Initiation into Literature
Emile Faguet

Part 2 out of 3

SECONDARY ABILITY.--Near such great geniuses, it is only possible to
mention those of secondary talent; but no compunction need be felt at
alluding to Segrais, a graceful manufacturer of eclogues, and Benserade,
who rhymed delightfully for masquerades and was capable, on occasions, of
being wittily but also tenderly elegiac.

GREAT PROSE WRITERS.--The writers in prose of the second half of the
seventeenth century are legion and but few fail to attain greatness. La
Rochefoucauld, in his little volume of _Maxims_, enshrined thoughts
that were often profound in a highly accurate and delicate setting.
Cardinal de Retz narrated his tumultuous career in his _Memoirs_,
which are strangely animated, vivid, and representative of what occurred.
Arnauld and Nicole have explained their rigid Catholicism, which was
Jansenism, in solid and luminous volumes; the latter, more especially,
merits consideration and in his _Moral Essays_ proved an excellent
writer. Mezeray, conscientious, laborious, circumstantial as well as
capable writer, should be reckoned as the earliest French historian.
Bourdaloue, sound logician and good moralist, from his pulpit as a
preacher uttered discourses that were admirable, though too dogmatically
composed, and painted word-pictures that piously satirised the types and
the eccentrics of his day. Malebranche, reconsidering what Descartes had
thought and revitalising his conclusions, arranged in his _Research
after Truth_ a complete system of spiritualist and idealistic
philosophy which he rendered clear, in spite of its depth,
and extremely attractive owing to the merits of his powerful and
facile imagination and of his rich, copious, and elastic style, that
attained the happy mean between conversation and instruction. But five
writers of the highest rank came into the perennial forefront, attracting
and retaining general attention: Pascal, Bossuet, Mme. de Sevigne,
La Bruyere, and Fenelon.

PASCAL.--Pascal, a scholar and also by scientific education
mathematician, geometrician, physician, turned, not to letters
which he scorned, but to the exposition of those religious ideas which at
the age of thirty-three were precious to him. To defend his friends the
Jansenists against their foes the Jesuits, he wrote _The Provincial
Letters_ (1656), which have often been regarded as the foremost
monument of classic French prose; such is not our view, but they
certainly form a masterpiece of argument, of dialectics, of irony, of
humour, of eloquence, and are throughout couched in a magnificent style.
Dying whilst still young, he left notes on various subjects, more
particularly religion, philosophy, and morality, which have been
collected under the title of _Thoughts_ and are the product of a
great Christian philosopher, of a profound moralist, of a marvellously
concise orator, and also of a poet who lacked neither acute sensitiveness
nor vast and imposing imagination.

BOSSUET.--Bossuet is universally admitted to be the king of French
orators; all his life he preached with a serious, imposing, vast,
copious, and sonorous eloquence, fed from recollections of Holy Writ and
of the Fathers, being insistent, convincing, and persuasive. His few
funeral orations (on Henrietta of France, Henrietta of England, the
Prince de Conde) are prose poems of glory, grief, and piety. He wrote
against all those he regarded as enemies of true religion (_History
of Variations_, _Quarrels of Quietness_), controversial works sparkling
with irony and exalted eloquence. He traced in his _Universal
History_ the great design in all its stages of God towards humanity
and the world. He knew all the resources of the French language and of
French style, and in his hands they were expanded. Despite his errors,
which were those of his epoch, his date counts in the history of France
as a great date, the date in which the religion to which he belonged
reached its apogee and when the grand style of French prose was in its

MADAME DE SEVIGNE.--Madame de Sevigne only wrote letters to her friends;
but they were so witty, lively, picturesque, admirable in aptly
recounting the anecdotes of her day and in depicting the scenes and
those concerned in them, written in a style so brisk and seductive,
uniting the promise of 1630 with the harvest of 1670, that her work still
remains one of the greatest favourites with people of literary taste.

She was the friend of M. de la Rochefoucauld, of Cardinal de Retz, and of
that amiable, refined, and gentle Mme. de la Fayette, whose novel, _The
Princess of Cleves_, is still read with interest and emotion.

LA BRUYERE.--La Bruyere translated and continued Theophrastus; he was a
moralist, or rather a depicter of morals. He described the court, the
town, and (very rarely) the village and the country. He was on the
lookout for fools in order to be their scourge. He painted, or, better
still, he engraved in an incisive way that was sharp, like aqua-fortis.
Almost invariably bitter to an extreme, he sometimes had flashes of quite
unexpected and very singular sensibility which make him beloved. Somewhat
in imitation of La Rochefoucauld, but more particularly in conformity
with his own nature, he developed a brief, concise, brusque style which
became that of the moralist and even of the general author for the next
fifty years, a style which was that of Montesquieu and Voltaire, and
superseded the broad, sustained, balanced, harmonious, and measured style
of the majority of the writers of the eighteenth century. In the field of
ridicule, wherein he sowed copiously, more so even than Moliere, the
comic poets of the eighteenth century came to glean copiously, which did
them less credit (for it is better to observe than to read) than it
conferred on the wise and ingenious author of the _Characters_.

FENELON.--Fenelon, extremely individual and original, having on every
subject ideas of his own which were sometimes daring, often practical,
always generous and noble, was a preacher like Bossuet; also like
Bossuet, he was a dexterous, skilled, and formidable controversialist,
whilst, for the instruction of the Duke of Burgundy, which had been
confided to him, he became a fabulist, an author of dialogues, in some
degree a romancer or epic poet in prose in his famous _Telemachus_,
overadmired, then overdepreciated, and which, despite weaknesses, remains
replete with strength and dazzling brilliance. Nowadays there is a marked
return to this prince of the Church and of literature, whose brain was
complex and even complicated, but whose heart was quite pure and his
reasoning on a high level.



Dramatists: Marlowe, Shakespeare. Prose Writers: Sidney, Francis Bacon,
etc. Epic Poet: Milton. Comic Poets.

ELIZABETHAN AGE: SPENSER.--In England the Elizabethan Age is the period
extending from the commencement of the reign of Elizabeth to the end of
her successor, James I; that is, from 1558 to 1625. This was the golden
age of English literature: the epoch in which, awakened or excited by the
Renaissance, her genius gave forth all its development in fruits that
were marvellous.

First, there was Spenser, alike impregnated with the Italian Renaissance
and gifted with the slightly fantastic imagination of his own countrymen,
who wrote eclogues, in his _Shepheard's Calender_, in imitation of
Theocritus and Virgil as well as of the Italians of the sixteenth
century, and who gave charming descriptions in his _Faerie Queene_.

Next came Sidney, the sonnetist, at once passionate and precious, and
then that highest glory of this glorious period, the dramatic poets.

THE STAGE: MARLOWE.--As in France, the English stage in the Middle Ages
had been devoted to the performance of mysteries (under the name of
_miracles_), later of moralities. As in France, tragedy, strictly
speaking, was constituted in the sixteenth century. Towards its close
appeared Marlowe, a very great genius, still rugged but with
extraordinary power, more especially lyrical. His great works are
_Doctor Faustus_ and _Edward II_.

SHAKESPEARE.--Then (at the same time as the rest, for they are of about
the same age, though Marlowe appeared the earlier) came William
Shakespeare, who is perhaps the greatest known dramatic poet. His immense
output, which includes plays carelessly put together and, one may venture
to say, negligibly, also contains many masterpieces: _Othello_, _Romeo
and Juliet_, _Macbeth_, _Hamlet_, _The Taming of the Shrew_, _The Merry
Wives of Windsor_, _As You Like It_, and _The Tempest_. The _types_ and
personages of Shakespeare, which have remained celebrated and are still
daily cited in human intercourse, include Othello, that tragic figure of
jealousy; Romeo and Juliet, the young lovers separated by the feuds of
their families but united in death; Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, the
ambitious criminals; Hamlet, the young man with a great mind and a great
heart but with a feeble will which collapses under too heavy a task and
comes to the verge of insanity; Cordelia, the English Antigone, the
devoted daughter of the proscribed King Lear; Falstaff, glutton, coward,
diverting and gay, a kind of Anglo-Saxon Panurge. A whole dramatic
literature has come from Shakespeare. To France he was introduced by
Voltaire and then scorned by him because he had succeeded only too well
in popularising him; subsequently he was exalted, praised to hyperbole,
and imitated beyond discretion by the romantics. In addition to his
dramatic works, Shakespeare left _Sonnets_, some of which are obscure,
but the majority are perfect.

BEN JONSON.--Ben Jonson, classical, exact, pretty faithful imitator of
the writers of antiquity, interested in unusual characters and customs,
gifted with a ready and lively imagination in both comedy and tragedy
like Shakespeare, succeeded especially in comedy (_Every Man in his
Humour_, _The Silent Woman_, etc.). Beaumont and Fletcher, who wrote in
collaboration, are full of elevation, of delicacy and grace expressed in
a style which is regarded by their fellow-countrymen as exceptionally

period was equally productive. Lyly, who corresponds approximately to the
French Voiture, created _euphemism_: that is, witty preciosity. Sidney,
in his _Arcadia_ furnished a curious example of the chivalric romance.
Further in his _Defence of Poesie_, he founded literary criticism.
Francis Bacon, historian, moralist, philosopher, perhaps collaborator
with Shakespeare, has a place equally allocated to him in a history of
literature as in a history of philosophical ideas. Robert Burton,
moralist or rather _Meditator_, who gave himself the pseudonym of
Democritus Junior because he was consumed with sadness, left a great
work, but one in which there are many quotations, called _The Anatomy of
Melancholy_. There is much analogy between him and the French Senancour.
Sterne, without acknowledgment, profusely pilfered from him. He is
thoroughly English. He did not create melancholy but he greatly
contributed to it and made a specialty of it. Despite his pranks and
whimsicality, he possessed high literary merit.

POETRY: WALLER.--The English seventeenth century, strictly speaking,
virtually commencing about 1625, was inferior to the sixteenth, that has
just been considered, which is easily explained by the civil wars
distracting England at this period. In poetry, on the one hand, may be
noticed the softened and pleasing Epicureans, of which the most prominent
representative was Waller, a witty man of the world, who dwelt long in
France, and was a friend of Saint-Evremond (who himself spent a portion
of his life in England). Waller made a very fine eulogy of his cousin
Cromwell, later another of Charles II, and was told by the latter, "This
is not so good as that on Cromwell," whereupon he replied, "Sire, you
know that poets always succeed better in fiction than in fact." Here was
a man of much wit.

HERBERT; HABINGTON.--Also must be remarked the austere and mystical such
as George Herbert, with his _Temple_, a collection of religious and
melancholy poems, and like Habington, sad and gloomy even as far as the
thirst for dissolution, analogous to the modern Schopenhauer: "My God, if
it be Thy supreme decree, if Thou wilt that this moment be the last
wherein I breathe this air, my heart obeys, happy to retire far from the
false favours of the great, from betrayals where the just are preyed

DRAMATIC POETS.--Let the estimable dramatic poets be alluded to.
Davenant, perhaps a son of Shakespeare; Otway, the illustrious author of
_Venice Preserved_ and of many adaptations from the French (_Titus
and Berenice_, the _Tricks of Scapin_, etc.); Dryden, declamatory,
emphatic, but admirably gifted with dramatic genius, author of _The
Virgin Queen_, _All for Love_ (Cleopatra), _Don Sebastian_, was always
hesitating between the influence of Shakespeare and that of the French,
over-inclined, too, to licentious scenes but pathetic and eloquent.

MILTON.--Quite apart arose Milton, the imperishable author of _Paradise
Lost_, the type and model of the religious epic permeated, in fact, with
profound and ardent religious feeling, but also possessing very
remarkable grandeur and philosophical breadth. Milton became a second
Bible to the people to whom the Bible was the inevitable and essential
daily study. To _Paradise Lost_, Milton added the inferior _Paradise
Regained_ and the poem of _Samson_. Apart from his great religious poems,
Milton wrote Latin poems (especially in his youth) which are extremely
agreeable, and also works in prose, generally in relation to polemical
politics, which came from a vigorous and exalted mind. Milton, from the
aspect of his prodigious productiveness and his varied life, divided
between literature and the intellectual battles of his times, is
comparable to Voltaire, reservation being made for his high moral
character, wherein no comparison can be entertained with the French
satirist. He did himself full justice. Having become blind, he wrote:

"Cyriack, this three years' day these eyes, though clear,
To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?
The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied
In Liberty's defence, my noble task,
Of which all Europe rings from side to side.
This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask
Content, though blind, had I no better guide."

NOTABLE PROSE WRITERS.--In prose must be noted, on the austere side,
George Fox, founder of the sect of Quakers, impassioned and powerful
popular orator, author of the _Book of Martyrs_; John Bunyan, an
obstinate ascetic, author of _Grace Abounding_, a kind of edifying
autobiography, and of _The Pilgrim's Progress_, which became one of the
volumes of edification and of spiritual edification to the emigrant
founders of the United States of America; on the side of the Libertines,
Wycherley, who, thoroughly perceiving the moral lowness, fairly well
concealed, which lies at the source of Moliere, carried this Gallic vein
to an extreme in shameless imitations of _The School for Women_
and _The Misanthrope_ (_The Country Wife_ and _The Plain Dealer_);
delightful Congreve, a far more amusing companion--witty, spiritual,
sardonic, writing excellently, knowing how to create a type and charming
his contemporaries whilst not failing to write for posterity in his
_Old Bachelor_, _Love for Love_, and _Way of the World_.

