels. _Nana_ and _L'Assommoir_ were indeed
fatal books to him, as his imprisonment and the anxiety caused by the
prosecution are said to have hastened his death. The right feeling and
sound sense of the nation has guided the Press of this country into safe
channels, and few books are fatal now on account of their unseemly
contents or immoral tendencies.
SOME LITERARY MARTYRS.
Leland--Strutt--Cotgrave--Henry Wharton--Robert Heron--Collins--William
Cole--Homeric victims--Joshua Barnes--An example of unrequited toil--
We have still a list far too long of literary martyrs whose works have
proved fatal to them, and yet whose names have not appeared in the
foregoing chapters. These are they who have sacrificed their lives, their
health and fortunes, for the sake of their works, and who had no sympathy
with the saying of a professional hack writer, "Till fame appears to be
worth more than money, I shall always prefer money to fame." For the
labours of their lives they have received no compensation at all. Health,
eyesight, and even life itself have been devoted to the service of
mankind, who have shown themselves somewhat ungrateful recipients of their
Some of the more illustrious scholars indeed enjoy a posthumous fame,--
their names are still honoured; their works are still read and studied by
the learned,--but what countless multitudes are those who have sacrificed
their all, and yet slumber in nameless graves, the ocean of oblivion
having long since washed out the footprints they hoped to leave upon the
shifting sands of Time! Of these we have no record; let us enumerate a few
of the scholars of an elder age whose books proved fatal to them, and
whose sorrows and early deaths were brought on by their devotion to
What antiquary has not been grateful to Leland, the father of English
archaeology! He possessed that ardent love for the records of the past
which must inspire the heart and the pen of every true antiquary; that
accurate learning and indefatigable spirit of research without which the
historian, however zealous, must inevitably err; and that sturdy
patriotism which led him to prefer the study of the past glories of his
own to those of any other people or land. His _Cygnea Cantio_ will live as
long as the silvery Thames, whose glories he loved to sing, pursues its
beauteous way through the loveliest vales of England. While his royal
patron, Henry VIII., lived, all went well; after the death of that monarch
his anxieties and troubles began. His pension became smaller, and at
length ceased. No one seemed to appreciate his toil. He became melancholy
and morose, and the effect of nightly vigils and years of toil began to
tell upon his constitution. At length his mind gave way, ere yet the
middle stage of life was passed; and although many other famous
antiquaries have followed his steps and profited by his writings and his
example, English scholars will ever mourn the sad and painful end of
Another antiquary was scarcely more fortunate. Strutt, the author of
_English Sports and Pastimes_, whose works every student of the manners
and customs of our forefathers has read and delighted in, passed his days
in poverty and obscurity, and often received no recompense for the works
which are now so valuable. At least he had his early wish gratified,--"I
will strive to leave my name behind me in the world, if not in the
splendour that some have, at least with some marks of assiduity and study
which shall never be wanting in me."
Randle Cotgrave, the compiler of one of the most valuable dictionaries of
early English words, lost his eyesight through laboriously studying
ancient MSS. in his pursuit of knowledge. The sixteen volumes of MS.
preserved in the Lambeth Library of English literature killed their
author, Henry Wharton, before he reached his thirtieth year. By the
indiscreet exertion of his mind, in protracted and incessant literary
labours, poor Robert Heron destroyed his health, and after years of toil
spent in producing volumes so numerous and so varied as to stagger one to
contemplate, ended his days in Newgate. In his pathetic appeal for help to
the Literary Fund, wherein he enumerates the labours of his life, he
wrote, "I shudder at the thought of perishing in gaol." And yet that was
the fate of Heron, a man of amazing industry and vast learning and
ability, a martyr to literature.
