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their work is at least equal to that of any preceding period. They represent the application to all literary departments of a wider and deeper spirit. There is an infusion of new life everywhere. Milhuit-cent-trente is the most important feature of the century. It had its novelists-Hugo, Balzac and Dumas; its poets-Hugo again, and De Musset; and its critic-Sainte-Beuve. These are the most representative members of the movement.
Hugo's novels are the most familiar examples of French prose during the century. Toilers of the Sea, Les Misérables, Notre-Dame de Paris, are perhaps the best. Balzac, with his wonderful Human Comedy, stands at the head of fiction-writers in France-some say in the world. Among other marks of genius, he has the power to fill his canvases with a crowd of life-like figures. His characters become as real as living men and women. Best of his novels are: Old Goriot, The Search for the Absolute, The Magic Skin. Alexandre Dumas did good work on the historical novel, and his two well-known books, The Three Musketeers and Twenty Years After, belong to a fascinating type. In poetry, Hugo was also renowned. His Hernani was a fine piece of dramatic work apart from its immense influence as a romantic play. And some of his poetic collections are of a high value-such as the Legend of the Ages and Autumn Leaves. De Musset, like Shelley and Heine, was under the sway of the poetic temperament. The passion and fire of
his verse are very marked. "What distinguished him is his singular conjunction of the most fervid passion and the most touching lyrical 'cry,' with the finest wit and unusual dramatic ability." These qualities appear in Nights and in Rolla. The criticism of Sainte-Beuve was extremely important. It was just what the times needed and his famous Monday Causeries formed one of the most beneficial literary influences of the century.
The tendencies of mil-huit-cent-trente continue to the end, according to many critics; "Naturalism" being really romanticism and not a new literary principle. Zola, the great exponent of naturalism, is claimed by some as a master. Master or not, his writings have a wonderful vogue, and he certainly is the most striking of the novelists since 1830. His Rougon-Macquart series has attracted a widespread notice. One literary historian has said that a distinct term may be set to nineteenth-century literature in France by the death of Renan in 1892. If so, this would bear an odd similitude to the death of Tennyson.
Of Italy and Spain but little need be said. Both have been engaged in engrossing struggles for liberty, and neither has produced any literature of the first rank. This is a summary way to take leave of them; but the statement is borne out by the facts.
As regards Russia the case is different. Her literature gained a national voice only about 1840, but since then some exceptionally fine work has been
done. Her output is striking and important. Already three names have won a place among the world's great writers. Gogol with Taras Bulba, Turgeneff with A Nest of Gentlefolk, Tolstoi with The Cossacks, have interpreted splendidly the scenery and life within her borders. The future may falsify all prophecy, but it would seem at present as if there was a remarkable literary outburst shortly to come in that very remarkable country.
Such, imperfectly outlined, is the literary summary of the nineteenth century. Some of the productions both in poetry and prose hold a high place among the masterpieces of all time.
By the oddest of coincidences, the close of the century marks the close of a literary epoch the world over. This may seem a singularly dogmatic statement, but a glance at the different literatures will show the grounds for it. No country has produced writers to compare with the great ones of the earlier years. England has no poets to-day like Wordsworth, Shelley or Tennyson, no novelists like the three leaders who have passed away, nor any historians to be mentioned with Macaulay and Carlyle. France manifests nothing like the work of mil-huit-cent-trente. America's finest achievement lies forty years back. Germany, and Russia, indeed, do not fit the case so closely; but certainly the former has no author at present whom we would rank with Goethe, Schiller or Heine; while many
would call Gogol and Turgeneff bigger men than Tolstoi. And it is beyond question that poetry is suffering a lapse. The literature of the century end seems to be ebbing with the ebb of the century. But of course no one would from this prophesy the end thereof. The past points too plainly the danger of that sort of forecasting. "And he will neither over-exalt the dignity of literature, nor be a selftormentor and a tormentor of others about its approaching decline and fall, when he sees how constantly, how incessantly . . . the apparently dying flower has shed seed and shot suckers for a new growth."
In conclusion, it may be said that the nineteenth century has brought us a great blessing along with its good literature, the blessing of cheap and wellprinted books. The value of this is higher than may easily be determined. For "a good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.”