NEWTON; LOCKE.--It must not be forgotten that at this epoch Newton and
Locke, the one belonging more to the history of science and the other to
the history of philosophy, both wrote in a manner entirely commensurate
with their genius.



Luther, Zwingli, Albert Duerer, Leibnitz, Gottsched

NO RENAISSANCE.--The great originality of Germany from the literary point
of view--perhaps, too, from others--is that she _had no renaissance_, no
contact, at all events close, with classic antiquity. Her temperament
was no doubt hostile; the Reformation, that is, the impassioned adoption
of a primitive unadulterated Christianity conservative and directly
opposed to antiquity whether pagan or philosophical, added to the
repugnance. However that may be, the fact remains: Germany enjoyed no

LUTHER.--Also in the sixteenth century in Germany, as in France in the
fourteenth century, there was only popular poetry, and all the prose is
German, all reformist, all moralising, and has little or practically no
echo of antiquity. Luther, by his translation of the Bible into the
vulgar tongue, by his _prefaces_ to each book of the Bible, in his
polemical writings (_The Papacy and its Members_, _The Papacy Elevated at
Rome by the Devil_, etc.), by his _Sermons and Letters_, gave to Teutonic
thought a direction which long endured, and to Teutonic prose a solidity,
purity, sobriety, and vigour which exercised an immense influence on
human minds.

THE REFORMERS.--Following Luther, Zwingli, Hutten, Eberling, Melanchthon
(but in Latin), Erasmus (most frequently in Latin but sometimes in
French) spread the new doctrine or doctrines in relation thereto.

ERASMUS; ALBERT DUeRER; GOTTSCHED.--An exception must be made about
Erasmus in what has just been observed. With a very unfettered mind,
often as much in opposition to the side of Luther as to the side of Rome,
and also prone to attack the pure humanists who styled themselves
Ciceronians, Erasmus was a humanist, an impassioned student of ancient
letters, so that he has one foot in the Renaissance and one in reform,
and withal possessed a very original brain, and was, from every aspect,

Albert Duerer must also be cited: mathematician, architect, painter, yet
belonging to our subject by his _four books on the human proportion_
wherein he shows, in chastened and precise style, that he himself is
nothing less than the earliest founder of Teutonic aestheticism.

The seventeenth century--extending it, as is reasonable enough, up to the
region of 1730--is almost exclusively the era of French influence and a
little, if desired, of Italian influence. The critic Gottsched (_Poetic
Art, Grammar, Eloquence_) maintained the excellence of French literature
and the necessity of drawing inspiration from it with an energy of
conviction which drew on him the hatred of the succeeding generation.

LEIBNITZ.--German poetry of his period, possessing neither originality
nor power, could only interest the erudite and the searchers. The domain
of prose is more enthralling. Leibnitz, who wrote in Latin and French,
and even in German, is pre-eminently the great thinker he is reputed
to be; but though he never possessed nor even pretended to possess
originality in style, he is nevertheless highly esteemed for the purity,
limpidity, and facility of his language.



Poets: Ariosto, Tasso, Guarini, Folengo, Marini, etc. Prose Writers:
Machiavelli, Guicciardini, Davila.

THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.--Italy, after Dante and Petrarch, possessed
literary strength and much literary glory in the sixteenth century.
She produced an admirable pleiad of poets and prose writers of high
merit. These were Ariosto, Tasso, Berni, Sannazaro, Machiavelli,
Bandello, Guicciardini. Below them were a hundred distinguished writers,
among which must be cited Aretino, Folengo, Bembo, Baldi, Tansillo,
Dolce, Benvenuto Cellini, Hannibal Caro, and Guarini.

ARIOSTO.--Ariosto wrote _Orlando Furioso_, which is not the epic in
parody, as has been too often observed, but the gay and joyous epopee of
Orlando and his companions. The principal characters are Orlando,
Charlemagne, Renaud, Agramant, Ferragus, Angelica, Bradamante, Marphisa.
The tone is extremely varied and the author is in turns joyous,
satirical, pathetic, melancholy, and even tragical. Ariosto is the
superlative poet of fantastic imagination combined with a foundation of
good sense, reason, and benevolence. Goethe has said of him very aptly:
"From a cloud of gold wisdom sometimes thunders sublime sentences, whilst
to a harmonious lute, folly seems to riot in savage digressions yet all
the while maintains a perfect measure." Ariosto was well read in the
classics, but fundamentally his master was Homer.

TASSO.--Torquato Tasso, whose life was characterised by a thousand trials
and who was long the victim of a mental malady, wrote a poem on the
crusade of Godfrey de Bouillon. The poem is full of the supernatural;
the chief characters are Renaud, Tancred, the enchantress Armida,
Clorinda. The inspiration of Tasso is specially mystic and lyrical;
his facility for description is delicious. The repute of _Jerusalem
Delivered_ in the seventeenth century was immense, and all the
literatures of Europe have innumerable references to the personages and
episodes of the poem. In Italy there were fervid partisans of the
superiority of Tasso over Ariosto or of Ariosto over Tasso, and many
duels on the subject, the most bellicose being, as always happens,
between those who had read neither.

BERNI.--Berni, like Ariosto, was half burlesque in the diverting portions
of his works. He wrote satires which were often virulent, paradoxes such
as the eulogy of the plague and of famine, and an _Amorous Orlando_
which is quite agreeable. The Bernesque type, that is, the humoristic,
was created by him and bears his name.

SANNAZARO.--Sannazaro wrote both in Latin and Italian. His chief claim to
fame lies in his _Arcadia_, an idyllic poem of bucolic sentiment,
destined to evoke thousands of imitations. He also produced eclogues and
sonnets in Italian which give sufficient grounds for regarding him as one
of the chief masters of that language.

MACHIAVELLI.--Great thinker, great politician, great moral philosopher,
Machiavelli possessed one of the most powerful minds ever known. He wrote
_The Prince_, _Discourses upon Livius_, an _Art of War_, diplomatic
letters and reports, for he was at one time secretary to the Florentine
Republic, a _History of Florence_, a comedy (_The Mandrake_),
romances and tales. _The Prince_ is a treatise of the art of acquiring
and preserving power by all possible means and more particularly by
intelligent and discreet crime. Machiavelli emphasised the separation, at
times relative, at times absolute, which exists between politics and
morals. His _Discourses upon Livius_ are full of sense, penetration, and
profundity; his light works show a singular dexterity of thought united
to a fundamental grossness which it would be impossible to misunderstand
or excuse.

BANDELLO.--Bandello is the author of novels in the vein of those of
Boccaccio or of Brantome. His voluntary or spontaneous originality
consists in mixing licentious tales with sentences and maxims which are
most austere and moral. He also wrote elegiac odes that were highly
esteemed. His very pure style is considered in Italy to be strictly

GUICCIARDINI.--Guicciardini wrote with infinite patience, severe
conscientiousness, and imperturbable frigidity in a style that was
pure, though somewhat prolix, that _History of Florence_, virtually a
history of Italy, which from its first appearance was hailed as a classic
and has remained one. His history is altogether that of a statesman; he
passed his life among prominent public affairs, being Governor of Modena,
Parma, and Bologna, a diplomatist involved in the most important
negotiations; this historian is himself a historical personage.

FOLENGO.--Folengo wrote a macaronic poem: that is to say, one in which
Latin and Italian were mixed, called _Coccacius_ (which must be
remembered because when translated into French it became the earliest
model for Rabelais), as well as _Orlandini_ (childhood of Orlando), which
is amusing. Other serious works did not merit serious consideration.

ARETINO.--Aretino was a satirist and a poet so fundamentally licentious
that he has remained the type of infamous author. He wrote comedies
(_The Courtesan_, _The Marshal_, _The Philosopher_, _The Hypocrite_),
intimate letters that are extremely interesting for the study of the
customs of his day, religious and edifying books, replete with talent if
not with sincerity, as well as an innumerable mass of satires, pamphlets,
statements, diatribes which caused all the princes of his day to tremble,
and through making them tremble also brought gold into the coffers of
Aretino; he had raised blackmail to the height of a literary department.

BEMBO; BALDI.--Cardinal Bembo, a devout Ciceronian to the verge of
fanaticism, wrote more especially in Latin, but left Italian poems of
much elegance and charm; he ranks among the most brilliant
representatives of the Italian Renaissance.

Baldi, a very widely versed scholar, sought relaxation from his erudition
in writing _eclogues_, _moral poems_, and a very curious didactic poem on

TANSILLO; DOLCE.--Tansillo, a very fertile poet, composed a rather
licentious poem entitled _The Vintager_, and a religious poem called
_The Tears of St. Peter_ (which the younger Malherbe thought so beautiful
that he partially translated it), _The Rustic Prophet_ and _The
Nurse_, wherein he showed himself the pupil of Tasso, comedies, a
bucolic drama, etc.

Dolce, not less prolific, produced five epic poems of which the best is
_The Childhood of Orlando_, many comedies, for the most part imitations
of Plautus, tragedies after Euripides and Seneca, and then one which
seems to have been original and was the celebrated _Mariamna_, so often
imitated in French. He was also an indefatigable translator of Horace,
Cicero, Philostrates, etc.

BENVENUTO CELLINI.--The great sculptor and chaser, Benvenuto Cellini,
belongs to literary history because of his _Treatise on Goldsmithing and
Sculpture_ and his admirable _Memoirs_, which are certainly in part
fictitious, but are a literary work of the foremost rank.

HANNIBAL CARO; GUARINI.--Hannibal Caro, by his _poems_, his
_letters_, his literary criticism, his comedy, _The Beggars_, and his
metrical translation of the _Aeneid_, acquired high rank in the judgment
both of Italy and Europe.

Guarini, the friend of Tasso, whom he helped in the labour of revising
and correcting _Jerusalem Delivered_, was unquestionably his pupil. Tasso
having written a bucolic poem, _Aminta_, Guarini wrote a bucolic poem,
_The Faithful Shepherd_, which has been one of the greatest literary
successes ever known. It was a kind of irregular drama mingled with
songs and dances, highly varied, poetic, pathetic sometimes in a rather
insipid way. All the _pastorals_, whether French or Italian, and later
the opera itself, can be traced to Guarini, or at least the taste for the
eclogue may be derived from the dramas Guarini originated. This was a man
whose influence has been considerable not only on literature, but also on
manners, customs, and morals.

DECADENCE OF LITERATURE.--In the seventeenth century Italian literature
indisputably was in decadence. In verse more especially, but also in
prose, it was the period of ability without depth and even without
foundation, of elegant and affected verbiage or burlesque lacking alike
in power, thought, and passion. Marini loomed large with his _Adonis_, an
ingenious mythological epic, sometimes brilliant but also lame, sometimes
full of points, but also with trifles. Great as was his reputation in
Italy, it was perhaps surpassed in France, where he was welcomed and
flattered by Marie de' Medici and hyperbolically praised by Voiture,
Balzac, Scudery, etc.

SALVATOR ROSA; TASSONI; MAFFEI.--The great painter Salvator Rosa devoted
himself hardly less to literature; he left lyrical poems and particularly
satires which are far from lacking spirit, though often destitute of
taste. Satiric, too, was the paradoxical Tassoni, who scoffed at
Petrarch, and who in his _Thoughts_, long prior to J.J. Rousseau, was the
first, perhaps (but who knows?), to maintain that literature is highly
prejudicial to society and humanity, and who achieved fame by his _Rape
of the Bucket_: that is, by a burlesque poem on the quarrel between
the Bolognese and the inhabitants of Modena about a bucket.

Maffei (intruding somewhat on the eighteenth century), good scholar and
respected historian, produced in 1714 his _Merope_, which was an
excellent tragedy, as Voltaire well knew and also testified.

HISTORIANS AND CRITICS.--In prose there are none to point out in the
eighteenth century in Italy except historians and critics. Among
the historians must be noted Davila, who spent his youth in France near
Catherine de' Medici, served in the French armies, and on his return to
Padua devoted his old age to history. He wrote a _History of the Civil
Wars in France_ which was highly esteemed, and which Fenelon recollected
when writing his _Letter on the Pursuits of the French Academy_. The
foregoing are what must be mentioned as notable manifestations of
literary activity in Italy during the seventeenth century, but let it
not be forgotten that the scientific activity of the period was
magnificent, and that it was the century of Galileo, of Torricelli; of
the _four_ Cassini, as well as of so many others who were praised, as
they deserved to be, in the _Eulogies of the Learned_ of Fontenelle.