He has unhappily many companions, whose names appear upon that mournful
roll of luckless authors. There is the unfortunate poet Collins, who was
driven insane by the disappointment attending his unremunerative toil, and
the want of public appreciation of his verses. William Cole, the writer of
fifty volumes in MS. of the _Athenae Cantabrigienses_, founded upon the
same principle as the _Athenae Oxonienses_ of Anthony Wood, lived to see
his hopes of fame die, and yet to feel that he could not abandon his self-
imposed task, as that would be death to him. Homer, too, has had some
victims; and if he has suffered from translation, he has revenged himself
on his translators. A learned writer, Joshua Barnes, Professor of Greek at
Cambridge, devoted his whole energy to the task, and ended his days in
abject poverty, disgusted with the scanty rewards his great industry and
scholarship had attained. A more humble translator, a chemist of Reading,
published an English version of the _Iliad_. The fascination of the work
drew him away from his business, and caused his ruin. A clergyman died a
few years ago who had devoted many years to a learned Biblical Commentary;
it was the work of his life, and contained the results of much original
research. After his death his effects were sold, and with them the
precious MS., the result of so many hours of patient labour; this MS.
realised three shillings and sixpence!
Fatal indeed have their works and love of literature proved to be to many
a luckless author. No wonder that many of them have vowed, like
Borgarutius, that they would write no more nor spend their life-blood for
the sake of so fickle a mistress, or so thankless a public. This author
was so troubled by the difficulties he encountered in printing his book on
Anatomy, that he made the rash vow that he would never publish anything
more; but, like many other authors, he broke his word. Poets are
especially liable to this change of intention, as La Fontaine observes:--
"O! combien l'homme est inconstant, divers,
Foible, leger, tenant mal sa parole,
J'avois jure, meme en assez beaux vers,
De renouncer a tout Conte frivole.
Depuis deux jours j'ai fait cette promesse
Puis fiez-vous a Rimeur qui repond
D'un seul moment. Dieu ne fit la sagesse
Pour les cerveaux qui hantent les neuf Soeurs."
In these days of omnivorous readers, the position of authors has decidedly
improved. We no longer see the half-starved poets bartering their sonnets
for a meal; learned scholars pining in Newgate; nor is "half the pay of a
scavenger" [Footnote: A remark of Granger--vide _Calamities of Authors_,
p. 85.] considered sufficient remuneration for recondite treatises. It has
been the fashion of authors of all ages to complain bitterly of their own
times. Bayle calls it an epidemical disease in the republic of letters,
and poets seem especially liable to this complaint. Usually those who are
most favoured by fortune bewail their fate with vehemence; while poor and
unfortunate authors write cheerfully. To judge from his writings one would
imagine that Balzac pined in poverty; whereas he was living in the
greatest luxury, surrounded by friends who enjoyed his hospitality.
Oftentimes this language of complaint is a sign of the ingratitude of
authors towards their age, rather than a testimony of the ingratitude of
the age towards authors. Thus did the French poet Pays abuse his fate: "I
was born under a certain star, whose malignity cannot be overcome; and I
am so persuaded of the power of this malevolent star, that I accuse it of
all misfortunes, and I never lay the fault upon anybody." He has courted
Fortune in vain. She will have nought to do with his addresses, and it
would be just as foolish to afflict oneself because of an eclipse of the
sun or moon, as to be grieved on account of the changes which Fortune is
pleased to cause. Many other writers speak in the same fretful strain.
There is now work in the vast field of literature for all who have the
taste, ability, and requisite knowledge; and few authors now find their
books fatal to them--except perhaps to their reputation, when they deserve
the critics' censures. The writers of novels certainly have no cause to
complain of the unkindness of the public and their lack of appreciation,
and the vast numbers of novels which are produced every year would have
certainly astonished the readers of thirty or forty years ago.
