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take hold of you, forgetting whether its door of the lecture-room, allured by visions author owes his style to this predecessor, of an earlier, less self-conscious life, it is and his plot to that; forgetting that there a part of it also to acknowledge, when the is an author, perhaps, but bending over lectures are good, that one would have your book, child-like, as the light grows lost by “cutting” them. dim-following, following whither the Perhaps Mr. Crawshaw, in his Literstory leads, a captive and a worshipper. ary Interpretation of Life, noticed that
It is a question between the scholarly some of his hearers dallied a little before and the purely esthetic view of litera- seating themselves to listen to him, for, in ture, combined with a question between his initial chapter, “The Book and the the enjoyments of youth and those of Man," he discusses the two methods of maturity. To read with the single-hearted reading-first, the consideration of each interest of childhood is primitive, yet book as an
book as an “isolated phenomenon,” to be it is surely an ideal way; to enter a enjoyed in and for itself alone; and, secbook naïvely, and to accept its state- ond, its consideration as a part of life, not ments with something of the unreason- only for itself, but in its relation to its ing credulity which colors a child's view author and the times and conditions in of nature, is to get one's pleasure with which he lived. “As a matter of fact," the dew still glimmering over it; and, he concludes,“ both kinds of study are to speak a word for the authors, it is necessary. To ignore the indissoluble rethe way in which the writer of a book lation of literature to human life, is to will feel most touched to know that it has limit our intellectual horizon and to miss been read. In contrast, the scientific some of the grandest prospects which litcritic, with his microscope and his tele- erature has to afford. To ignore the litscope, seems at best a cold-blooded judge. erary work as a separate art creation is to But the child's attitude will not last. We forfeit that æsthetic pleasure and profit cannot
about the world as the ancients which is the sweetest fruit of art.” did, environed by the unexplained; and, It is “the indissoluble relation of litersooner or later, our naïveté as readers must ature to human life” of which the book be laid aside among our outgrown mental treats, following by chapters from “ The garments, not without regret and with Book and the Man” to “ Literature as an great tenderness, like some half-pathetic Outgrowth of Life,” “ Literature as a Revsouvenir.
elation of Life," “ Literature and PersonTo those who have laid it aside, or are ality," and so on though the various relaupon the point of doing so; to those who tions of written thought to the age, to the are ready or obliged to look beyond the race, to the nation, and to humanity-the delights of reading as an enchantment, last chapter completing a circle and overand must seek the pleasures of a deepen- lapping the first with its recapitulation. ing insight, the five volumes of literary Being a small book with a large subject, history, philosophy and discussion, which it gives many suggestions for a more comare here grouped together for comment, prehensive study than its space permits, make their appeal. Three of them are by and indeed outlines a complete overhaulteachers of literature in different Ameri- ing and analysis of literature in every can colleges, and all of them are suffi- conceivable relation to life, opening fasciently instructive to recall their readers cinating vistas to the student. The mind to the student's attitude; if it is a part of of the reader expands with interests, and that attitude to hang back a little at the then shrinks a little on realizing something of the vague abstruseness of the mention and brief estimate of
writer problems which would develop out of so of note in England and Europe at the broad a research.
time with which it deals, and of many who Having a less inclusive subject, The are now little known. An index and deEvolution of the English Novel is more tailed chapter summaries make the condetailed. After stating the impossibility tents practicable for reference, while as of tracing an exact evolution of the novel history it shows how the romantic triumph from any other form of literature, or even was characterized in different countries of working out a chronological sequence by “the same new-born love of antiquity, in the development of its different forms, coupled with fervid zeal in attacking the book is divided into sections treating present problems; the same impatience of the novel of personality, the novel of of all that was formal, and measured, and history, the novel of romance, the novel of restrained ; the same awakening of a sense purpose, and the novel of problem, and of largeness, remoteness and mystery, as through it all is traced the underlying law the intellectual horizon widened around; of literary tendency, that “the depiction a passionate sympathy with Nature, and of the external, objective, carnal, precedes, an eager grasping after some higher life in every form of literary expression of than hers.” And it shows, too, how in which we can have record, the consider- this era “ forms consecrated by the preation of the internal, the subjective, the scription of centuries were ruthlessly cast spiritual.” The writer says, “I shall en- aside. The new spirit either invented new deavor to apply this theory to the novel forms or revived old ones, novel from long with intent to suggest that such develop- disuse. ... Independence, originality, ment of expression as we find in form of brilliance and effectiveness at whatever novels advances from the depiction of far- cost were the things really sought and off occurrences and adventures to the nar- prized.” And it ends by saying, “ More ration and representation of contempora- than aught else, perhaps, the Romantic neous, immediate, domestic occurrences; Movement stood for humanity in its widand, finally, to the presentation of con- est sense, made man as man the theme of flicts of the mind and soul beneath the central interest. Our antiquarian zeal, external manifestations. If the theory is our philosophy and economy, our social true we may expect to find at the begin- experiments all date back to this. ning of novel expression a wild romance, the dominating feature of modern thought and at its end an introspective study into and inquiry." motive.” On such lines the much-ques- A contribution which seems conclusive tioned novels of purpose and problem find enough to put an end to an old controva closely studied vindication, while the end ersy comes in Notes on the Bacon-Shakeof the book points out the mission of the speare Question, by Charles Allen. Every modern novel as the real critic of life. possible aspect of the question seems to