Poets: Quevedo, Gongora, Lope de Vega, Ercilla, Calderon, Rojas, etc.
Prose Writers: Montemayor, Cervantes, etc. Portugal: De Camoens, etc. The

POETRY: QUEVERO; GONGORA.--The sixteenth century and the first half at
least of the seventeenth century were the golden age of both Spanish and
Portuguese literature. In poetry Quevedo is the first to be noticed, and
he is also notable in prose. Born at Madrid, but compelled by the
consequences of his youthful follies to take refuge in Sicily, then back
in Spain and either at the height of his fortune near the Duke of
Olivares or else pursued, imprisoned, and tortured by that minister, he
possessed facility and force which were alike extraordinary. His poems,
which are most satirical, revealed a glow and a freshness that were very

Gongora, like Lyly in England and Marini in Italy, enjoyed the fame of
founding a bad school. It was _Gongorism:_ that is, the art of writing
not to make oneself read, which could only suit lawyers, orators,
critics, and scientists, but the art of writing to cause one's idea only
to be discovered after many efforts, or even so as to prevent its being
discovered at all. _Gongorism_ belongs to every epoch, and in each epoch
is the means of scaring away the crowd, of obtaining a small band of
enthusiastic admirers, and of being able to scorn the suffrage of the
multitude. Gongora, both in Spain and in France, found devoted admirers
and imitators.

LOPE DE VEGA.--Lope de Vega was one of the greatest of the world's poets,
although he was intelligible. Prodigiously fertile, which is not
necessarily a sign of mediocrity, he published some romances in prose
(_Dorothea Arcadia_), some novels, epic or historic poems (_Circe,
_Shepherds of Bethlehem_, Jerusalem Conquered_, _The Beauty of Angelica_,
_The Pilgrim in his Land_, _The White Rose_, _The Tragic Crown_, of which
Mary Stuart is the heroine, _The Laurel of Apollo_, etc.), burlesque and
satirical poems, and dramatic poems the number of which exceed eighteen
hundred. In this mass of production may be discerned comedies of manners,
comedies of intrigue, pastorals, historical comedies (with characters
whose names are known in history), classical and religious tragedies,
mythological, philosophical, and hagiological comedies. Despite these
distinctions, which are useful as a guide in this throng, all the
dramatic work of Lope de Vega is that of imagination which seems to owe
little to practical observation and is valuable through happy invention,
dexterous composition, and the charming fertility and variety of ideas in
the details. The dramatic work of Lope de Vega (as yet incompletely
published and which probably never will be published in its entirety) was
a vast mine wherein quarried not only all the dramatic authors but all
the romancists and novelists of Europe. This prodigious producer, who
wrote millions of verses, is the Homer of Spain and more fertile than
Homer, whilst also a Homer as to whose existence there is no doubt.

ERCILLA.--Alonso de Ercilla created a peculiar species, that of
memorialist epic poems. He was a man concerned in important events, who
took daily notes and subsequently, or even concurrently, put them into
verse. Thus Ercilla made his _Araucana_: that is, the poem of the
expedition against the Araucanians in Chili, or rather he thus wrote the
first (and best) of the three parts; later, desirous of rising to epic
heights, he had resort to the contrivances and conventional traditional
ornaments of this type of work and became dull, without entirely losing
all his skill. "This poem is more savage than the nations which form its
theme," said Voltaire in a pretty phrase which was somewhat hyperbolical.
The _Araucana_ is agreeably savage in its first part without being
ferocious and fastidiously civilised in the sequels without being

MENDOZA.--Hurtado de Mendoza must be regarded--that proud, gloomy,
bellicose and haughty minister of Charles V--because he was the earliest
of the picaresque romancists. The picaresque method consisted in
delineating the habits of outcasts, bohemians, spongers, swindlers, and
vagrants. It lasted for about three quarters of a century. To this class
belonged _Guzmar of Alfargue_, by Mateo Aleman; _Marco of Obregon_, by
Espinel; _The Devil on Two Sticks_, by Guevara; and somewhat, in France,
the _Gil Bias_ of Le Sage. Now the prototype of all these was _The
Lazarillo of Tormes_, by Hurtado de Mendoza.

GUEVARA.--A moment's heed must be paid to the amiable Antonio de Guevara,
an insinuating moralist whose _Familiar Letters_ and _Dial of Princes_,
though rather affectedly grave, contain interesting passages which
commend the author to readers. He is more particularly interesting to
Frenchmen because it was from him La Fontaine borrowed his _Countrymen
of the Danube_, attributing it to Marcus Aurelius (which led to much
confusion), because the principal personage in _The Dial of Princes_ is
one Marcus Aurelius, who is discreetly intended for Charles V. In spite
of what Taine wrote, though his criticisms in detail were accurate,
La Fontaine followed pretty closely the fine and highly original wording
of Guevara.

THE ROMANCE.--The Spanish romance was at its zenith in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries. It had a legion of authors, but here the principal
only can be mentioned. Montemayor, who lived at the close of the
sixteenth century and led an adventurous existence, wrote the _Diana in
Love_, which became celebrated in every country under the title of
"_Diana_ of Montemayor." It is a mythological, bucolic, and magical
romance, entirely lacking in order, being wholly fantastical, sometimes
cruelly dull, sometimes graceful, affecting, seductive, and pathetic,
always ridiculously romantic. Its vogue was considerable in Spain,
France, and Italy. The _Astrea_ of Honore d'Urfe proceeds in part from
it, but is more sensible and more restrained.

QUEVEDO.--Here Quevedo is again found, now as prose writer and in this no
worse than as poet. He was prolific in romances or satirical fantasies,
in social reveries wherein contemporary society is not spared and Juvenal
is often suggested. Finally, he put forth all his powers, which were
considerable, in his great romance, _Don Pablo of Segovia_, which, twenty
years ago, would have been called naturalist. Quevedo obviously was an
observer, possessed psychological penetration or, at least, the wisdom of
the moralist; but above all, his imagination was curiously original, he
invented, on an apparently true foundation, adventures which were almost
probable and were diverting, burlesque, or possessed a bitter flavour.
His was one of the most original brains in Spain, which has abounded in
mental originalities.

CERVANTES.--Montesquieu has said of the Spaniards: "They have only one
good book, the one which mocks at all the others." Nothing could be more
witty nor more unjust; but it is true that the greatest Spanish book is
that in which the author does mock at many other Spanish books. Cervantes
wrote his _Don Quixote_ to ridicule the romances of chivalry which in his
land were a craze among the townsfolk and smaller aristocratic
landowners, but he wrote in no spirit of animosity and even reserved for
his comic hero, that is, for his victim, a discreet sympathy which he
made his reader share. A hero of chivalry himself, warrior with
indomitable courage, thrice wounded at the battle of Lepanto, where he
lost an arm, seven years in captivity in Algiers, on his return to Spain
he became involved in adventures which again consigned him to prison
before he at length attained success, if not fortune, with _Don Quixote_.
_Don Quixote_ is a realistic romance traversed by a frenzied idealist:
here are the manners of the populace, of innkeepers, muleteers,
galley-slaves, monks, petty traders, peasants, and amid them passes a man
who views the entire world as a romance and who believes he finds romance
at every turn of his road. This perpetual contrast is, first, effective
and supremely artistic in itself, then is of a reality superior to that
of any realism, since it is the complete life of humanity which is thus
painted and penetrated to its very foundations and shown in all its
aspects. There are two portions to this romance, and they are constantly
near each other and, as it were, interlaced; namely, the episodes and the
conversations. The episodes, comic incidents, humorous or sentimental
adventures are of infinite variety and display incredible imagination;
the conversations between Don Quixote and his faithful Sancho represent
the two tendencies of the human mind to recognise on the one side, the
goodness, generosity, devotion, the spirit of sacrifice, and the
illusions; on the other side, common sense, the sense of reality, the
sense of the just mean and, as it were, the proverbial reason, without
malice or bitterness. This masterpiece is perhaps the one for which
would have had to be invented the epithet of _inexhaustible_.

Apart from his immortal romance, Cervantes wrote novels, romances,
sonnets, and also tried the drama, at which he did not succeed. The whole
world, literally, was infatuated with _Don Quixote_, and, despite all
changes of taste, it has never ceased to excite the admiration of all who

THE DRAMA: FERDINAND DE ROJAS.--The drama, even apart from Lope de Vega,
of whom we have written, was most brilliant in Spain during these two
centuries. The Spanish stage was very characteristic, very original among
all drama in that, more than the ancient drama, more than in the plays of
Shakespeare himself, it was essentially lyrical, or, to express the fact
more clearly, it was based on a continual mixture of the lyric and the
dramatic; also it nearly always laid stress on the sentiment and the
susceptibility of honour, "the point of honour," as it was called, and
upon its laws, which were severe, tyrannical, and even cruel. These two
principal characteristics gave it a distinct aspect differing from all
the other European theatres. Without going back to the confused origins
and without expressing much interest in the Spanish drama until the
religious dramas of the _autos sacramentales_(which continued their
career until the seventeenth century), it is necessary, first, to note,
at the close of the fifteenth century, the celebrated _Celestine_ of
Ferdinand de Rojas, a spirited work, unmeasured, enormous, unequal, at
times profoundly licentious, at times attaining a great height of moral
exaltation, and also at times farcical and at others deeply pathetic.
_Celestine_ was translated several times in various languages, and
especially in Italy and France was as much appreciated as in Spain.

CALDERON.--In the seventeenth century (after Lope de Vega) came Calderon.
Almost as prolific as Lope, author of at least two hundred plays, some
authorities say a thousand, Calderon was first prodigiously inventive,
then he was dogmatic, moralising, almost a preacher. Whether in his
religious plays, in his love dramas, in his cap and sword tragedies, even
in his comedies and highly complicated intrigues, the great sentiments
of the Spanish soul--honour, faith, the inviolability of the oath,
loyalty, fidelity, the spirit of great adventures--broaden, animate
and elevate the whole work. With Calderon the titles are always
indicative of the subject. His most celebrated plays are: _In this Life
All Is Truth and Falsehood_, _Life is a Dream_, _The Devotion to the
Cross_, _The Lady before All_, _The Mayor of Zamalea_, _Love after
Death_, _The Physician of his Own Honour_.

ALARCON.--Alarcon comes nearer to us owing to his regular and almost
classic compositions. Nevertheless he was a man of imagination and humour
with an adequate dramatic force. His tragedies must be mentioned: _What
Is Worth Much Costs Much_, _Cruelty through Honour_, _The Master of
Stars_; his comedies, _The Examination of Husbands_, and that charming
_The Truth Suspected_, from which Corneille derived _The Liar_.

TIRSO DE MOLINA.--Tirso de Molina was another prodigy of dramatic
literature, and his fellow-countrymen assert that he wrote three hundred
dramas, of which sixty-five are in existence. All Spanish dramatists
were unequal, he more especially; he passed from grossness to sublimity
with surprising facility and ease. He particularly delighted in
ingeniously complicated intrigue, in surprises, and in unexpected
theatrical touches. Yet _The Condemned in Doubt_ is a sort of moral
epopee, adapted to the stage, possessing real beauty and not without
depth. His most celebrated drama, in so far as it has aroused direct or
indirect imitations, and owing to the type he was the first to suggest,
was _The Jester of Seville_: that is, Don Juan. All European literatures,
utilising Don Juan, became tributaries to Tirso de Molina.

FRANCIS DE ROJAS; CASTRO; DIAMANTE.--Francis de Rojas, who must not be
confused with Ferdinand de Rojas, author of _Celestine_, though
possessing less spirit than his predecessors, is nevertheless a
distinguished dramatic poet. The French of the seventeenth century freely
pilfered from him. Thomas Corneille borrowed a goodly portion of his
_Bertrand de Cigarral_, Scarron a large part of his _Jodelet_, Le Sage an
episode in _Gil Blas_. If only for their connection with the French
drama, William de Castro and Diamante must be noticed. William de Castro
wrote a play, _The Exploits of the Cid in Youth_, which Corneille knew
and which he imitated in his celebrated tragedy, adding incomparable
beauty. Diamante in his turn imitated Corneille very closely in _The Son
who Avenges his Father_. Voltaire, mistaken in dates, believed Corneille
had imitated Diamante.

PORTUGUESE WRITERS.--In Portugal the sixteenth century was the golden
age. Poets, dramatists, historians, and moralists were extremely
numerous; several possessed genius and many displayed great talent. Among
lyrical poets were Bernardin Ribeiro, Christoval Falcam, Diogo Bernardes,
Andrade Caminha, Alvarez do Oriente, Rodriguez Lobo. Ribeiro wrote
eclogues half in narrative or dialogue, half lyrical. He also produced a
romance intersected with tales (Le Sage in his _Gil Blas_ thus wrote, as
is known, and in this only imitated the Spaniards), entitled _The
Innocent Girl_, which often evinces great refinement.

Christoval Falcam was also bucolic, but his eclogues often ran to nine
hundred verses. He also wrote _Voltas_, which are lyric poems suitable
for setting to music. Diogo Bernardes also wrote eclogues and letters
collected under the title of the _Lyma_. The Lyma is a river. To
Bernardes the Lyma was what the Lignon was to D'Urfe in his _Astrea_.

