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all the secret history and with all the leading statesmen of Europe. The Earl's diaries and public correspondence were published by the same editor in 1844; but the cream of history is that which does not come first to the surface, and nothing more rich than these volumes in hints to the historian, for unravelling the plots that define nations and build up dynasties, and for illustrating the manners of the times, has of late years been given to the press.

The action of the Convocation of Canterbury, in appointing committees of scholars to revise the authorized version of the Scriptures, has given rise to endless discussion in the English journals, but with small results in contributions to the subject. Dr. C. J. Ellicott publishes his "Considerations on the Revision of the English Version of the New Testament" (London, Longmans), which contain nothing new. The Convocation is not likely to sanction any thing but the most conservative treatment of King James's text; and both the bigoted friends and the severest critics of that work seem to expect that its revision will only unsettle people's confidence in the words of their Bible, without really meeting the demand for a fair representation in the English tongue of the results of mod

ern scholarship.

- M. Emile Le Roy, already famous as a scientific physiologist and physician, has just published an elabo

rate work on Suicide ("Etude sur le Suicide et les Maladies Mentales dans le département de Seine-et-Maine, avec points de comparaison près en France et a l'étranger. Paris, Masson "). He has examined the subject in a broader light than any of the statisticians or medical jurists who have treated it, investigating the relations of suicide, and of the states of mind which occasion it, to age, sex, and race, to the climate and the seasons, to occupations, passions, and habits, to political and economical causes, and to social customs. There are few problems which have puzzled social philosophers more than the exformities presented by the statistics of planation of some of the strange unisuicide; as, for instance, why far more Scandinavians and Germans kill themselves than Italians or Sclavonians; why self-murder is everywhere far more common in summer than in winter; why fewer men and more women commit suicide on Sunday than on any other facts, some of which M. Le Roy sucday; and many other curious general ceeds not only in explaining, but in making instructive, as instances of striking induction from statistical information. It will surprise many to learn that the bad preeminence in the proportion of suicidal deaths common

ly supposed to belong to France is really characteristic only of Paris, and that self-murder is really fifty per cent. more common among the British people than among the French.

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SHAKESPEARE has been, in all probability he will continue to be, the battlecry of modern criticism, under which or against which are arrayed the warring swarms of classicists and romanticists. In many respects the father of German literature, he has been degraded into the dry-nurse of a host of angry, chattering dwarfs. We have a German Shakespeare Society, that publishes annually a stout volume of exceeding dry fodder; we have monographs, critical essays, critical editions, school editions, translations, and commentaries without end, until we feel swept away in a tide of ink and paper. Written chiefly by bookish men for bookish men, what wonder that so many smell musty and have a flabby texture! On the other hand, such men as Rudolph Gottschall, the witty editor of the Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung, and his corps of contributors, or the reviewers for the Literarisches Centralblatt, give unmistakable signs of impatience. "Incense," "apotheosis," "anointment," "Shakespearomania," "Shakespeare highchurchism," are some of the epithets used upon the followers of the great Shakespeare cult. Disregarding these feebler tones, however, we can distinguish two leading and well-sustained protests that are worthy of careful con

sideration, although, by reason of the limits imposed upon an article like the present, I can do no more than give the outlines of one. The other, entitled Molière, Shakespeare, and German Criticism, by C. Humbert, is an octavo of five hundred pages, in which Gervinus, Ulrici, Schlegel, Kreyssig, and others, are unmercifully flagellated in turn, Shakespeare dethroned from his seat as king of comedy, the nature of the comic element carefully examined, and Molière pronounced unrivalled in the true character-comedy, as opposed to the fantastic comedy. Whatever view we may take of the author's position, we must admit that his work, although too long by half, at times confused, and altogether too fragmentary, contains many striking passages. It is written in a spirit of earnest and independent investigation, and can be decried much more easily than it can be answered.

The work to which I would call especial attention is entitled Shakespeare Studies of a Realist, by Gustav Rümelin. Published more than four years ago, the excitement that it produced has not yet subsided. The waves of angry denunciation still surge through the Annual of the Shakespeare Society. No wonder. Unpretending as the little volume is a book of two

Entered, in the year 1870. by G. P. PUTNAM & SON, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the U. S. for the Southern District of N. Y..

