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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 9, No. 55, May, 1862
Author: Various
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Things looks pooty squally, it must be allowed, An' I don't see much signs of a bow in the cloud: Ther' 's too many Decmocrats—leaders, wut's wuss— Thet go for the Union 'thout carin' a cuss Ef it helps ary party thet ever wuz heard on, So our eagle ain't made a split Austrian bird on. But ther' 's still some conservative signs to be found Thet shows the gret heart o' the People is sound: (Excuse me for usin' a stump-phrase agin, But, once in the way on 't, they will stick like sin:) There's Phillips, for instance, hez jes' ketched a Tartar In the Law-'n'-Order Party of ole Cincinnater; An' the Compromise System ain't gone out o' reach, Long 'z you keep the right limits on freedom o' speech; 'T warn't none too late, neither, to put on the gag, For he's dangerous now he goes in for the flag: Nut thet I altogether approve o' bad eggs, They're mos' gin'lly argymunt on its las' legs,— An' their logic is ept to be tu indiscriminate, Nor don't ollus wait the right objecs to 'liminate; But there is a variety on 'em, you 'll find, Jest ez usefie an' more, besides bein' refined,— I mean o' the sort thet are laid by the dictionary, Sech ez sophisms an' cant thet'll kerry conviction ary Way thet you want to the right class o' men, An' are staler than all't ever come from a hen: "Disunion" done wal till our resh Soutlun friends Took the savor all out on't for national ends; But I guess "Abolition" 'll work a spell yit, When the war's done, an' so will "Forgive-an'-forgit." Times mus' be pooty thoroughly out o' all jint, Ef we can't make a good constitootional pint; An' the good time 'll come to be grindin' our exes, When the war goes to seed in the nettle o' texes: Ef Jon'than don't squirm, with sech helps to assist him, I give up my faith in the free-suffrage system; Democ'cy wun't be nut a mite interestin', Nor p'litikle capital much wuth investin'; An' my notion is, to keep dark an' lay low Till we see the right minute to put in our blow.—

But I've talked longer now 'n I hed any idee, An' ther's others you want to hear more 'n you du me; So I'll set down an' give thet 'ere bottle a skrimmage, For I've spoke till I'm dry ez a real graven image.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.

Record of an Obscure Man. Tragedy of Errors, Parts I. and II. Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 1861, 1862.

Among the marked literary productions long to be associated with our present struggle—among them, yet not of them—are the volumes whose titles we have quoted. They differ from the recent electric messages of Holmes, Whittier, and Mrs. Howe, in not being obvious results of vivid events. "Bread and the Newspaper," "The Song of the Negro Boatmen," and "Our Orders" will reproduce for another generation the fervid feelings of to-day. But the pathetic warnings exquisitely breathed in the writings before us will then come to their place as a deep and tender prelude to the voices heard in this passing tragedy.

The "Record of an Obscure Man" is the modest introduction to a dramatic poem of singular pathos and beauty. A New-Englander of culture and sensibility, naturalized at the South, is supposed to communicate the results of his study and observation of that outcast race which has been the easy contempt of ignorance in both sections of the country. Our instructor has not only a clear judgment Of the value of different testimonies, and the scholarly instinct of arrangement and classification, but also that divine gift of sympathy, which alone, in this world given for our observation, can tell us what to observe. The illustrations of the negro's character, and the answers to vulgar depreciation of his tendencies and capacities, are given with the simple directness of real comprehension. It is the privilege of one acquainted in no common degree with languages and their history to expose that dreary joke of the dialect of the oppressed, which superficial people have so long found funny or contemptible. The simplicity and earnestness which give dignity to any phraseology come from the humanity behind it. We are well reminded that divergences from the common use of language, never held to degrade the meaning in Milton or Shakespeare, need not render thought despicable when the negro uses identical forms. If he calls a leopard a "libbard," he only imitates the most sublime of English poets; and the first word of his petition, "Gib us this day our daily bread," is pronounced as it rose from the lips of Luther. The highest truths the faith of man may reach are symbolized more definitely, and often more picturesquely, by the warm imagination of the African than by the cultivated genius of the Caucasian. Also it is shown how the laziness and ferocity with which the negro is sometimes charged may be more than matched in the history of his assumed superior. Yet, while acknowledging how well-considered is the matter of this introductory volume, we regret what seems to be an imperfection in the form in which it is presented. There is too much story, or too little,—too little to command the assistance of fiction, too much to prevent a feeling of disappointment that romance is attempted at all. The concluding autobiography of the friend of Colvil is hardly consistent with his character as previously suggested; it seems unnecessary to the author's purpose, and is not drawn with the minuteness or power which might justify its introduction. We notice this circumstance as explaining why this Introduction may possibly fail of a popularity more extended than that which its tenderness of thought and style at once claimed from the best readers.

