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away wi' my message to the English Colonel, as if life and death were upon your baste.”
So saying, she turned suddenly from the amazed Dominie, and regained with swift and long strides the shelter of the wood from which she had issued, at the point where it most encroached upon the common. Sampson gaze after her for a moment in utter astonishment, and then obeyed her directions, hurrying to Woodbourne at a pace very unusual for him, exclaiming three times, “Prodigious! prodigious! pro-di-gi-ous!”
LESSON 51. NOVELS. — “John Galt and Miss FERRIER followed Scott in describing Scottish life and society. With the peace of 1815 arose new forms of fiction and travel, which became very popular when the close of the war with Napoleon opened the world again to Englishmen, and gave birth to the tale of Foreign scenery and manners. Thomas HOPE's Anastasius, 1819, was the first. LOCKHART began the Classical novel in
, Valerius. Fashionable society was now painted by THEODORE Hook, MRS. TROLLOPE, and Mrs. GORE; and Rural life by Miss MITFORD in Our Village.
EDWARD BULWER LYTTON, 1805–1873, began with the Fashionable novel in Pelham, 1827, and followed it with a long succession of tales on historical, classical, and romantic subjects. Towards the close of his life, he changed his manner altogether, and The Caxtons and those that followed are novels of Modern Society. The tone of them all from the beginning to the end is too high-pitched for real life, but each of them, being kept in the same key throughout, has a reality of its own.
CHARLOTTE BRONTË, 1816–1855, revived in Jane Eyre the novel of Passion, and Miss Yonge set on foot the Religious novel in support of a special school of theology. We need only mention Captain Marryatt, whose delightful sea stories carry on the seamen of Smollett to our own times. Miss Martineau and Mr. Disraeli continued the novel of Political opinion and economy, and Charles Kingsley applied the novel to the social and theological problems of our own day. Three other great names are too close to us to admit of commentCHARLES DICKENS, 1812-1870, WILLIAM M. THACKERAY, 1811-1863, and the novelist who is known as GEORGE ELIOT. It will be seen then that the Novel claims almost every sphere of human interest as its own, and it has this special character, that it is the only kind of literature in which women have done excellently.
HISTORY.-W. MITFORD's History of Greece, completed in 1810, is made untrue by his hatred of a democracy; and DR. LINGARD’s excellent History of England, 1819, is influenced by his dislike of the Reformation. HENRY HALLAM, 1778– 1859, was the first who wrote history in this country with so careful a love of truth and with so accurate a judgment of the relative value of facts and things that prejudice was excluded. His Europe during the Middle Ages, 1818, and his Literature of Europe, 1837–8, are distinguished for their exhaustive and judicial summing up of facts; and his Constitutional History of England, 1827, set on foot a new kind of history in the best way.
Our own history now engaged a number of writers. The great work of LORD MACAULAY, 1800–1859, told the story of the Revolution of 1688 in a style sometimes too emphatic, often monotonous from its mannerism, but always clear. Its vivid word-painting of characters and great events, and the splendid use, in such descriptions, of his vast knowledge of details, gave as great an impulse to the literature of history as Gibbon had done in his day, and his Historical Essays on the times and statesmen between the Restoration and Pitt are masterpieces of their kind.
SIR FRANCIS PALGRAVE gave interest to the study of the early English period, and in our own day a critical English history school has arisen, of which MR. FREEMAN and PROFESSOR STUBBS are the leaders.
As the interest in the history of our own land increased, our interest in the history of the world increased. DEAN MILMAN'S History of Latin Christianity well deserves, by its brilliant and romantic style, the title of fine literature. Greece old and new found her best historians in Bishop Thirlwall, George Grote, and Mr. Finlay; Rome in Dr. Arnold. The history of events near at hand on the Continent was also taken up with care. Among the books of this class, I mention, for their special literary character and style, Sir WILLIAM NAPIER'S History of the Peninsular War, and THOMAS CARLYLE's History of the French Revolution. Both are written in too poetic prose, and the latter is a kind of epic, and is full of his realistic, fantastic, and unequal power of representing persons and things.
BIOGRAPHY.—Since Boswell a multitude of biographies have poured from the press, and have formed useful materials for history. Few of them have reached literary excellence. SOUTHEY's Life of Nelson, LOCKHART's Life of Scott, MOORE'S Life of Lord Byron; or in our own days, FORSTER's Life of Goldsmith, and DEAN STANLEY's Life of Arnold rise out of a crowd of inferior books.
Theological Literature received a new impulse in 1738,91 from the evangelizing work of John Wesley and Whitfield; and their spiritual followers, John Scott, Newton, and Cecil made by their writings the Evangelical school. WILLIAM PALEY, in his Evidences, and Sidney Smith, well known as a wit and an essayist, defended Christianity from the commonsense point of view; while the sermons of Robert Hall and of Dr. Chalmers are, in different ways, fine examples of devotional and philosophical eloquence.
The decay of the Evangelical school was hastened by the writings of COLERIDGE, 1772–1834, whose religious philosophy, in the Aids to Reflection and other books, created the school which has been called the Broad Church. Dr. Arnold's sermons supplied it with an element of masculine good sense. Frederick Maurice in his numerous works added to it mystical piety and one-sided learning, Charles Kingsley a rough and ready power, and Frederick Robertson gave it passion, sentiment, subtilty, and a fine form. At the same time that Maurice began to write, 1830–32, the common-sense school of theology was continued by Archbishop Whately's works; and, in strong reaction against the Evangelicals, the High Church party rose into prominence in Oxford, and was chiefly supported by the tracts and sermons of John HENRY NEWMAN, born in 1801, whose work, with KEBLE's Christian Year, a collection of exquisitely wrought hymns, belongs to literature.
