lectual subtilties, the moral enthusiasms, the psychological tact of the author ; in fine, a kindred spirit, and with it a devotion which no obstacles could deter, and a patience which no difficulties could baffle.

With such conditions, success could hardly fail. That success has been attained in as great a measure, perhaps, as the nature of the case admits. We do not pretend that Mr. Brooks's version is faultless, that there may not be an occasional slip, and here and there a misapprehension or imperfect rendering of the original, or that the translator, on a careful revision, would find nothing to amend ; but this we will say, that a better translation, on the whole, of so long and difficult a work, is not within our knowledge. Readers who know the romance in its native form will not be disappointed in our American-English Titan, and those who are first introduced to it through the medium of these two neat volumes, bearing the typographical impress of Ticknor and Fields, and embodying the result of so much toil and care, will thank Mr. Brooks for a nearer acquaintance with one of the noblest and most genial spirits that have ever wrought in the realm of letters.

Jean Paul has no prototype and no antitype in literature. He is " Jean Paul the Only." There is no second instance of such wild humor, such rollicking mirth blending with such lofty flights, such profound intuition, such passionate sentiment, such exuberant fancy, such tragic pathos, in one and the same writer. Put Tristram Shandy and Bacon's Essays, Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living and Hood's Whims and Oddities into one work; mix Lamb with Milton, Sir Thomas Browne with Christopher North ; shuffle De Quincey and Coleridge together, and the combination will bear some resemblance to the motley composition of Richter's genius. No writer excels him in sensuous imagination, none in sympathy with nature, -in loving converse with all the phases of earth and sky. None equals him in exuberant fancy, in fervent humanity, in genial humor. Among other qualities, and above all, there breathes through his writings victorious HEALTH.

Yet one essential attribute of genius, one indispensable gift, he utterly lacked, — the gift of form. He was no artist. Casual suggestion, not the predetermining idea, prevails in his works. There is nothing of the “forma formans formam formatam translucens." Order and proportion and harmonious adjustment are altogether wanting. Most of his productions are but the emptyings of his commonplace books, and his commonplace-books were the indiscriminate reservoirs of all the gleanings of his indiscriminate studies, and all his quips and fancies. The puerile ambition of displaying all he knew of unfamiliar specialties in unexpected lines of inquiry, the childish incontinence which suppresses nothing, but blurts out every conceit and parades every witticism without regard to time and place, he never outgrew. Whatever, at the time of writing, popped into his head, must


paper, that it might not be lost. He somewhere confesses his desire to give to the world, before he died, every thought of his mind.

A heavy deduction this from the satisfaction of his writings. They are overloaded, bewildering, oppressive. Blooming plantations, gor

down upon

geous as the “ Heart of the Andes,” spread out before us, in vite, but baffle our steps. Wild luxuriance obstructs the path ; we are lost in a wilderness of parasitic growths. Disfiguring suckers sprout from all the boles, tangles of hanging moss and trailing creepers depend from all the branches.

Another defect in Richter's writings, as judged by English standards of propriety, is want of delicacy. No one will question the author's purity of heart, but most English readers will condemn his taste in that part of the plot of this romance to which the translator alludes in the Preface. We entirely agree with Mr. Brooks in the ethics of nonomission, and only regret the occasion for any question on that point.

With regard to the title “ Titan,” all attempts to explain it are purely conjectural. The supposition of the French writer quoted and indorsed by Mr. Brooks does not satisfy us. The word when used in the sense assumed in this hypothesis has usually the plural form. If, as this critic supposes, the intention was to designate an age, a civilization, would not the author have said “ Die Titanen"? If an individual heaven-defier is intended, it must be Roquairol ; but to suppose that the work takes its name from a subordinate character, one who serves only as foil to the hero of the piece, is contrary to all the rules of art, and to all probability. It would be like giving to the play of Othello the name of Iago, or that of Sancho Panza to “ Don Quixote.”

We incline to the belief that the word is used in a good sense; that the Titan here is the one who is also called Hyperion, the sun-god; — not the heaven-storming, but the heaven-traversing (üèp iór), the son of Cælus and of Terra, deriving his ideal and mission from the one, the topics and conditions of his action from the other, his life the resultant of the two. Such is Richter's hero, Albano.