The "Tragedy of Errors" presents, with the vivid idealization of art, some of the results of American Slavery. Travellers, novelists, ethnologists have spoken with various ability of the laborers of the South; and now the poet breaks through the hard monotony of their external lives, and lends the plasticity of a cultivated mind to take impress of feeling to which the gift of utterance is denied. And it is often only through the imagination of another that the human bosom can be delivered "of that perilous stuff which weighs upon the heart." For it is a very common error to estimate mental activity by a command of the arts of expression; whereas, at its best estate, speech is an imperfect sign of perception, and one which without special cultivation must be wholly inadequate. Thus it will be seen that an employment of the dialect and limited vocabulary of the negro would be obviously unsuitable to the purpose of the poem; and these have been wisely discarded. In doing this, however, the common license of dramatists is not exceeded; and the critical censure we have read about "the extravagant idealization of the negro" merely amounts to saying that the writer has been bold enough to stem the current of traditional opinion, and find a poetic view of humanity at the present time and in its most despised portion. The end of dramatic writing is not to reproduce Nature, but to idealize it; a literal copying of the same, as everybody knows, is the merit of the photographer, not of the artist. Again, it should be remembered that the highly wrought characters among the slaves are whites, or whites slightly tinged with African blood. With the commonest allowance for the exigencies of poetic presentation, we find no individual character unnatural or improbable; though the particular grouping of these characters is necessarily improbable. For grace of position and arrangement every dramatist must claim. If the poet will but take observations from real persons, however widely scattered, discretion may be exercised in the conjunction of those persons, and in the sequence of incidents by which they are affected. An aesthetic invention may be as natural as a mechanical one, although the materials for each are collected from a wide surface, and placed in new relations. Thus much we say as expressing dissent from objections which have been hastily made to this poem.

Of the plot of the "Tragedy of Errors" we have only space to say that the writer has cut a channel for very delicate verses through the heart of a Southern plantation. Here, at length, seems to be one of those thoroughly national subjects for which critics have long been clamorous. The deepest passion is expressed without touching the tawdry properties of the "intense" school of poetry. The language passes from the ease of perfect simplicity to the conciseness of power, while the relation of emotion to character is admirably preserved. The moral—which, let us observe in passing, is decently covered with artistic beauty—relates, not to the most obvious, but to the most dangerous mischiefs of Slavery. Indeed, the story is only saved from being too painful by a fine appreciation of the medicinal quality of all wretchedness that the writer everywhere displays. In the First Part, the nice intelligence shown in the rough contrast between Hermann and Stanley, and in the finished contrast between Alice and Helen, will claim the reader's attention. The sketches of American life and tendencies, both Northern and Southern, are given with discrimination and truth. The dying scene, which closes the First Part, seems to us nobly wrought. The "death-bed hymn" of the slaves sounds a pathetic wail over an abortive life shivering on the brink of the Unknown. In the Second Part we find less of the color and music of a poem, and more of the rapid movement of a drama. The doom of Slavery upon the master now comes into full relief. The characters of Herbert and his father are favorable specimens of well-meaning, even honorable, Southern gentlemen,—only not endowed with such exceptional moral heroism as to offer the pride of life to be crushed before hideous laws. The connection between lyric and tragic power is shown in the "Tragedy of Errors." The songs and chants of the slaves mingle with the higher dialogue like the chorus of the Greek stage; they mediate with gentle authority between the worlds of natural feeling and barbarous usage. Let us also say that the sentiment throughout this drama is sound and sweet; for it is that mature sentiment, born again of discipline, which is the pledge of fidelity to the highest business of life.

