Seldon Lincoln Whitcomb.

The study of a novel online

. (page 25 of 28)
Online LibrarySeldon Lincoln WhitcombThe study of a novel → online text (page 25 of 28)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


traits Contemporains, Portraits Litteraires, and Chateaubriand et son
Groupe Litteraire.

Sismondi. Litterature du Midi de 1'Europe. (1813-29.) Some 35 pages
out of 1000 are given to prose fiction, Cervantes receiving most attention.

Stael, Mme. de. Essai sur les Fictions. (1795.) "L'art d'ecrire des romans
n'a point la reputation qu'il merite, parce qu'une foule de mauvais auteurs
nous out accables de leurs fades productions en ce genre, ou la perfection
exige le genie le plus releve, mais ou la mediocrite est a la portee de
tout le monde. . . . Un roman tel qu'on peut le concevoir ... est une des
plus belles productions de 1'esprit humain, une des plus influentes sur la
morale des individus, qui doit former ensuite les mceurs publiques. . . . On
regarde (les romans) comme uniquement consacres a peindre 1'amour, la
plus violente, la plus universelle, la plus vraie de toutes les passions. . . .
L'ambition, 1'orgueil, 1'avarice, la vanite, pourraient etre Pobjet principal
de fictions dont les incidents seraient plus neufs et les situations aussi
variees que celles qui naissent de 1'amour. . . . On peut extraire des bons
romans une morale plus pure, plus releve"e, que d'aucun ouvrage didac-
tique sur la vertu. . . . Les evenements ne doivent e*tre, dans les romans,
que 1'occasion de developper les passions du coeur humain. . . . Les romans
que 1'on ne cessera jamais d'admirer . . . ont pour but de reveler ou de
tracer une foule de sentiments dont se compose, au fond de 1'ime, le bon-
heur ou le malheur de 1'existence, ces sentiments qu'on ne dit pas parce
qu'ils se trouvent lies avec nos secrets ou nos faiblesses et parce que les
hommes passent leur vie avec les hommes, sans se confier jamais mutuelle-
ment ce qu'ils eprouvent. . . . Observer le coeur humain, c'est montrer a
chaque pas 1'influence de la morale sur la destinee. ... II n'y a qu'un
secret dans la vie, c'est le bien ou le mal qu'on a fait. . . . Cest ainsi que
1'histoire de 1'homme doit Sire representee dans les romans, c'est ainsi
que les fictions doivent nous expliquer, par nos vertus et nos sentiments.



HISTORY OF NOVELISTIC CRITICISM 299

les mysteres de notre sort." De 1'Allemagne. Preface of Delphine,
and Quelques Reflexions sur le But Moral de Delphine.

Stendhal. (Beyle.) "Qu'est-ce que le roman de Walter Scott? De la
tragedie romantique, entremelee de longues descriptions." (Quoted in
Maigron.)

Vigny, de. Reflexions sur la Verite dans 1'Art. (Preface of Cinq-Mars ;
1826.) "On doit s'abandonner a une grande indifference de la realite"
historique pour juger les oeuvres dramatiques, poemes, romans ou trage-
dies, qui empruntent a 1'histoire des personnages memorables. L'Art ne
doit jamais tre considere que dans ses rapports avec sa beaut e ideale,"
etc.

GERMAN

For the romantic critics, see Haym.

Bouterwek. Geschichte der Poesie und Beredsamkeit, etc. (Twelve vols.,
1805-19.) Vol. III., English translation, " History of Spanish Litera.-
ture." (Bohn Library.) This volume gives some attention to prose
fiction, particularly to Cervantes. " The result [of Cervantes' initiative]
has proved that modern taste, however readily it may in other respects
conform to the rules of the antique, nevertheless requires in the narration
of fictitious events, a certain union of poetry with prose, which was un-
known to the Greeks and Romans in their best literary ages."

Jeitteles gives excellent articles on the Novelle and the Roman.

Goethe. See S., III., 363, and 366 ff.

