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Ruskin's constructive political economy is often thought to consist of the proposals for social regeneration made in Time and Tide and Fors Clavigera. These works, however, do not include what the late John A. Hobson regarded as Ruskin's principal contribution to constructive economic theory: the development of the concepts social utility and social cost. Because of the importance of these concepts in Hobson's own economy, Hobson might be considered—-as indeed he often said he was—Ruskin's disciple. It is perhaps more accurate to say that he was an original social economist who always admired and defended Ruskin.
For the background of The Ring and the Book Browning relied heavily on static features of Roman and Aretine life in the late seventeenth century. Many references to streets, buildings, landscapes, customs, politics, and religion could fit a narrative laid in 1650 or in 1750; moreover, the classical and Biblical allusions, which outnumber but resemble those in The Old Yellow Book, carry little connotation of a precise time. Manifestly topical, however, are the references to the heretical teachings of Miguel de Molinos, which Browning termed Molinism. In The Old Yellow Book this heresy is mentioned only once, when the writer of the first anonymous pamphlet suggests that those who do not support a wronged husband against an errant wife may seek to introduce “the power of sinning against the laws of God with impunity, along with the doctrine of Molinos and philosophic sin, which has been checked by the authority of the Holy Office.”
Because Dickens nourished an uncompromising contempt for every kind of tyranny, it was inevitable that he should denounce American slavery, whose essential barbarity he observed on his first trip to the New World in 1842. From that time until the conclusion of his second visit to the United States in 1868, a period of roughly twenty-six years, he focused his attention, at intervals, on the issues which grew out of the system. Curiously, though his reactions to America have been subjects for detailed consideration, his continuing interest in the problems posed by our institution of slavery has never received, to my knowledge, any extensive treatment. It seems appropriate, therefore, to give some attention to a matter with which he was occupied for a considerable period. It will be the twofold purpose of the following study (1) to examine in chronological order Dickens' statements on slavery as they appear in his published letters, American Notes, and his principal periodicals, Household Words and All the Year Round; and (2) to suggest that at certain points, especially in later years, his thinking on the subject bears some striking resemblances to that of Carlyle.
The objection raised by most of Melville's early biographer-critics to the form of his major novels has been found largely answerable by more exclusively textual scrutiny and by recognition of the satiric strain in his literary tradition. It is now widely agreed that such compositions as Moby-Dick and Billy Budd are complete designs, consisting of related parts. But the terms in which Melville's structure has been appraised have not commonly allowed for the operation within it of a structural theory. It has not yet been perceived that he belongs, with Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman, among the American literary discoverers of the principle of organic form.
In the spring of 1835, George Ripley, a young Unitarian minister of Boston, remembered an old debt. For some years he had been a leader in that transplantation of German literature and philosophy which was now flowering into Transcendentalism. He could read Kant in the original tongue, and he owned a redoubtable library of German biblical criticism and idealist philosophy. Three years before, in the Christian Examiner (xi, 375) he had explained the differences between Kant and Coleridge and asserted the superiority of Kant; this very spring he had written for the same journal (xviii, 167-221) a biography of Herder and a closely critical review of Marsh's translation of Herder's Spirit of German Poetry. But he was still young enough in erudition to remember the names of those who had first turned his eyes to Germany: the Herder article began with a statement of his indebtedness to “sound and liberal scholars, like Carlyle.”
In 1830, at a time when the United States was still considered in Europe to be a small and insignificant country east of the Mississippi, Goethe published the poem “Den Vereinigten Staaten.” Almost at once it attracted attention, becoming with the years one of his most famous literary productions. A few months after its appearance in Germany, Fraser's Magazine in England offered the following quaint translation:
The original poem, as Goethe gave it to the public, was:
Amerika, du hast es besser
Als unser Continent, das alte,
Hast keine verfallene Schlösser
Und keine Basalte.
Dich stört nicht im Innern,
Zu lebendiger Zeit,
Und vergeblicher Streit.