The following extract may serve as a specimen at once of the author's fire and the translator's skill, The youth Albano is taken blindfolded in a boat to Isola Bella in Lago Maggiore, where from the summit of the island, the bandage being removed from his eyes, he sees the sunrise.

“ The veiled dreamer heard, as they ascended with him the ten terraces of the garden, the deep-drawn sigh and shudder of joy close beside him, and all the quick entreaties of astonishment; but he held the bandage fast, and went blindfold from terrace to terrace, thrilled with orange fragrance, refreshed by higher, freer breezes, fanned by laurel-foliage, - and when they had gained at last the highest terrace, and looked down upon the lake, heaving its green waters sixty ells below, then Schoppe cried, “Now! Now!' But Cesara said, “No! the sun first !' and at that moment the morning wind flung up the sunlight gleaming through the dark twigs, and it flamed free on the summits, – and Dian snatched off the bandage, and said, 'Look round !' 0 God!' cried he with a shriek of ecstasy, as all the gates of the new heaven flew open, and the Olympus of nature, with its thousand reposing gods, stood around him. What a world! There stood the Alps, like brother giants of the Old World, linked together, far away in the past, holding high up over against the sun the shining shields of the glaciers. The giants wore blue girdles of forest, and at their feet lay hills and vineyards, and through the aisles and arches of grape-clusters the morning winds played with cascades as with watered silk ribbons, and the liquid brimming mirror of the lake hung down by the ribbons

from the mountains, and they fluttered down into the mirror, and a carved work of chestnut woods formed its frame. . Albano turned slowly round and round, looked into the heights, into the depths, into the sun, into the blossoms; and on all summits burned the alarm-fires of mighty Nature, and in all depths their reflections, a creative earthquake beat like a heart under the earth and sent forth mountains and seas. .... O then, when he saw on the bosom of the infinite mother the little swarming children, as they darted by under every wave and under every cloud, - and when the morning breeze drove distant ships in between the Alps, — and when Isola Madre towered up opposite to him, with her seven gardens, and tempted him to lean upon the air and be wafted over on level sweep from his summit to her own, — and when he saw the pheasants darting down from the Madre into the waves, then did he seem to stand like a storm-bird with ruffled plumage on his blooming nest, his arms were lifted like wings by the morning wind, and he longed to cast himself over the terrace after the pheasants, and cool his heart in the tide of Nature.”

[ocr errors]

MISCELLANEOUS. One need not have lived in the country to enter into the spirit of Gail Hamilton's "Country Living and Country Thinking.”* Indeed, no person but a resident of Boston, or one familiar with its streets and buildings, can fully appreciate the exquisite humor of the essay entitled “ Boston and Home Again,” and on the other hand every parent must feel the truthfulness of the sketch of “Tommy.” The thirteen essays included in the volume all have the peculiar flavor of country life, and it is to this characteristic that they owe much of their attractiveness; but they are not confined to rural objects alone, and the thoughts are inspired by the study of men and books as well as by the study of nature. The style is at once fresh, vigorous, and flexible, and always adapted to the mood of the writer and the varying demands of her subject. In her hands language is an instrument by which the most various effects may be produced, and which never fails to give forth the exact note which she requires from it. In rapid narrative or picturesque description, in persuasive appeal or stern rebuke, in giving a clear and logical statement of some momentous truth, or revelling in some untamed flight of the imagination, in the carefully elaborated sentences which gradually rise into a burst of lofty and sustained eloquence, or in the animated colloquialisms of ordinary conversation, her style is equally deserving of praise. Her wit is lively and trenchant, her humor fresh and genial; and there is scarcely one of her essays in which these qualities are not largely and happily exhibited. Her opinions of men and things are expressed with boldness and frankness, and her speculations on abstract themes are characterized by great goodsense, though there is occasionally, as in the essay entitled “ Lights among the Shadows of our Civil War," a certain narrowness of view and positiveness of tone which much diminish their value. Admirable as are some of her graver discussions, it is in the lighter papers that her great merits as an essayist are chiefly shown. Our recent lit

Country Living and Country Thinking. By Gail Hamilton. Boston : Ticknor and Fields.

erature has nothing better of the kind than “Moving,” “My Garden," and “ Winter.” One must be dull indeed who does not perceive and heartily relish their genuine humor.

One caution we must add. The exuberant play of the writer's mind is in imminent danger of running into garrulousness. Let her beware of that unpardonable literary sin. The volume, like the Sibylline scroll, would be worth more with one third off.


