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Sainte-beuve Sainte-beuve

The vivacious, the in fact far too vivacious, Abbé Galiani, writing to Madame d'Épinay, observes with unwonted seriousness: 'Je remarque que le caractère dominant des Français perce toujours. Ils sont causeurs, raisonneurs, badins par essence; un mauvais tableau enfante une bonne brochure; ainsi, vous parlerez mieux des arts que vous n'en ferez jamais. Il se trouvera, au bout du compte, dans quelques siècles, que vous aurez le mieux raisonné, le mieux discuté ce que toutes les autres nations auront fait de mieux.' To affect to foretell the final balance of an account which is not to be closed for centuries demands... Essays - Post by : AndrewYKTo - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 2962

The Reformation The Reformation

The Reformation
Long ago an eminent Professor of International Law, at the University of Cambridge, lecturing his class, spoke somewhat disparagingly of the Reformation as compared with the Renaissance, and regretted there was no adequate history of the glorious events called by the latter name. So keenly indeed did the Professor feel this gap in his library, that he proceeded to say that inconvenient as it had been to him to lecture at Cambridge that afternoon, still if what he had said should induce any member of the class to write a history of the Renaissance worthy to be mentioned with the masterpiece... Essays - Post by : ebooksuppliers - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 1863

Nationality Nationality

Nothing can well be more offensive than the abrupt asking of questions, unless indeed it be the glib assurance which professes to be able to answer them without a moment's doubt or consideration. It is hard to forgive Sir Robert Peel for having once asked, 'What is a pound?' Cobden's celebrated question, 'What next? And next?' was perhaps less objectionable, being vast and vague, and to employ Sir Thomas Browne's well-known phrase, capable of a wide solution. But in these disagreeable days we must be content to be disagreeable. We must even accept being so as our province. It seems now... Essays - Post by : hart404 - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 4240

Authors In Court Authors In Court

Authors In Court
There is always something a little ludicrous about the spectacle of an author in pursuit of his legal remedies. It is hard to say why, but like a sailor on horseback, or a Quaker at the play, it suggests that incongruity which is the soul of things humorous. The courts are of course as much open to authors as to the really deserving members of the community; and, to do the writing fraternity justice, they have seldom shown any indisposition to enter into them--though if they have done so joyfully, it must be attributed to their natural temperament, which (so we... Essays - Post by : patgpop - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 1584

The Letters Of Charles Lamb The Letters Of Charles Lamb

The Letters Of Charles Lamb
FOOTNOTE: Letters of Charles Lamb. Newly arranged, with additions; and a New Portrait. Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by the Rev. Alfred Ainger, M.A., Canon of Bristol. 2 vols. London, 1888. Four hundred and seventeen letters of Charles Lamb's, some of them never before published, in two well-printed but handy volumes, edited, with notes illustrative, explanatory, and biographical, by Canon Ainger, and supplied with an admirable index, are surely things to be thankful for and to be desired. No doubt the price is prohibitory. They will cost you in cash, these two volumes, full as they are from title-page to colophon... Essays - Post by : margitharpe - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 2361

William Hazlitt William Hazlitt

William Hazlitt
For an author to fare better dead than alive is good proof of his literary vivacity and charm. The rare merit of Hazlitt's writing was recognised in his lifetime by good judges, but his fame was obscured by the unpopularity of many of his opinions, and the venom he was too apt to instil into his personal reminiscences. He was not a safe man to confide in. He had a forked crest which he sometimes lifted. Because they both wrote essays and were fond of the Elizabethans, it became the fashion to link Hazlitt's name with Lamb's. To be compared with... Essays - Post by : a70maverick - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 2301

Matthew Arnold Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold
I The news of Mr. Arnold's sudden death at Liverpool struck a chill into many hearts, for although a somewhat constrained writer (despite his playfulness) and certainly the least boisterous of men, he was yet most distinctly on the side of human enjoyment. He conspired and contrived to make things pleasant. Pedantry he abhorred. He was a man of this life and this world. A severe critic of the world he indeed was, but finding himself in it and not precisely knowing what is beyond it, like a brave and true-hearted man he set himself to make the best of it.... Essays - Post by : SilverSiR - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 3772

Cardinal Newman Cardinal Newman

Cardinal Newman
I There are some men whose names are inseparably and exclusively associated with movements; there are others who are for ever united in human memories with places; it is the happy fortune of the distinguished man whose name is at the top of this page to be able to make good both titles to an estate in our minds and hearts; for whilst his fierce intellectual energy made him the leader of a great movement, his rare and exquisite tenderness has married his name to a lovely place. Whenever men's thoughts dwell upon the revival of Church authority in England and... Essays - Post by : m.larsen1 - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 3385

George Borrow George Borrow

George Borrow
Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson, in his delightful Memories and Portraits, takes occasion to tell us, amongst a good many other things of the sort, that he has a great fancy for The Bible in Spain, by Mr. George Borrow. He has not, indeed, read it quite so often as he has Mr. George Meredith's Egoist, but still he is very fond of it. It is interesting to know this, interesting, that is, to the great Clan Stevenson who owe suit and service to their liege lord; but so far as Borrow is concerned, it does not matter, to speak frankly, two... Essays - Post by : executive1 - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 3413

William Cowper William Cowper

William Cowper
The large and weighty family of Gradgrinds may, from their various well-cushioned coigns of advantage, give forcible utterance to their opinions as to what are the really important things in this life; but the fact remains, distasteful as it may be to those of us who accomplish the disciplinary end of vexing our fathers' souls by other means than 'penning stanzas,' that the lives of poets, even of people who have passed for poets, eclipse in general and permanent interest the lives of other men. Whilst above the sod, these poets were often miserable enough. But charm hangs over their graves.... Essays - Post by : Sonny_Mac - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 3210

