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WHEN Ingres painted his vast Apotheosis of Homer, he represented, grouped round the central throne, all the great poets of the ancient and modern worlds, with a single exception-Shakespeare. After some persuasion, he relented so far as to introduce into his picture a part of that offensive personage.
Sir Thomas Browne
The life of Sir Thomas Browne does not afford much scope for the biographer. Everyone knows that Browne was a physician who lived at Norwich in the seventeenth century; and, so far as regards what one must call, for want of a better term, his life, that is a sufficient summary of all there is to know.
Shakespeare's Final Period
THE whole of the modern criticism of Shakespeare has been fundamentally affected by one important fact. The chronological order of the plays, for so long the object of the vaguest speculation, of random guesses, or at best of isolated points, has been now discovered and reduced to a coherent law.
The Lives Of The Poets
No one needs an excuse for re-opening the Lives of the Poets; the book is too delightful. It is not, of course, as delightful as Boswell; but who re-opens Boswell? Boswell is in an-other category; because, as every one knows, when he has once been opened he can never be shut. But, on its different level, the Lives will always hold a firm and comfortable place in our affections.
Madame Du Deffand
WHEN Napoleon was starting for his campaign in Russia, he ordered the proof-sheets of a forthcoming book about which there had been some disagreement among the censors of the press, to be put into his carriage, so that he might decide for himself what suppressions it might be necessary to make.
Voltaire And England
THE visit of Voltaire to England marks a turning-point in the history of civilisation. It was the first step in a long process of interaction big with momentous consequences-between the French and English cultures. For centuries the combined forces of mutual ignorance and political hostility had kept the two nations apart.
Voltaire's Tragedies
Tim historian of Literature is little more than a historian of exploded reputations. What has he to do with Shakespeare, with Dante, with Sophocles? Has he entered into the springs of the sea? Or has he walked in the search of the depth.
Voltaire And Frederick The Great
AT the present time, when it is so difficult to think of anything but of what is and what will be, it may yet be worth while to cast occasionally a glance backward at what was. Such glances may at least prove to have the humble merit of being entertaining; they may even be instructive as well. Certainly it would be a mistake to forget that Frederick the Great once lived in Germany.
The Rousseau Affair
No one who has made the slightest expedition into that curious and fascinating country, Eighteenth-Century France, can have come away from it without at least one impression strong upon him that in no other place and at no other time have people ever squabbled so much.
The Poetry Of Blake
THE new edition of Blake's poetical works, published by the Clarendon Press, will be welcomed by every lover of English poetry. The volume is worthy of the great university under whose auspices it has been produced, and of the great artist whose words it will help to perpetuate. Blake has been, hitherto, singularly unfortunate in his editors.
The Last Elizabethan
THE shrine of Poetry is a secret one; and it is fortunate that this should be the case; for it gives a sense of security. The cult is too mysterious and intimate to figure upon census papers; there are no turnstiles at the temple gates; and so, as all inquiries must be fruitless, the obvious plan is to take for granted a good attendance of worshippers, and to pass on.
Henri Beyle
IN the whole of French literature it would be difficult to point to a figure at once so important, so remarkable, and so little known to English readers as Henri Beyle. Most of us are, no doubt, fairly familiar with his pseudonym of Stendhal; some of us have read Le Rouge et Le Noir and La Chartreuse de Parme.
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