Before concluding, we take the liberty to remove a mask, not impenetrable to the careful reader, by saying that the writer is a woman. And let us be thankful that a woman so representative of the best culture and instinct of New England cannot wholly conceal herself by the modesty of a pseudonyme. In no way has the Northern spirit roused to oppose the usurpations of Slavery more truly vindicated its high quality than by giving development to that feminine element which has mingled with our national life an influence of genuine power. And to-day there are few men justly claiming the much-abused title of thinkers who do not perceive that the opportunity of our regenerated republic cannot be fully realized, until we cease to press into factitious conformity the faculties, tastes, and—let us not shrink from the odious word—missions of women. The merely literary privilege accorded a generation or two ago is in itself of slight value. Since the success of "Evelina," women have been freely permitted to jingle pretty verses for family newspapers, and to novelize morbid sentiments of the feebler sort. And we see one legitimate result in that flightiness of the feminine mind which, in a lower stratum of current literature, displays inaccurate opinions, feeble prejudices, and finally blossoms into pert vulgarity. But instances of perverted license increase our obligation to Mrs. Child, Mrs. Stowe and to others whose eloquence is only in deeds. Of such as these, and of her whom we may now associate with them, it is not impossible some unborn historian may write, that in certain great perils of American liberty, when the best men could only offer rhetoric, women came forward with demonstration. Yet, after all, our deepest indebtedness to the present series of volumes seems to be this: they bear gentle testimony to what the wise ever believed, that the delicacy of spirit we love to characterize by the dear word "womanly" is not inconsistent with varied and exact information, independent opinion, and the insights of genius.

Finally, we venture to mention, what has been in the minds of many New-England readers, that these books are indissolubly associated with a young life offered in the nation's great necessity. At the time when the first of the series was made public, a shudder ran through our homes, as a regiment, rich in historic names, stood face to face with death. Among the fallen was the only son of her whose writings have been given us. Let us think without bitterness of the sacrifice of one influenced and formed by the rare nature we find in these poems. What better result of culture than to dissipate intellectual mists and uncertainties, and to fix the grasp firmly upon some great practical good? There is nothing wasted in one who lived long enough to show that the refinement acquired and inherited was of the noble kind which could prefer the roughest action for humanity to elegant allurements of gratified taste. The best gift of scholarship is the power it gives a man to descend with all the force of his acquired position, and come into effective union with the world of facts. For it is the crucial test of brave qualities that they are truer and more practical for being filtered through libraries. In reading the "Theages" of Plato we feel a certain respect for the young seeker of wisdom whose only wish is to associate with Socrates; and there is a certain admiration for the father, Demodocus, who joyfully resigns his son, if the teacher will admit him to his friendship and impart all that he can. But it is a higher result of a higher order of society, when a young man with aptitude to follow science and assimilate knowledge sees in the most perilous service of civilization a rarer illumination of mind and heart. In the great scheme of things, where all grades of human worthiness are shown for the benefit of man, this costly instruction shall not fail of fruit. And so the deepest moral that comes to us from the "Tragedy of Errors" seems a prophetic memorial of the soldier for constitutional liberty with whom it will be long connected. The wealth of life—so we read the final meaning of these verses—is in its discipline; and the graceful dreams of the poet, and the quickened intellect of the scholar, are but humble instruments for the helping of mankind.

A Discourse on the Life, Character, and Policy of Count Cavour. Delivered in the Hall of the New York Historical Society, February 20, 1862. By VINCENZO BOTTA, Ph.D., Professor of Italian Literature in the New York University, late Member of the Parliament, and Professor of Philosophy in the Colleges of Sardinia. New York: G.P. Putnam. 8vo. pp. 108.

