« PreviousContinue »
tled "LOCI CRITICI," made up of passages illustrating critical theory and practice from Aristotle to Matthew Arnold. We learn from the preface that the demand for such a collection does not come from reviewers, but from Mr. Saintsbury's discovery, in the eight years of his teaching at Edinburgh, that there is needed by students a convenient text-book to include the passages for which otherwise they would have to refer to a small library. He has for some time meditated the production of such a book, but did not venture to undertake the task until he happened to learn from Prof. Gayley, of the University of California, that there was likely to be a large demand for it in this country.
This volume will certainly be useful, but not useful to everybody. Its proper use will be as a companion to a course of thorough study, not as a short and easy method of acquiring knowledge of the history of literary criticism. To take only the first section, what possible meaning can there be in the Poetics of Aristotle which Mr. Saintsbury gives here almost entire to a reader ignorant of the Greek drama? In other words, the complete apparatus of the student of criticism must include not merely the principles the critics have enunciated or even their own application of these principles, but also the body of literature constituting the material on which they worked. All this does not impair the value of the book for the purpose for which it was especially intended, though it might perhaps have been more serviceable still, in view of what has just been said, if Mr. Saintsbury had left each extract in its original language instead of making translations and paraphrases. It is obvious that the appearance of a book of this kind illustrates once more how mistaken is the idea that modern literature can be properly understood if what came before it is a blank. Such a book also suggests that the confusion and exaggeration disfiguring so much present-day criticism may be largely attributed to the lack of that careful study of the supreme works of literary art which is as necessary a training for the critic of books as the study of the Old Masters for the critic of pictures. HERBERT W. HORWILL.
* Boston and London: Ginn & Co.
dividit illuc." It is impossible to explain this likeness as a mere coincidence. In some of the passages quoted by Mr. Mustard that explanation would be possible, especially where the similarity has to do with what might be called, with all respect, a literary commonplace either in thought or expression. In the "Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington," the words "underneath another sun" are scarcely so unusual as to need to be referred back to Virgil's "alio sub sole" and Horace's "terras alio calentes sole." Nor, again, has the "flask of cider from his father's vats," brought out at the picnic in "Audley Court," so obvious a genealogical connection with the loosening of the four-year-old pitch seal from the wine jars of the harvest feast at Phrasidemus' farm in Theocritus that it would be recognized without demur by the Heralds' College.
In one of his appendices Mr. Mustard himself administers a caution against over-confidence in attributing images and phrases to classical models. The biography of Tennyson has shown that certain passages whose source had been "discovered" by critics in the Iliad were actually derived from personal experiences. Thus the simile of the "stately pine" in "The Princess," which had been ascribed to the influence of certain lines in both Homer and Virgil, is recorded in the memoir to have been suggested in the Pyrenees by a pine on an island in midstream between two cataracts. Yet even here one may well believe that, although the direct and immediate origin of the simile was something which Tennyson saw with his own eyes, it was more readily accepted as a poetical suggestion because of the classical reminiscence present, subconsciously perhaps, in the poet's mind. And with all allowance for excess of eagerness on the part of a compiler, who naturally wishes to waste no opportunities, the evidence of classical influence upon the thought and style of Tennyson remains clear and strong. Individual parallels may mean little, but the cumulative effect of such a mass of comparative passages is convincing. It need hardly be said that the resemblances which Mr. Mustard has detected are by no means of the type that can be appropriately classified under the heading of "plagiarisms." It would not be true to say that Tennyson stole from the ancient poets; his relation was not that of a thief to the rightful owner of a piece of property, but of a pupil to his teacher. One might as well accuse Lord Kelvin of stealing from Sir Isaac Newton, or a professor of theology at a present-day seminary of stealing from the Fathers.
This attractive little volume, it should be understood, is something very much better than a mere digging out of such verses of Tennyson
as show resemblance to lines in Greek or Latin literature. The erudition of the compiler is accompanied everywhere by an exact and critical scholarship. Here and there he corrects errors of Tennysonian editors and biographers-once a misquotation from memory by Tennyson himself. For this and other reasons this book cannot safely be missed by any student of Tennyson's work in general, whether or not he happens to be especially interested in its particular subject.
Although most readers will probably be surprised at the great extent to which Tennyson was indebted to the ancient classics, there is no novelty in the fact of such a debt. Tennyson, like his great contemporary Browning-in which poets, by the way, more than in any other English poets of the nineteenth century, the modern temper found expression was always known to possess a keen interest in Greek and Latin letters. If all the moderns were of this type there would be no difficulty in winning general acceptance for the doctrine of the continuity of ancient and modern literature. But have there not been men of the front rank in literary history who have been free from all influence of alien tongues and have built up their fame by force of their own genius, assisted by a study of the previous masterpieces of their own language? Milton, it is true, was saturated with the classics to such a degree, indeed, that according to an eminent critic an appreciation of him is the last reward of consummated classical scholarship. But what of Shakespeare? Have we not in the greatest name of all an instance of such independence of classical tradition as destroys any supposition that the movement of the human race in literature is no less a development than its movement in history? Was it not "native wood-notes wild" that Shakespeare "warbled"? Did not one who knew him well leave it on record that he knew "small Latin and less Greek"?
