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BOOKS AND AUTHORS.
Mr. Hall Caine, having "done" the Anglican church, and the Church of Rome in his fiction, is now reported as about to publish a novel dealing with Noncomformlty.
Mr. William Le Queux has turned historian; and his history of San Marine, for which tiny republic he now nets as British Consul, is to be published this season with illustrations.
It is announced that a life of Bret Harte is to be written by his intimate friend, Mr. T. Edgar Pemberton, who will have at his disposal material supplied by relatives and friends.
The English publishers of Charles Dickens's writings report that their annual sales for a number of years have averaged a quarter of a million copies. Evidently it is premature to speak of Dickens as waning in popularity.
"The Scott Country" which is on the list of the Macmillana for speedy publication will appeal strongly to lovers of Scott. It is the work of William Shillinglaw Crockett, who is familiar with every foot of the famous Borderland and with all the associations which connect it with the life of Scott.
Three American authors have already been selected for the proposed "American Extension" of the Macmillans' English Men of Letters series. They are Lowell, Franklin and Emerson, and the biographies are to be written by Dr. Henry Van Dyke, Mr. Owen Wister, and Professor George Edward Woodberry.
The Macmillans have on their list, for early publication, Matthew Arnold's "Notebooks" with a preface by his daughter, the Hon. Mrs. Wodehouse. The originals were slender notebooks in which Mr. Arnold, from 1852 to 1888. was accustomed to jot down examination notes, lists of books for reading, and citations from books which had pleased him. The forthcoming volume is made up of the literary entries of every fifth year, printed in the form and order of the original, and illustrating Mr. Arnold's literary methods and habits of thought.
An amusing and profitable little book is Mr. Leon Mead's volume on "WordCoinage," which Thomas Y. Crowell & Co. publish: amusing especially in its chapters on Neologisms by Living American Authors, the material for which is largely contributed in personal notes to Mr. Mead by the authors themselves: and profitable, from the light which it throws upon the hundreds of hidden sources from which a really living language derives new synonyms and shades of meaning. It is interesting to observe how large a proportion of the authors from whom Mr. Mead sought confessions were zealous to disclaim responsibility for new words.
The "Athenaeum" remarks that there is perhaps nothing more certain to turn up than a second copy of a "unique" book. It gives the following illustration:
For over four centuries the now famous 1493 edition of the Malerml Bible (Venice) was as completely lost as if it had never existed. Within about a month of each other two copies were discovered, one by Mr. Voynlch in Italy and the other by the Due de Rivoli in Vienna. Quite recently a third copy has been unearthed by a Continental bookseller, and doubtless other examples will be found in due course. A fine copy is worth at least £300.
Another instance is Charles Lamb's bit of nursery verse "The King and Queen of Hearts" for which an enthusiastic collector paid $1,110 last March. The discovery first of a second copy and then of a third brought the price down to $25.
The Shakespeare Cyclopaedia and New Glossary, edited by John Phin, and published by the Industrial Publication Company of New York is a very useful handbook to the study of Shakespeare. It gives the meaning of the old and unusual words found in Shakespeare's works, and of ordinary words used in unusual senses and forms of construction, together with explanations of idiomatic phrases and of mythological, biographical and antiquarian references, and notes on folk-lore, local traditions, legends, allusions, proverba and old English customs. Some Shakespearean students may spurn such information as too elementary; but there can be no question that the ordinary reader of Shakespeare will find his pleasure greatly promoted by the use of this book for ready reference, and it is also calculated to assist the school study of Shakespeare. Professor Edward Dowden, one of the most eminent of Shakespearean scholars, gives Mr. Phin's work high praise and furnishes for it an introduction on "The Language of Shakespeare Considered as an Encyclopedia of Contemporary Knowledge."