This is a most admirable tribute to one of the greatest men of our age, by a writer singularly well qualified in all respects to do justice to his rich and comprehensive theme. Professor Botta is a native of Northern Italy, in the first place, and thus by inheritance and natural transmission is heir to a great deal of knowledge as to the important movements of which Cavour was the mainspring, which a foreigner could acquire only by diligent study and inquiry. In the next place, he has not been exclusively a secluded student, but he has taken part in the great political drama which he commemorates, and has been brought into personal relations with the illustrious man whose worth he here sets forth with such ample knowledge, such generous devotion, such patriotic fervor. And lastly, he is a man of distinguished literary ability, wielding the language of his adopted country with an ease and grace which hardly leave a suspicion that he was not writing his vernacular tongue. A namesake of his—whether a relation or not, we are not informed—has written "in very choice Italian" a history of the American Revolution; and the work before us, relating in such excellent English the leading events of a glorious Italian revolution, is a partial payment of the debt of gratitude contracted by the publication of that classical production.

But a writer of inferior opportunities and inferior capacity to Professor Botta could hardly have failed to produce an attractive and interesting work, with such a subject. There never was a life which stood less in need of the embellishments of rhetoric, which could rest more confidently and securely upon its plain, unvarnished truth, than that of Count Cavour. He was a man of the highest order of greatness; and when we have said that, we have also said that he was a man of simplicity, directness, and transparency. A man of the first class is always easily interpreted and understood. The biographer of Cavour has nothing to do but to recount simply and consecutively what he said and what he did, and his task is accomplished: no great statesman has less need of apology or justification; no one's name is less associated with doubtful acts or questionable policy. His ends were not more noble than was the path in which he moved towards them direct. Professor Botta has fully comprehended the advantages derived from the nature of his subject, and has confined himself to the task of relating in simple and vigorous English the life and acts of Cavour from his birth to his death. He has given us a rapid and condensed summary, but nothing of importance is omitted, and surely enough is told to vindicate for Cavour the highest rank which the enthusiastic admiration and gratitude of his countrymen have accorded to him. Where can we find a nobler life? And, take him all in all, whom shall we pronounce to have been a greater statesman? What variety of power he showed, and what wealth of resources he had at command! Without the pride and coldness of Pitt, the private vices of Fox, the tempestuous and ill-regulated sensibility of Burke, he had the useful and commanding intellectual qualities of all the three, except the splendid and imaginative eloquence of the last.

This life of Cavour, and the incidental sketches of his associates which it includes, will have a tendency to correct some of the erroneous impressions current among us as to the intellectual qualities and temperament of the Italian people. The common, or, at least, a very prevalent, notion concerning them is that they are an impassioned, imaginative, excitable, visionary race, capable of brilliant individual efforts, but deficient in the power of organization and combination, and in patience and practical sagacity. Some of us go, or have gone, farther, and have supposed that the Austrian domination in Italy was the necessary consequence of want of manliness and persistency in the people of Italy, and was perhaps as much for their good as the dangerous boon of independence would have been. All such prejudices will be removed by a candid perusal of this memoir. Cavour himself, as a statesman and a man, was of exactly that stamp which we flatter ourselves to be the exclusive growth of America and England. He was nothing of a visionary, nothing of a political pedant, nothing of a doctrinaire. Franklin himself had not a more practical understanding, or more of large, plain, roundabout sense. He had, too, Franklin's shrewdness, his love of humor, and his relish for the natural pleasures of life. He had a large amount of patience, the least showy, but perhaps the most important, of the qualifications of a great statesman. And in his glorious career he was warmly and generously sustained, not merely by the king, and by the favored classes, but by the people, whose efforts and sacrifices have shown how worthy they were of the freedom they have won. We speak here more particularly of the people of the kingdom of Sardinia; but what we say in praise of them may be extended to the people of Italy generally. The history of Italy for the last fifteen years is a glorious chapter in the history of the world. Whatever of active courage and passive endurance has in times past made the name of Roman illustrious, the events of these years have proved to belong equally to the name of Italian.

But we are wandering from Count Cavour and Professor Botta. We have to thank the latter for enriching the literature of his adopted country with a memoir which in the lucid beauty and transparent flow of its style reminds the Italian scholar of the charm of Boccaccio's limpid narrative, and is besides animated with a patriot's enthusiasm and elevated by a statesman's comprehension. A more cordial, heart-warming book we have not for a long time read.