Benutzt die Gegenwart mit Glück!
Und wenn nun eure Kinder dichten,
Bewahre sie ein gut Geschick
Vor Ritter-, Räuber- und Geistergeschichten.
Charles Lamb exhibited the same genial attitude toward books as toward people; he never expected too much of either, and was therefore seldom disappointed. This whimsical tolerance was especially evident in his reactions to prose fiction. He never went at a novel too seriously—with hammer and tongs, as we say; yet he could distinguish between the enduring works and the pulp. Moreover, he professed to like the same qualities in books as in people: individuality, personality, and even eccentricity. In 1821 he disclaimed a taste for the external events in narrative fiction, contrasting his attitude with that of his sister: “Narrative teases me. I have little concern with the progress of events. She must have a story.... The fluctuations of fortune in fiction ... and almost in real life ... have ceased to interest, or to operate but dully upon me. Out of the way humours and opinions—heads with some diverting twist in them—the oddities of authorship please me most” (ii, 75). There is, however, ample evidence that Lamb read widely in prose fiction and enjoyed the works of the great eighteenth-century masters—Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, and Smollett. He also was acquainted with the writings of Sterne, Goldsmith, Henry Mackenzie, Robert Paltock, Aleman, Cervantes, Jane and Maria Porter, Godwin, Scott, and many figures of less note, including the Minerva Press offerings. As Lamb himself put it, “Defoe was always my darling” (i, 524). In 1829, at the request of his friend Walter Wilson, Lamb wrote a critical essay on Defoe's secondary novels for Wilson's book Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel Defoe.4
Garrod, in his essay on Keats, equates Wordsworth's “wise passiveness” with Keats's “negative capability.” At least, he fancies that Keats's expression embodies “a quality not essentially different” from Wordsworth's. I contend that, in truth, the two are poles apart.
In context, Garrod is referring to Keats's attitude toward Coleridge, as set forth in his famous letter of December 1817 to his brothers. Going to and returning from a Christmas pantomime with his friends Brown and Dilke, Keats had “not a dispute but a disquisition, with Dilke on various subjects”; whence, suddenly “several things dove-tailed in my mind, and at once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously— I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge.”2
The monumental collections of biographical material published by John Nichols are, combined, the richest source of eighteenth-century literary biography. Nichols is known to have been as generous as he was prolific. It would be strange, therefore, if the two greatest biographers of the period, Johnson and Boswell, had not been indebted to some extent to him. That Johnson was so indebted for material included in six of the Lives of the Poets, I have shown previously. I shall show here that Boswell was similarly indebted, by examining the contributions of Nichols to the Life of Johnson.
Tomás de iriarte (1750-91) is often called upon to furnish early or embryonic examples of modern metric forms because he, perhaps more than any other writer of his time, consciously attempted to exploit the wealth of Spanish verse and strophe arrangements then known and to enrich the language with new forms and combinations. Emiliano Díez Echarri even goes so far as to say that Iriarte was “capaz con un poco más de estro poético de haber renovado toda nuestra métrica.” Other well-known scholars, including Menéndez y Pelayo, Miguel Antonio Caro, Manuel González Prada, Julio Saavedra Molina, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, and Marasso Roca, to name only a few, have at one time or another studied some phase of Iriarte's versification, though no general survey of it has, to my knowledge, been made. The “Géneros de metro usados en estas fábulas” appended to the Fábulas literarias lists forty types, but does not tell the whole story of the versification in the Fábulas—much less of Iriarte's work as a whole. A study of Iriarte's versification would have at least a threefold value: it might (1) serve as a near equivalent to a summary of Spanish formal or learned versification to and including his time; (2) indicate a stronger Italian influence on Spanish metrics at this particular period than has generally been suspected; and (3) bring into clearer focus the original or near-original phases that may have influenced subsequent metric technique, given the fact that Iriarte's work has been so widely known. This paper will attempt to expand especially the first and third of these features of Iriarte's work.