It is of interest to see that Mr. Mustard, without going out of his way to find classical echoes in Shakespeare, notes a few such as by-products, so to speak, of his investigation of Tennyson. An Homeric epithet, a wish parallel to one in Anacreon, a fancy about time reminiscent of Theocritus, a Virgilian phrase are quoted incidentally from Shakespeare in further illustration of some Tennysonian similarity, and suggest that a careful analysis of the text of Shakespeare would yield scarcely less notable results than have been found in Tennyson's case.
This problem has been attempted in the introductory essay of "STUDIES IN SHAKESPEARE," by J. Churton Collins, who possesses just the *London: A. Constable & Co.
NEW YORK CITY has thirty first-class producing theatres or sources of original theatrical enterprise, and about as many more combination or vaudeville houses, where standard popular plays are continuously repeated or revived. The output for the season of 1903-04, or the forty weeks ending with May last, was exactly one hundred new pieces, onethird of which number represents the proportion of music-farces and socalled comic operas. When we consider that these hundred new pieces constitute, under present conditions, the entire annual supply of fresh theatrical material for all the United States, we may form some idea of the importance, not to say the responsibility, of our metropolis in this regard.
The season was a memorably disastrous one. It was a case of reaping the whirlwind, through carelessness begotten of prosperity. Managers lost money; players suffered from diminished prestige; dramatic art seemed moribund. The public found the theatre flat, stale, and unprofitable, and turned elsewhere in search of rational amusement. Dramatic authors shared the general feeling of depression. Few, if any, works of first-class merit were brought forth. Some well-deserving things failed, while the comparatively successful "shows" too often were distinctly coarse and vulgar.
Without attempting now to analyze or to account for the aspect of affairs noted in this summary glance backward, we cannot help being struck with evidences that the costly lessons of a bygone season are being turned to good account in the one at present so flourishingly under way. The theatrical purveyors have become more painstaking when cautious, more generous when bold.
The traditional timorousness and uncertainty of Presidential election times were less noticeable this year than ever before. And now, since the momentous first week of November, the season has bourgeoned out with unprecedented splendor and luxury. In proof of this, let us take the fortnight of November 14 to 28-weeks of the Horse Show and the Grand Opera opening, respectively, which may be said to mark the first quarter of the artistic-social year. On both the Monday evenings there
were half-a-dozen simultaneous premières, while at least one event of prime importance marked each of the other days, including the Sundays. In Manhattan alone, during those fourteen days, the menu of attractions, exclusive of the opera, included: Sir Charles Wyndham, with his London company; Mme. Gabrielle Réjane, with her company from Paris, in a repertory of plays by foremost French authors; Mr. Conried's German stock company, in modern and classical productions; Mrs. Patrick Campbell, in Sardou's latest drama, "The Sorceress "; Julia Marlowe and E. H. Sothern in conjunction, in the most sumptuous Shakespearean revival of the last decade; Mr. Savage's presentation of "Parsifal" in English; Mrs. Fiske and Nance O'Neil playing Ibsen and Sudermann; John Drew, Henry Miller, and Ethel Barrymore, each "starring" in an up-to-date English comedy; George Ade's "College Widow" at one theatre, and his "Sho-Gun" at another; David Warfield, Louis Mann, Andrew Mack, and May Irwin, in special character vehicles of native American manufacture; Amelia Bingham, in a revival of Clyde Fitch's high-water mark of achievement, "The Climbers"; Mmes. SchumannHeink and Fritzi Scheff, both former grand-opera stars of first magnitude, in home-made opera comique, of the Ludwig Englander and Julian Edwardes brands; Edna May and George Grossmith, Jr., with an international music-farce; a real Drury Lane holiday pantomime extravaganza at the New Amsterdam, the most beautiful and luxurious of modern theatres; "Woodland," a bird-opera of unique merriment and charm; the perennial "Wizard of Oz," at that popular coliseum, the Academy of Music; and a whole galaxy of mirthful luminaries, headed by Anna Held and Marie Dressler, at the unique music-hall institution of WeberZiegfeld. The above enumeration includes only what was uppermost of the passing show during a single fortnight in November. Few things last longer than that, and only the best is accepted at all, in pampered New York.
What means this bewildering show-carnival, this Mardi Gras of mummers, this dramatic Vanity Fair? It means that our Empire City is rapidly becoming, if she has not already become, the material centre of the theatrical world. In other words, here is the money Mecca for all artists and for those who exploit them.
Of course, the material centre does not necessarily mean the artistic centre. In the sense of creation or original production of art, we are still not far from the antipodes. But when it comes to broad, catholic appreciation, we are quite in advance of ourselves. The great nations, and even the minor ones, of continental Europe have their national thea