Caminha, a court poet decidedly analogous to the French Saint-Gelais,
possessed dexterity and happy phraseology. Eclogues, elegiacs, epitaphs,
and epistles were the ordinary occupations of his muse.

Alvarez do Oriente has left a great romanesque work, a medley of prose
and verse entitled _Portugal Transformed_ (_Lusitania transformanda_),
which is extremely picturesque apart from its idylls and lyrical poems.

Lobo was highly prolific. He was author of pastoral romances, medleys of
verse and prose (_The Strange Shepherd_, _The Spring_, _Disenchantment_),
a great epic poem (_The Court at the Village_), in prose conversations
on moral and literary questions which have remained classic in Portugal,
as well as romances and eclogues.

EPIC POETS.--The most notable epic poets were Corte-Real, Manzinho,
Pereira de Castro, Francisco de Saa e Menezes, Dona de la Lacerda, and,
finally, the great Camoens. Corte-Real, a writer of the highest talent,
was author of an epic which we would style a romance in verse, although
founded on fact, upon _The Shipwreck of Sepulveda_ and her husband
Lianor. The varied and picturesque narrative is often pathetic. It would
be more so, to us at least, were it not for the incessant intervention of
pagan deities.

Francisco de Saa e Menezes sang of the great Albuquerque and of _Malaca
Conquered_. He mingled amorous and romantic tales with narratives and
descriptions of battles. He possessed the sense of local colour and
brilliant imagination; he has been accused of undue negligence with
regard to correction.

Dona de la Lacerda, professor of Latin literature to the children of
Philip III, although born at Porto, wrote nearly always in Spanish. The
_Spain Delivered_ (from the Moors), an epic poem, is her chief work; she
also composed comedies and various poems in Spanish. On rare occasions
she wrote in Portuguese prose.

CAMOENS.--The glory of these sound poets is effaced by that of Camoens.
Exiled in early youth for a reason analogous to the one which occasioned
the banishment of Ovid, a soldier who lost an eye at Ceuta, wandering in
India, shipwrecked and, according to tradition, only saving his poem
which he held in one hand whilst swimming with the other, he returned to
Portugal after sixteen years of exile, assisting at the struggles,
decline, and subjection of his country, dying (1579) at the moment when
for a time Portugal ceased to have a political existence. He wrote _The
Lusiad_ (that is the Portuguese), which was the history of Vasco da Gama
and of his expedition to India. The description of Africa, the Cape of
Tempests (the Cape of Good Hope), with the giant Adamaston opposing the
passage, and the description of India were the foundation of the
narrative. Episodes narrated by individuals, as in Virgil and as in the
Spanish romance, formed an internal supplement, and thus was narrated
almost all the history of Portugal, and so it came to pass that the love
of Inez de Castro and of Don Pedro formed part of the story of Vasco da
Gama. Camoens was a powerful narrator, a magnificent orator in verse,
and, above all, a very great painter. He evinced curious taste, even as
compared with his contemporaries, such as the continual commingling of
mythological divinities with Christian truths: for instance, a prayer
addressed by Vasco to Jesus Christ was granted by Venus. It may also be
observed that the poem lacked unity and was only a succession of poems.
But, as Voltaire said, "The art of relating details, by the pleasure
it affords, can make up for all the rest; and that proves the work to be
full of great beauties, since for two hundred years it has formed the
delight of a clever race who must be well aware of its faults."

DRAMATISTS.--The principal Portuguese dramatists were Saa de Miranda,
Antonio Ferreira, Gil Vicente. Saa de Miranda was a philosophical poet
or, to express it more correctly, a poet with ideas; he broke with
the eternal idylls, eclogues, bucolics, and pastorals of his predecessors
without declining to furnish excellent examples, but more often aiming
elsewhere and higher. He also reformed the versification, introducing
metres employed in other languages, but hitherto unused in his tongue. He
wrote odes, epistles after the manner of Horace, sonnets, lyric poems in
Latin, and epic compositions. In all this portion of his work he may be
compared to Ronsard. Finally, he wrote two comedies in prose--_The
Strangers_ and _The Villalpandios_ (the _Villalpandios_ are Spanish
soldiers, who have a recognised position in comedy). His mind was one of
the most elevated and best stored with classic literature that Portugal
ever produced.

FERREIRA.--Ferreira, who wrote lyric poems, elegiac poems, and especially
epistles, by which he gained for himself the name of the Portuguese
Horace, was more particularly a dramatist. He created _Farcas_, which
must not be regarded as farces, but as dramatic poems in which the
profane and religious are interwoven; he wrote _The Bristo_, a popular
comedy; _The Jealous One_, which was perhaps the earliest comedy of
character ever produced in Europe, and finally, a tragedy, _Inez de
Castro_, the national tragedy, a tragedy so orthodox and regular in form
that the author felt bound to introduce a chorus in the classic manner;
it is charged with pathos and handled with much art.

GIL VICENTE.--Gil Vicente, a prolific poet who wrote forty-two dramatic
pieces, two thirds in Spanish and the rest in Portuguese, touched every
branch of theatrical literature; he produced religious plays (_autos_),
tragedies, romantic dramas, comedies, and farces. His chief works are
_The Sibyl Cassandra_, _The Widow_, _Amadis de Gaule_, _The Temple of
Apollo_, _The Boat of Hell_. His comedies possess a vivacity that is
Italian rather than Portuguese. Tradition has it that Erasmus learnt
Portuguese for the sole purpose of reading the comedies of Gil Vicente.



Of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Fontenelle, Bayle. Of the
Eighteenth: Poets: La Motte, Jean Baptiste Rousseau, Voltaire, etc. Prose
Writers: Montesquieu, Voltaire, Buffon, Jean Jacques Rousseau, etc. Of
the Nineteenth Century: Poets: Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Musset, Vigny,
etc.; Prose Writers: Chateaubriand, Michelet, George Sand, Merimee,
Renan, etc.

FONTENELLE.--The eighteenth century, which was announced, and announced
with great precision, by La Bruyere, was inaugurated by his enemy
Fontenelle. Fontenelle, nephew of Corneille, began with despicable
trifles, eclogues, operas, stilted tragedies, letters of a dandy, so he
might be justly regarded as an inferior Voiture. Very soon, because he
possessed the passion of the eighteenth century for science and
free-thought, he showed himself to be a serious man, and because he had
wit he showed himself an amusing serious man, which is rare. His
_Dialogues of the Dead_ were very humorous and, at the same time, in many
passages profound; he wrote his _Discourses on the Plurality of_
(Habitable) _Worlds_; then because he was perpetual secretary of the
Academy of Sciences, came his charming and often astonishing _Eulogies of
Sages_, which ought to be regarded as the best existent history of
science in the seventeenth century and in the eighteenth up to 1740.

BAYLE.--Bayle, a Frenchman who lived in Holland on account of religion, a
journalist and lexicographer, in his _News of the Republic of Letters_
and in his immense _Dictionary_, gave proof of broad erudition about all
earthly questions, especially philosophical and religious, guiding his
readers to absolute scepticism. Fontenelle and Bayle are the two heralds
who opened the procession of the eighteenth century. Successively must
now be examined first the poets and then the prose writers of the first
half of that era.

LA MOTTE.--La Motte, as celebrated in his own time as he is forgotten in
ours, was lyricist, fabulist, dramatic orator, epical even after a
certain fashion. He wrote odes that were deadly cold, fables that were
often quite witty but affected and laboured, comedies sufficiently
mediocre, of which _The Magnificent Lover_ was the most remarkable,
and a tragedy, _Inez de Castro_, which was excellent and enjoyed one of
the greatest successes of the French stage. Finally, becoming the
partisan of the modernists against the classicists, he abridged the
_Iliad_ of Homer into a dozen books as frigid as his own lyric poems. He
had parodoxical ideas in literature, and, being a poet, or believing
himself one, he considered that verse enervated thought and that
sentiments should only be written in prose. It was against these
tendencies that Voltaire so vigorously reacted.

J.B. ROUSSEAU; POMPIGNAN.--Beside La Motte, being more gifted as a poet,
Jean Baptiste Rousseau was conspicuous. He wrote lyrical poems which were
cold as lyrics but were well composed and, sometimes at least, attained a
certain degree of eloquence. From Malherbe to Lamartine, lyrical poetry
was almost completely neglected by French poets, or at least very badly
treated. Jean Baptiste Rousseau had the advantage of being nearly
solitary and for approximately century was regarded as the greatest
national lyrical poet.

Le Franc de Pompignan has endured much ridicule, not the least being for
a certain naive vanity perceptible directly he passed from the south to
the north of France; but he had some knowledge; he was acquainted with
Hebrew, then a sufficiently rare accomplishment, and he was an assiduous
student of classic literature. His tragedy, _Dido_, succeeded; his
_Sacred Songs_ enjoyed popularity, no matter what Voltaire might say,
and deserved their success; in his odes, which were too often cold, he
rarely succeeded--only once triumphantly, in his ode on the death of Jean
Baptiste Rousseau.

THE _HENRIADE_.--So far as poets, strictly speaking, were concerned, the
foregoing are all that have to be indicated in the first half of the
eighteenth century, except the ingenious and frigid _Henriade_ of

DRAMATIC POETS.--To counterbalance, the dramatic poets are numerous and
not without merit. Let us recall _Inez de Castro_ by De la Motte.
Campistron, the feeble pupil of Racine (and, moreover, there could be no
pupil of Racine, so original was the latter, so closely was his genius
associated with his mind), perpetrated numerous tragedies and operas
which enjoyed the success obtained by all imitative works: that is, a
success which arouses no discussion, and which today appears to be the
climax of tediousness.

CREBILLON.--Crebillon followed, vigorous, energetic, violently shaking
the nerves, master of horror and of terrors, not lacking some analogy
with Shakespeare, but without delicacy or depth, never even giving a
thought to being psychological or a moralist, writing badly and to a
certain extent meriting the epithet of "the barbarian" bestowed on him
by Voltaire.

The latter was infatuated with the drama, having the feeling for
beautiful themes and for new and original topics, adapting them to
the stage with sufficient aptitude, delighting, in addition, in pomp,
mimicry, and decorativeness, and causing tragedy to lean towards
opera, which in his day was no bad thing; but weak in execution, never
creating characters because he could not escape from himself, as moderate
in psychology and morality as Crebillon himself and replacing analysis of
passion by these and philosophical commonplaces. He left tragic dramas
which until about 1815 enjoyed success, but which then fell into a
disregard from which there is no probability they will ever emerge.

COMIC POETS.--The comic poets of this period were highly agreeable. The
most notable were Destouches, Regnard, La Chaussee. Destouches was the
very type of the comic writers of the eighteenth century already alluded
to, who took a portrait by La Bruyere and turned it into a comedy, and
that is what was called a comedy of character. Thus he wrote _The
Braggart_, _The Irresolute_, _The Ungrateful_, _The Backbiter_, _The
Spendthrift_, etc. Sometimes he took pains to be a trifle more original,
as in _The False Agnes_, _The Married Philosopher_; sometimes he borrowed
a subject from a foreign literature and adapted it fairly dexterously for
the Gallic stage, as in _The Impertinent Inquisitive_, taken from _Don
Quixote_ and _The Night Drum_, borrowed from an English author. His
versification was dexterous and correct without possessing other merit.

REGNARD.--Regnard, on the contrary, was an original genius, though
frequently imitative of Moliere. He possessed the comic spirit, gaiety,
animation, the sense of drollery, and a prodigious capacity for humorous
verse of great flexibility and incredible ease, highly superior in point
of form to that of Boileau and even of Moliere, for he suggests a Scarron
perfected by Moliere himself and by the Italian poets. Still alive and
probably imperishable are such works as _The Gamester_, _The Universal
Legatee_, _The Unexpected Return_.

THE DRAMA: LA CHAUSSEE.--La Chaussee possessed a vein of the popular
novel, the serial, as we should say, and at the same time a taste for the
stage. The result was he created a new species, which in itself is no
small achievement. He created _the drama_: that is, the stage-play
wherein common people, and no longer kings and princes, affect us by
their misfortunes. This has been called by all possible names; when it
is a comedy it is described as a tearful comedy; when a tragedy, as a
dramatic tragedy. This is the drama we have known in France for a hundred
and fifty years; such as it already existed in the sixteenth century
under the title of the morality play, such as Corneille, who foresaw
everything, anticipated and predicted in his preface to _Don Sancho_: "I
would rather say, sir, that tragedy should excite pity and fear, and that
in its essentials, since there is necessity for definition. Now if it be
true that this latter feeling is only excited in us when we see those
like ourselves suffer, and that their misfortunes put us in fear of
similar calamities, is it not also true that we can be more strongly
moved by disasters arriving to people of our own rank, having resemblance
to ourselves, than by the picture of the overthrow from their thrones of
the greatest monarchs, who can have no relation to us except in so far as
we are susceptible to the passions that overwhelmed them, which is not
always the case?" This domestic tragedy La Chaussee wrote in verse, which
is not against French rules, and which has been done by dramatists a
hundred and twenty years later; but it is probably an error, being even
more unlikely that citizens would express themselves in metre than that
kings and heroes should give utterance with a certain solemnity which
entails rhythm. Thus he wrote _The Fashionable Prejudice_, _The School of
Friends_, _Melanide_, very pathetic, _The School of Mothers_, etc. It
must be stated that he wrote his plays in verse somewhat systematically;
he had made his first appearance in literature by a defence of
versification against the doctrines of La Motte.