The modern redemption of the Dunciad has been in part a demonstration that the poem deals with extant dunceness more than with forgotten dunces. By way of extending the demonstration, I wish to show how luminously Pope associates the spread of bad books with the dynamics of a commercialized society. While dealing of course with other problems too, the Dunciad and its pendants treat a notable aspect of the issue which pervades and unifies most of his mature satire—the antinomy of mercenary and humane values. Repeatedly between 1728 and 1743 Pope contemplates the predicament of a nation that is “sunk in lucre's sordid charms” and of men who are “alike in nothing but one lust of gold.” He protests the corrupt practices of politicians like Walpole, the extravagance of aristocrats like Timon, and the acquisitive enterprise of business men like Balaam. As far afield as the great Parisian banquet of the Dunciad (iv.549-564) Maynard Mack has sensitively detected Pope's animus toward a “money culture.” Since it underlies his general outlook of gloom, this animus is even behind the sighs for a “sinking land” which appear briefly amid the spacious optimism of the Essay on Man (iv.265-266). A similarity between two of Pope's finest symbols marks the special place of the Dunciad within his vision of evil: in the Epilogue to the Satires the goddess Vice rules an avaricious world by means of “golden chains” (i.147-148, 161-162); and Dulness, the deity of the Dunciad, fixes society to a bimetallic standard of “lead and gold” (iv.13-16).
The scientific and pseudo-scientific lore in Milton's prose, like that in his poetry, is impressive for its bulk and its conventionality. What may at first seem recondite information is anticipated repeatedly in such vernacular encyclopedias and common handbooks as Bartholomew's De Proprietatibus Rerum (c. 1230), Stephen Batman's Batman vppon Bartholome (1582), Peter de la Primaudaye's The French Academie (1618), and John Swan's Speculum Mundi (1643). The range is tremendous: astronomy, astrology, herbal, animal, and lapidary lore, physiology, medical lore—all are drawn upon in their customary associations for illustration, argument, invective, and the other devices of controversial prose. Medical and anatomical allusions recur with great frequency. Anyone writing about the ills of the body politic, as Milton did, will make the expected comparisons with human disease; but the emphasis in Of Reformation and Eikonoklastes on fevers, flesh and skin diseases, insanity, and other ailments goes beyond the casual to the insistent and the directive. In Eikonoklastes and the Defences, for example, the stress falls upon disease and distortion rather than remedy : distemper, palsy, abortion, false pregnancy, and miscarriage. In these Milton is arguing more against an opponent than for an idea, and the morbid associations are part of his strategy.
The Munich codex germanicus 6353 ends with the following words:
Das gesilbent par / ist durch Hannsen Foltzn
vonn Wormbs Barbierern zu Nurmberg
gemacht vnnd gedichtet Jacoben Bernhaubt
Schwennter benant / jme jn grosser gunst
vnnd liebe zugestellt / doch vmb sein darbe-
zalunng vnnd ist jm 1496 Jarnn
gesunngen durch angezaigtenn
Schwentern auff der singeschul
vmb ein klainoth / Es ist jm
vnbekanten thon vnd
saget von den siben
Ir erfinder / Planeth / farb / methall (fol. Zr)
To a casual reader these lines might seem to belong to the preceding poem in the MS., but a closer look proves this to be impossible. Indeed a seven-staved par such as described in the above lines is not to be found anywhere within the entire codex. In vain does one look in Mayer's edition of the MS. for some explanation. There the impression is added as if the lines were taken from the bottom of folio 168v, whereas actually they begin at the top of folio Zr and cover two-thirds of it, Apparently Mayer attached no significance to this fact, nor to the fact that blank folios follow the lines cited above (possibly because there are other blank folios scattered throughout the MS.), nor to the fact that the Schwennter referred to in the above “conclusion” is also mentioned in the Preface to the codex. He does, however, call attention to the very artistic handwriting of folios F, O, and Z, the folios which contain the prefatory material and the lines under consideration. Since the Preface states that Folz composed, wrote down, and then left behind him the poems in the MS. many years ago and that Jacob Bernhaubt Schwennter, named the Elder, likewise many years ago, spent much of his time singing and reading these same poems, and since the hand that made those statements also set down the final lines in Munich 6353, we may deduce that they were added after the death of Hans Folz. Even this small item has not been noted before, except for A. v. Keller's remark in his brief description of the Munich MS. that the closing lines, like the Preface, were von späterer hand. Rufold Henß, one of the investigators of Folz's style, appears to be the only scholar who saw something odd in the close of the Munich MS. Finding the words perplexing, he thought that they probably did not belong in that particular place and that they had been copied there by mistake. To date, therefore, no solution has been offered for this enigmatic ending.