For the production of learned works which appeal only to a few scholars,
modern authors have the aid of the Clarendon Press and other institutions
which are subsidised by the Universities for the purpose of publishing
such works. But in spite of all the advantages which modern authors enjoy,
the great demand for literature of all kinds, the justice and fair dealing
of publishers, the adequate remuneration which is usually received for
their works, the favourable laws of copyright--in spite of all these and
other advantages, the lamentable woes of authors have not yet ceased. The
leaders of literature can hold their own, and prosper well; but the men
who stand in the second, third, or fourth rank in the great literary army,
have still cause to bewail the unkindness of the blind goddess who
contrives to see sufficiently to avoid all their approaches to her.
For these brave, but often disheartened, toilers that noble institution,
the Royal Literary Fund, has accomplished great things. During a period of
more than a century it has carried on its beneficent work, relieving poor
struggling authors when poverty and sickness have laid them low; and it
has proved itself to be a "nursing mother" to the wives and children of
literary martyrs who have been quite unable to provide for the wants of
their distressed families. We have already alluded to the foundation of
the Royal Literary Fund, which arose from the feelings of pity and regret
excited by the death of Floyer Sydenham in a debtors' prison. It is
unnecessary to record its history, its noble career of unobtrusive
usefulness in saving from ruin and ministering consolation to those
unhappy authors who have been wounded in the world's warfare, and who, but
for the Literary Fund, would have been left to perish on the hard
battlefield of life. Since its foundation L115,677 has been spent in 4,332
grants to distressed authors. All book-lovers will, we doubt not, seek to
help forward this noble work, and will endeavour to prevent, as far as
possible, any more distressing cases of literary martyrdom, which have so
often stained the sad pages of our literary history.
In order to diminish the woes of authors and to help the maimed and
wounded warriors in the service of Literature, we should like to rear a
large Literary College, where those who have borne the burden and heat of
the day may rest secure from all anxieties and worldly worries when the
evening shadows of life fall around. Possibly the authorities of the Royal
Literary Fund might be able to accomplish this grand enterprise. In
imagination we seem to see a noble building like an Oxford College, or the
Charterhouse, wherein the veterans of Literature can live and work and end
their days, free from the perplexities and difficulties to which poverty
and distress have so long accustomed them. There is a Library, rich with
the choicest works. The Historian, the Poet, the Divine, the Scientist,
can here pursue their studies, and breathe forth inspired thoughts which
the _res angusta domi_ have so long stifled. In society congenial to their
tastes, far from "the madding crowd's ignoble strife," they may succeed in
accomplishing their life's work, and their happiness would be the
happiness of the community.
If this be but a dream, it is a pleasant one. But if all book-lovers would
unite for the purpose of founding such a Literary College, it might be
possible for the dream to be realised. Then the woes of future generations
of authors might be effectually diminished, and Fatal Books have less
Abelard, Canon of Notre Dame.
Agrippa, Henry Cornelius, astrologer.
Alexandre, Noel, Church historian.
Anderton, William, Jacobite printer.
Aretino, Pietro, satirist.
Arlotto of Padua, historian.
Arnold of Brescia, disciple of Abelard.
Ascoli, Cecco d', poet.
Athos, Monks of Mount, Quietists.
Audra, Joseph, historian.
Bacon, Roger, philosopher.
Balzac, pretended poverty of.
Barnes, Joshua, translator.
Baronius, Caesar, Church historian.
Barrai, L'Abbe, his opinion of Fenelon.
Bastwick, pamphleteer, attacked Laud.
Bede, Noel, controversialist.
Bekker, Balthazar, opponent of demoniacal possession.
Berruyer, Isaac Joseph, Jesuit historian.
Beverland, Adrian, poet.
Biddle, John, Socinian and Unitarian.
Billard, Pierre, satirised Jesuits.
Boccalini, Trajan, Italian satirist.
Bonfadio, Jacopo, Genoese historian.
Borri, Joseph Francis, charlatan.
Boursier, Jean Laurent, controversialist.
Bruccioli, Antonio, translator.
Bruno, Jordano, philosopher and atheist.
Bruto, John Michael, Florentine historian.
Buchanan, George, poet.