PIRON.--According to the old system, but in original verse, Piron, after
having met with scant success in tragedy, wrote the delicious
_Metromania_ which, with _The Turcaret_ of Le Sage, _The Bad Man_ of
Gresset, the masterpieces of Marivaux and the two great comedies
of Beaumarchais rank among the seven or eight superior comedies produced
in the eighteenth century.

GREAT PROSE WRITERS: MONTESQUIEU.--In prose, writers, and even great
writers, were abundant at this period. Immediately after Fontenelle and
Bayle appeared Montesquieu, sharp, malicious, satirical, already
profound, in _The Persian Letters_, a great political philosopher and
master of jurisprudence in _The Spirit of Laws_, a great philosophical
historian in _The Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans_. The influence of
Montesquieu on Voltaire, no matter what the latter may have said; on
Rousseau, however silent the latter may have been about it; on Mably, on
Raynal, on the encyclopaedists, on a large portion of the men in the
French Revolution, on the greatest minds of the nineteenth century, has
been profound and difficult to measure. As writer he was concise,
collected, and striking, seeking the motive and often finding it, seeking
the formula and invariably finding it--Tacitus mingled with Sallust.

LE SAGE; SAINT-SIMON.--In considering Le Sage and Saint-Simon, it is not,
perhaps, the one who is instinctively thought of as a novelist who really
was the greater romancer. They each wrote at the same time as
Montesquieu. Saint-Simon narrated the age of Louis XIV as an eyewitness,
both with spirit and with a feeling for the picturesque that were alike
inimitable, expressed in a highly characteristic fashion, which was often
incorrect, always incredibly vigorous, energetic, and masterful. Le Sage,
in the best of all French styles, that of the purest seventeenth century,
narrated Spanish stories in which he mingled many observations made in
Paris, and set the model for the realistic novel in his admirable _Gil
Blas_. As a dramatist he will be dealt with later.

MARIVAUX; PREVOST.--Marivaux also essayed the realistic novel in his very
curious _Marianne_, full of types drawn from contemporary life and drawn
with an art which was less condensed but as exact as that of La Bruyere,
and in his _Perverted Peasant_ with an art which was more gross, but
still highly interesting.

The Abbe Prevost, much inferior, much overpraised, generally insipid in
his novels of adventure, once found a good theme, _Manon Lescaut_, and,
though writing as badly as was his wont, evoked tears which, it may be
said, still flow.

HISTORY: DRAMA.--In history Voltaire furnished a model of vivid, rapid,
truly epic narration in his _History of Charles XII_, and an example, at
least, of exact documentation and of contemporaneous history studied with
zeal and passion in his _Philosophical Letters on England_. On the stage,
in prose there were the pretty, witty, and biting light comedies of
Dancourt, De Brueys and Palaprat, and Dufresny, then the delicious drama,
at once fantastic and perceptive, romantic and psychological, of
Marivaux, who, in _The Legacy_, _The False Confidences_, _The Test_,
_The Game of Love and of Shame_, showed himself no less than the true
heir of Racine and the only one France has ever had.

VOLTAIRE.--In the second portion of the eighteenth century, Voltaire
reigned. He multiplied historical studies (_Century of Louis XIV_),
philosophies (_Philosophical Dictionary_), dramas (_Zaire_, _Merope_,
_Alzire_ [before 1750], _Rome Saved_, _The Chinese Orphan_, _Tancred_,
_Guebres_, _Scythia_, _Irene_), comedies (_Nanine_, _The Prude_),
romances(_Tales and Novels_), judicial exquisitions (the Calas, Labarre,
and Sirven cases), and articles, pamphlets, and fugitive papers on
all conceivable subjects.

THE PHILOSOPHERS.--But the second generation of philosophers was now
reached. There was Diderot, philosophical romancer (_The Nun_, _James the
Fatalist_), art critic(_Salons_), polygraphist (collaboration in the
Encyclopaedia); there was Jean Jacques Rousseau, philosophic novelist in
_The New Heloise_, publicist in his discourse against _Literature and the
Arts and Origin of Inequality_, schoolmaster in his _Emilius_, severe
moralist in his _Letters to M. d'Alembert on the Spectacles_,
half-romancer, charming, impassioned, and passion-inspiring in the
autobiography which he called his Confessions; there was Duclos,
interesting though rather tame in his _Considerations on the Manners of
this Century_; there was Grimm, an acute and subtle critic of the highest
intelligence in his _Correspondence_; then Condillac, precise,
systematic, restrained, but infinitely clear in the best of diction in
his _Treatise on the Sensations_; finally Turgot, the philosophical
economist, in his _Treatise on the Formation and Distribution of

BUFFON; MARMONTEL; DELILLE.--Philosophy, meditation on great problems,
filled almost all the literary horizon, while scientific literature
embraced a score of illustrious representatives, of which the most
impressive was Buffon, with his _Natural History_. Nevertheless, in
absolute literature there were also names to cite: Marmontel gave his
_Moral Tales_, his _Belisarius_, his _Incas_, and his _Elements of

Delille, with his translation in verse of the _Georgics_ of Virgil,
commenced a noble poetic career which he pursued until the nineteenth
century; Gilbert wrote some mordant satires which recalled Boileau, and
some farewells to life which are among the best lyrics; Saint
Lambert sang of _The Seasons_ with felicity, and Roucher treated the same
theme with more vivid sensibility.

THE STAGE.--On the stage, a little before 1750. Gresset gave his
_Wicked Man_, which was witty and in such felicitous metre that it
carried the tradition of great comedy in verse; Diderot, theorist and
creator of the drama in prose, followed La Chaussee, and produced _The
Father of a Family_, _The Natural Son_, and _Is He Good, Is He Bad_? being
the portrait of himself. Innumerable dramas by the fertile Mercier and a
score of others followed, including Beaumarchais, himself a devotee of
the drama, but only able to succeed in comedy, wherein he gave his two
charming works, _The Barber of Seville_ and _The Marriage of Figaro_.

ANDRE CHENIER.--Almost on the verge of the Revolution, quite unexpectedly
there emerged a really great poet, Andre Chenier, marvellously gifted in
every way. As the poet of love he recalled Catullus and Tibullus; in
political lyricism he suggested d'Aubigny, though with more fervour; as
elegiac poet he possessed a grace that was truly Grecian; as the poet of
nature he employed the large manner of Lucretius; in polemical prose he
was remarkably eloquent. Struck down whilst quite young amid the turmoil
of the Revolution, he bequeathed immortal fragments. No doubt he would
have been the greatest French poet between Racine and Lamartine.

BERNARDIN DE SAINT-PIERRE.--In prose, his contemporary, Bernardin de
Saint-Pierre, primarily was a man of genius, since he wrote that immortal
idyllic romance, _Paul and Virginia_; subsequently he became a gracious
and amiable pupil of Jean Jacques Rousseau, being smitten with the
sentiment of nature in his _Harmonies of Nature_; finally he attained
a great importance in literary history as the creator of exotic
literature through the descriptions he wrote of many lands: Asia,
African isles traversed and studied by him, Russia, and Germany.

THE REVOLUTIONARY ORATORS.--During the revolutionary period may be
pointed out the great orators of the Assembly: Mirabeau, Barnave, Danton,
Vergniaud, Robespierre; the ill-starred authors of national songs:
Marie Joseph Chenier; the author of the _Marseillaise_, Rouget de Lisle,
who only succeeded on the day that he wrote it. And so we reach the
nineteenth century.

THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.--At the commencement of a century which was so
brilliant from the literary aspect, James Delille was despotic: his
earlier efforts have already been attended to. A skilled versifier, but
without fire or many ideas, he made cultured translations from Virgil and
Milton, wrote perennially descriptive poems, such as _The Man in the
Fields_, _The Gardens_, etc., and a witty satirical poem on
_Conversation_, which, in our opinion, was the best thing he wrote.

GREAT POETS: LAMARTINE.--Great poets were to come. Aroused, without
doubt, by the poetic genius of the prose writer Chateaubriand, the first
generation of the romantics was formed by Lamartine, Victor Hugo, and
Alfred de Vigny. Romanticism was the preponderance of imagination and
sensibility over reason and observation. Lamartine rebathed poetry in its
ancient and eternal sources: love, religion, and the sentiment of nature.
In his _Meditations_, his _Harmonies_, and his _Contemplations_, he
reawoke feelings long slumbering, and profoundly moved the hearts of men.
In _Jocelyn_ he widened his scope, and, emerging from himself, narrated,
as he imagined it, the story of the soul of a priest during the
Revolution, and subsequently in the obscurity of a rural parish; in
_The Fall of an Angel_ he reverted to the life of primaeval man as he
conceived it to be when humanity was still barbarous. Apart from his
poetic works, he wrote _The History of the Girondins_, which is a
romanesque history of almost the whole of the Revolution, some novels,
some autobiographic episodes, and a few discourses on literature.

VICTOR HUGO.--Victor Hugo, though less sensitive than Lamartine but more
imaginative, began with lyrical poems which were somewhat reminiscent of
the classical manner, then went on to pictures of the East, thence to
meditations on what happened to himself, and on all subjects (_Autumn
Leaves_, _Lights and Shades_); next, in full possession of his genius, he
dwelt on great philosophical meditations in his _Contemplations_, and in
_The Legend of the Centuries_ gave that epic fragment which is a picture
of history. His was one of the most powerful imaginations that the world
has ever seen, as well as a _creator of style_, who made a style for
himself all in vision and colour, and also in melody and orchestration.
Although in prose he lacked one part of his resources, he utilised
the rest magnificently, and _Notre Dame_ and _The Miserable_ are works
which excite admiration, at least in parts. Later, he will be dealt with
as a dramatist.

ALFRED DE VIGNY.--Alfred de Vigny was the most philosophical of these
three great poets, though inferior to the other two in creative
imaginativeness. He meditated deeply on the existence of evil on earth,
on the misfortunes of man, and the sadness of life, and his most
despairing songs, which were also his most beautiful, left a profound
echo in the hearts of his contemporaries. Some of his poems, such as
_The Bottle in the Sea_, _The Shepherd's House_, _The Fury of Samson_,
are among the finest works of French literature.

MUSSET; THEOPHILE GAUTIER.--The second generation of romanticism, which
appeared about 1830, possessed Alfred de Musset and Theophile Gautier as
chief representatives. They bore little mutual resemblance, be it said,
the former only knowing how to sing about himself, his pleasures, his
illusions, his angers, and, above all, his sorrows, always with sincerity
and in accents that invariably charmed and sometimes lacerated; the
latter, supremely artist, always seeking the fair exterior and delighting
in reproducing it as though he were a painter, a sculptor, or a musician,
and excellent and dexterous in these "transpositions of art," whether
they were in verse or prose.

THE PROSE WRITERS: CHATEAUBRIAND.--The French prose writers of this first
half of the nineteenth century were emphatically poets, as had also
already been Jean Jacques Rousseau and even Buffon. Imagination,
sensibility, and the sentiment for nature were the mistresses of their
faculties. Chateaubriand was the promoter of all the literary movement
of the nineteenth century, alike in prose and poetry. He was a literary
theorist, an epic poet in prose, traveller, polemist, orator. His great
literary theory was in _The Genius of Christianity_, and consisted in
supporting that all true poetic beauties lay in Christianity. His epic
poems in prose are _The Natchez_, a picture of the customs of American
Indians, _The Martyrs_, a panorama of the struggle of paganism at its
close and of Christianity at its beginning; his travels were _The Voyage
in America_ and _The Itinerary from Paris to Jerusalem_. Member of the
parliamentary assemblies, ambassador and minister, he wrote and spoke in
the most brilliant and impassioned manner on the subjects that he took
up. Finally, falling back on himself, as he had never ceased to do more
or less all through his career, he left, in his marvellous _Memoirs from
Beyond the Tomb_, a posthumous work which is, perhaps, his masterpiece.
His infinitely supple and variegated style formed a continuous artistic
miracle, so harmonious and musical was it more musical even than that of
Jean Jacques Rousseau.

MME. DE STAEL.--At the same time, though she died long before him, Mme.
de Stael, by her curious and interesting, though never affecting, novels,
_Delphine_ and _Corinne_, by her dissertations on various serious
subjects, by her work on Germany, which initiated the French into the
habits and literature of neighbours they were ill acquainted with, also
directed the minds of men into new paths, and she was prodigal of ideas
which she had almost always borrowed, but which she thoroughly
understood, profoundly reconsidered, and to which she imparted an
appearance of originality even in the eyes of those who had given them to

THE HISTORIANS.--Even the historians of this first half of the century
were poets: Augustin Thierry, who reconstituted scientifically but
imaginatively _The Merovingian Era_; Michelet, pupil of Vico, who saw in
history the development of an immense poem and cast over his account of
the Middle Ages the fire and feverishness of his ardent imagination and
tremulous sensitiveness. Guizot and Thiers can be left apart, for they
were statesmen by education and, although capable of passion, sought the
one to rationally generalise and "discipline history," as was said, the
other solely to capture facts accurately and to set them out clearly in
orderly fashion.