VOL. VI.-23

hundred and fifty easily-read pages-it really flings down the gauntlet in the face of a whole library of tomes, and endeavors to show, in bold, unsparing strokes, what Shakespeare was, what he was not and could not have been, for whom he wrote, how he wrote, the grave defects of his composition, his individuality, his social position, his literary position as compared with Goethe. We may disagree with this or that view taken by the author, we may not admit certain points in his theories upon art and character; but we cannot, I think, deny him the credit of having produced a masterpiece of criticism. In simplicity of style, in clearness of conception and directness of purpose, it is not surpassed, scarcely even approached, by any other essay in any language. Mr. Lowell's recent essay is throughout fascinating, the work of one gifted with poetic sympathy. But, apart from the fact that it too is written in the wonted style of panegyric, and never suggests, even faintly, the suspicion that Shakespeare could go astray, I doubt whether it will give us a tangible conception of the man Shakespeare as he must have been. At the risk of beginning where I should end, I will give a few of Rümelin's concluding, half-apologetic remarks. "We have endeavored to sketch, within the nimbus that encircles the image of Shakespeare so that most of us can no longer recognize it, the light outlines of a human form; in the place of a Titan myth, we have endeavored to set a historically circumscribed and conceivable personage. In so doing we were of course obliged to point out dark spots and limitations. Perhaps we have even discussed these defects more thoroughly and dwelt upon them more sharply than would have been necessary for the mere purpose of taking a correct estimate of Shakespeare in himself and in his relations to his contemporaries. But, at the same time, it was a matter of rebuking a disposition to glorification at the expense of our own men of genius, a disposition for which the British poet himself is in no wise to blame. endeavoring to substitute unprejudiced


impressions and definite opinions for indefinite phrases, we thought that the true friends of the beautiful, to whom distinct lines must ever be more acceptable than indistinct ones, would be pleased rather than angry with us therefor. May they correct what is amiss, supply what is wanting! We trust, however, that we have not disturbed or spoiled any one's pleasure in the poet himself. His richness is so extraordinary that, even after our abatement of unqualified predicates, an abundance of beauties still remains. If we examine a planet with the aid of a glass, its lustre and radiance, it is true, will be diminished; but as we recognize a structure similar to our earth, the vision becomes fuller of significance and expectancy."

In the first chapter, Rümelin gives a sketch of the position occupied by the English stage in Shakespeare's time, disposing briefly but effectually of the theory, held by so many, that the stage of that century was a national one, like the Greek, the Spanish, or the French. A national theatre is one that elicits the attention and sympathy of all classes of the people, and in which the entire nation finds expression for its peculiar views, the mirror of its past and present. That the stage of England could not be such an one, is evident from the fact that a great and growing part of the nation was cordially averse to it. The magistrates of London did not persecute the theatres in the latter half of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries in spite of the people of London, but because of the people, who, rapidly become puritanized, looked with more and more anger upon these plague-spots. The queen and her councillors rather protected than persecuted the theatres. After the destruction of the Spanish Armada had placed the triumph of Protestantism in England beyond all doubt, the deferred conflict between Puritans and Churchmen gradually assumed shape and intensity, and, as the Puritans grew in number, they made their displeasure felt in every way, first banishing all theatres outside the limits of the city proper, and never

resting until they had finally secured the suppression of the stage throughout the kingdom. In Shakespeare's time the patrons of the theatre were to be divided into two sharply defined classes: the lower people, who went to be amused with spectacle and declamation, and the young nobility, the jeunesse dorée, as Rümelin calls them, the wealthy and unoccupied young bachelors about town, who went partly because such an atmosphere and such surroundings suited their temperament, partly because it was the fashion. Reputable women scarcely ever went. In fact, there was no suitable place for them. The parts of the female characters being acted by boys, and the audience being made up chiefly of men, with some women of not very reputable morals, we need not wonder, then, at the freedom from the restraints of decency that disfigures so many of Shakespeare's plays. To us, Shakespeare is the great poet and revealer of the secrets of the heart. In his own day and generation, Shakespeare was nothing but a playwright, an actor, a theatre-manager; and, however rich he might become, the stain of such a vocation was not to be wiped out. doors of good society were closed upon him; outside of the walls of the theatre-we cannot shut our eyes to the fact -he was more or less ostracised. Small wonder, then, that his sonnets are pitched in the minor key.


The defects of the German school of criticism are dealt with summarily. Having so little positive information upon Shakespeare's life and character, these critics, disregarding the limitations that necessarily hem in the life of any man, no matter how gifted, have depicted Shakespeare as a sort of gigantic spirit, looming up between the Middle Ages and modern times, scarcely touching his own age and generation with the soles of his feet, but striding on over peoples and centuries. Only when it becomes necessary to explain some obvious defect, are these critics willing to take any note of the character of the times. Gervinus in particular, who has been so cold and fastidious toword every thing German,

pushes his panegyric of Shakespeare so far that we must suspect him of having before his eyes, not the genuine William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, but the poet that he wishes and seeks for the German people; as Tacitus describes the Germans, not so much as they really were, but as he would have the Romans.