Recent studies have demonstrated the existence in fifteenth and even fourteenth-century England of “bookshops” to which scriveners, limners, and perhaps members of the bookbinders' craft were attached in a sort of lay scriptorium for the purpose of producing books as they were ordered by patrons. Out of such shops, located, it would seem, principally in London, rather than out of monastic scriptoria, came the bulk of English secular literature. Many of the MSS. of the Canterbury Tales are authoritatively said to be “shop-made,” and the same claim is made about the mid-fourteenth-century Auchinleck MS. Mrs. Loomis, moreover, argues convincingly that the shops of the early stationers sometimes included translator-versifiers whose routine task it was to turn French prose romances into English verse, generally into highly conventional and pedestrian couplets.
The fifth book of Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival tells the story of Parzival's visit to the Grail Castle, where he beholds the Grail and its attendant mysteries and fails to ask the question which would have restored the stricken king to health and made Parzival the guardian of the most sacred and precious object this side of Paradise. Parzival's reception by the King is preceded by an episode of twenty-two lines that, taken at face value, is entirely out of keeping with the atmosphere of the situation about to be witnessed and with the interpretation of its elements in a much later part of the story. Not only every modern reader feels it to be off key, but the scribe of one of the manuscipts—G—also presumably found it offensive in its context and left it out. The episode runs as follows:
Parzival has been courteously received by the Fisher-King's domestics. He has been disarmed and allowed to wash, his beauty has been admired, he has been given a costly mantle to wear, and he has been complimented on his knightly bearing. At that moment a messenger enters and with peremptory gestures and a voice shaking as though with anger summons the guest to appear before his master. Parzival suspects foul play: his sword is not in sight. He clenches his fist so that the blood spurts from under his nails. The attendants forestall an act of violence by explaining: Sir, this man is a privileged prankster, for all that we are sad. Pray, restrain yourself and don't be angry. He only meant to announce that the Fisher is ready to receive you. Parzival is then conducted into the great hall.
There is a persistent Welsh tradition, going back to very early times, that there were poets in the sixth century, among whom [A]neirin et Taliessin “in poemate brittannico claruerunt.” To these poets Welsh scholarship has given the name of Cynfeirdd or “Primitive Poets.” Recent research has done much to establish the fact that some of the poems credited to them are genuine productions of the early seventh century, and others, including those centering around the name of Llywarch the Old (Hên), belong to the mid ninth century. There are, however, sceptics who refuse to admit the existence of native poetry at such an early date, and hold that all the poems (except two short ones that were actually written down in the ninth and tenth centuries), belong to a period after the Norman Conquest.