THE PHILOSOPHERS.--The philosophers were not sheltered from this
contagion, and if Cousin and his eclectic school loved to attach
themselves to the seventeenth century both in mind and style, Lamennais,
first in his _Essay on Indifference_, then in his _Study of a
Philosophy_ and in his _Words of a Believer_, impassioned, impetuous, and
febrile, underwent the influence of romanticism, but also gave to the
romantics the greater portion of the ideas they put in verse.

THE NOVEL.--As for the novel, it was only natural that it should be
deeply affected by the spirit of the new school. George Sand wrote
lyrical novels, if the phrase may be used--and, as I think, it is here
the accurate expression--entitled _Indiana_, _Valentine_, _Mauprat_, and
especially _Lelia_. She was to impart wisdom later on.

It even happened that a mind born to see reality in an admirably accurate
manner, saw it so only by reason of the times, or at least partly due to
the times, associated it with a magnifying but deforming imagination
converting it into a literary megalomania; and this was the case of
Honore de Balzac.

NON-ROMANTIC LITERATURE.--Nevertheless, as was only natural, throughout
the whole of the romantic epoch there was an entire literature which did
not submit to its influence, and simply carried on the tradition of
the eighteenth century. In poetry there was the witty, malicious, and
very often highly exalted Beranger, whose songs are almost always
excellent songs and sometimes are odes; and there was also the able and
dexterous but frigid Casimir Delavigne. In prose there was Benjamin
Constant, supremely oratorical and a very luminous orator, also
a religious philosopher in his work _On Religions_, and a novelist in his
admirable _Adolphus_, which was semi-autobiographical.

Classical also were Joseph de Maistre, in his political considerations
(_Evenings in St. Petersburg_), and, in fiction, Merimee, accurate,
precise, trenchant, and cultured; finally in criticism, Sainte-Beuve, who
began, it is true, by being the theorist and literary counsellor of
romanticism, but who was soon freed from the spell, almost from 1830, and
became author of _Port Royal_. Though possessing a wide and receptive
mind because he was personified intelligence, he was decisively classical
in his preferences, sentiments, ideas, and even in his style.

Stendhal, pure product of the eighteenth century, and even exaggerating
the spirit of that century in the dryness of his soul and of his style, a
pure materialist writing with precision and with natural yet intentional
nakedness, possessed valuable gifts of observation, and in his famous
novel, _Red and Black_, in the first part of the _Chartreuse of Parma_,
and in his _Memoirs of a Tourist_, knew how to draw characters with
exactness, sobriety, and power, and to set them in reliefs that were
remarkably rare.

THE STAGE.--The drama was very brilliant during this first half of the
nineteenth century. The struggle was lively for thirty or thirty-five
years between the classicists and the romanticists; the classics
defending their citadel, the French stage, much more by their polemics in
the newspapers than by the unimportant works which they brought to the
_Comedie francaise_, the romantics here producing nearly all the plays of
Hugo (_Hernani_, _Marion de Lorme_, _Ruy Blas_, _The Burghers_, etc.),
and the works of Vigny(_Othello_, _Marshal d'Ancre_), as well as the
dramas of Dumas (_Henry III and his Court_, etc.). Between the two
schools, both of which were on the stage nearer to the modern than to the
antique, the dexterous Casimir Delavigne, with almost invariable success,
gave _Marino Faliero_, _Louis XI_, _The Children of Edward_, _Don Juan of
Austria_, and _Princess Aurelia_, which was pretty, but without
impassioned interest.

A veritable dramatic genius, although destitute of style, of elevation of
thought and of ideas, but a prodigious constructor of well-made plays,
was Eugene Scribe, who, by his dramas and comedies, as well as the
libretti of operas, was the chief purveyor to the French stage between
1830 and 1860.

ROMANTICISM AND REALISM.--So far as pure literature was concerned, the
second half of the nineteenth century was divided between enfeebled but
persistent romanticism and realism. Theophile Gautier, in 1853, gave his
_Enamels and Cameos_, his best poetic work, and later (1862) his
_Captain Fracasse_. Hugo wrote his _Miserables_, the second and third
_Legends of the Centuries_, _Songs of the Streets and the Woods_, etc.

A third romantic generation, of which Theodore de Banville was the most
brilliant representative, and which proceeded far more from Gautier than
from Hugo or De Musset, pushed verbal and rhythmic virtuosity to the
limit and perhaps beyond. Then great or highly distinguished poets

FAMOUS POETS.--Leconte de Lisle, philosophical poet, attracted by Indian
literature, by pessimism, by the taste for nothingness, and the thirst
for death, forcing admiration by his sculptural form and majestic rhythm;
Sully-Prudhomme, another philosopher, especially psychological,
manipulating the lyrical elegy with much art and, above all, infusing
into it a grave, sad, and profound sensibility which would have awakened
the affection and earned the respect of Catullus, Tibullus, and
Lucretius; Francis Coppee, the poet of the joys and sorrows of the lowly,
a dexterous versifier too, and possessed of a sincerity so candid as to
make the reader forget that there is art in it; Baudelaire, inquisitive
about rare and at times artificial sensations, possessing a laborious
style, but sometimes managing to produce a deep impression either morbid
or lugubrious, considered by an entire school which is still extant as
one of the greatest poets within the whole range of French literature;
Verlaine, extremely unequal, often detestable and contemptible, but
suddenly charming and touching or revealing a religious feeling that
suggests a clerk of the Middle Ages; Catulle Mendes, purely romantic,
wholly virtuoso, but an astonishingly dexterous versifier. To these poets
some highly curious literary dandies set themselves in opposition, being
desirous of renovating the poetic art by ascribing more value to the
sound of words than to their meaning, striving to make a music of poesy
and, in a general way--which is their chief characteristic--being
difficult to understand. They gave themselves the name of symbolists, and
accepted that of decadents; they regarded Stephen Mallarme either as
their chief or as a friend who did them honour. This school has been
dignified by no masterpieces and will probably ere long be forgotten.

REALISTIC LITERATURE.--Confronting all this literature, which had a
romantic origin even when it affected scorn of the men of 1830, was
developed an entire realistic literature composed almost exclusively of
writers in prose, but of prose imbued with poetry written by some who had
read the romantics and who would not have achieved what they did had
romanticism not already existed, a fact which they themselves have
not denied, and which is now almost universally accepted. Flaubert, whose
masterpiece, _Madame Bovary_, is dated 1857, was very precisely divided
between the two schools; he possessed the taste for breadth of eloquence,
for the adventurous, and for Oriental colouring, and also the taste for
the common, vulgar, well visualised, thoroughly assimilated truth,
tersely portrayed in all its significance. But as he has succeeded
better, at least in the eyes of his contemporaries, as a realist than as
a man with imagination, he passes into history as the founder of realism
always conditionally upon considering Balzac as possessing much of the
vigorous realism which provided the impulse and furnished models.

NATURALISM.--From the realism of Flaubert was born the naturalism of
Zola, which is the same thing more grossly expressed. Also by his
energetic, violent, and tenacious talent, as well as by a weighty though
powerful imagination, he exercised over his contemporaries a kind of
fascination which it would be puerile to regard as an infatuation for
which there was no cause.

More refined and even extremely delicate, though himself also fond of the
small characteristic fact; possessed, too, with a graceful and gracious
sensibility, Alphonse Daudet often charmed and always interested us in
his novels, which are the pictorial anecdotes of the Parisian world at
the close of the second Empire and the opening of the third Republic.

The brothers De Goncourt also enjoyed notable success, being themselves
absorbed in the exceptional deed and the exceptional character whilst
possessing a laboured style which is sometimes seductive because of its
unlooked-for effects.

THE POSITIVISTS.--Two great men filled with their renown an epoch already
so brilliant; namely, Renan and Taine, both equally historians and
philosophers. Renan composed _The History of the Children of Israel_ and
_The Origins of Christianity_, as well as various works of general
philosophy, of which the most celebrated is entitled _Philosophical
Dialogues_. Taine wrote the history of _The Origins of Contemporary
France_: that is, the history of the French Revolution, and sundry
philosophical works of which the principal are _On Intelligence_ and
_The French Philosophers of the Eighteenth Century_. Both were
"positivists," that is to say, elevating Auguste Comte, who has his place
in the history of philosophy, but not here, because he was not a good
writer; both were positivists, but Renan possessed a lively and profound
sense of the grandeur and the moral beauty of Christianity, Taine being
imbued with more philosophic strictness. Renan, with infinite flexibility
of intelligence, applied himself to understand thoroughly and always
(with some excess) to bring home to us the great figures of the Bible,
the Gospels, and the early Christians, as well as their foes down to the
time of Marcus Aurelius. Further, he affirmed science to possess
_unique_ value in his _Future of Science_; elsewhere, under the
similitude of "dreams," he indulged in conceptions, hypotheses, and
metaphysical imaginations which were voluntarily rash and infinitely
seductive. As always happens, he possessed the style of his mind, supple,
sinuous, undulating, astonishingly plastic, insatiable, and charming,
evoking the comment, "That is admirably done and it is impossible to know
with what it is done."

TAINE.--Taine, more rigid, accumulating documents and methodically
arranging them in a method that refuses to be concealed, advances in a
rectilineal order, step by step, and with a measured gait, to a solid
truth which he did not wish to be either evasive or complex. Highly
pessimistic and a little affecting to be so, just as Renan was optimistic
and much affected being so, he believed in the evil origin of man and of
the necessity for him to be drastically curbed if he is to remain
inoffensive. He has written a history of the Revolution wherein he has
refused admiration and respect for the crimes then committed, which is
why posterity now begins to be very severe upon him. His learned style is
wholly artificial, coloured without his being a colourist, composed of
metaphors prolonged with difficulty, yet remaining singularly imposing
and powerful. He was a curious philosopher, an upright, severe, and
rather systematic historian, solid and laboriously original as a

BRUNETIERE.--Brunetiere, of the great French thinkers before our
contemporaneous epoch, was critic, literary historian, philosopher,
theologian, and orator. As critic, he defended classic tradition against
bold innovations, and, especially, moral literature against licentious or
gross literature; as a literary historian he renovated literary history
by the introduction of the curious, audacious, and fruitful theory of
evolution, and his _Manual of the History of French Literature_ was a
masterpiece; as philosopher he imparted clearness and precision into the
system of Auguste Comte, whose disciple he was; as theologian, exceeding
Comte and utilising him, he added weight to Catholicism in France by
finding new and decisive "reasons for belief"; as orator he raised his
marvellously eloquent tones in France, Switzerland, and America, making
more than a hundred "fighting speeches." Since the death of Renan and
Taine, he has been the sole director of French thought, which he
continues to guide by his books and by the diffusion of his thought among
the most vigorous, serious, and meditative minds of the day.

THE CONTEMPORANEOUS DRAMA.--The drama, since 1850, has been almost
exclusively written in prose. Emil Augier, however, composed some
comedies and dramas in verse and in verse particularly suited to the
stage; but the major portion of his work is in prose, whilst Alexander
Dumas and Sardou have written exclusively in prose. Augier and Dumas came
from Balzac, and remained profoundly realistic, which was particularly
suitable to authors of comedy. They studied the manners of the second
Empire and depicted them wittily; they studied the social questions which
agitated educated minds at this time and drew useful inspiration. Augier
leant towards good middle-class common-sense, which did not prevent him
from having plenty of wit. Dumas was more addicted to paradox and
possessed as much ability as his rival. Victorien Sardou, as dexterous a
dramatic constructor as Scribe, and who sometimes rose above this,
dragged his easy tolerance from the grand historic drama to the comedy of
manners, to light comedy and to insignificant comedy with prodigious
facility and inexhaustible fertility.

The most admired living authors, whom we shall be content only to name
because they are living, are poets: Edmond Rostand, author of
_Loiterings_; Edmond Haraucourt, author of _The Naked Soul_ and _The Hope
of the World_; Jean Aicard, author of _Miette el Nore_; Jean Richepin,
author of _Cesarine_, _Caresses_, _Blasphemies_, etc.; in fiction, Paul
Bourget, Marcel Prevost, Rene Bazin, Bordeaux, Boylesve, Henri de
Regnier; in history, Ernest Lavisse, Aulard, Seignobos, D'Haussonville;
in philosophy, Boutroux, Bergson, Theodule Ribot, Fouillee, Izoulet; in
the drama, Paul Hervieu, Lavedan, Bataille, Brieux, Porto-Riche,
Bernstein, Wolff, Tristan Bernard, Edmond Rostand, author of _Cyrano de
Bergerac_ and of _The Aiglon_; as orators, Alexander Ribot, De Mun
Poincare, Jaures, etc.



