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THE KICK AT SHAKESPEARE.
ciation of the Puritan element of his
time; because he wrote for lords and A correspondent protests, with a de
louts, and not for the middle classes ; gree of earnestness amounting to indig. because he thought the pretensions of nation, against Professor Hart's article, a stolid prosperity ridiculous, and was in our last number, on Shakespeare in charmed with the impulsive and manly Germany. It is needless to say that disposition of fortunate youth; beour own sympathies are with our corre- cause he represented men as illogical, spondent, and not with our contributor, subject to sudden changes, and often
the mere agents of their passions; bealthough we recognize a certain value
cause bis women, sweet and lovely as in his article, as information of the they are, are yet too much under the course and tendency of thought in an influence of full-blooded manhood; beimportant literary school in Germany. cause, knowing that the unreason, the But let us hear our excited correspon- folly, and the passions of men make the
comedy and tragedy of life, he repredent first.
sented men as often silly and stupid, “That such a book as Gustave Rüme- generally wicked, and yet sometimes lin's 'Shakespeare Studies of a Real- heroic; and, finally, because he has not ist’ should be put forth as an effort depicted any characters that strive after to maintain the negative of the univer- culture, knowledge, or truth; none sal affirmations of the reach and signifi- who are actuated by zeal for the public cance of Shakespeare's genius, in Ger- good, or even the good of others.' many, a country that has given its Yet again, he is assailed for his persupremest poets and its best scholars to sonal confessions, and then wondered eulogize and elucidate the nature of the at because, in his plays, he never obworks that liberated her from French truded any thing like his personal classicism, we can understand; it is views.' And this is written by the likewise intelligible that an American, Professor who also writes that Hamlet in the lonely depths of his own con- is the form into which the poet has science of the true and beautiful, un- poured the outflowings of his own disilluminated by liberal studies and a eased soul,' the mouthpiece whereby world-experience, should misapprehend the poet proclaims to us his own choicthe purpose of the great dramatist, and est reflections.' discover him to be ignorant of nine- “Certainly we agree with the last teenth-century ideas, for which rea- conclusion. But let us ask, How can a son, from the unimaginative estimate play be free from any thing like the of a local experience, he states his ob- poet's own views and emotions, and at jections to the dramatist's treatment of the same time be written solely to character and life, under the impression ventilate his own reflections upon lise that he has made a discovery of dam- in general, and upon the stage?' aging shortcomings in the make and “O mighty wizard Shakespeare! and action of the chief creations of Shake- O mighty manhood of the sixteenth speare; but that an American should century ! your ways are not our ways, be at the pains of translating and re- nor your aims our aims! Reawakener publishing, with an approving sinile, and reawakening of the full nature of this crooked foreign criticism, passes the man, double fusion of intellect and ordinary limits of a critical intelligence. passion, liberated from monastic ideas,
“Our German says we ask ourselves surrendered to life and the glory of in vain why the personages of Shake- life, unburdened by the exhausting inspeare's drama act and speak as they dustries of the nineteenth century, you do; and, contrasting them with Goethe's must always remain a lawless, riotous, characters, the product of a later time, unregenerate influence to the prosaic implies that they are inferior because understanding; hated by Puritans and they do not, as Goethe's men and kicked at by cuistres, who believe a women are said to do, 'act and ex- dramatist should always represent his press themselves in accordance with characters under the rule of good socievery rule, not merely of sentiment, ety, didactically demonstrate the uses but of society.
of poetry, and substitute nineteenth“He assails the great master in sev- century historical essays on the origins eral direct ways; because of his deficient and developments of the English peohistorical sense ; for his want of appre- ple for living expression of living men
and women subject to the chance and staple nutriment of their intellectual change of life. But the imaginative and imaginative life; but it would not minds of poets, and the bookless wit
be needless, we are sorry to say, for othof the people, have always justly, and with admiration and wonder, appre
ers who have not yet entered into his hended the myriad development of the world, and discerned the splendor and genius of Shakespeare and his epoch. beauty of his orb of genius. For such,
“The homage of Goethe in Germany, the labors of the patient scholar, the of Coleridge in England, of Taine and soundocritic, the enthusiastic commenHugo in France, of Lowell in New
tator, are still useful. Happily, our naEngland, outweighs tons of dispraise
tive literature is not deficient in the from a prosaic, unimaginative Johnson, a spiteful Voltaire, and the duplicated
right materials for meeting this want, misapprehensions of a lively American and so defeating a sciolistic and superProfessor."