More historical and encyclopædic than have been considered in this book, and it the preceding books, The Romantic Tri- is notable for the good-humored patience umph, by T. S. Omond, records the work- with which it meets the many arguments ing out of “that great literary upheaval which many people have put forward in which followed the political revolution of support of that strange theory which 1788," and brings Professor Saintsbury's Delia Bacon first conceived, and to which “Periods of European Literature” down she sacrificed her mind and her life. The to the year 1850. In it may be found author gives full credit to all evidence for
Bacon as author of the plays and poems, to theatrical matters, and the habits and yet his book makes the theory seem more technical language of actors, which formed absurd and groundless than ever, and adds the daily life and speech of Shakespeare, to the wonder that it has lived to need so while Bacon must have been less convermany refutations. The ground covered sant if not entirely unacquainted with by some of the most important chapters them. All of these circumstances tend in is summed up as follows:
a greater or less degree to negative the “It appears that the author of the theory of Bacon's authorship; and the plays took little thought for their preser
combined or cumulative force of so many vation, while Bacon took the greatest detailed facts, all pointing in the same pains to preserve his acknowledged writ- direction, is certainly a consideration of ings, even when their publication must great weight.” be postponed; that he was familiar with The extract shows the reasonable tone English poetry, song and plays, both of the book, as well as giving some idea of published and unpublished, some of the the kind of arguments brought forward. latter having no existence, probably, out- The last book in this group, The Forms side of the theatres, while there is noth- of Prose Literature, is intended for stuing to show that Bacon had any know- dents of English composition, and that it ledge or taste for such writings, or that chances to be good reading for anyone inhe could have had access to the unpub- terested in the processes by which the lished plays, and, in fact, it seems prob- books he enjoys have been produced is able that he despised them all; that simply because it is so well written, from Shakespeare was known and recognized such clear sensible thought. It is refrom poems of conspicuous merit and un- markable for the compact compass into doubted authenticity, while Bacon pro- which it brings essentially all the practiduced no poem worthy of notice, and cally helpful ideas about writing, ideas with a single exception was never spoken such as the unaided writer works out very of by his contemporaries as a writer of slowly from his own experience or gleans poetry; that the author, moreover, shows bit at a time, scattered through the essays an acquaintance with Warwickshire, the of men like Stevenson, or from the genhome of Shakespeare, and used names eral writings of all good writers. The and language relating to habits, customs, older rhetorics, from which the older sports, there prevalent, and to occupations writers drew such nourishment as the with which Shakespeare was familiar, and technical study of literature offered them, also used provincialisms there current, taught writing as one might teach a child while Bacon is not known ever to have to build block houses, so many blocks for visited that part of England; that he was this wall, so many for that, but this book also steeped in knowledge of rural life, teaches it as the art of living must be and of the customs and habitual modes of taught, recognizing that real literature is speech of the lower classes, which Bacon too complex for exact divisions and classiwould naturally have less acquaintance fications, that it is made of elements inwith; that the plays abound in anachron- extricably mingled and subtly working isms, historical errors, and obscurities and upon one another. It can scarcely be other peculiarities of the text, which Ba- praised with too much warmth as likely con was less likely than Shakespeare to to be of the greatest service to any writer, fall into; and that the author was familiar not too far advanced, who feels that he is with, and was full to repletion of allusions working blindfold with tools which he does not understand. Beyond all except- mitted to his greatgrandson, David, who ting chance aid, and continuing through is a cousin of John Gray's, with fewer out a writer's life, are innumerable prob- red corpnscles, perhaps, and more of the lems which he can solve only by himself, natural cleavage of sainthood. Fired with and for himself, but in so far as direction fine young zeal, David sets out to study and understanding can be given by teacher for the ministry; but being at the same to learner, The Forms of Prose Literature time honest and thoughtful, he finds it seems calculated to give it.
impossible to clear a way through the Mary Tracy Earle. jungle of theological briars and under
brush through which he must pass before
he can obtain a license to preach. He THE REIGN OF LAW
finally decides that it is better to be hon
est than orthodox, and meets his pastor ALL
the language of waving wheat fields claims of rival church clans. The pastor will delight in the soft minor prelude is effectually vanquished (though he does which Mr. Allen plays upon the hemp not know it) by David's extemporised fields which furnish the text for his new catechism. The dialogue between these story, The Reign of Law, “What is that two should be read by all quiddling heresy uncertain flush low on the ground, that hunters, who are looking for somebody or irresistible rush of multitudinous green ? something to stick pins into. Poor, harA fortnight and the field is brown no ried heretics will also find it a chortling longer. Overflowing it, burying it out of bit of literature. sight, is the shallow tidal sea of the hemp When David has been expelled from the ever rippling." ... "A hundred days to Bible College for his honesty and his lift out of those tiny seed these powerful doubts, he returns home to be again constalks, hollow, hairy, covered with tough fronted by the same pathetic incapability fibre—that strength of cables when the of comprehension or appreciation in his big ships are tugged at by the joined fury parents. Of the tragic truthfulness of of wind and ocean.”
