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That the “solempne” and “greet fraternitee” in whose livery Chaucer dressed the five Burgesses in the General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales was probably a craft fraternity and that the Drapers' Fraternity (or Brotherhood of St. Mary of Bethlehem) provides a clear-cut example of the kind of organization he had in mind are conclusions to which this paper will attempt to lead the reader through the ensuing pages. Eighteen lines introduce and describe these worthy citizens:
An Haberdasshere and a Carpenter,
A Webbe, a Dyere, and a Tapycer,—
And they were clothed alle in o lyveree
Of a solempne and a greet fraternitee.
Ful fressh and newe hir geere apiked was;
Hir knyves were chaped noght with bras
But al with silver; wroght ful clene and weel
Hire girdles and hir pouches everydeel.
Wel semed ech of hem a fair burgeys
To sitten in a yeldehalle on a deys.
Everich, for the wisdom that he kan,
Was shaply for to been an alderman.
For catel hadde they ynogh and rente,
And eek hir wyves wolde it wel assente;
And elles certeyn were they to blame.
It is ful fair to been ycleped “madame,”
And goon to vigilies al bifore,
And have a mantel roialliche ybore.
(Gen. Prol., ll. 361-378)
The Appearance of the pastoral name “Amyntas” in the poems of Richard Barnfield and in those of well-known members of the Sidney circle points to a network of interesting relationships not hitherto perceived generally. Barnfield's elaborate and extended references to Amyntas not only reveal some of the influences upon this poet's early compositions but also shed additional light upon the authorship of Greenes Funeralls, a work interesting both for its importance in the Greene-Harvey controversy and for its allusion to Greene's attack upon Shakespeare. Of significance also is the precise nature of Barnfield's connection with the group of writers who, after Sidney's death, attached themselves to Mary Herbert but retained still the spirit of Sir Philip. It is a connection that can be established clearly only if we understand aright the identity of Amyntas and the intention of the poet in employing the name.
In four English works published between 1592 and 1595, Amyntas represents under the guise of pastoral allusion various persons whom the authors desired to praise: “Colin Clovts come home againe,” Pierce Penilesse his Svpplication to the Diuell, The Affectionate Shepheard, and Greenes Funeralls. Amyntas appears also in pastoral poems by Thomas Watson and Abraham Fraunce as an unfortunate shepherd who dies for love, and again in the works of other writers who wish by this method to allude to Watson's work or to Fraunce's. The name is met then in three ways: as a poetic name for an historical personage contemporary to the writer who uses it, as a name appropriate to a shepherd but having no topical significance in the fashionable Arcadian romances of the last two decades of the sixteenth century, and as a reference to poems using the name Amyntas either in their titles or in their subtitles.
Students of English drama have long been interested in the Parnassus trilogy, produced in St. John's College, Cambridge, at the turn of the sixteenth century. The third play, The Reiurne from Parnassus, or The Scourge of Simony, was the only one published contemporaneously. Since the Reverend W. D. Macray's edition of the entire series in 1886, following his discovery in the Bodleian of a manuscript copy of the long-lost first two plays, the trilogy has been acclaimed as “the most brilliant product of the Tudor university stage.” Successive scholars have analyzed its sources, argued the problems of its authorship and dating, and variously interpreted its personal satire and allusion. Still unsolved, however, is the problem of authorship; still uncertain the answer to a famous crux in Shakespearean scholarship—the identification of Shakespeare's “purge” of Jonson, alluded to in the third play. It is the purpose of this paper (1) to introduce a new name in connection with the authorship of the trilogy; (2) by means of previously unused internal evidence to establish beyond any possibility of doubt J. B. Leishman's well-reasoned, but nevertheless inconclusive, identification of the “purge” with Dekker's Satiro-Mastix, despite the Parnassus poet's attribution of it to Shakespeare; and (3) to use this same internal evidence to reveal the Cambridge playwright's hitherto unsuspected satire of Jonson.
At one point in Webster's The While Devil the Cardinal Monticelso addresses a shocking invitation to the Duke of Florence, the arch-revenger of the play:
Come, come my Lord, untie your foulded thoughts, And let them dangle loose as a bride's haire.