Richter. Vorschule der Aesthetik. (1804.) "Der Roman verliert an
reiner Bildung unendlich durch die Weite seiner Form, in wekher fast
alle Formen liegen und Happen konnen. Ursprunglich ist er cpisch ;
aber zuweilen erzahlt statt des Autors der Held, zuweilen alle Mitspieler.
. . . Aber die Neuern wollen wieder vergessen, dass der Roman chcn
sowohl eine romantische dramatische Form annehmen konne und
angenommen habe. Ich halte sogar diese scharfere Form . . . fur die
bessere, da ohnehin die Laxitat der Prosa dem Romane eine gewissc
Strengigkeit der Form notig und heilsam macht." From a passage on
the theory of the novel. See also S., III., p. 384 ff.

Schlegel, A. W. Vorlesungen iiber schone Litteratur und Kunst. (1803-
04.) On the different relations of prose and verse in ancient and modern
literature. " Und so wircl der Roman nicht als Beschluss und Ausartung,
sondern als das erste in der neueren Poesie gesetzt ; eine Gattung, welche
das Ganze derselben reprasentieren kann. . . . One who cannot under-
stand Cervantes "hat wenig Hoffnung den Shakespeare zu begreifen."



300 APPENDIX

See also his essays on Lafontaine, Schulz, "Ueber den dramatischen
Dialog," etc.

Schlegel, Friedrich. Geschichte der alten und neuen Litteratur. (1815.)
Some historical account of the novel, with some theory. His roman-
ticism appears in the criticism of Cervantes and Richardson. In the
later eighteenth century, " Romance . . . grew to be a favorite mode of
composition with those whose enthusiasm for nature found no vent in
any of the older existing forms : for it was exempt from all those fetters
that cramped aspiring effort in other departments of poetry. . . . Ro-
mance became in the hands of these men of genius exactly what each
of them wished." (Translation in Bohn Library.) Elsewhere he calls
the novel " the highest reach and the sum of all poetry, the ideal and
typical romantic form." See also his essays on Boccaccio, Goethe's
works, etc.; and S., III., p. 401.

Solger. Vorlesungen iiber Aesthetik. (1829.) An example of the early
treatment of the novel in German aesthetics. Definition of the novel as
a form of epic ; relations of novel, short story, etc. The romantic con-
ception of the free form of the novel is embodied in the quotation given
under " lyrical " in the Glossary of this Appendix.

Schopenhauer. Some interesting references to the novel in his literary

essays. See S., III., p. 566 ff.
See S.,111., on Heine and Tieck.

RUSSIAN

The movement from romanticism, through realism, to naturalism may be

suggested by these three citations :

Karamzin, an admirer and imitator of Sterne, defined the aim of art in
some such words as these : "to pour forth floods of emotion on the
realm of the sentimental."

Gogol speaks of his realistic method as follows : " Pushkin . . . used to say
that no author had, as much as I, the gift of showing the reality of the
trivialities of life, of describing the petty ways of an insignificant creature,
of bringing out and revealing to my readers infinitesimal details which
would otherwise pass unnoticed. In fact, there is where my talent lies.
The reader revolts against the meanness and baseness of my heroes. . . .
They would have forgiven me if I had described some picturesque theatrical
knave, but they cannot forgive my vulgarity. The Russians are shocked
to see their own insignificance." (Letter, quoted in Pardo Bazan,
p. 201.)

Byelinski. (181 1-48.) " Nature is the eternal model of art, and the greatest
and noblest subject in nature is man. ... Is not for the anatomist and



HISTORY OF NOVELIST1C CRITICISM 301

physiologist the organism of a wild Australian as interesting as the or-
ganism of an enlightened European ? For what reason should art, in
this respect, differ so much from science," etc. (Quoted in Wiener, II.,
p. 206.)



THE SECOND HALF OF THE NINETEENTH
CENTURY i

In this period, one notices first the greatly increased amount
of criticism of prose fiction, and the even more significant fact
that few of the great critics have failed to make some contribution.
Serious consideration of the novel becomes common in works of
general criticism, in aesthetics, and in all domains of literary history.
German criticism has probably done most for technical study, and
perhaps for detailed historical investigation ; French criticism has
applied its fondness for formulas, and its clear, rapid examination
of problems, to the field of the novel. While many critics now
consider the novel as one of the highest forms of art, dissenting
voices may still be heard.

Viewed as accompanying the creative movement, criticism is at
first mainly realistic, then naturalistic, then reactionary in the
direction of a new idealism, or neo-romanticism.