A Treatise on Some of the Insects Injurious to Vegetation. By THADDEUS WILLIAM HARRIS, M.D. A New Edition, enlarged and improved, with Additions from the Author's Manuscripts, and Original Notes. Illustrated by Engravings drawn from Nature under the Supervision of Professor Agassiz. Edited by Charles L. Flint, Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture. 8vo.

This handsome octavo, prepared with such scientific care, is for the special benefit of Agriculture; and the order, method, and comprehensiveness so evident throughout the Treatise compel the admiration of all who study its beautifully illustrated pages. The community is largely benefited by such an aid to the improvement of pursuits in which so many are concerned; and no cultivator of the soil can safely be ignorant of what Dr. Harris has studied and put on record for the use of those whose honorable occupation it is to till the earth.

As a work of Art we cannot refrain from special praise of the book before us. Turning over its leaves is like a spring or summer ramble in the country. All creeping and flying things seem harmlessly swarming in vivid beauty of color over its pages. Such gorgeous moths we never saw before out of the flower-beds, and there are some butterflies and caterpillars reposing here and there between the leaves that must have slipped in and gone to sleep on a fine warm day in July.

The printing of the volume reaches the highest rank of excellence. Messrs. Welch, Bigelow, & Company may take their place among the Typographical Masters of this or any other century.

Pictures of Old England. By DR. REINHOLD PAULI, Author of "History of Alfred the Great," etc. Translated, with the Author's Sanction, by E.C. OTTE. Cambridge [England]: Macmillan & Co. Small 8vo. pp. xii., 457.

Dr. Pauli is already known on both sides of the Atlantic as the author of two works of acknowledged learning and ability,—a "History of England during the Middle Ages," and a "History of Alfred the Great." In his new volume he furnishes some further fruits of his profound researches into the social and political history of England in the Middle Ages; and if the book will add little or nothing to his present reputation, it affords at least new evidence of his large acquaintance with English literature. It comprises twelve descriptive essays on as many different topics, closely connected with his previous studies. Among the best of these are the papers entitled "Monks and Mendicant Friars," which give a brief and interesting account of monastic institutions in England; "The Hanseatic Steel-Yard in London," comprising a history of that famous company of merchant-adventurers, with a description of the buildings occupied by them, and a sketch of their domestic life; and "London in the Middle Ages," which presents an excellent description of the topography and general condition of the city during that period, and is illustrated by a small and carefully drawn plan. There are also several elaborate essays on the early relations of England with the Continent, besides papers on "The Parliament in the Fourteenth Century," "Two Poets, Gower and Chaucer," "John Wiclif," (as Dr. Pauli spells the name,) and some other topics. All the papers show an adequate familiarity with the original sources of information, and are marked by the same candor and impartiality which have hitherto characterized Dr. Pauli's labors. The translation, without being distinguished by any special graces of style, is free from the admixture of foreign idioms, and, so far as one may judge from the internal evidence, appears to be faithfully executed. As a collection of popular essays, the volume is worthy of much praise.

The Correspondence of Leigh Hunt. Edited by his Eldest Son. London: Smith, Elder, & Co. 1862. 2 vols. 12mo.

In Lamb's famous controversy with Southey in 1823, (the only controversy "Elia" ever indulged in,) he says of the author of "Rimini," "He is one of the most cordial-minded men I ever knew, and matchless as a fireside companion."

Few authors have had warmer admirers of their writings, or more sincere personal friends, than Leigh Hunt. He seemed always to inspire earnestly and lovingly every one who came into friendly relations with him. When Shelley inscribed his "Cenci" to him in 1819, he expressed in this sentence of the Dedication what all have felt who have known Leigh Hunt intimately:—

"Had I known a person more highly endowed than yourself with all that it becomes a man to possess, I had solicited for this work the ornament of his name. One more gentle, honorable, innocent, and brave,—one of more exalted toleration for all who do and think evil, and yet himself more free from evil,—one who knows better how to receive and how to confer a benefit, though he must ever confer far more than he can receive,—one of simpler, and, in the highest sense of the word, of purer life and manners, I never knew; and I had already been fortunate in friendship when your name was added to the list."