As a striking example of the effect sometimes produced by an untrained writer, the London "Academy" quotes the following extract from a narrative
of the eruptioo at Martinique by Mr: Freeman of the British steamer "Roddam," found in a recent Blue Book:
The Captain approached and saw the steamship "Roraima" and the "Grappler" in the bay riding quietly at anchor, so he dropped his anchor close to the shore. At about 8.15 he was in the chart room—a good many of the sailors were leaning over the side of the vessel watching the distant mountain, which was emitting dense clouds of smoke and occasional flashes of light. Mr. Campbell was talking to Mr. Plissoneau on the deck. On a sudden he (the Captain) heard a tremendous noise, as though the entire land had parted asunder. Simultaneous with the noise there was a great rush of wind, which immediately agitated the sea, and tossed the shipping to and fro; he rushed out of the chart room, and looking over the town and across the hills he saw a sight he cannot describe. He remembers calling out to Mr. Campbell and saying "look," and then'an avalanche of lava was upon them. It immediately caught the town afire as it passed over it, likewise the shipping. It struck his ship with the terrible force of a mighty hammer, and the lava rained upon the deck. Everyone, as far as he could see, sought shelter at once, but the heat was so great and the air so suffocating that Mr. Campbell and many of the crew, among whom was the Chief Mate, threw themselves in despair overboard. Some crawled from where they had hidden themselves on to the deck to obtain a breath of air and were roasted upon the fiery hot ashes. He did not lose his head, his first thought was to try and save his ship and such of his crew as were still alive. He rang the bell for full speed astern, and the heroes below turned on the steam. He had time to slip his anchor, and he was off. As his steering gear was rather difficult to manage he once or twice nearly ran foul of the steamship "Roraima" which was on fire. He saw two still figures standing on the bridge with arms folded heroically awaiting their end. One of them waved a good-bye to him.
BELLS IN THE NIGHT.
The clear angelic voices of the bells Ring through the night—bereft of
even a star— And call to wandering souls, alone,
afar, From that great deep of love which
ever wells To pour on dust-dry hearts cool waves
There is no light to point the heavenward way; The bells ring out. in clamorous joy
And summon prisoned souls to claim release.
At your first note all evil spirits fly;
Illusive sorrow melts like cloud away. Ring in, glad bells, joy's everlasting
We hail ye through a mist of happy tears.
THE ORGANIST IN HEAVEN.
When Wesley died, the Angelic orders,
To see him at the state,
Forgot to shut the gate.
As one with grief o'ercast. Where for the doors a space was hollowed,
Crept in, and heard what passed. And God said:—"Seeing thou hast given
Thy life to my great sounds, Choose thou through all the cirque of Heaven
What most of bliss redounds." Then Wesley said:—"I hear the thunder
Low growling from Thy seatGrant me that I may bind it under
The trampling of my feet" And Wesley said:—"See, lightning quivers
Upon the presence walls—
Lord, give me of it four great rivers.
To be my manuals."
As slave to his desire;
With four great bands of fire; And stage by stage, stop stop subtending,
Each lever strong and true, One shape inextricable blending,
The awful organ grew.
In very marvellous wise,
Concealed him from mine eyes.
The innocent figure ran; So breathed the breath of his preluding,
And then the fugue began— Began; but, to his office turning,
The porter swung his key; Wherefore, although my heart was yearning,
I had to go; but he Played on; and, as I downward clomb,
I heard the mighty bars Of thunder-gusts, that shook heaven's dome,
And moved the balanced stars.
T. E. Brown.
Faintly, far off the nightjar calls, The nightjar calls, and the fields are
deep in grass Wild roses star the hedge by which
we pass As twilight falls.
As twilight falls on the green combe, On the green combe where the calm
cyed cattle lie, They scarcely raise their heads as we
In the soft gloom one bird-voice sings.
in his nest. And from the .distant church, calling
to rest The curfew rings.
The I/elidre Honr.
I have long been wishing to write something about Hermann Sudermnnn. The position which he holds in contemporary German literature is quite unique. We must account him the foremost of contemporary Teutonic novelists and dramatists. And his works, if carefully studied, throw a flood of light upon the existing state of society in his country, or, if we like so to put it, upon the phase of civilization in which his country now is. He is unquestionably a great painter of manners. And to say that is to say much. I take it that the qualities which go to make a great painter of manners are sense and sensibility, sagacity and suppleness, openness of mind and originality of thought, depth of feeling and delicacy of touch. Now the union of these qualities in any man is very rare. And, therefore, a great painter of manners is seldom met with. If we weigh the matter well, the power of seeing, of feeling, of understanding, of expressing what is around us, are none of them common endowments. Do not the majority of men go through life with their eyes shut, their heart closed, their brain dull, and their tongue. If not dumb, merely uttering like Gratlano's, "an infinite deal of nothing"? But Hermann Sudermann sees, feels.
