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all the secret history and with all the rate work on Suicide (“Etude sur le leading statesmen of Europe. The Suicide et les Maladies Mentales dans Earl's diaries and public correspond- le département de Seine-et-Maine, avec ence were published by the same editor points de comparaison près en France et in 1814 ; but the cream of history is a l'étranger. Paris, Masson '). He has that which does not come first to the examined the subject in a broader light surface, and nothing more rich than than any of the statisticians or medical these volumes in hints to the historian, jurists who have treated it, investigatfor unravelling the plots that define na ing the relations of suicide, and of the tions and build up dynasties, and for states of mind which occasion it, to illustrating the manners of the times, age, sex, and race, to the climate and has of late years been given to the press the seasons, to occupations, passions,
and habits, to political and economical The action of the Convocation
causes, and to social customs. There of Canterbury, in appointing committees of scholars to revise the authorized social philosophers more than the es
are few problems which have puzzled version of the Scriptures, has given rise to endless discussion in the English formities presented by the statistics of
planation of some of the strange unijournals, but with small results in con
suicide; as, for instance, why far more tributions to the subject. Dr. C. J.
Scandinavians and Germans kill them. Ellicott publishes his “ Considerations
selves than Italians or Sclavonians; why on the Revision of the English Version
self-murder is everywhere far more comof the New Testament” (London, Longmans), which contain nothing new.
mon in summer than in winter ; why
fewer men and more women commit The Convocation is not likely to sanc
suicide on Sunday than on any other tion any thing but the most conservative treatment of King James's text; facts, some of which M. Le Roy suc
day; and many other curious general and both the bigoted friends and the
ceeds not only in explaining, but in severest critics of that work seem to expect that its revision will only unset
making instructive, as instances of tle people's confidence in the words of striking induction from statistical in.
formation. It will surprise many to their Bible, without really meeting the
learn that the bad preëminence in the demand for a fair representation in the proportion of suicidal deaths commonEnglish tongue of the results of mod- ly supposed to belong to France is realern scholarship.
ly characteristic only of Paris, and that M. Emile Le Roy, already fa- self-murder is really fifty per cent. more mous as a scientific physiologist and common among the British people than physician, has just published an elabo- among the French.
PUTNA M'S MAGAZINE
LITERATURE, SCIENCE, ART,
Vol. VI.-OCTOBER—1870.–No. XXXIV.
SHAKESPEARE IN GERMANY OF TO-DAY.
SHAKESPEARE has been, in all proba- sideration, although, by reason of the bility he will continue to be, the battle- limits imposed upon an article like the cry of modern criticism, under which or present, I can do no more than give the against which are arrayed the warring outlines of one. The other, entitled swarms of classicists and romanticists. Molière, Shakespeare, and German CritiIn many respects the father of German cism, by C. Humbert, is an octavo of literature, he has been degraded into the five hundred pages, in which Gervinus, dry-nurse of a host of angry, chattering Ulrici, Schlegel, Kreyssig, and others, dwarfs. We have a German Shakespeare are unmercifully flagellated in turn, Society, that publishes annually a stout Shakespeare dethroned from his seat as volume of exceeding dry fodder; we king of comedy, the nature of the comic have monographs, critical essays, criti- element carefully examined, and Molière cal editions, school editions, transla- pronounced unrivalled in the true chartions, and commentaries without end, acter-comedy, as opposed to the fun. until we feel swept away in a tide of tastic comedy. Whatever view we may ink and paper. Written chiefly by take of the author's position, we must bookish men for bookish men, what admit that his work, although too long wonder that so many smell musty and by half, at times confused, and altohave a flabby texture ! On the other gether too fragmentary, contains many hand, such men as Rudolph Gottschall, striking passages. It is written in a the witty editor of the Blätter für lite- spirit of earnest and independent inrarische Unterhaltung, and his corps of vestigation, and can be decried much contributors, or the reviewers for the more easily than it can be answered. Literarisches Centralblatt, give unmistak- The work to which I would call able signs of impatience. “Incense,” especial attention is entitled Shake“ apotheosis," "anointment,"
," "Shake- speare Studies of a Realist, by Gustav spearomania," “Shakespeare high- Rümelin. Published more than four churchism,” are some of the epithets years ago, the excitement that it proused upon the followers of the great duced has not yet subsided. The waves Shakespeare cult. Disregarding these . of angry denunciation still surge feebler tones, however, we can distin- through the Annual of the Shakespeare guish two leading and well-sustained Society. No wonder. Unpretending as protests that are worthy of careful con- the little volume is a book of two..