To those who are acquainted with the “Country Parson's” previous volumes, it is unnecessary to set forth the qualities of his " Graver Thoughts." * The brief introductory chapter, " Sundays Long Ago," is one of his most felicitous sketches, dealing with the church-going and Sunday habits of Scotland. The rest of the volume is made up of sermons. The titles “ How God feels towards Mankind,” “ The Thorn in the Flesh,” “ The Gift of Sleep," “ Jabez,” “ A Great Multitude a Sad Sight,"

,” “ The Resurrection of the Body," " The Great Voice from Heaven" are suggestive of the writer's style of illustration of religious topics, — easy, wholesome, winning, and genial, without losing the gravity promised in the title.

OF Mr. Frothingham's charming little volume of the Parables-f of Jesus, disfigured, we regret to say, by deplorable “illustrations," we copy the brief comment of a correspondent: “ The anachronisms rather shock my critical sense, but the style is exquisite, and the spirit beautiful and noble. It is the best child's book I have seen for a long time.” The anachronisms spoken of are such, for example, as the scenes of fast life in New York, along with the scenery of Babylon the great, which is elaborately and skilfully described in the story of the Prodigal Son. Little “ shocks” of this sort keep the attention alive, while the moral lesson is wonderfully freshened and brought home.

The brief selection of religious poems # made by Professor Child is of a far higher order of merit than most similar volumes. It contains, in the original, the great hymn of the Middle Age, “ Dies Iræ," and of the Reformation, “ Ein' feste Burg,” the latter with Dr. Hedge's translation. Herbert and Tennyson are the names which occur oftenest in the list of authors, which also includes those of Spenser, Milton, Vaughan, Trench, Whittier, Sterling, Keble, and Mrs. Browning. Choice selections of this nature cannot be too greatly multiplied.

An indispensable chapter in the patriotic literature of the time is

* Graver Thoughts of a Country Parson. Boston : Ticknor and Fields. † Stories from the Lips of the Teacher. Retold by a Disciple. Boston : Walker, Wise, & Co.

Poems of Religious Sorrow, Comfort, Counsel, and Aspirations. New York: Sheldon & Co.

found in Professor Child's “ War Songs.” The few which we have formed acquaintance with are admirable. Devotion, heroism, fun, the three grand forms of manifestation of the martial mind, are about equally represented. Of the music, it is enough to say that it is gathered largely from the German students' songs. The profits of the sale are devoted to the circulation of these songs in our camps.

LEST peradventure some of our readers may not enjoy the holiday delight of reading Mrs. Frémont's “ Story of the Guard,” we hope to find space in our next number for a few words of this most perfectly chivalrous chapter of the war, and of that charge at Springfield of a hundred and fifty against twenty-two hundred, - simple bravery, not “rashness” (see p. 127), — which well deserves to go down in history beside the Balaklava“ Charge of the Light Brigade.” At present, we can only say a single word of thanks to the accomplished writer, who has given us, if not a book (as she says), yet a picture of real life worth many books; and state that it was first prepared “ to get some immediate assistance for the families [of the Guard], upon whom the winter was coming without their usual support,” and for whose benefit it is now offered to the public. We bespeak it a cordial reception and large sale.



Sermons preached and revised by the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon. 7th Series. New York : Sheldon & Co. 12mo. pp. 378.

Lectures on Moral Science, delivered before the Lowell Institute, Boston. By Mark Hopkins, D. D., LL. D. Boston: Gould and Lincoln. 12mo.

pp. 304.

Jubilee Essays: a Plea for the Unselfish Life. Boston: Crosby and Nichols. 12mo. pp. 243.

The Graver Thoughts of a Country Parson. Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 12mo. pp. 307. (See p. 154.)

A Present Heaven. Addressed to a Friend, by the Author of “ The Patience of Hope.” Boston : Ticknor and Fields. i8mo. pp. 172.

Broadcast. By Nehemiab Adams, D. D. Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 18mo. pp. 210.

The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua critically examined. By the Right Rev. John William Colenso, D. D., Bishop of Natal. New York: V. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 229. (See p. 133.)

* War-Songs for Freemen. Boston : Ticknor and Fields.

† The Story of the Guard. By Jessie BENTON FRÉMONT. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

« ElőzőTovább »