To saints and their relics in the Middle Ages great men did great reverence. The mighty Charlemagne zealously collected and distributed relics of Christ and the saints; so, too, did the noble King Athelstan of England, who was, to his own contemporaries, something of “an English Charlemagne.” Certain tales relating to these two famous rulers and the holy relics acquired by them, are full of interest in themselves and in the relationship, at special stages, of the stories to each other. The Continental Carolingian narratives—the Pèlerinage de Charlemagne, the Descriptio qualiter Karolus Magnus clavum et coronam Domini a Constantino poli Aquis Grani detulerit, the Fierabras tell how Charlemagne, either on a fabulous journey to the East, or by warfare in Spain, got a hoard of precious relics which included some from the Crucifixion but never, in the oldest versions of these stories, any part of the Passion Lance. An ancient story, of English origin, tells how Athelstan received, as a gift from France, a hoard which likewise included some Passion relics. Among the gifts was the Passion Lance which was said to have belonged to Charlemagne; there was also the vexillum of St. Mauricius. For the Carolingian stories named above there is no extant text that antedates the latter half of the twelfth century, no conjectured source that antedates the latter half of the eleventh century. The Athelstan Gift Story, as we shall call it, was first set forth in an Anglo-Latin poem eulogizing the English king (d. 939). This panegyric was quoted and summarized by William of Malmesbury (1125) and is now accepted, though it was long ignored, as an authentic tenth century source. It may have been this almost unknown poem which inspired in the Chanson de Roland, in that earliest Anglo-Norman copy known as the Oxford Roland, four concepts connected with Charlemagne's reported possession of a bit of the Passion Lance. Our concern here, however, is not with the ancient Latin poem, but with the version of its Gift Story by William of Malmesbury. To it he gave new life, new currency; its influence can be traced in various chronicles and in certain English Carolingian romances. It throws new light on their development and relationships. Strangely enough, it was in these English Carolingian stories and not in their Continental sources and analogues that the idea that Charlemagne had once possessed the Passion Lance took root and flourished.
In Old English occur seven compound nouns (brimrád, hronrád, hwéolrád, seglrád, stréamrád, swanrád, wígrád) the second element of which is customarily interpreted in dictionaries, translations, handbooks, and critical writings as ‘road’ (via, Weg, Bahn); and this interpretation is the basis for the widespread dogma that the five of these compounds that refer to water are metaphors, or at least figures of speech, “poetic terms for the sea.” Unquestionably, this element is the word, occurring in OE in the simplex, which in Modern English means ‘road: an ordinary line of communication used by persons passing between different places, usually one wide enough to admit of the passage of vehicles as well as of horses or travellers on foot’ (OED). In no extant OE text, however, so far as the recorded instances indicate, does the simplex rád have this meaning; on the contrary, according to the OED the simplex first appears in this sense at the end of the sixteenth century—in 1596, in Shakespeare's I Henry IV II.I.16. Therefore, it is open to doubt that the bound element did actually in OE have the modern meaning in seven of the twelve extant nominal compounds in -rád. The presumption would be that in these seven, as in the other five (éorod, flocrád, setlrád, sweglrád, punorrád), it had a sense, or senses, not too remote from those of the simplex or of the related verb rídan, and that the construction of these compounds as well as the contexts in which they stand should form the basis of conclusions concerning their applications and uses, literal or figurative. The evidence afforded by extant OE texts supports the presumption.
In 1734 Edward Cave, founder of the Gentleman's Magazine, received a pseudonymous letter whose writer made a number of suggestions for the improvement of the magazine. The writer, “S. Smith,” was a young man named Samuel Johnson who, four years later, was to take over duties which made him virtually the editor of the Gentleman's Magazine until 1745. During the period from 1738 to 1745, then, Johnson may be assumed to have had full knowledge of all contributions to the magazine as well as no little voice in the selection of those thought worthy of publication. Possibly the implications of this fact have not been fully realized. Johnson probably read most of the contributions with the critical eye of an editor and, I suppose it proper to conjecture, re-read or glanced over the periodical upon its monthly appearances. In short, one can assume Johnson's close familiarity with much of the contents of the Gentleman's Magazine for a number of years, and it is not surprising in view of his remarkable memory that he should sometimes fall back upon this large body of material, consciously or unconsciously, in his own writings. I hope to demonstrate here one such use of the contents of the magazine that led to the writing of Ramblers 186 and 187.