Eatered, in the year 1870. by G. P. PUTXAM & Sox, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the U, S. for the Southern District of N. Y..
hundred and fifty easily-read pages-it impressions and definite opinions for really flings down the gauntlet in the indefinite phrases, we thought that the face of a whole library of tomes, and true friends of the beautiful, to whom endeavors to show, in bold, unsparing distinct lines must ever be more acstrokes, what Shakespeare was, what he ceptable than indistinct ones, would be was not and could not have been, for pleased rather than angry with us there whom he wrote, how he wrote, the for. May they correct what is amiss, grave defects of his composition, his supply what is wanting! We trust, individuality, his social position, his however, that we have not disturbed or literary position as compared with Goe- spoiled any one's pleasure in the poet thie. We may disagree with this or that himself. His richness is so extraordiview taken by the author, we may not nary that, even after our abatement of admit certain points in his theories unqualified predicates, an abundance of upon art and character; but we cannot, beauties still remains. If we examine a I think, deny him the credit of having planet with the aid of a glass, its lustre produced a masterpiece of criticism. In and radiance, it is true, will be diminsimplicity of style, in clearness of con- ished; but as we recognize a structure ception and directness of purpose, it is similar to our earth, the vision becomes not surpassed, scarcely even approached, fuller of significance and expectancy." by any other cssay in any language. In the first chapter, Rümelin gives a Mr. Lowell's recent essay is throughout sketch of the position occupied by the fascinating, the work of one gifted with English stage in Shakespeare's time, dispoetic sympathy. But, apart from the posing briefly but effectually of the theofact that it too is written in the wonted ry, held by so many, that the stage of style of panegyric, and never suggests that century was a national one, like the even faintly, the suspicion that Shakc- Greek, the Spanish, or the French. A speare could go astray, I doubt whether national theatre is one that elicits the it will give us a tangible conception of attention and sympathy of all classes of the man Shakespeare as he must have the people, and in which the entire been. At the risk of beginning where nation finds expression for its peculiar I should end, I will give a few of Rüme- views, the mirror of its past and present. lin's concluding, half-apologetic remarks. That the stage of England could not be “We have endeavored to sketch, within such an one, is evident from the fact the nimbus that encircles the image of that a great and growing part of the Shakespeare so that most of us can no nation was cordially averse to it. The longer recognize it, the light outlines of magistrates of London did not persecute a human form ; in the place of a Titan the theatres in the latter half of the sixmyth, we have endeavored to set a his- teenth and the first half of the seventorically circumscribed and conceivable teenth centuries in spite of the people personage. In so doing we were of of London, but because of the people, course obliged to point out dark spots who, rapidly become puritanized, looked and limitations. Perhaps we have even with more and more anger upon these discussed these defects more thoroughly plague-spots. The queen and her counand dwelt upon them more sharply than cillors rather protected than persecuted would have been necessary for the mere the theatres. After the destruction of purpose of taking a correct estimate of
the Spanish Armada had placed the triShakespeare in himself and in his rela- umph of Protestantism in England betions to his contemporaries. But, at yond all doubt, the deferred conflict bethe same time, it was a matter of rebuk- tween Puritans and Churchmen graduing a disposition to glorification at the ally assumed shape and intensity, and, expense of our own men of genius, a as the Puritans grew in number, they disposition for which the British poet made their displeasure felt in every himself is in no wise to blame. . . . In way, first banishing all theatres outside poslomvoring to substitute unprejudiced the limits of the city proper, and never resting until they had finally secured the pushes his panegyric of Shakespeare so suppression of the stage throughout the far that we must suspect him of having kingdom. In Shakespeare's time the pa- before his eyes, not the genuine William trons of the theatre were to be divided Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, but into two sharply defined classes : the the poet that he wishes and seeks for the lower people, who went to be amused German people; as Tacitus describes with spectacle and declamation, and the the Germans, not so much as they really young nobility, the jeunesse dorée, as were, but as he would have the Romans. Rümelin calls them, the wealthy and For whom did Shakespeare compose unoccupied young bachelors about his plays? Upon the answer that we town, who went partly because such an give to this question will depend, far atmosphere and such surroundings suit- more than is generally believed, a cored their temperament, partly because it rect appreciation of them. In the first was the fashion. Reputable women place, they were written for a living, scarcely ever went. In fact, there was sympathizing audience—not for a comno suitable place for them. The parts munity of scrutinizing readers. Shakeof the female characters being acted by speare knew that scenic effect was every boys, and the audience being made up thing in the drama, and, as might be chiefly of men, with some women of not shown, he did not hesitate to sacrifice very reputable morals, we need not the perfect finish of the plot to the wonder, then, at the freedom from the movement of the single scene. The unrestraints of decency that disfigures so critical spectator must be aroused and many of Shakespeare's plays. To us, fascinated at the moment, and is not Shakespeare is the great poet and revealer apt to remember clearly what has gone of the secrets of the heart. In his own before, or speculate too closely upon day and generation, Shakespeare was what is to come. Again, as the play nothing but a playwright, an actor, a was not published-in order to retain theatre-manager; and, however rich he the right of property in it—the author, might become, the stain of such a voca- if himself the proprietor, was always tion was not to be wiped out. The more or less tempted to insert or amend, doors of good society were closed upon whether to prevent literary theft, or to him; outside of the walls of the thea- keep afresh the interest of the audience. tre-we cannot shut our eyes to the fact Rümelin claims that these two causes, -he was more or less ostracised. Small writing for scenic effect and careless wonder, then, that his sonnets are pitch- alteration or omission after the first act ed in the minor key.