ficial criticism. Mr. Dana's lectures on We should have liked it better if our dramatic art, so thorough and deep, are correspondent, instead of venting his still extant, and widely remembered. mere indignation, had taken the pains Verplanck's, Hudson's, White's editions to show, with more elaboration and of the bard, are easily to be had; and, measure, the utter groundlessness of more recently, Ruggles' “ Method of Rümelin's criticism, both as history and Shakespeare as an Artist,” is extremely art. It is true that, for the students promising in the same line. With such and lovers of Shakespeare, who know writers to maintain the orthodoxy of him to be the sovereignest intellect of our faith in the supremacy of the proall time—the very flowering of all that foundest instructor and noblest ornais noble and sweet in the heart of our ment of our Anglo-Saxon race, we have humanity-this would be needless; for no fear that a thousand Rümelins, with their worship is an intelligent one,
a thousand more American admirers in founded upon long years of experience, their wake, will do much hurt to our in which Shakespeare has furnished the æsthetic sensibilities.
LITERATURE AT HOME.
It is a curious circumstance that three unsatisfied, and which must never cease great writers of the time should have to torment on that account. As we are died, and left unfinished works of fic- tantalized by the last century English tion in the course of publication. We and French adventurers in “ Denis Ducan recall no similar episode in the his- val,” we are tantalized by the American tory of English literature; for though figures of the old man and the young some of the poets may have left scores child, which, wandering almost by of small poems in the rough, and a few stealth from the shadowy chambers of prose-writers the outlines of projected Hawthorne's soul, suddenly found the labors, nothing like a great work can doors closed against their return by he said to have been interrupted by death. May The Mystery of Edwin Drood death until the world was startled by (Fields, Osgood & Co.) be the last litthe report, one December morning, that erary mystery that shall remain unthe author of “Denis Duval” had been solved to the world! Whether “Edfound stiff and stark in his bed. The win Drood” is above or below the death of a great man at any time is a standard set up for himself by Dickens blow, but the thought that his work is in his late works, we shall not underdone mitigates, as the thought that his take to decide, partly because it is a work is undone increases, its severity. fragment, and partly because his death We are tormented in the latter case by is still too recent for us to judge it disa curiosity which must forever remain passionately. It contains a great deal
of good writing—as which of his sto- win Drood” should leave Mr. Datchez ries does not ?-and it contains pages at the breakfast-table. It is singular, which are forced and labored. Here however (we cannot but think), that the and there we think we perceive evi- lines immediately preceding are as foldences of a jaded mind. We wish we lows: “I've seen him, deary; I've seen could say that it shows a desire on bim!' 'And you know him?' 'Know Dickens' part to return to the fresh and him! Better far than all the Reverend natural style of his early manhood-to Parsons put together know bim.'” Is the walks of humorous observation in it too fanciful to think that the Shadow which he excelled Shakespeare—but we stooping at that moment over the Great cannot. Whether some of the charac- Humorist took the pen from his hand ters are natural, need not be discussed ; unseen, and wrote thus darkly of himit is enough that they affect as being un- self ? Dickens would not have thought natural, if not impossible. We should so, we are persuaded, whatever his readplace among these the gamin who stones ers may think. Besides “The Mystery Durdles home at night, when he is too of Edwin Drood,” the volume contains drunk to go without such gentle little “ Some Memories of Charles Dickens " geologic reminders. But, find what from the Atlantic Monthly; "George fault we may, how charming it all is, Silverinan's Explanation"; “Holiday and what a pity that we shall never Romance"; “ Sketches of Young Couhave any more of it! Here is a little ples"; "New Uncommercial Samples "; bit in the best style of Dickens. It and “The Will of Charles Dickens." occurs, as the reader will remember, in It is sometimes interesting to take the description of the wonderful closet a book, and conjecture what it might belonging to the good old mother of have been, if the author had worked the Reverend Septimus Cresparkle. up the materials in different manner, “Every benevolent inhabitant of this and what it would have been if a difretreat had his name inscribed upon his ferent author had written it. Here, for stomach. The pickles, in a uniform of instance, is The Three Brothers, a novel rich brown double-breasted buttoned by Mrs. Olyphant (D. Appleton & Co.), coat, and yellow or sombre drab contin- the last, we suppose, of the many we uations, announced their portly forms, owe to her unwearied pen. Its plot in printed capitals, as Walnut, Gherkin, turns on the fortunes of three brothers, Onion, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Mixed, whose father dies, and leaves them to and other members of that noble fam- make their way in the world for seven ily. The jams, as being of less mas- years, when bis will is to be read. They culine temperament, and as wearing attempt this difficult feat, with various curl-papers, announced themselves, in degrees of willingness and success, feminine