A few further aspects may be noted : The considerable number
of extended works in the history of national fiction ; works on the
art of fiction by novelists or others, intended for practical guidance
to beginners ; the increased number of monographs of all varieties
in this field ; fresh consideration of fiction in the light of new
sociological, psychological, and ethical views; increased attention
to the short story as a distinct type; work in the educational
domain university theses, edited masterpieces, pamphlets, and
books for the systematic study of fiction, syllabi of lecture courses
etc.

AMERICAN

Garland, Hamlin. Crumbling Idols. The " new spirit " of American realism
appears in vigorous fashion. There is much general reference to the



302 APPENDIX

novel, exposition and defense of "veritism," consideration of "local
color," and a striking theory of " the local novel."

Hawthorne. Notes on his sources, method, etc. Preface of The House of
the Seven Gables, on the nature of romance.

Howells. Criticism and Fiction. My Literary Passions. Heroines of
Fiction. Magazine editorials. In general, exposition and defense of
the realistic position, with special interest in continental realism, including
Russian.

James, Henry. < Periodical articles. Hawthorne. French Poets and
Novelists. The Art of Fiction. "The analogy between the art of the
painter and the art of the novelist, is, so far as I am able to see, complete.
A novel being a picture . . . how can a picture be either moral or im-
moral ? " " The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does
compete with life. " "The air of reality (solidity of specification) seems
to me the supreme virtue of a novel." Cf. Stevenson, below. See also
under " impression," in Glossary.

Lanier. There is severe criticism of his English Novel in S., III., p. 643.

Mabie, H. M. has given some attention to fiction.

Matthews, Brander. Theoretical, technical, and historical criticism.
Special exposition of the short story, as an independent type.

See the Bibliography, under C. S. Baldwin Barrett Burton Canby
Chandler Cody Cook Crawford Crawshaw Cross David-
son Dixson Dye Forsyth Hammond Lewis MacClintock
Moulton Nettleton Frank Norris Perry Scudder Simonds
L. W. Smith Stoddard Thompson Tuckerman Van der Velde
Warren.

ENGLISH

Dallas. May be noted for a low opinion of the novel at a late date. The

" novel is but a fictitious biography." ..." A novel may be described

as gossip etherealized, family talk generalized."
Dowden has given special attention to George Eliot and to Goethe, in

various essays and studies ; some attention to the novel in the French

Revolution, and the History of French Literature.
Eliot, George. A vigorous defense of realism in the preface of Adam Bede;

essays on Story-Telling, Lady Novelists, Silly Novels by Lady Novelists;

and material for study of her own work in Cross's Life.
Gosse has made something of a specialty of the novel, discussing theory

as well as history. Northern Studies. Questions at Issue. In his

history of Eighteenth Century English Literature he gives a good account



HISTORY OF NOVELISTIC CRITICISM 303

of the rise of the novel. Also note his numerous introductions to trans-
lations of continental novels Dutch, Scandinavian, Spanish, etc.

Hardy, Thomas. Prefaces of Return of the Native, Mayor of Casterbridge,
A Pair of Blue Eyes, and Jude the Obscure. In the last, he gives this
realistic, impressionistic statement : " Like former productions of this pen,
Jude the Obscure is simply an endeavor to give shape and coherence to a
series of seemings, of personal impressions, the question of their con-
sistency or their discordance, of their permanence or their transitoriness,
being regarded as not of the first moment."

Helps. See S.

Meredith, George. The prelude of The Egoist is a defense of satire in art,
especially in fiction. Cf. the Essay on Comedy. Chapter I of Diana of
the Crossways touches the relation of fiction to philosophy.

Ruskin. Characteristic reference to fiction in many passages. Attack on
realism in Fiction, Fair and Foul. Consideration of Scott in Part IV.,
Chapters 16 and 17, and incidental mention of other novelists, in Modern
Painters. Comment on fiction in Fors, especially Letter 31 and follow-
ing, on Scott. "Of the four great English tale-tellers whose dynasti.-s
have set or risen within my own memory Miss Edgeworth, Scott,
Dickens, and Thackeray I find myself greatly at pause in conjecturing,
however dimly, what essential good has been effected by them, though
they all had the best intentions. Of the essential mischief done by them,
there is, unhappily, no doubt whatever." Cf. Carlyle and Newman, above.