this picture of the hopeless relations beAgainst the Kentucky hemp fields as a tween David and his parents how many background, Mr. Allen brings out his a son and daughter could testify ! characters, the stern pioneers who went But the hero at last reaches the proverthere to worship God according to their bial turning that belongs to the longest own light, at the same time making it lane. Around the corner of that turning very dark for those who refused to use he finds, of course, the heroine, Gabriella, their own particular brand of theological a damsel who sweet and sound and candle. The hero of the story is first fore- sensible enough to distinguish between a shadowed in the person of his great grand- man of rare mind and character and a father, a delectable liberal who built a
parrot to an absurd and irrelevant creed. church “simply to God, and not to any David's wooing comes late in the story, man's opinion of Him.” The habit of but is carried on with fine verve, humor thinking his own thoughts, and drawing and dispatch. To tell whether his wooing his own conclusions instead of letting prospers would be a weak pampering of some one else draw them for him he trans- somebody's feminine curiosity, but a par
agraph will indicate its effect upon the THE REIGN OF LAW. By James Lane Allen. Macmillan Co., illustrated, 12mo, $1.50.
hero and heroine: “He appeared to her for the first time handsome. He was of several recent books by Chicago writers, better looking When one approaches the latest of which, Mr. Robert Herrick's the confines of love, one nears the borders The Web of Life, is facile princeps. It is of beauty. Nature sets going a certain a social study in the widest sense of the work of decoration, of transformation. word, and an inquiry into the attitude of Had David about this time been a grouse, the poor towards the rich, and of capital he would probably have displayed a pro- towards labor, but it is also an admirable digious ruff. Had he been a bulbul and psychological study, so far as the two continued to feel as he did, he would have women are concerned who play the rôle poured into the ear of night such rounde- of the ewig Weibliche in its pages, Mr. lays as had never been conceived of by Herrick's talent enabling him to combine that disciplined singer.”
a survey of the material interests of our The Reign of Law will especially appeal present-day life—the struggle whose goal to three classes: those who love a lover is financial success, its end often financial (and that is “all mankind "), those who failure—with the deeper things of life; in love nature, and those who are interested other words, his book is literature as well in the great drama of religious evolution, as a social study. The stock exchange with its ever-shifting scenes from the and the railway strike led by Debs and black nights of bigotry, the twilight of crushed by the Federal government furtolerance and the full dawn (which is not nish the leading incidents of his plot, but yet) of perfect liberty. E. B. S. he has justly probed more deeply, and
brought from below the surface a young
physician, who casts in his lot with the CURRENT FICTION
masses, and against the classes. This
transfer of their allegiance by professional HICAGO has had a school of fiction men is notable also, we are told, among
of its own since the publication of the younger Western clergy, who, with Mr. Fuller's “ Cliff-Dwellers," a school educators such as Professor Herron, are whose products are well worth studying, the leaders of the so-called Christian because they reflect the social and eco- socialism, which is making rapid progress nomic tendencies of the West, of which in the West. The book is a gloomy one, the East knows all too little. A growing but an able one as well, a faithful reflecdiscontent with the “existing condition tion of certain important phases, though of things," among the educated poor as not of the whole, of the tendencies of well as the working people, is the keynote present-day American life.
CHICAGO has had a school of fiction
THE WEB OF LIFE. By Robert Herrick. Macmillan Co., 12mo, $1,50.
ELISSA. By H. Rider Haggard. Illustrated. Longmans, Green & Co., 12mo, $1.25.
THE SEA-FARERS. By Mary Gray Morrison. Doubleday, Page & Co., 12mo, $1.50.
GEORGIE By S. E. Kiser. Small, Maynard & Co., 12mo, $1.00,
LAUGHTER OF THE SPHINX. By Albert White Vorse. Illustrated. Drexel Biddle, 12mo, $1.25.
WEIGHED IN THE BALANCE. By Christian Reid. Marlier, Callanan & Co., 12mo, $1.50.
THE SECRET OF THE CRATER. By Duffield Osborne. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 12mo, $1.00.
AN UNSOCIAL SOCIALIST. By George Bernard Shaw. Brentano's, 12mo, $1.50.
EBEN HOLDEN. By Irving Bacheller. Lothrop Pub. Co., 12mo, $1.50.
DEACON BRADBURY, By Edwin Asa Dix. The Century Co., 12mo, $1.50.
POVERTY KNOB. By Sarah Warner Brooks. A. Wessels, 16mo, $1.25.
EDWARD BARRY. By Louis Becke. Illustrated. L. C. Page & Co., 12mo, $1.50.
THE MAN THAT CORRUPTED HADLEYBURG. By Mark Twain. Illustrated. Harper & Bros., crown 8vo, $1.75.
THE GIRL AT THE HALFWAY HOUSE. By E. Hough, D. Appleton & Co., 12mo, $1,50.