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at a time. The redundancies, even the blemishes, which Stevenson pared off from Scott's structure, were really the signs of a fully nourished vitality. On the other hand, the novelists of whom Mr. Howells and Mr. James are the best representatives derive principally from Thackeray, and they, on their part, pushed to the extreme Thackeray's principle of finding his matter in the commonplace concerns of daily life treated in a method that dispensed even with caricature. As Stevenson said, “Vanity Fair' would not be what it is were it not for Rawdon Crawley's blow in the face of Lord Steyn. Human nature cries out for some such quickening of the blood; and Mr. Howells will only tell us about the patterns which a young lady at the crisis of her fate described in the sand with the point of her parasol. In the very best of his books a degree of most unusual intensity is reached when Silas Lapham awakes to the consciousness that he has taken one night a glass too many of champagne. And yet either theory is sound in the main-Stevenson's, that a novelist should have a story to tell worth telling, and should discard rigidly whatever is not essential to the story; and Mr. Howells's, that the novel must rest on experience and be tried by experience, and that the most interesting thing in life is some modification of the commonplace. But the artist who begins to work on a theory is almost invariably born in an unlucky hour, past the golden age and the glorious rule of thumb.
Briefly, then, it seems to us that the best days of the novel, as we have understood the novel, are over. Prose fiction may throw itself with equal success into some other mould, though probably not till a period has gone by. The novel of the twentieth century will hardly rival the novel of the nineteenth, though it is devoutly to be hoped that the drama may make amends. The more one considers contemporary work the more unapproachable seems the large creative faculty of the great three-Scott, Dickens, and Thackeray ; nor do the ladies of to-day come much nearer to the impeccable art of Miss Austen, the wider range of George Eliot, or the fierce power of Charlotte Brontë. The work of our contemporaries is more strained, more self-conscious, less leisurely, than was that of the other novelists who still survive, and Mrs. Gaskell will probably outlast almost all who are writing to-day. It is difficult to conceive a generation which should be indifferent to the mellow charm, the rich rustic poetry, of Blackmore's 'Lorna Doone'; and Charles Reade's romance The Cloister and the Hearth' will
begins to work
Brieten, age and the conably born in an n
hold readers while men care for the sustained fire of invention. These books belong to the old order, and so do Kingsley's, intensely modern as they seemed in their day. What survives in Kingsley's work is the personality of the author, potent in its appeal to youth, strong in its limitations, its passionate narrowness. The new order begins with Mr. Meredith, and secured its ascendency through Stevenson, Mr. Meredith's ardent disciple. How its works will last remains to be seen; but one may say with conviction than an age which neglects them will miss a mine of pleasure and enlightenment. The most casual survey of what has been done in the last fifty years will reveal the application of a surprising deal of talent, not only in the work of constant writers, but in the novels written either by the men of one book—such as 'Johp Inglesant” (for no other publication by its author showed that concentration of a lifetime)-or by men whose true work lay elsewhere, yet who embodied in this form the results of their experience and knowledge, and of whom Lord Beaconsfield in his later books is the capital example.
ART. IX.-1. Seizième Siècle : Études Littéraires. Paris :
Société Française d'imprimerie et de librairie. 1901. 2. Dix-septième Siècle : Études Littéraires. Paris : Société
Française d'imprimerie et de librairie. 1901. 3. Dix-huitième Siècle : Études Littéraires. Paris : Société
Française d'imprimerie et de librairie. 1901. 4. Dix-neuvième Siècle : Études Littéraires. Paris : Société
Française d'imprimerie et de librairie. 1901. 5. Politiques et Moralistes du Dix-neuvième Siècle. 1re Série.
Paris : Société Française d'imprimerie et de librairie. 1901. 6. Politiques et Moralistes du Dix-neuvième Siècle. 2me Série.
Paris : Société Française d'imprimerie et de librairie. 1901. 7. Politiques et Moralistes du Dix-neuvième Siècle. 3me Série.