Edward Gibbon Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon
A LECTURE 'It was at Rome, on the 15th of October, 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the bare-footed fryars were singing vespers in the Temple of Jupiter that the idea of writing the Decline and Fall of the City first started to my mind. 'It was on the day, or rather night, of the 27th of June, 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page, in a summer-house in my garden. After laying down my pen I took several turns in a berceau, or... Essays - Post by : lorraineben - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 6071

Samuel Richardson Samuel Richardson

Samuel Richardson
A LECTURE It is difficult to describe mankind either in a book or in a breath, and none but the most determined of philosophers or the most desperate of cynics have attempted to do so, either in one way or the other. Neither the philosophers nor the cynics can be said to have succeeded. The descriptions of the former are not recognisable and therefore as descriptions at all events, whatever may be their other merits, must be pronounced failures; whilst those of the cynics describe something which bears to ordinary human nature only the same sort of resemblance that chemically polluted... Essays - Post by : Mike_McBride - Date : November 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 3105

The Cambridge And The Poets The Cambridge And The Poets

The Cambridge And The Poets
Why all the English poets, with a barely decent number of exceptions, have been Cambridge men, has always struck me, as did the abstinence of the Greeks from malt Mr. Calverley, 'as extremely curious.' But in this age of detail, one must, however reluctantly, submit to prove one's facts, and I, therefore, propose to institute a 'Modest Inquiry' into this subject. Imaginatively, I shall don proctorial robes, and armed with a duster, saunter up and down the library, putting to each poet as I meet him the once dreaded question, 'Sir, are you a member of this University?' But... Essays - Post by : paulcooper - Date : October 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 1805

The Office Of Literature The Office Of Literature

The Office Of Literature
Dr. John Brown's pleasant story has become well known, of the countryman who, being asked to account for the gravity of his dog, replied, 'Oh, sir! life is full of sairiousness to him--he can just never get eneugh o' fechtin'.' Something of the spirit of this saddened dog seems lately to have entered into the very people who ought to be freest from it--our men of letters. They are all very serious and very quarrelsome. To some of them it is dangerous even to allude. Many are wedded to a theory or period, and are the most... Essays - Post by : Boros - Date : October 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 4020

Emerson Emerson

There are men whose charm is in their entirety. Their words occasionally utter what their looks invariably express. We read their thoughts by the light of their smiles. Not to see and hear these men is not to know them, and criticism without personal knowledge is in their case mutilation. Those who did know them listen in despair to the half-hearted praise and clumsy disparagement of critical strangers, and are apt to exclaim, as did the younger Pitt, when some extraneous person was expressing wonder at the enormous reputation of Fox, 'Ah! you have never been under... Essays - Post by : Merry_V - Date : October 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 2210

Charles Lamb Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb
Mr. Walter Bagehot preferred Hazlitt to Lamb, reckoning the former much the greater writer. The preferences of such a man as Bagehot are not to be lightly disregarded, least of all when their sincerity is vouched for, as in the present case, by half a hundred quotations from the favoured author. Certainly no writer repays a literary man's devotion better than Hazlitt, of whose twenty seldom read volumes hardly a page but glitters with quotable matter; the true ore, to be had for the cost of cartage. You may live like a gentleman for a twelvemonth on Hazlitt's ideas.... Essays - Post by : mediae - Date : October 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 2255

The Muse Of History The Muse Of History

The Muse Of History
Two distinguished men of letters, each an admirable representative of his University--Mr. John Morley and Professor Seeley--have lately published opinions on the subject of history, which, though very likely to prove right, deserve to be carefully considered before assent is bestowed upon them. Mr. Morley, when President of the Midland Institute, and speaking in the Town Hall of Birmingham, said: 'I do not in the least want to know what happened in the past, except as it enables me to see my way more clearly through what is happening to-day,' and this same indifference is professed, though certainly nowhere displayed, in... Essays - Post by : Draven - Date : October 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 4323

Edmund Burke Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke
A Lecture delivered before the Edinburgh Philosophical Society. Mr. John Morley, who amongst other things has written two admirable books about Edmund Burke, is to be found in the Preface to the second of them apologizing for having introduced into the body of the work extracts from his former volume--conduct which he seeks to justify by quoting from the Greek (always a desirable thing to do when in difficulty), to prove that, though you may say what you have to say well once, you cannot so say it twice. A difficulty somewhat of the same kind cannot fail to be felt... Essays - Post by : maltiti - Date : October 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 4284

Dr. Johnson Dr. Johnson

Dr. Johnson
If we should ever take occasion to say of Dr. Johnson's Preface to Shakspeare what he himself said of a similar production of the poet Rowe, 'that it does not discover much profundity or penetration,' we ought in common fairness always to add that nobody else has ever written about Shakspeare one-half so entertainingly. If this statement be questioned, let the doubter, before reviling me, re-read the preface, and if, after he has done so, he still demurs, we shall be content to withdraw the observation, which, indeed, has only been made for the purpose of introducing a quotation from... Essays - Post by : redryder - Date : October 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 2858

John Milton John Milton

John Milton
It is now more than sixty years ago since Mr. Carlyle took occasion to observe, in his Life of Schiller, that, except the Newgate Calendar, there was no more sickening reading than the biographies of authors. Allowing for the vivacity of the comparison, and only remarking, with reference to the Newgate Calendar, that its compilers have usually been very inferior wits, in fact attorneys, it must be owned that great creative and inventive genius, the most brilliant gifts of bright fancy and happy expression, and a glorious imagination, well-nigh seeming as if it must be inspired, have too often been found... Essays - Post by : perry.saevik - Date : October 2011 - Author : Augustine Birrell - Read : 2701