understands, and describes his age. He sets before us the reality of things— not the coarse transcript from the street which a vulgar realism presents, but life which has passed through the fire of thought. Art was long ago described by Aquinas in three pregnant words, "recta ratio factibilium." And Hermann Sudermann is, in the full sense, a literary artist. Let us consider a little what that means. Intellect, imagination, order, a vivid and colored diction? Yes, it means all that, but it means more: these things do not suffice to constitute a man a literary artist. Art is essentially creative, as the words of the Angelic Doctor imply. It is the fruit partly of the writer's fecund and felicitous nature, partly of his environment—the circumstances and dispositions of his time—and partly, too—I am speaking, be it remembered, of literature—of the state of the language. There are In the life of a nation what we may call literary epochs, when the common fund of thought and ideas gives the writer a sort of medium through which to communicate with his readers. And then we get a literature smacking of the soil and instinct with national character.
This is the kind of literature to which Sudermann has made most valuable contributions. And, therefore, it is that a careful and minute study of his works is an enterprise which, from many points of view, is well worth undertaking. It is far too great an enterprise for me to engage in at present. In this brief paper I can only glance at the latest of his dramas, and, in my judgment, the best of them. Es lebe das Leben, appears to me a far more skilfully conceived and finely chiselled bit of work than even Die Ehre or Sodom's Ende. It is richer in observation of character and in psychological power, and breathes a far profounder inspiration. It represents —so it eeems to me—the high-water mark of the author's genius.
The time of Es lebe das Leben is the end of the nineteenth century, and the place Berlin. Count Michael von Kellinghausen has just resigned his seat in the Reichstag. Baron Richard von Volkerlingk is a candidate for the vacant seat: and when the curtain rises, we find Ludwig von Volkerlingk, his half-brother, who holds office as a Secretary of State, in Count Michael's house, discussing with Richard's secretary, Herr Holtzmann, his chances of success. The contest, which is drawlug to an end, has been a severe one, and foremost among Richard's opponents is one Meixner, who formerly filled Holtzmann's post, but has become a leader among the Social Democrats. While they are talking, Beate, the wife of Michael von Kellinghausen, appears, and with her Dr. Kahlenberg, her physician, who has just paid her a professional visit. She is intensely interested in the election—too much interested to please her medical attendant, for she is suffering from a malady of the heart. He cautions her against excitement . "Ah!" she exclaims, "not to be agitated, not to think, not to laugh, not to weep —in a word, not to live!" Her frail frame is brimming over with psychical vitality. She is, as the Secretary of
State calls her, "the Egeria of their party," though she modestly disclaims any merit beyond that of a good listener when clever men talk.
She and Richard von Volkerlingk are old and intimate friends. Some years ago his political career was brought to an abrupt close, on his failure to secure his re-election to the Reichstag; and she intensely desires that he should capture the seat vacated by her husband. He comes to see her, and to await with her the news of the result which his secretary is to bring. This is the scene which closes the First Act. It is, I think, the most powerful in the play, save one, and gives the clue to the whole drama. Let us dwell upou it a little.
They are together in Beate's drawing-room, she and Richard von Volkerlingk, waiting, as we saw, for the electors' verdict. "Will he not dine with her t(te-d,-tete that evening," she asks. "No!" he replies, "he can't, his wife— Leonie—has asked some diplomatic and clerical bigwigs, and he must be at home to entertain them." The tension of the nerves of both is extreme—the enthusiastic, devoted woman; the highly gifted, ambitious man. He speaks with scorn of the last fourteen days in which he has been carted about from village to village like an itinerant dentist, to fawn upon ignorant and needy peasants, pntting before them visions of freedom—free beer and warm sausages—and stooping to all the paltry arts which a man must now employ who would win his way to political power; and finding as his chief opponent his ex-secretary Meixner! "Grauenvoll!" he exclaims, with disgust. But Michael has been an invaluable ally. He, good, honest gentleman, looks at matters from the comic side. "Well, the thing is over; and soon my fate will be declared. Destiny will shortly enter through that door in Holtzmann's clothes and with