Saintsbury has been a wide reader of fiction, as of most forms of litera-
ture, and has recorded many of his impressions. French Novelists.
Corrected Impressions. Volumes in the history of English literature,
and in Periods of European Literature. Miscellaneous essays. Edi-
torial introductions to the novels of Balzac, Defoe, Fielding, and others.

Stevenson. His criticism is partly an expression of the neo-romanticism of
the closing decades of the century. See passages in his letters, and the
essays, A Gossip on a Novel of Dumas', A Gossip on Romance, Victor
Hugo's Romances, and A Humble Remonstrance. The last is directed
in part against the Art of Fiction, by Henry James. (See above.) "The
novel, which is a work of art, exists, not by its resemblances to life . . .
but by its immeasurable difference from life, which is designed and sig-
nificant, and is both the method and material of the work."

Traill, H. D. See S., III.

Trollope, Anthony. The Autobiography contains, besides much mate-rial
on his own fiction, a chapter on Novels and the Art of Writing Them,
and a chapter on English Novelists of the Present Day. The first of
these opens with the statement, " It is nearly twenty years since I pro-



304 APPENDIX

posed to myself to write a history of English prose fiction." It is interest-
ing to note that this time coincides with the date of Masson's work
the first important history of English fiction.

See the Bibliography, under Baker Besant Jack Ker Masson W.
E. Norris Raleigh Robertson Senior Turner Wilson Wors-
fold.

FRENCH

Bourget. Criticism of French novelists in Etudes de Psychologic Contempo-
raine, and in Etudes et Portraits.

Brunetidre. Many separate studies in Etudes Critiques, Questions de Cri-
tique, Essais sur la Litterature Contemporaine. Victor Hugo.
Notable attention in the Manual of French Literature. Le Roman
Naturaliste is probably one of the best five or six volumes of aesthetic
criticism in the whole field of the novel, for the average student. It was
" largely instrumental in hastening the end of naturalism." (Kastner
and Atkins.) Of the novel he says : " nul autre genre ne se prete plus
complaisamment a des exigences plus diverses." " Par Pimprevu de ses
combinaisonsinfinies, par la variete des formes qu'il peut presque indifferem-
ment revStir, par la liberte de son allure et 1'universalite de sa langue, il
convient particulierement a nos societes democratiques." Of historical
romance : " ni du roman ni de 1'histoire, ou plutot qui sera de 1'histoire
si vous y cherchez le roman, mais qui redeviendra du roman si vous y
cherchez de 1'histoire."

Lemaitre. Impressions de Theatre. Contains notices of dramatizations of
Pere Goriot, Crime and Punishment, and Germinie Lacerteux.

Montegut. Dramaturges et Romanciers. Ecrivains Modernes de 1'Angle-
terre is largely upon novelists. See also S.

Pellissier. The following may be quoted as a representative recent view of
the novel by an historian of general literary movements : " Tenu par les
anciens et mSme par notre Sge classique pour un divertissement frivole,
le roman avait echappe" ainsi aux definitions et aux regies d'une critique
que ne daignait pas s'en occuper. II n'y a guere plus de cinquante ans,
Villemain osait a peine le faire entrer dans 1'histoire litteraire, et ne 1'admet-
tait du moins qu'en langue grecque. La nature meme du genre se prStait
d'ailleurs a tous les sujets et a tous les tons ; aussi, favorise par les con-
ditions sociales, devait-il en notre temps prendre les formes les plus
diverses et refleter les multiples aspects de 1'dme mod erne. Et, s'il n'est
au XIX C siecle aucun sentiment, aucune idee, qui n'y trouve son expres-
sion, il n'est aucune ecole de quelque importance qui n'ait tente d'en
renouveler la formule d'apres ses vues particulieres, aucune conception



HISTORY OF NOVELISTIC CRITICISM 305

de 1'art & laquelle il ne se soit accommode*. II avail etc d'abord une
effusion de sensibilite personnelle. II s'appliqua ensuite a faire revivre
les siecles passes dans leurs personnages, leurs moeurs et leurs costumes.
Quittant 1'histoire pour la societe contemporaine, il se divisa cnfin,
sans sortir de ce cadre mSme, en deux genres bien distincts et repondant
a deux tendances irreductibles de 1'esprit : les uns, regardant la vie
reelle a travers leur imagination Uprise de beaute, de vertu, de bonheur,
en rendirent un tableau toujours idealise dans sa verite me"me ; les autres,
armes d'une analyse sagace et penetrante, s'etudierent a la voir tclle
qu'elle est et a la representer telle qu'ils 1'avaient vue." (Fourth edition,
Paris, 1895, P- 2 32.)