The Methodist movement gave the first impulse to popular education, and stirred men to take interest in the cause of the poor. This new philanthropy, stirred still more by the theories of the French Revolution concerning the right of men to freedom and equality, took up the subjects of slavery, of prison reform, of the emancipation of the Catholics, and of a wider representation of the people, and their literature fills a large space till 1832, when Reform brought forward new subjects, and the old subjects under new forms."
BIBLIOGRAPHY. BRONTE.-Mrs. Gaskell's Life of; P. Bayne's Essays, Black. Mag., v. 82, 1857; Fraser's Mag., v. 55, 1857; N. A. Rev., v. 85, 1837; West. Rev., v. 59, 1853; Ecl. Mag., July, 1855, and Feb., 1878.
DICKENS.--Forster's Life of; Whipple's Lectures on Lit. and Life and Success and its Conditions; Timbs' Lives of the Later Wits; Field's Yesterdays with Authors; R. H. Horne's New Spirit of the Age; Black. Mag., v. 77,1855; 81, 1857; and 109, 1871; Contem. Rev., v. 10, 1869; Fort. Rev., v. 17, 1872; Nat. Quar. Rev., v. 1, 1860; West. Rev., v. 82, 1864.
THACKERAY - Eng. Men of Let. Series; P, Bayne's Essays; J. Hannay's Studies on Thack.; G. Brimley's Essays; J. Brown's Spare Hours, 2d Ser.; Taine's Hist. Eng. Lit.; At. Month., v. 13, 1864; Black. Mag., v.77, 1855, and 111, 1872; Ed. Rev.,Jan., 1873; Fraser's Mag., v. 46, 1852; 47, 1853; and 69, 1864; Harper's Mo., vs. 28, 41, and 49; Macmillan, Feb., 1864; Nat. Rev., v. 18, 1864; N. A. Rev., v. 77, 1853; N. Br. Rev., v. 24, 1855; v. 40, 1864; Quar. Rev., v. 97, 1855; West. Rev., v. 59, 1853; 74, 1860; and 82, 1864.
GEORGE ELIOT (Mrs. Lewes).—Black. Mag., vs. 85, 87, 100, 103, and 112; Ed. Rev., vs. 110, 124, and 128; West. Rev., vs. 74, 86, and 90; Contem. Rev., vs. 3, 8, and 20; N. Br. Rev., v. 45; Macmillan, May, 1870; Aug. 1866; and June, 1877; Fraser's Mag., v. 78; At. Mo., vs. 18 and 38; N. A. Rev., v. 107; Br. Quar. Rev., Apr., 1873, and Oct., 1876; Scrib. Mo., v. 8; Fort. Rev., Nov., 1876; Ecl. Mag., March and April, 1881.
MACAULAY.–Trevelyan's Life and Letters of; Bagehot's Estimates, etc.; P.
Bayne's Essays ; Minto's Man. Eng. Pr. Lit.; J. H. Sterling's Crit. Essays ; Whipple's Essays ; Maddyn's Chiefs of Parties ; Black. Mag., v. 80, 1856 ; Littell. vs. 1, 2, and 4, 1860, and 4, 1870; Fraser's Mag., v. 56, 1857; Macmillan, Feb., 1860 ; N. Br. Rev., v. 27, 1857, and 33, 1860 ; Ecl. Mag., Feb., 1862.
LESSON 52. Thackeray.--"In painting, however mechanical, the painter's mind finds always some expression. In photography it is difficult for the most accomplished artist to put into his mirror any trace of individual genius. Perfect and admirable as a photograph seems, it is a cold and lifeless image of what, in the reality, was animated with the breath of God.
We find this photographic quality in Thackeray's early writings. There seems to be no sympathy between the writer and his characters. They are, as it were, on the further side of the glass he holds to them. He scrutinizes them with an anatomical microscope; he submits them calmly to vivisection. This attitude of mind gives a peculiar tone to his productions. Even in his later works we think Mr. Thackeray has been over-influenced by this negative element. In Pendennis it is the lesson embodied in the hero. The Colonel of the Nerocomes, of all Thackeray's creations the noblest and most gracious, is sacrificed to his daughter-inlaw by a certain odious and improbable identification in the displays of her folly and pettiness.
Thus it is natural that a peculiar ironical sadness, a negative element, should rarely be unfelt in the pages of this great writer. The sense of the irony of things suggests a true picture of the world so nearly like the false picture which might be drawn by the satirist that we must not be surprised if Mr. Thackeray has more than occasionally fallen into satire or mockery. A tone of over-severity, more than a hint of irony infect Esmond and the Virginians, are painfully prominent in Vanity Fair and and in Pendennis. It is true that Thackeray's admirable humor, a quality of his so well-known and appreciated that an allusion to it will be enough, springs from the contrasts of life which this irony affords him, and is his justification for recurrence to it. It is equally true that a hundred examples may be produced, displaying the sweet and noble nature, the scorn of baseness, and the love of love' which in reality underlie the sneer and the smartness, yet these naturally tell on readers with the greater vividness.
We cannot sum up this criticism better than by suggesting a contrast to the reader. Compare the tone of mind impressed on us by the writings of that great-hearted man to whose honors as laureate of living novelists Mr. Thackeray has unquestionably succeeded. Scott's Bride of Lammermoor certainly contains not less than Pendennis of the mean