The influence of literature upon society. To which is prefixed a memoir of the life and writings of the author [by D. Boileau].

Front Cover
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 293 - twas wondrous pitiful : She wish'd she had not heard it ; yet she wish'd That heaven had made her such a man : she thank'd me; And bade me, if I had a friend that lov'd her, I should but teach him how to tell my story, And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake"; She lov'd me for the dangers I had pass'd, And I lov'd her, that she did pity them.
Page 299 - Philoctetes is the only example of any theatrical effect being produced by it; and in this instance, it was the heroic cause of his wounds that fixed the attention of the spectators. Physical sufferings may be related, but cannot be represented. It is not the author, but the actor, who cannot express himself with grandeur; it is not the ideas, but the senses, which refuse to lend their aid to this style of imitation. In short, one of the greatest faults which Shakspeare can be accused of, is his...
Page 299 - ... more atrocious. — Nevertheless, can there be any thing more difficult in an elevated style, or more nearly allied to ridicule, than the imitation of an ill-shaped man upon the stage? Every thing in nature may interest the mind; but upon the stage, the illusion of sight must be treated with the most scrupulous caution, or every serious effect will be irreparably destroyed. Shakspeare also represented physical sufferings much too often. Philoctetes is the only example of any theatrical effect...
Page 288 - There must be an infinity of talent to be able to convey this sentiment from real life to the stage, and to preserve it in all its force: but when once it is accomplished, the effect which it produces is more nearly allied to reality than any other. It is for the man alone that we are interested, and not by sentiments which are often but a theatrical romance: it is by a sentiment so nearly approaching the impressions of life, that the illusion is still the greater. Even when Shakspeare represents...
Page 291 - ... deep recesses of crimes were opened to the eyes of Shakspeare, and he descended into the gloomy abyss to observe their torments. In England, the troubles and civil commotions which preceded their liberty, and which were always occasioned by their spirit of independence, gave rise much oftener than in France to great crimes and great virtues. There are in the English history many more tragical situations than in that of the French; and nothing opposes their exercising their talents upon national...
Page 301 - It may be a question, whether the theatre of republican France, like the English theatre, will now admit of their heroes being painted with all their foibles, the virtues with their inconclusiveness, and common circumstances connected with elevated situations? In short, will the tragic characters be taken from recollection, from human life, or from the beautiful ideal?— This is a question which I propose to discuss after having spoken of the tragedies of Racine and Voltaire. I shall also examine,...
Page 289 - That haughty repugnance to unlimited obedience, which at all times characterised the English nation, was probably what inspired their national poet with the idea of assailing the passions of his audience by pity rather than by admiration. The tears which were given by the French to the sublime characters of their tragedies, the English author drew forth for private sufferings ; for those who were forsaken ; and for such a long list of the unfortunate, that we cannot entirely sympathize with Shakspeare's...
Page 290 - Macbeth," admits of fatality, which was necessary in order to procure a pardon for the criminal; but he does not, on account of this fatality, dispense with the philosophical gradations of the sentiments of the mind. This piece would be still more admirable if its grand effects were produced without the aid of the marvellous, although this marvellous consists, as one may say, only of phantoms of the imagination, which are made to appear before the eyes of the spectators. They are not mythological...
Page 315 - And worthy seem'd : for in their looks divine The image of their glorious Maker shone, Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure (Severe, but in true filial freedom placed), Whence true authority in men ; though both Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd ; For contemplation he and valour form'd...
Page 173 - ... character and government. The history of Sallust, the letters of Brutus *, and the works of Cicero, are recalled most powerfully to the remembrance : we feel the strength of mind through the beauty of the style ; we discover the man in the author, the nation in the man, and the universe at the feet of the nation. Neither Sallust nor Cicero were the greatest characters of the age in which they lived ; but writers that possessed such extraordinary talents, must necessarily imbibe the spirit and...

Bibliographic information