Poets of the Eighteenth Century: Pope, Young, MacPherson, etc.: Prose
Writers of the Eighteenth Century: Daniel Defoe, Richardson, Fielding,
Swift, Sterne, David Hume. Poets of the Nineteenth Century: Byron,
Shelley, the Lake Poets: Prose Writers of the Nineteenth Century: Walter
Scott, Macaulay, Dickens, Carlyle.

THE REIGN OF QUEEN ANNE: POETS.--As in France, the eighteenth century
(the age of Queen Anne) was in England richer in prose than in poetry. As
poets, however, must be indicated Thomson, descriptive and dramatic,
whose profound feeling for nature was not without influence over French
writers of the same century; Pope, descriptive writer, translator,
moralist, elegiast, very intelligent and highly polished, whose _Essay on
Criticism_ and _Essay on Man_ were remarkably utilised by Voltaire;
Edward Young, whose _Night Thoughts_ enjoyed the same prodigious
success in France as in England, and who contributed in no small measure
to darken and render gloomy both literatures; MacPherson, who invented
_Ossian_, that is, pretended poems of the Middle Ages, a magnificent
genius, be it said, who exercised considerable influence over the
romanticism of both lands; Chatterton, who trod the same road, but with
less success, yet was valued almost equally by the French romantic poets,
and to them he has owed at least the consolidation of his immortality;
Cowper, elegiac and fantastic, with a highly humorous vein; Crabbe, a
very close observer of popular customs and an ingenious novelist in
verse, quite analogous to the Dutch painters; Burns, a peasant-poet,
sensitive and impassioned, yet at the same time a careful artist
moved by local customs, the manifestations of which he saw displayed
before his eyes.

PROSE WRITERS.--The masters of prose (some being also true poets) were
innumerable. Daniel Defoe, journalist, satirist, pamphleteer, was the
author of the immortal _Robinson Crusoe_; Addison, justly adored by
Voltaire, author of a sound tragedy, _Cato_, is supremely a scholar, the
acute, sensible, and extremely thoughtful editor of _The Spectator_;
Richardson, the idol of Diderot and of Jean Jacques Rousseau, enjoyed a
European success with his sentimental and virtuous novels, _Pamela_,
_Clarissa Harlowe_, and _Sir Charles Grandison_. As a critic and as a
personality, Dr. Johnson has no parallel in any age or land. His
_Dictionary_ is famous despite its faults, and _Rasselas_, which he
wrote to pay for his mother's funeral, can still be read.

Fielding, who began by being only the parodist of Richardson, in
_Joseph Andrews_, ended by becoming an astounding realistic novelist, the
worthy predecessor of Thackeray and Dickens in his extraordinary _Tom
Jones_. The amiable Goldsmith, more akin to Richardson, wrote that
idyllic novel _The Vicar of Wakefield_, the charm of which was still felt
throughout Europe only fifty years ago. Laurence Sterne, the most
accurate representative of English _humour_, capable of emotion more
especially ironical, jester, mystificator, has both amused and disquieted
several generations with his _Sentimental Journey_ and his fantastical,
disconcerting and enchanting _Tristram Shandy_. Swift, horribly bitter, a
corrosive and cruel satirist, sadly scoffed at all the society of his
time in _Gulliver's Travels_, in _Drapier's Letters_, in his _Proposal to
Prevent the Children of the Poor Being a Burden_, in a mass of other
small works wherein the most infuriated wrath is sustained under the form
of calm and glacial irony.

HISTORY.--History was expressed in England in the eighteenth century by
David Hume, who chronicled the progress of the English race from the
Middle Ages until the eighteenth century; by Robertson, who similarly
handled the Scotch and who narrated the reign of Charles V; and by
Gibbon, so habitually familiar with the French society of his time, who
followed the Romans from the first Caesars to Marcus Aurelius, then more
closely from Marcus Aurelius to the epoch of Constantine, and finally
the Byzantine Empire up to the period of the Renaissance. The imposing
erudition, the rather pompous but highly distinguished style of the
author, without counting his animosity to Christianity, caused him to
enjoy a great success, especially in France. The work of Gibbon is
regarded as the finest example of history written by an Englishman.

THE STAGE.--The stage in England in the eighteenth century sank far below
its importance in the seventeenth century; yet who does not know _She
Stoops to Conquer_ of Goldsmith, and that sparkling and lively comedy,
_The School for Scandal_, by Sheridan? Note, as an incomparable
journalist, the famous and mysterious Junius, who, from 1769 to 1772,
waged such terrible war on the minister Grafton.

THE LAKE POETS.--In the nineteenth century appeared those poets so
familiar to the French romanticists, or else the latter pretended
they were, who were termed the lake poets, because they were lovers of
the countryside; these were Southey, Coleridge, and Wordsworth. Southey
was an epic and elegiac poet, whilst he was also descriptive; Coleridge,
philosopher, metaphysician, a little nebulous and disordered, had very
fine outbursts and some lamentable falls. Wordsworth was a most
distinguished lyricist. Lord Byron did not acquire honour by so roughly
handling Southey and Wordsworth.

THE ROMANTIC EPOCH.--The two greatest English poets of the romantic
period were Lord Byron and Shelley; the former the admirable poet of
disenchantment and of despair, gifted with a noble epic genius, creating
and vitalising characters which, it must be confessed, differed very
little from one another, but an exalted figure with a grand manner and,
except Shakespeare, the only English poet who exercised genuine influence
over French literature; the latter an idealistic poet of the most suave
delicacy, aerial and heavenly, despite a private life of the utmost
disorder and even guilt, he is one of the most perfect poets that ever
lived; a great tragedian, too, in his _Cenci_, quite unknown in France
until the middle of the nineteenth century, but since then the object of
a sort of adoration among the larger number of Gallic poets and lovers
of poetry.

Keats was as romantic as Shelley and Byron, both in spite of and because
of his desperate efforts to assimilate the Grecian spirit. He dreamt of
its heroes and its ancient myths, but there is in him little that is
Grecian except the choice of subjects, and it is not in his grand poem,
_Endymion_, nor even in that fine fragment, _Hyperion_, that can be found
the real melancholy, sensitive, and modern poet, but in his last short
poems, _The Skylark_, _On a Greek Vase_, _Autumn_, which, by the
exquisite perfection of their form and the harmonious richness of the
style, take rank among the most beautiful songs of English lyrism.

Nearer to us came Tennyson, possessing varied inspiration, epical,
lyrical, elegiac poet, always exalted and pure, approaching the
classical, and himself already a classic.

Swinburne, almost exclusively lyrical, a dexterous and enchanting
versifier, inspired by the ancient Greeks, generally evinced a highly
original poetic temperament, and Dante Rossetti, imbued with mediaeval
inspiration, possessed a powerful and slightly giddy imagination. Far
less known on the Continent, where critics may feel surprise at her
necessary inclusion here, is his sister, Christina Rossetti. Her
qualities as a poet are a touching and individual grace, much delicate
spontaneity, a pure and often profound emotion, and an instinct as a
stylist which is almost infallible. The Brownings form a celebrated
couple, and about them Carlyle, on hearing of their marriage, observed
that he hoped they would understand each other. Elizabeth Barrett
Browning, translator of Aeschylus of Theocritus, gave proof in her
original poetry of a vigour, of a vividness, and of a vigorous exuberance
of similes that often recalled the Elizabethans, but marred her work by
declamatory rhetoric and by a tormented and often obscure style. Robert
Browning was yet more difficult, owing to his overpowering taste for
subtlety and the bizarre--nay, even the grotesque. Almost ignored, or at
least unappreciated by his contemporaries, he has since taken an exalted
place in English admiration, which he owes to the depth, originality, and
extreme richness of his ideas, all the more, perhaps, because they lend
themselves to a number of differing interpretations.

THE NOVELISTS.--In prose the century began with the historical novelist,
Sir Walter Scott, full of lore and knowledge, reconstructor and
astonishing _reviver_ of past times, more especially the Middle Ages,
imbuing all his characters with life, and even in some measure vitalising
the objects he evoked. None more than he, not even Byron, has enjoyed
such continuous appreciation with both French romantic poets and also the
French reading public. The English novel, recreated by this great master,
was worthily continued by Dickens, both sentimentalist and humourist, a
jesting, though genial, delineator of the English middle class, and an
accurate and sympathetic portrayer of the poor; by Thackeray, supreme
railer and satirist, terrible to egoists, hypocrites, and snobs; by the
prolific and entertaining Bulwer-Lytton, by the grave, philosophical,
and sensible George Eliot, by Charlotte Bronte, author of the affecting
_Jane Eyre_, etc., and her sister Emily, whose _Wuthering Heights_ has
been almost extravagantly admired.

Four other great prose writers presenting startling divergences from one
another cannot be omitted. Belonging to the first half of the nineteenth
century, Charles Lamb earned wide popularity by his _Tales from
Shakespeare_ and _Poetry for Children_, written in collaboration with his
sister Mary; but he was specially remarkable for his famed _Essays of
Elia_, wherein he affords evidence of possessing an almost paradoxical
mixture of delicate sensibility and humour, as well as of accurate and
also fantastic observation. Newman, at first an English clergyman but
subsequently a cardinal, after conversion to the Catholic Church, appears
to me hardly eligible in a history of literature in which Lamennais has
no place. As a literary man, his famous sermons at Oxford and the Tracts
exercised much influence, and provoked such impassioned and prodigious
revival of old doctrines and of an antiquated spirit in religion; then
the _Apologia Pro Vita Sua_, _Callista_, and the _History of Arianism_,
revealed him as a master of eloquence.

Ruskin, as art critic, in his bold volumes illumined with remarkable
beauty of styles, _Modern Painters_, _The Seven Lamps of
Architecture_, and _The Stones of Venice_, formulated the creed and the
school of pre-Raphaelitism. At the time of the religious revival at
Oxford, he preached a servile imitation of antiquity by the path of the
Renaissance, appealing to national and mediaeval inspiration, not without
_naivete_ and archaism, none the less evident because he was sincere and
mordant. George Meredith, who died only in 1910, was a prolific and often
involved novelist (the Browning of prose), with a passion for metaphors
and a too freely expressed eclectic scorn for the multitude. Withal, he
had a profound knowledge of life and of the human soul; impregnated with
humour, he was creator of unforgettable types of character, and no
pre-occupation of his epoch was foreign to his mind, whilst his vigorous
realism always obstinately refused to turn from contemporaneous themes,
or to gratify the needs and aspirations which it was possible to satisfy.
His epitaph might well be that he understood the women of his time, a
rare phenomenon.

HISTORY.--History could show two writers of absolute
superiority--Macaulay (_History of England since James II_), an
omnivorous reader and very brilliant writer, and Carlyle, the English
Michelet, feverish, passionate, incongruous, and disconcerting, who dealt
with history as might a very powerful lyrical poet.



Poets of the Eighteenth Century: Klopstock, Lessing, Wieland; Prose
Writers of the Eighteenth Century: Herder, Kant. Poets of the Nineteenth
Century: Goethe, Schiller, Koerner.

THE AGE OF FREDERICK THE GREAT.--In the literature of Germany the
eighteenth century, sometimes designated under the title of the age of
Frederick the Great, forms a Renaissance or, if preferred, an awakening
after a fairly prolonged slumber. This awakening was assisted by a
quarrel, sufficiently unimportant in itself, but which proved fertile,
between Gottsched, the German Boileau, and Bodmer, the energetic
vindicator of the rights of the imagination. In the train of Bodmer came
Haller, like him a Swiss; then suddenly Klopstock appeared. _The
Messiah_ of Klopstock is an epic poem; it is the history of Jesus Christ
from Cana to the Resurrection, with a crowd of episodes dexterously
attached to the action. The profound religious sentiment, the grandeur of
the setting, the beauty of the scenes, the purity and nobility of the
sermon, the Biblical colour so skilfully spread over the whole
composition, cause this vast poem, which was perhaps unduly praised on
its first appearance, to be one of the finest products of the human mind,
even when all reservations are made. German literature revived. As for
Gottsched, he was vanquished.

THE POETS.--Then came Lavater, Buerger, Lessing, Wieland. Lavater, a Swiss
like Haller, is remembered for his scientific labours, but was also a
meritorious poet, and his naive and moving _Swiss Hymns_ have remained
national songs; Buerger was a great poet, lyrical, impassioned, personal,
original, vibrating; Wieland, the Voltaire of Germany, although he began
by being the friend of Klopstock, witty, facile, light, and graceful,
whose _Oberon_ and _Agathon_ preserve the gift of growing old
felicitously, is one of the most delightful minds that Germany produced.
Napoleon did him the honour of desiring to converse with him as with

LESSING.--Lessing, personally, was a great author, and owing to the
influence he exercised over his fellow-countrymen, he holds one of the
noblest positions in the history of German literature. He was a critic,
and in his _Dramaturgie of Hamburg_ and elsewhere, with all his strength,
and often unjustly, he combated French literature to arrest the
ascendency which, according to his indolent opinion, it exercised over
the Germans; and in his _Laocooen_, with admirable lucidity, he made a
kind of classification of the arts. As author, properly speaking, he
wrote _Fables_ which to our taste are dry and cold; he made several
dramatic efforts none of which were masterpieces, the best being _Minna
von Barnhelm_ and _Emilia Galotti_, and a philosophical poem in dialogue
(for it could hardly be termed drama), _Nathan the Sage_, which
possessed great moral and literary beauties.