Paris : Société Française d'imprimerie et de librairie. 1901. 8. Questions Politiques. Paris : Librairie Armand Colin. 1902. THE somewhat cynical saying of Ecclesiastes that there is
no new thing under the sun appears, according to the point of view from which it is regarded, either a truism or an untruth : the former, if we take it to mean that there is no such thing as an absolutely new departure in experience ; the latter, if it be construed into a denial of the fact that experience is for ever presenting itself to us under new forms. Taken, however, in an intermediate sense, it contains a truth: the ideas which form the content of consciousness, though capable of entering into endless combinations, are limited in number. As from the few notes of the musical scale the composer builds up the complex harmony of the fugue or the symphony, so out of a few elementary perceptions and feelings the statesman, the poet, the philosopher construct their masterpieces each in his respective kingdom of fact, fancy, and thought. It is not easy to resolve these, in the completed forms in which they come before us, into their elements : the original matter is disguised or transformed in the using—the brick faced with marble, the gases cooled into consistency, the separate fused into the whole. And this difficulty is greater or less according to the complexity of the structure: it is easier, for instance, to analyse American institutions than European; the centuries of growth which lie behind the latter have left their history entangled and their origins obscure. In the case of our own country our national character aggravates
the task. Judgement rather than intelligence is the note of the English mind. We distrust ideas as such; they must come to us in the garb of custom, or even of prejudice: it is the reason latent in unreason that commends itself to us; precedent rather than logic is our guide. The Latin races are differently constituted : ideas possess them; the fallacy of logic, than which no fallacy is greater or more mischievous, besets their way. For this very reason, however, it is easier to trace the developement of thought among them than among ourselves: it moves unchecked from premiss to inference and from syllogism to syllogism, ignoring the difference between pure and applied science, careless of the gulf that separates formula from fact. No English writers are so consequent, in the literal sense of the word, as Rousseau, as De Maistre, as Comte. Happily for England, we may believe ; for, from the practical point of view, our illogicalness has been our salvation : the more rigorously men reason from necessarily imperfect premisses the wider of the truth are the conclusions at which they arrive. But the logic of French thought, fallacious in itself, facilitates the enquiries of the historian of ideas : nowhere do these command such an assent, gain such a following, or stand out in such strong relief. The German mind is more profound, the English sounder, but in intelligence pure and simple the French is superior to either. It is the soil of all others in which ideas flourish. If we would watch their growth, follow their developement, and inspect their content, we shall do so to the best advantage here.
Nor would it be easy to find a more competent guide than M. Faguet: he is recommended by his qualities, and not disqualified by their accompanying defects. It might, perhaps, be maintained without paradox that these constitute an additional recommendation. There are two M. Faguets indeed, an impersonal and a personal, an exponent and a controversialist: but in both the temperament which has been described as French is dominant, both are possessed by rather than possess ideas. Of both the criticism of M. Pellissier, trop cérébral pour être artiste,'* holds good : M. Faguet has more intelligence than sensibility; neither humour, nor sympathy, nor lightness of touch is his. His thinking is as nearly as possible pure brain-work; his one aim is to render the idea to the life. Hence a
* Le Mouvement Littéraire Contemporain, p. 245.
certain indifference to completeness and consistency, because these qualities, as he conceives them, are incompatible with perfect accuracy of description. System- une idée chez
ceux qui ne sont pas très capables d'en avoir plusieurs, ou une • passion chez ceux qui sont incapables de penser autre • chose que ce qu'ils sentent'-is too limited and too individual for his austerely objective temper. A great writer, he holds—and perhaps he is himself an example of it--is not one man but many men. No one formula expresses him; each has various formulas, one modifying the other, and in its turn modified by the rest: consistency is too dearly bought at the expense of truth. His treatment of Bossuet and Fénelon respectively is an example of this : the former had in him more of the thinker, the latter of the churchman, than we are apt to suppose ; and M. Faguet describes without attempting to reconcile or co-ordinate the characteristics of each.* There is a fine detachment in this absence of preconception, this aloofness. Except in the prefaces attached to the several volumes of his worksprefaces which, at once concise and suggestive, call for and will repay scrupulously careful reading-his personal views and sympathies seldom reveal themselves, and when they appear to do so it is rather as pointing out what others have overlooked than as pressing the note of private judgement. M. Faguet is the most impersonal as he is the most intelli.. gent of critics, reproducing rather than depicting, eliciting rather than reading in. If criticism be, as he describes it,
un don de vivre d'une infinité de vies étrangères, avec cette
clarté de conscience que ne peut avoir que celui qui est "assez fort pour se détacher et s'abstraire et regarder en
étranger sa propre âme,' he may be assigned high rank as a critic; few have mastered the difficult art of putting themselves in the place of others so well as he. So far is this self-effacement carried that a criticism of his works resolves itself in great measure into a criticism of the writers and periods passed under review by him; he is, as nearly as it is possible to be, a reflecting medium-a mirror of ideas. The question that occurs is, What has he seen? And the answer is that little has escaped him: he has seen almost, if not quite, all that there is to see. So much for the impersonal M. Faguet. But, as has been said, there is a personal, contrasting with the other as Mr. Jekyll to Dr. Hyde. Possessed, as before, by an idea, but here by a per