For whom did Shakespeare compose his plays? Upon the answer that we give to this question will depend, far more than is generally believed, a correct appreciation of them. In the first place, they were written for a living, sympathizing audience-not for a community of scrutinizing readers. Shakespeare knew that scenic effect was every thing in the drama, and, as might be shown, he did not hesitate to sacrifice the perfect finish of the plot to the movement of the single scene. The uncritical spectator must be aroused and fascinated at the moment, and is not apt to remember clearly what has gone before, or speculate too closely upon what is to come. Again, as the play was not published-in order to retain the right of property in it-the author, if himself the proprietor, was always more or less tempted to insert or amend, whether to prevent literary theft, or to keep afresh the interest of the audience. Rümelin claims that these two causes, writing for scenic effect and careless alteration or omission after the first act of composition, will explain many of the incongruities and inconsistencies in Shakespeare's dramas. The single scene is always vigorous; the plot, as a whole, may be imperfectly motived. An example of inconsistency that is not mentioned by Rümelin may be found in the Merchant of Venice. In Act I, Scene 3, Shylock replies to an invitation to dinner: "I will buy with you, sell with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you." But in Act II, Scene 5, he says:

"I am not bid for love; they flatter me:
But yet I'll go, in hate, to feed upon
The prodigal Christian."

And he does go. Such inconsistency would be scarcely possible had Shake

speare worked, as Gervinus maintains, from one central idea outwards.

The next point-what special kind of audience it was that Shakespeare wrote for is discussed by Rümelin in a novel manner. He maintains that Shakespeare had two, and only two, principal classes of hearers in view: a set of aristocratic young men, his patrons, and the pit, who were uncritical to the last degree, lovers of empty sight and sound and blunt wit. As is well known, the nobility of that day had their seats upon the stage, or behind the scenes. They were the inspirers and the judges of the play. Naturally, then, the heroes are only princes and cavaliers. Like the audience itself, in which we find only the aristocracy and the lower classes, we find the middle classes either not depicted at all in the play, or depicted only in a ludicrous light. The bourgeois or middle-class tragedy and comedy are wanting on the Shakespearean stage. The Merry Wives of Windsor, one of the weakest of Shakespeare's compositions, is an exception that only proves the rule. Throughout these wonderful dramas we find the strong pulsations of a vigorous, high-strung young oligarchy. Setting Hamlet aside—and Hamlet is the prince of aristocrats--the prevailing tone of speech and action is that of fresh, unhesitating, emotional manhood. The young heroes act almost as hotheadedly as those of the Nibelungenlied. In will, thought, and utterance, the heroines are, as a class, decidedly inferior. Isabella, Mariana, Hermia, both Helenas, Katharine in the Taming of the Shrew, Hero, Viola, Olivia, Ophelia, Juliet, Katherine of France, Anne in Richard III., Desdemona, are examples of women, lovely and high-minded they may be, but women carried away by this somewhat brute force of full-blooded manhood. If any one is disposed to think this overstated, he has only to read rapidly, and with an unprejudiced mind, Henry IV and the Merchant of Venice. The plays are saturated with the spirit of aristocracy—a gay, dissolute, money-hunting aristocracy. On the

other hand, the pit demanded its share of entertainment. Hence the clowns, witty servants, rude mechanicals, louts, and the like. This mixture of the serious or the elevated with the low comical is a concession made by Shakespeare the poet to Shakespeare the theatre-owner; and accordingly we find that the poet, when, in his later years, he has become better assured of his position, gradually diminishes and, in Othello, even abolishes the intrusion.

In chapter five Rümelin treats of Shakespeare's peculiarities in the characterization of his personages and the assignment of motives for the dramatic action. He admits, of course, that Shakespeare is unrivalled in his power of presenting to us an array of life-like, almost living forms, and forcing us, by the might of his inspired word, to an assimilation of his visions. Rümelin also admits that Shakespeare is unrivalled in his insight into the characters and intents of men. But he cannot accord to him that perfect understanding of the world and its indissoluble chaining of cause and effect that is the property, for instance, of Goethe. In Shakespeare the personages act and speak more freely than we can conceive of their doing amid the actual surroundings of the world. We have here perhaps the keynote of Rümelin's essay. Shakespeare is not enough of a realist. His characters step out too far from the social background of time and space. They act as men would act but for certain restraints, not as men really act; and the intellect, instead of moderating the passions, often serves only to fan them. Shakespeare takes the jealous husband, the frantic lover, the bitter misanthropist, and places him upon an isolating stool, as it were, to show more evidently the wonderful effects of the electrical current of passion. But where it becomes necessary to display the electrical current, not acting alone, but in conjunction with the thousand other forces that enter into any one concrete resultant, Goethe, the clear-headed realist, begins, we might say, where Shakespeare leaves off. Shakespeare, says Rümelin, did not

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