Paris, Gaston. Important for medieval fiction.

Sand, George. Prefaces to several novels.

Scherer, Edmond. One of the chief critics of George Eliot in France. Cf.
Le Roman Naturaliste : Le Naturalisme Anglais, Etude sur George Eliot.
See pp. 205 and 206 of the present volume.

Taine. " He undoubtedly gave considerable impetus to the Naturalistic
movement, but it is entirely unfair to make him responsible for its
exaggerations and excesses." (Kastner and Atkins.) Cf. Lanson,
p. 1060.

V6ron. " It has been the fashion for the last fifty years to abuse novels
on every opportunity. Would-be serious criticism looks down upon them
as beneath its notice," etc. Against such a view Veron affirms the
" poetic character " of the novel.

Vogue", de. "The Neo-Christian movement [is due] in great measure to his
critical studies on the great Russian novelists." (Kastner and Atkins.)

Zola. Brunetiere's Roman Naturaliste is in part an answer to his theories
as well as practise. See S., and many monographs and essays.

See S. on Amiel, Barbey d'Aurevilly, Baudelaire, Doudan, Flaubert,
Gautier, the Goncourt brothers, Planche, Texte, etc.

See Bibliography, under Albert Chassang Do umic Gilbert Guyau
Jusserand Lanson Le Breton Le Goffic Maigron Morillot
Rocafort Texte.

GERMAN

Baumgart. " Der Prosaroman ist viel zu fest an die Detaildarstellung
gebunden, als dass er jemals sich ganz zu der Hohe des Epos erheben
konnte, wo das Kennzeichen aller echten Poesie die Darstellung
des Besondern in lebendigster Gegenwartigkeit zugleich mit der
Wirklichkeit wetteifert und doch uberall das Allgemeine in sich
chliesst." (p. 315.)



306 APPENDIX

Beyer, C. Deutsche Poetik. About fifty pages are given to the novel
a good example of its treatment in later German poetics. " Der Roman
ist das Prosaepos der Gegenwart . . . jene umfangreiche Prosa-Erzahlung,
welche Entwickelungsgang und Geschick eines Helden vom ersten Ahnen
oder Beginnen seines Strebens bis zu einem gewissen Abschluss einer
Reihe von Begebenheiten (bis zur Erreichung eines Zieles oder bis zur
Sichtbarwerdung der poetischen Gerechtigkeit, d. i. der Vollendung der
poetischen Idee) in abgerundeter Form und poetischer, das wirkliche
Leben und den jeweiligen Charakter der Zeit wiederspiegelnder Weise
darstellt. Mit andern Worten : der Roman bietet die poetische Ge-
staltung eines individuellen, einheitlich bestimmten bedeutenden Lebens
in der Form geschichtlicher Erscheinung ; die Spiegelung dieses Lebens
mit seinen sittlichen Hohen und Tiefen ; das Bild dieses durch Erfah-
rung gereiften, durch Gefahren erprobten, zuletzt zu einem sichern Stand-
punkt gelangten Lebens, wie es beispielsweise bei der homerischen
Erzahlung der Irrfahrten des Odysseus entgegentritt." (Third edition,
Berlin, 1900, II., p. 347.)

Borinski. Interesting as an example of the study of the theory of the novel
in the general history of criticism.

Brandes discusses a number of novelists in Moderne Geister and Menschen
und Werke, as well as in Hauptstromungen. In the last work he treats
the " historical and ethnographical naturalism " of Scott at some
length.

Carrie" re. Aesthetik. (1885.) "Die Poesie hat sich ins Gemiith gefliichtet,
die Entwickelung der Individuality in einer vielfach widersprechenden
prosaischen Welt verlangt nun ihre kiinstlerische Wiedergeburt, und
diese ist der Roman."