of composition, will explain many of The defects of the German school of the incongruities and inconsistencies in criticism are dealt with summarily. Hav- Shakespeare's dramas. The single scene ing so little positive information upon is always vigorous; the plot, as a whole, Shakespeare's life and character, these may be imperfectly motived. An excritics, disregarding the limitations that ample of inconsistency that is not mennecessarily hem in the life of any man, tioned by Rümelin may be found in the no matter how gifted, have depicted Merchant of Venice. In Act I, Scene 3, Shakespeare as a sort of gigantic spirit, Shylock replies to an invitation to dinlooming up between the Middle Ages ner: "I will buy with you, sell with and modern times, scarcely touching his you, walk with you, and so following; own age and generation with the soles but I will not eat with you, drink with of his feet, but striding on over peoples you, nor pray with you." But in Act and centuries. Only when it becomes II, Scene 5, he says: necessary to explain some obvious defect,
"I am not bid for love; they flatter me: are these critics willing to take any note But yet I'll go, in hate, to feed upon of the character of the times. Gervinus
The prodigal Christian." in particular, who has been so cold and And he does go. Such inconsistency fastidioua torrard every thing German, would be scarcely possible had Shakespeare worked, as Gervinus maintains, other hand, the pit demanded its share from one central idea outwards.
of entertainment. Hence the clowns, The next point—what special kind witty servants, rude mechanicals, louts, of audience it was that Shakespeare and the like. This mixture of the seriwrote for—is discussed by Rümelin ous or the elevated with the low comiin a novel manner. He maintains that cal is a concession made by Shakespeare Shakespeare had two, and only two, the poet to Shakespeare the theatre-ownprincipal classes of hearers in view: er; and accordingly we find that the a set of aristocratic young men, his poet, when, in his later years, he has patrons, and the pit, who were un- become better assured of his position, critical to the last degree, lovers of gradually diminishes and, in Othello, empty sight and sound and blunt even abolishes the intrusion. wit. As is well known, the nobility In chapter five Rümelin treats of of that day had their seats upon the Shakespeare's peculiarities in the characstage, or behind the scenes. They were terization of his personages and the asthe inspirers and the judges of the signment of motives for the dramatic play. Naturally, then, the heroes are action. He admits, of course, that Shakeonly princes and cavaliers. Like the speare is unrivalled in his power of preaudience itself, in which we find only senting to us an array of life-like, almost the aristocracy and the lower classes, living forms, and forcing us, by the we find the middle classes either not might of his inspired word, to an asdepicted at all in the play, or depicted similation of his visions. Rümelin also only in a ludicrous light. The bourgeois admits that Shakespeare is unrivalled in or middle-class tragedy and comedy are his insight into the characters and inwanting on the Shakespearean stage. The tents of men. But he cannot accord to Merry Wives of Windsor, one of the him that perfect understanding of the weakest of Shakespeare's compositions, world and its indissoluble chaining of is an exception that only proves the cause and effect that is the property, for rule. Throughout these wonderful dra- instance, of Goethe. In Shakespeare the mas we find the strong pulsations of a personages act and speak more freely vigorous, high-strung young oligarchy. than we can conceive of their doing Setting Hamlet aside—and Hamlet is amid the actual surroundings of the the prince of aristocrats--the prevail- world. We have here perhaps the keying tone of speech and action is that of note of Rümelin's essay. Shakespeare is fresh, unhesitating, emotional manhood. not enough of a realist. His characters The young heroes act almost as hot- step out too far from the social backheadedly as those of the Nibelungen- ground of time and space. They act as lied. In will, thought, and utterance, men would act but for certain restraints, the heroines are, as a class, decidedly not as men really act; and the intellect, inferior. Isabella, Mariana, Hermia, both instead of moderating the passions, often Helenas, Katharine in the Taming of the serves only to fan them. Shakespeare Shrew, Hero, Viola, Olivia, Ophelia, Ju- takes the jealous husband, the frantic liet, Katherine of France, Anne in Rich- lover, the bitter misanthropist, and ard III., Desdemona, are examples of places him upon an isolating stool, as it women, lovely and high-minded they were, to show more evidently the wonmay be, but women carried away by derful effects of the electrical current of this somewhat brute force of full-blood- passion. But where it becomes necesed manhood. If any one is disposed to sary to display the electrical current, think this overstated, he has only to not acting alone, but in conjunction read rapidly, and with an unprejudiced with the thousand other forces that mind, Henry IV and the Merchant of enter into any one concrete resultant, Venice. The plays are saturated with Goethe, the clear-headed realist, begins, the spirit of aristocracy-a gay, disso- we might say, where Shakespeare leaves lute, money-hunting aristocracy. On the off. Shakespeare, says Rümelin, did not