HERDER.--Herder was the Vico of Germany. Here was the historical
philosopher, or rather the thoughtful philosopher on history. He did
everything: literary criticism, works of erudition, translations, even
personal poems, but his great work was _Ideas on the Philosophy of the
History of Mankind_. This was the theory of progress in all its breadth
and majesty, supported by arguments that are at least spacious and
imposing. From Michelet to Quinet, on to Renan, every French author who
has at all regarded the unity of the destinies of the human race has
drawn inspiration from him. His broad, measured, and highly coloured
style is on the level of the subject and conforms to it. Even in an
exclusively literary history Kant must not be forgotten, because when he
set himself to compose a moral dissertation, as, for example, the one
upon lying, he took high rank as a writer.

THE GLORIOUS EPOCH.--Thus is reached the end of the eighteenth close on
the beginning of the nineteenth century. In this intermediary epoch shone
the most glorious hour of Teutonic literature. Simultaneously Iffland,
Kotzebue, Koerner, Schiller, and Goethe were to the fore. This formed a
great constellation. Iffland, actor, manager, and author, friend and
protector of Schiller, wrote numerous dramas, the principal of which were
_The Criminal through Ambition_, _The Pupil_, _The Hunters_, _The
Lawyers_, _The Friends of the House_. He was realistic without being
gloomy. He resembled the French Sedaine. Kotzebue, who was the friend of
Catherine of Russia, subsequently disgraced by her, possessed a highly
irritable and quarrelsome disposition, and was finally killed in 1819
as a reactionary by a Liberal student, did not fall far short of genius.
He wrote a number of dramas and comedies. Those still read with pleasure
are _Misanthropy and Repentance_, _Hugo Grotius_, _The Calumniator_, and
_The Small German Town_, which has remained a classic.

KOeRNER.--Koerner, the "Tyrtaeus of Germany," was simultaneously a brave
soldier and a great lyrical poet who was killed on the battlefield of
Gadebusch, wrote lyrical poems, dramas, comedies, farces, and, above all,
_The Lyre and Sword_, war-songs imbued with splendid spirit.

SCHILLER.--Schiller is a vast genius, historian, lyrical poet, dramatic
poet, critic, and in all these different fields he showed himself to be
profoundly original. He wrote _The Thirty Years' War_; odes, ballads,
dithyrambic poems, such as _The Clock_, so universally celebrated;
dissertations of philosophic criticism, such as _The God of Greece_ and
_The Artists_; finally, a whole repertory of drama (the only point on
which it is possible to show that he surpasses Goethe), in which may be
remarked his first audacious and anarchical work, _The Brigands_, then
the _Conjuration of Fieso_, _Intrigue and Love_, _Don Carlos_,
_Wallenstein_ (a trilogy composed of _The Camp of Wallenstein_, _The
Piccolomini_, _The Death of Wallenstein_), _Mary Stuart_, _The Betrothed
of Messina_, _The Maid of Orleans_, _William Tell_. By his example
primarily, and by his instruction subsequently (_Twelve Letters on Don
Carlos_, _Letters on Aesthetic Education_, _The Sublime_, etc.), he
exercised over literature and over German thought an influence at least
equal, and I believe superior, to that of Goethe. He was united to Goethe
by the ties of a profound and undeviating friendship. He died whilst
still young, in 1805, twenty-seven years before his illustrious friend.

GOETHE.--Goethe, whom posterity can only put in the same rank as Homer,
is even more universal genius, and has approached yet closer to absolute
beauty. Of Franco-German education, he subsequently studied at Strasburg,
commencing, whilst still almost a student, with the imperishable
_Werther_, to which it may be said that a whole literature is devoted
and, parenthetically, a literature diametrically opposed to what Goethe
subsequently became. Then a journey through Italy, which revealed Goethe
to himself, made him a man who never ceased to desire to combine classic
beauty and Teutonic ways of thinking, and who was often magnificently
successful. To put it in another way, Goethe in his own land is a
Renaissance in himself, and the Renaissance which Germany had not known
in either the sixteenth or seventeenth century came as the gift of
Goethe. Immediately after his return from Italy he wrote _Tasso_ (of
classic inspiration), _Wilhelm Meister_ (of Teutonic inspiration),
_Iphigenia_ (classical), _Egmont_ (Teutonic), etc. Then came _Hermann and
Dorothea_, which was absolutely classic in the simplicity of its plan and
purity of lyric verse, but essentially modern in its picture of German
customs; _The Roman Elegies_, _The Elective Affinities_, _Poetry and
Truth_ (autobiography mingled with romance), _The Western Eastern Divan_,
lyrical poems, and finally, the two parts of _Faust_. In the first part
of _Faust_, Goethe was, and desired to be, entirely German; in the
second, through many reveries more or less relative to the theme, he more
particularly desires to depict the union of the German spirit with that
of classical genius, which formed his own life, and led to _intelligent
action_, which also was a portion of his existence. And for beauty,
drama, pathos, ease, phantasy, and fertility in varied invention, nothing
has ever surpassed if anything has even equalled the two parts of _Faust_
regarded as a single poem.

Apart from his literary labours, Goethe occupied himself with the
administration of the little duchy of Weimar, and in scientific research,
notably on plants, animals, and the lines in which he displayed marked
originality. He died in 1832, having been born in 1749. His literary
career extends over, approximately, sixty years, equal to that of Victor
Hugo, and almost equal to that of Voltaire.

THE CONTEMPORANEOUS PERIOD.--After the death of Goethe, Germany could not
maintain the same height. Once more was she glorified in poetry by Henry
Heine, an extremely original witty traveller, in his _Pictures of
Travel_, elegiac and deeply lyrical, affecting and delightful at the same
time in _The Intermezzo_; by the Austrian school, Zedlitz, Gruen, and the
melancholy and deep-thinking Lenau; in prose, above all, by the
philosophers, Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Hartmann, and lastly
Nietzsche--at once philosopher, moralist (after his own manner), and
poet, with an astonishing imagination; by the historians Niebuhr (before
1830), Treitschke, Mommsen, etc. Germany seems to have drooped, so far as
literature is concerned, despite some happy exceptions (especially in the
drama: Hauptmann, Sudermann), since her military triumphs of 1870 and the
consequent industrial activity.



Poets: Metastasio, Goldoni, Alfieri, Monti, Leopardi. Prose Writers:
Silvio Pellico, Fogazzaro, etc.

LITERARY AWAKENING.--After a long decadence, Italy, less overwhelmed
politically than previously, reawoke about 1750. Once more poets came
forward: Metastasio, author of tragedies and operas; Goldoni, a very
witty and gay comic poet; Alfieri who revived Italian tragedy, which had
been languishing and silent since Maffei, and who, like Voltaire in
France, and with greater success, established a philosophical and
political tribune; Foscolo, sufficiently feeble in tragedy but very
touching and eloquent in _The Tombs_, inspired by Young's _Night
Thoughts_ and _The Letters of Jacob Ortis_, an interesting novelist and
eloquently impassioned patriot; Monti, versatile and master of all
recantations according to his own interests, but a very pure writer and
not without brilliance in his highly diversified poems.

EMINENT PROSE WRITERS.--Italy could show eminent prose writers, such as
those jurisprudent philanthropists Filangieri and Beccaria; critics and
literary historians like Tiraboschi.

NINETEENTH CENTURY.--In the nineteenth century may first be found among
poets that great poet, the unhappy Leopardi, the bard of suffering, of
sorrow, and of despair; Carducci, a brilliant orator, imbued with
vigorous passions; Manzoni, lyricist, dramatist, vibrating with patriotic
enthusiasm, affecting in his novel _The Betrothal_, which became popular
in every country in Europe. In prose, Silvio Pellico equally moved Europe
to tears by his book _My Prisons_, wherein he narrated the experiences of
his nine years of captivity at the hands of Austria, and found his
agreeable tragedy of _Francesca da Rimini_ welcomed with flattering
appreciation. Philosophy was specially represented by Gioberti, author of
_The Treatise on the Supernatural_, and journalism by Giordani, eloquent,
at times with grace and ease, and at others with harshness and violence.

THE MODERNS.--As these words were written came the news of the death of
the illustrious novelist Fogazzaro. Gabriel d'Annunzio, poet and
ultra-romantic novelist, and Mathilde Serao, an original novelist, pursue
their illustrious careers.



The Drama still Brilliant: Moratin. Historians and Philosophers,
Novelists, Orators.

THE DRAMA. Since the middle of the seventeenth century, approximately,
Spain has exercised less literary influence than in the preceding
centuries. Nevertheless Spanish literature was not extinct; it was in the
drama more especially that it was manifest. Candamo, Canizares, and
Zamora all illumined the stage. Candamo devoted himself to the historical
drama; his masterpiece in this type was _The Slave in Golden Chains_;
Canizares, powerful satirist, displayed the comic spirit in his comedies
of character; Zamora manipulated the comedy of intrigue with remarkable
dexterity. Then came Vincente de la Huerta, skilful in combining the type
of French tragedy with something of the ancient dramatic national genius;
then Leandro Moratin (called Moratin the Younger to distinguish him from
his father Nicholas), very imitative, no doubt, of Moliere, but in
himself highly gifted, and of whose works can still be read with pleasure
_The Old Man and the Young Girl_, _The New Comedy on the Coffee_, _The
Female Hypocrite_, etc. He also wrote lyrical poems and sonnets. He lived
long in France, where he became impregnated with Gallic classical

PROSE.--Stronger and more brilliant at that period than the poetry, the
prose was represented by Father Florez, author of _Ecclesiastical Spain_;
by the Marquis de San Phillipo, author of the _War of Succession in
Spain_; by Antonio de Solis, author of _The Conquest of Mexico_. In
fiction there was the interesting Father Isla, a Jesuit, who gave a
clever imitation of the _Don Quixote_ of Cervantes in his _History of the
Preacher Friar Gerund_. He was well read and patriotic. He was convinced
that Le Sage had taken all his _Gil Blas_ from various Spanish authors,
and he published a translation of his novel under the title: _The
Adventures of Gil Blas of Santiago, stolen from Spain and adopted in
France by M. Le Sage, restored to their country and native tongue by
a jealous Spaniard who will not endure being laughed at_. Another Jesuit
(and it may be noticed that Spanish Jesuits of the seventeenth century
often displayed a very liberal and modern mind), Father Feijoo, wrote a
kind of philosophical dictionary entitled _Universal Dramatic Criticism_,
a review of human opinions which was satirical, humorous, and often
extremely able. The historian Antonio de Solis, who was also a reasonably
capable dramatist, produced a _History of the Conquest of South America
Known under the name of New Spain_, in a chartered style that was very
elegant and even too elegant. Jovellanos wrote much in various styles.
Among others he wrote one fine tragedy, _Pelagia_; a comedy presenting
clever contrasts, entitled _The Honorable Criminal_; a mass of studies on
the past of Spain, economic treatises, satires, and pamphlets. Engaged in
all the historical and political vicissitudes of his country, he expired
miserably in 1811, after having been alternately in exile and at the head
of affairs.

ROMANTICISM.--In the nineteenth century Spanish romanticism was brought
back in dignified poetic style by Angel Saavedra, Jose Zorilla, Ventura
de la Vega, Ramon Campoamor, Espronceda. The latter especially counts
among the great literary Spaniards, for he was poet and novelist, who
wrote _The Student of Salamanca_ (Don Juan), _The Devil World_ (a kind of
Faust), lyrical poems, and an historical novel, _Sancho Saldano_.

THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.--In drama, _Quintana_ also produced a _Pelagia_;
the Duke of Rivas a _Don Alvaro_, which enjoyed an immediate success;
Zorilla a _Don Juan_ entirely novel in conception; Martinez de la Rose
tragedies, some in the classic vein, others with modern intrigue and
comedies; Gutierrez, by his _Foundling_, attracted the attention of
librettists of French operas; Breton de los Herreros wrote sparkling
comedies, the multiplicity of which suggest Scribe. In prose, Fernan
Caballero was a fertile novelist and an attentive and accurate painter of
manner. Trueba (who was also an elegant poet) was an affecting idyllic
novelist. Emilio Castelar, the Lamartine of Spain as he was called by
Edmond About, was a splendid orator, thrown by the chances of political
life for one hour at the head of national affairs, who raised himself to
the highest rank in the admiration of his contemporaries by his novels:
for instance, _The Sister of Charity_ and his works on philosophical
history and the history of art, _Civilisation in the First Centuries of
Christianity_, _The Life of Byron_, _Souvenirs of Italy_, etc. In our
day, there have been numerous distinguished authors (and for us, at
least, out of the crowd stands forth the dramatist Jose Echegaray), who
carry on the glorious tradition of Spanish literature.



Middle Ages. Some Epic Narratives. Renaissance in the Seventeenth
Century. Literature Imitative of the West in the Eighteenth Century.
Original Literature in the Nineteenth Century.


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