caligraphy, like a soft whisper, until their probation is over, and the to be Raspberry, Gooseberry, Apricot, will is produced. It turns out to be a Plum, Damson, Apple, and Peach. The piece of blank paper! The heir takes scene closing on these charmers, and the estate, of course, and his brothers the lower slide ascending, oranges were what legally belongs to them outside of revealed, attended by a mighty japan- it. There is not much in this, as Mrs. ned sugar-box, to temper their acerbity Olyphant has managed it,--but what if unripe. Home-made biscuits waited might not Mr. Charles Reade have disat the Court of these Powers, accompa- covered in it, or imparted to it? The nied by a goodly fragment of plum- eldest son, Ben, goes up to London, and cake, and various slender ladies' fingers falls into the clutches of a mother and to be dipped into sweet wine and daughter, with the latter of whoin he kissed.” As every thing that Dickens is smitten. The youngest, Laurie, goes has written is redolent of good eating thither, likewise, and is smitten with a and drinking, it is not singular, per- female painter, almost old enough to haps, that the last paragraph of “Ed- be his mother. The last, Frank, follows them, and is smitten with a little claim to be,—the one the record of the musical daughter of this second Angel- Creator in His material handiwork, and ica Kauffmann, Mr. Reade would not the other the record of the Creator in care much for this, though he would the souls of His seers and prophets,-it describe it carefully as he does every is certain that no discrepancies could thing, but he would come out strong exist between them. And none did exon the after-adventures of the brothers, ist, for the differences that arose were one of whom goes to Canada, as an en- not between Geology and Revelation, gineer, another to India, as an officer, but between Geology and the way men while the third plays at being an artist, understood Revelation-in other words, in Rome, He would have had three between Geology and Theology. That strings to his bow here, which, we be- Theology proved the weaker of the two lieve, is one more than he has in “Never in the struggle was a sad thing—for Too Late to Mend," of which the first the theologians, though they are beginpart is a tractate on prison reform, and ning now to regard it in a different the last a picture of life in the diggings light. They have—or some of them of Australia. Though we have not got have-learned enough of Geology to all we might have had out of “The see that the hand which wrote in its Three Brothers," we are satisfied with great stone-books, and the hand which the book. Mrs. Olyphant is not the wrote on the tables of the law, are one workman that Mr. Reade is, but her and the same. “Reviewing the progress work is of a kind that is more agree- of opinion touching the relations of able than his, and will last longer. We Science to Revealed Religion, it is notecan't always be reading by flashes of worthy that, while many Protestant lightning—which Mrs. Hemans thought theologians and writers on both sides was the way to read Shakespeare-and of the Atlantic have, until a recent it is well that we cannot. The sun- period, treated the discoveries of scishine is much better, and, in the ab- ence, and especially of Geology, so far sence of that, the gleam of a modest as they affect theological dogmas, in a candle. The best light in which to manner, if not of contempt, at least of read Mrs. Olyphant's stories is such as distrust or unfairness; on the contrary, suffuses the soft hours of an early au- the Romanist writers who have distumn afternoon, when the trees are cussed those themes, have done so, genasleep in their shadows, the wind is erally, in a spirit of broad catholicity tempering the lingering fires of summer, well calculated to command the respect and the sky and river-if there be a it merits. They have shown no sensiriver near-are alike beautiful and tiveness or timidity lest, perchance, calm. She has a tender, gracious, hap- their exegesis might be disturbed by py woman-nature, and her insight into candidly admitting the changes demen and women, while not sharp and manded by the discoveries of Science." cynical, is noticeable for its range and the paragraph we have quoted is from justice. The three brothers are deli- the Preface to an American edition of cately discriminated. The best charac- Geology and Revelation, by the Rev. ter, as a mere character, is Millicent, Gerald Molloy, D.D., Professor of Thewho seems to have been copied from ology in the Royal College of St. Patlife, and from a very favorable speci- rick, Maynooth, of which Messrs. G. P. men of the genus Adventuress,
Putnam & Sons are the publishers. It That Geology and Revelation is a beautiful book of 380 pages, 12mo., could ever have been supposed to be in based upon the latest and most trustconflict, as they were for a considerable worthy geological works of the time, period, shows that one or both must and, so far as an unscientific reader can have put forth very unwarrantable judge, it is of a high order of excelclaims. This should have been evident lence. The present writer has read at the start; for if both were what they many volumes of the class to which it
belongs, but from none has he derived so lively an idea of the changes which have swept over the earth in the ages that are gone, and have made it what it is to-day. Dr. Molloy may not be a profound geologist, but he knows what we wish to know, and has the happy art of imparting his knowledge to us. His work is illustrated, but not so freely as we could wish ; as regards fossil remains, it is very excellent.