Burton, attacked Laud.
Bussy, Roger Rabutin de, satirist.
Campanella, Thomas, philosopher and atheist.
Carlyle, Thomas, an example of energy.
Carpzov, Samuel Benedict, libelled Ruediger.
Carranza, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Toledo.
Castell, Edmund, polyglot.
Caveirac, L'Abbe, Jesuit defender.
Cinelli, John Giovanni, satirist.
Clarke, Samuel, philosopher and theologian.
Cole, William, author of _Athenae Cantabrigienses_.
Cotgrave, Randle, lexicographer.
Cowell, Dr., supporter of absolute monarchy.
Cowley, Abraham, dramatist.
Crebillon, the younger, dramatist.
Danchet, Antoine, dramatist.
Darigrand, author of _L'Anti-Financier_.
Darrell, John, cleric and demonologist.
David, Francis, theologian.
Dee, Dr., alchemist.
Defoe, Daniel, satirical writer.
Delaune, author of _A Plea for the Nonconformists_.
Diderot, Denis, collaborateur of D'Alembert.
Dolet, Etienne, printer and author.
Dominis, Antonio de, Archbishop of Spalatro.
Dort, Synod of, some of its proceedings.
Dryander, _nom-de-plume_ of Enzinas.
Dryander, John, brother of Enzinas.
Dupin, Louis Elias, Church historian.
Edzardt, Sebastian, theologian.
Enzinas, Spanish translator, 23.
Estienne, _see_ Stephanus.
Falkemberg, John de, fanatic.
Felbinger, Jeremiah, Unitarian.
Fenelon, Francois de la Mothe, Archbishop of Cambrai.
Fisher, John, Bishop of Rochester, opponent of royal divorce.
Fontaine, Nicolas, collaborateur of Le Maistre.
Francus, Nicholas, poet.
Fraser, "Catalogue," censor.
Frischlin, Nicodemus, poet.
Froulle, Jacques, bookseller.
Fust, John, printer.
Gacon, Francois, poet and satirist.
Galileo, "father of experimental philosophy."
Genebrard, Gilbert, controversialist.
Giannone, Peter, Italian historian.
Godonesche, Nicolas, engraver.
Grafton, Richard, printer of Coverdale's Bible.
Grandier, Urban, cure of London, opponent of celibacy of clergy.
Hales, John, pamphleteer.
Harsnett, Bishop, the exposer of Darrell.
Hartley, exorcist, friend of Darrell.
Hemmerlin, Felix, satirist.
Heron, Robert, voluminous author.
Huss, John, reformer and martyr, his writings.
Johnson, Samuel, divine, author of _Julian the Apostate_.
Keats, poet, _Endymion_ cruelly reviewed.
Kelly, Edward, necromancer, friend of Dr. Dee.
Kuhlmann, Quirinus, "Prince of Fanatics".
La Beaumelle, Laurence de, _Memoirs of Madame de Maintenon_.
La Grange, poet.
La Peyrere, Isaac de, ethnologist.
Le Courayer, Pierre Francois Canon of St. Augustine.
Leighton, Dr., author of _Syon's Plea against Prelacy_.
Le Maistre, Louis, Jansenist and translator.
Lenoir, Jean, Canon of Seez, political writer.
Liesvelt, Jacob van, Dutch printer.
Lilburne, "Honest John," bookseller and author.
Linguet, Simon, political writer, de Lisle de Sales, philosopher.
Liszinski Cazimir, Polish atheist.
Literary College, ideal.
Literary Fund, Royal.
Lufftius, John, printer of Wuertemburg.
Lyra, Nicholas de, commentator, ruins his printers.
Lyser, John, advocate of polygamy.
Maffei, Raphael, his epigram on Valla.
Maggi, Jerome, Venetian statesman.
Maintenon, Madame de, Memoirs.
Mariana, John, Spanish historian.
Marolles, L'Abbe de, translator.