With this immortal record of his excellence made by Shelley's hand, Leigh Hunt cannot be forgotten. Counting among his friends the best men and women of his time, his name and fame are embalmed in their books as they were in their hearts. Charles Lamb, Keats, Shelley, and Mrs. Browning knew his worth, and prized it far above praising him; and there are those still living who held him very dear, and loved the sound of his voice like the tones of a father or a son.

A man's letters betray his heart,—both those he sends and those he receives. Leigh Hunt's correspondence, as here collected by his son, is full of the wine of life in the best sense of spirit.

The Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. Martin Chuzzlewit. New York: Sheldon & Company.

It is not our intention, at the present writing, to enter into any discussion concerning the characteristics or the value of the novels of Charles Dickens: we have neither time nor space for it. Besides, to few of our readers do these books need introduction or recommendation from us. They have long been accepted by the world as worthy to rank among those works of genius which harmonize alike with the thoughtful mind of the cultivated and the simple feelings of the unlearned,—which discover in every class and condition of men some truth or beauty for all humanity. They are, in the full sense of the word, household books, as indispensable as Shakspeare or Milton, Scott or Irving.

We may fairly say of the various editions of Dickens's writings, that their "name is Legion." None of them all, however, is better adapted to common libraries than the new edition now publishing in New York. It will be comprised in fifty volumes, to be published in instalments at intervals of six or eight weeks. The mechanical execution is most commendable in every respect: clear, pleasantly tinted paper; typography in the best style of the Riverside Press; binding novel and tasteful. A vignette, designed either by Darley or Gilbert, and engraved upon steel, is prefixed to each volume. We have to congratulate the publishers that they have so successfully fulfilled the promises of their prospectus, and the public that an edition at once elegant and inexpensive is now provided.



FOREIGN LITERATURE.

Die Schweizerische Literatur des achzehnten Jahrhunderts. Von T.C. MOeRIKOFER. Leipzig: Verlag von S. Hirzel. 8vo. pp. 536.

In the early part of the Middle Ages Switzerland contributed comparatively little to the literary glory of Germany. Beyond Conrad of Wuerzburg, who is claimed as a native of Basel, no Swiss name can be found among the poets of the Hohenstaufen period. In a later age it is rather the practical than the romantic character of the Swiss that is manifested in their productions. The Reformation brought them in closer contact with German culture. There was need of this; for in no country was the gap wider between the language of the people and that of the learned. Scholars like Zwinglius and Bullinger were almost helpless, when they sought to express themselves in German. Little appeal could, therefore, be made to the masses in their own tongue by such writers. During the whole of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the vernacular was even more neglected than before. It was not until the beginning of the eighteenth that Latin and French ceased to be the only languages deemed worthy of use in literary composition. In 1715 Johannes Muralt wrote his "Eidgnoeszischen Lustgarten," and later several other works, mostly scientific, in German. Political causes came in to help the reaction, and from that time the Protestant portion of the Helvetic Confederation may be said to have had a literature of its own.

It is the history of the literature of German Switzerland during the eighteenth century that Moerikofer has essayed to write. He has chosen a subject hitherto but little studied, and his work deserves to stand by the side of the best German literary histories of our time.

The author begins with the first signs of the reaction against the influence of France, agreeably portraying the awakening of Swiss consciousness, and the gradual development of the enlightened patriotism that impelled Swiss writers to lay aside mere courtly elegance of diction for their own more terse and vigorous idiom.

This awakening was not confined to letters. Formerly the Swiss, instead of appreciating the beauties of their own land, rather considered them as impediments to the progress of civilization. It seems incredible to us now that there ever could have been a time when mountain-scenery, instead of being sought, was shunned,—when princes possessing the most beautiful lands among the Rhine hills should, with great trouble and expense, have transported their seats to some flat, uninviting locality,—when, for instance, the dull, flat, prosy, wearisome gardens of Schwetzingen should have been deemed more beautiful than the immediate environs of Heidelberg. Yet such were the sentiments that prevailed in Switzerland until a comparatively late date. It is only since the days of Scheuchzer that Swiss scenery has been appreciated, and in this appreciation were the germs of a new culture.