Freytag. The analysis of plot in the Technik des Romans has been applied
to the novel by various critics. Some theory and technic in the essay
on Wilibald Alexis. Preface to Soil und Haben. " Dem Schonen in
edelster Form den hochsten Ausdruck zu geben, ist nicht jeder Zeit ver-
gonnt, aber in jeder soil der erfindende Schriftsteller wahr sein gegen
seine Kunst und gegen sein Volk. . . . Gliicklich werde ich sein, wenn
. . . dieser Roman den Eindruck macht, dass er wahr nach den Gesetzen
des Lebens und der Dichtkunst erfunden und doch niemals zufalligen
Ereignissen der Wirklichkeit nachgeschrieben ist."

Ludwig. The novel "verlangt erstens Ruhe, Abwcisen jeder Art Ungeduld,
zweitens je grosser, d., h., langer, reicher er ist, desto mehr eine gewisse
Ausserlichkeit. . . . Eine Hauptkunst des Romanschreibers ist ferner das
Arrangement, das Verschweigen von Dingen, die man gern wissen
mochte, das Zeigen von Personen und Dingen, deren Verhaltniss zum



HISTORY OF NOVELISTIC CRITICISM 307

Ganzen noch unbekannt, das Ahbrechen, das Verschlingen, das Ver-
bergen des Innern hinter dem Aussern, der Absichten der Personen."

Meyer. Konversations-Lexikon. " Das eigentlich Charakteristische des Ro-
mans im heutigen Sinne dieses Wortes, besteht clarin, dass der Roman in
hoherm Grade und in umfassenderer Weise als jede andre, auch jede andre
epische Dichtungsart, auf die analysierende Darstellung des vielver-
schlungenen Getriebes des seelischen Lebens und seiner innern Geschichte
gerichtet ist, oder mit einem Worte : in seinem eminent psychologischen
Charakter. Steht dem Drama besonders nahe." (Fifth edition, 1896.)

Nietzsche. SeeS., III.

Nordau, Max. Cf. the treatment of Tolstoi and Zola as degenerates, with
Robiati and Merejkowski. Chapters in Paradoxes, on The Import of
Fiction, etc.

Riemann. One of the most suggestive volumes of recent criticism in the
field of the novel. See p. 267 of this Appendix.

Scherer, W. Kleine Schriften, II. Includes essays on George Eliot, Auer-
bach, etc., and on technic of the modern short story. See Bibliography.

Spielhagen. In addition to volumes given in the Bibliography, there are
chapters in Aus Meiner Studienmappe on Auerbach, Bjornson, and Feuil-
let. This contribution to the much-discussed relation of drama to novel
may be quoted : " Der Roman ist in jeder Beziehung des Stoffes, der
Oekonomie, der Mittel, ja selbst, subjectiv, in Hinsicht der Qualitat der
poetischen Phantasie und dichterischen Begabung, der voile Gegensatz
des Dramas."

Schmidt, Erich. Richardson, Rousseau und Goethe. Charakteristiken
also contains much on novelists.

See the Bibliography, under Bobertag Bolsche Braitmaier Cholevius
Eichendorff Gottschall Heyse Koberstein Korting Kreyssig
Mielke Reborn Rohde Volkelt.

ITALIAN

d' Annunzio. The preface of II Trionfo della Morte is interesting as show-
ing the Italian traditions of language, and the fine sense of art.

Robiati. His critical theory is distinct if not original : " Per me la critica
ha P ufficio di studiare il movimento del pensiero di un popolo . . .
studiare 1' opera d' arte non in se, ma come segno di una data epoca, di
un determinato periodo storico." For each of the principal novelists
studied he has a formula : "In Verga ho studiato lo sviluppo del ro-
manzo naturalista da noi ; in Rovetta una nuova forma di pessimismo ;
in Fogazzaro 1' influenza germanica presso di noi ; in Ottone di Banzole



308 APPENDIX

1* arte di decadenza." He defines the naturalistic novel as one " che
cerca le leggi matematiche con cui un individuo od un gruppo sociale
agisce o deve agire in date circonstanze, in determinati ambienti." See
also p. 189 of the present volume.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 25 27 28

Online LibrarySeldon Lincoln WhitcombThe study of a novel → online text (page 25 of 28)