Marot, Clement, poet, versifier of Psalms.
Marprelate, Martin, _nom-de-plume_ of various Puritan authors.
Melanchthon, reformer, works published by Peucer.
Molinos, Michael, Spanish theologian.
Montague, Lord, victim of Reginald Pole's book.
Montanus, Arius, translator of Polyglot Bible.
Montgomery, James, poet.
Morin, Jean, printer.
Morin, Simon, fanatic.
Nordemann, follower of Kuhlmann.
Ochino, Bernardino, a Franciscan, advocate of polygamy.
Ockham, William of, "The Invincible Doctor".
Ockley, Simon, Vicar of Swavesey.
Ovid, poet, exiled by Caesar.
Page, printer of Stubbs' pamphlet.
Palearius, Antonius, "Inquisitionis Detractator."
Pallavicino, Ferrante, Italian satirist.
Palmieri, Matteo, Italian historian.
Paolo, Fra, _see_ Sarpi.
Pasquier, his Letters quoted.
Pasquinades, origin of term.
Pays, French poet, quoted.
Petit, Pierre, poet.
Peucer, Caspar, doctor of medicine and Calvinist.
Pole, Sir Geoffrey, arrested by Henry VIII., escapes.
Pole, Reginald, denounced Henry VIII.
Primi, John Baptist, Count of St. Majole, historian.
Prynne, William, author of _Histriomastix_.
Quesnal, Pasquier, translator and theologian.
Reboul, Italian pamphleteer.
Reinking, Theodore, historian, condemned to eat his book.
Richer, Edmund, political essayist.
Ritson, Joseph, antiquary.
Rosieres, Francois de, Archdeacon of Toul, historian.
Rothe, John, pretended prophet.
Rousseau, Jean Baptiste, satirist.
Rousseau, Jean Jacques, philosopher.
Rudbeck, Swedish historian.
Rudiger. John Christopher, biographer.
Sacy, de, _see_ Le Maistre.
Salisbury, Countess of, victim of Pole's book.
Sarpi, Pietro, Venetian historian.
Savonarola, Florentine preacher.
Scaliger, his criticism of Dolet.
Scioppius, Caspar, satirist.
Selden, John, author of _De Decimis_.
Servetus, Michael, scientist and theologian, persecuted by Calvin.
Sidney, Algernon, his manuscript a witness against him.
Starkie, Nicholas, household possessed by devils, _see_ Darrell.
Stephanus or Stephens, Robert, Parisian printer.
Stephens, Henry, son of above, printer.
Strutt, author of _English Sports and Pastimes_.
Stubbs, John, opponent of Elizabeth's marriage.
Sydenham, Floyer, translator.
Thou, de, French historian.
Thou, Frederick Augustus de, son of above.
Toland, John, freethinker.
Tutchin, John, editor of _Observator_, persecuted by Jeffreys.
Tyndale, William, translator of Bible and controversialist.
Udal, Nicholas, part author of Marprelate pamphlets.
_Unigenitus_, Papal Bull.
Urseus, Anthony, becomes insane through loss of book.
Valla, Lorenzo, Roman satirist.
Vanini, Lucilio, philosopher and atheist.
Villanovanus, _nom-de-plume_ of Servetus.
Virgil, Bishop of Salisbury, cosmologist.
Volaterranus, _see_ Maffei.
Voltaire, Francois Arouet de, satirical poem.
Wecchiettus, Jerome, theologian.
Wechel, Christian, Parisian printer.
Wechel, Andrew, son of above.
Weiser, Caspar, Swedish poet.
Wentworth, Peter, pamphleteer.
Wharton, Henry, died of overwork.
Whitchurch, Edward, printer.
Willenberg, Samuel Friedrich, advocate of polygamy.
Williams, John, poet.
Woolston, Thomas, freethinker.
Yorke, Sir John, imprisoned for Roman Catholic play performed in his
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