OTHER BOOKS RECEIVED.
The Princes of Art : Painters, Sculptors, and
Engravers. Translated from the Fronch, by
Boston, Lee & Shepard.
colleges and schools of science, by Prof. W. G.
First Steps in English Literature, by ARTHUR GIL
MAN 16mo cloth. N. Y., Hurd & Houghton. The Choice of Paris, by S. G. W. BENJAMIX, author of "Turk and Greek.” 16mo. cloth. N. Y.,
Hurd & Houghton.
bert Rugge," etc. 8vo. paper, pp. 116. N. Y.,
8vo. paper, pp. 101, with illustrations, N. Y.,
Brown's School Days." New edition, 8vo. paper,
N. Y., Harper Bros. A Condensed Etymology of the English Language for Common Schools, containing the Anglo-Saxcn, French, German, Latin Greek, and o:her roots, and the English words derived therefrom, accurately spelled, accented, and defined, by Ww. W. SMITH, author of "Definer's Manual,"
etc. 16mo. pp. 195. N. Y., A. 8. Barnes & Co. WILLSON'S Intermediate Fifth Reader ; embracing,
in brief, the principles of Rhetoric, Criticism, Eloquence, and Oratory, the whole adapted to elocutionary instruction. 16mo. pp. 372. N. Y., Harper Bros. The Normal Grammar, Analytic and Synthetic,
illustrated by diagrams, by STEPHEN W. CLARK,
Barnes & Co.
by ALEXANDER CLARK, author of "The Gospel
The Hard-Scrabble of Elm Island, by Rev. ELIJAH
KELLOGG. 16mo. cloth, 320 pp. Boston, Lee &
Ucayga, OLIVER OPTIC. 16mo. pp. 312. Bos-
The Story of a Working Man's Life, with sketches
of travel in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, as related by himself. FRANCIS MABON, D.D.
12mo. cloth, pp. 462. N. Y., Oakley, Mason & Co. The Life of Arthur Tappan, by LEWIS TAPPAN.
12mo. cloth. N. Y., Hurd & lloughton.
M. EUGÉNE CRÉPET has made selec- many genuine and lasting lyrics as tions from the best French poets of France; and we recommend this book this century in his book, "Les Poëtes as an attractive introduction to a most Français du Dixneuvième Siècle ; Re- delightful study. cueil des chefs-d'œuvre de la Poésie
Uhland somewhere compares a Française. Avec une notice Littéraire bit of sausage half-hidden in saur-kraut sur chaque Poëte” (Paris, Hachette et to Venus slumbering among the roses. Cie). Among the prominent figures in Of a kindred enthusiasm for epicurean his gallery are, of course, Lamartine, beauties must the industrious horticulAlfred de Musset, Charles Nodier, tural antiquarian have been, who has Sainte-Beuve, Béranger, and Victor compiled a history of asparagus—a Hugo. The selections are made with Frenchman, of course, He finds that care and taste, and the literary notices the asparagus of nature, still found instructive. Incapable as the
the wild in central France, is a long, thin, French language and genius seem alike green stalk of a plant, useless to the to be of the highest epic or dramatic cook; but that an ingenious gardener, excellence, there is no nation that has one Louis Thérault, began to try the given to literature, in this century, so effect of cultivation on it a hundred