As in Germany societies had been established "for the practice of German" at Leipsic and Hamburg, so in various Swiss cities associations were formed with the avowed purpose of discouraging the imitation of French models. Thus, at Zuerich several literary young men, among them Hagenbuch and Lavater, met at the house of the poet Bodmer. The example was followed in other cities. Though these clubs and their periodical organs soon fell into an unwarrantable admiration of all that was English, the result was a gradual development of the national taste. Since then the literary efforts of the Swiss have been characterized by an ardent love of country. A direct popular influence may be felt in their best productions; hence the nature of their many beauties, as well as of their faults. To the same influence also we owe that phalanx of reformers and philanthropists, Hirzel, Iselin, Lavater, and Pestalozzi.

A great portion of the work under consideration is devoted to the lives and labors of these benefactors of their people. The book is, therefore, not a literary history in the strict sense of the term. It gives a comprehensive view of the culture of German Switzerland during the eighteenth century. To Bodmer alone one hundred and seventy-five pages are devoted. In this essay, as well as in that on the historian Mueller, a vast amount of information is presented, and many facts collated by the author are now given, we believe, for the first time.

Literaturbilder.—Darstellungen deutscher Literatur aus den Werken der vorzueglichsten Literarhistoriker, etc. Herausgegeben von J.W. SCHAEFER. Leipzig: Friedrich Brandstetter. 8vo. pp. 409.

There is no lack of German literary histories. While English letters have not yet found an historian, there are scores of works upon every branch of German literature. Of these, many possess rare merits, and are characterized by a depth, a comprehensiveness of criticism not to be found in the similar productions of any other nation. Whoever has once been guided by the master-minds of Germany will bear witness that the guidance cannot be replaced by that of any other class of writers. Nowhere can such universality, such freedom from national prejudice, be found,—and this united to a love of truth, earnestness of labor, and perseverance of research that may be looked for in vain elsewhere.

The difficulty for the student of German literary history lies, then, in the selection. A new work, the "Literaturbilder" of J.W. Schaefer, will greatly tend to facilitate the choice. This is a representation of the chief points of the literature of Germany by means of well-chosen selections from the principal historians of letters. The editor introduces these by an essay upon the "Epochs of German Literature." Then follow, with due regard to chronological order, extracts from the works of Vilmar, Gervinus, Wackernagel, Schlosser, Julian Schmidt, and others. These extracts are of such length as to give a fair idea of the writers, and so arranged as to form a connected history. Thus, under the third division, comprising the eighteenth century until Herder and Goethe, we find the following articles following each other: "State of Literature in the Eighteenth Century"; "Johann Christian Gottsched," by F.C. Schlosser; "Gottsched's Attempts at Dramatic Reform," by R. Prutz; "Hagedorn and Haller," by J.W. Schaefer; "Bodmer and Breitinger," by A. Koberstein; "The Leipsic Association of Poets and the Bremen Contributions," by Chr. F. Weisse; "German Literature in the Middle of the Eighteenth Century," by Goethe; "Gottlieb Wilhelm Rabener," by H. Gelzer; "Gellert's Fables," by H. Prutz. Those who do not possess the comprehensive works of Gervinus, Cholerius, Wackernagel, etc., may thus in one volume find enough to be able to form a fair opinion of the nature of their labors.

The "Literaturbilder," though perhaps lacking in unity, is one of the most attractive of literary histories. A few important names are missed, as that of Menzel, from whom nothing is quoted. The omission seems the more unwarrantable, as this writer, whatever we may think of his views, still enjoys the highest consideration among a numerous class of German readers. The contributions of the editor himself form no inconsiderable part of the volume. Those quoted from his "Life of Goethe" deserve special mention. The work does not extend beyond the first years of the present century, and closes with Jean Paul.



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The Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. Illustrated from Drawings by F.O.C. Darley and John Gilbert. Martin Chuzzlewit. In Four Volumes. New York. Sheldon & Co. 16mo. pp. 322, 299, 292, 322. $3.00.

The Earl's Heirs. A Tale of Domestic Life. By the Author of "East Lynne," etc. Philadelphia. T.B. Peterson & Brothers. 8vo. paper, pp. 200. 50 cts.

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