As a scene-opener the speech deserves to be thought of as one of Webster's coups de théâtre, for the whole play is of a kind to make the words hyperbolically preposterous. We are, of course, in the chosen realm of Jacobean imagining, that lurid Italy where every thought “Imitates / The suttle fouldings of a Winters snake” (i.ii.345-346) and where brides epitomize hypocrisy:
O the Art,
The modest forme of greatnesse! that do sit Like Brides at wedding dinners, with their looks turn'd
From the least wanton jests, their puling stomacke Sicke of the modesty, when their thoughts are loose …
Even acting of those hot and lustfull sports
Are to ensue about midnight … (iv.iii.145-151)
After the scores of “secret histories,” “authentick memoirs,” and “true relations” written by Mrs. Eliza Haywood and other female novelists of the 1720's, the four volumes of fiction by Mrs. Mary Davys produce much the same “cheerful, sunshiny, breezy” effect that Coleridge attributed to Fielding's work, in contrast to “the close, hot, day-dreamy continuity of Richardson.” The double comparison is more than subjectively valid, for Mrs. Davys stands in much the same relation to Fielding's ebullient masculine genius that Mrs. Haywood's distressed damsels do to Richardson's heroines—both as a forerunner and as an influence upon the early eighteenth-century reading public.
Many of the qualities which distinguish Mrs. Davys from her contemporaries may be explained by her background and by the circumstances under which her works were written and published. She was born in Dublin in 1674 and married the Reverend Peter Davys, a friend of Jonathan Swift and headmaster of the free school attached to St. Patrick's. Swift considered the marriage an indiscretion on the headmaster's part but, indiscreet or not, it was apparently a happy one until Davys'early death in 1698. Soon after this, his young widow “went for mere want to England.” She appeared briefly in London in 1700 and then settled in York where she lived for the next fifteen years. Little is known of her during this period. Swift's correspondence and his Journal to Stella indicate that she occasionally visited London, that she tried by various ruses to maintain contact with him from York, and that he grudgingly sent her several sums of money before his return to Ireland in 1714. Such irregular charity could hardly have been sufficient for the most frugal existence, and from pictures of life in a York boarding house and the recurrent character of a settled but good-natured female companion in her plays and novels, one may conjecture that Mrs. Davys enacted a similar role in private life.
With the emergence of philosophy in the nineteenth century as a separate discipline which stressed primarily questions insoluble by empirical or formal methods, Voltaire's reputation as a philosopher has gone into gradual eclipse. It has become unfashionable and degrading for philosophers to concern themselves with the practical aspects of philosophical enquiry. In eighteenth-century France, on the other hand, the identification of philosophy with science, which by twentieth-century standards had vitiated philosophical thought, produced the “philosophes” or natural philosophers who were on the whole more interested in human progress than in the progress of the human mind. And Voltaire was by popular consent the leader of this “philosophe” group, the one who had unquestionably contributed the most in the struggle to make man a happier and freer member of society. Yet, ironically, despite a lifelong effort in behalf of humanity, Voltaire's reputation as a destructive thinker has steadily grown even as the critics have pejoratively classified him as a “practical” rather than a “real” philosopher. Typical of this criticism of Voltaire is Macaulay's statement: “Voltaire could not build: he could only pull down: he was the very Vitruvius of ruin. He has bequeathed to us not a single doctrine to be called by his name, not a single addition to the stock of our positive knowledge.”
Es Erscheint an der Zeit, der Aufnahme von Thomas Paines Schriften in Deutschland einmal nachzugehen. Sie standen seinen deutschen Zeitgenossen nicht nur in deren eigener Sprache zur Verfügung, sondern gewannen für sie eine Bedeutung, die im allgemeinen bisher unbeachtet geblieben ist.
Um dieser Bedeutung gerecht zu werden, muß die Untersuchung auch die Aufnahme unter den Deutschen in Amerika mit einschließen; denn die Wechselbeziehungen waren mannigfaltig. Sie erstreckten sich zuweilen rückwirkend auf das amerikanische Geistesleben, ja sogar—wie es vereinzelte Anhaltspunkte deutlich machen—auf Thomas Paine selbst. Als Friedrich von Gentz zur Jahrhundertwende in seinem Hislorischen Journal den Unterschied zwischen der französischen und der amerikanischen Revolution herausstellte und dabei Paines europäischen Radikalismus scharf verurteilte, traf er einen Ton, der den gemäßigten John Quincy Adams, seinerzeit Minister Plenipotentiary der Vereinigten Staaten in Berlin, so begeisterte, daß dieser von dem Essai sogleich anonym eine englische Übersetzung anfertigte und nach Philadelphia zum Drucken sandte. Wieweit sich Paine eines deutschen Widerhalls auf seine Schriften bewußt war, läßt sich genau nicht bestimmen; jedoch ist gewiß, daß sein Kontakt mit Deutschen und mit Deutschland enger war, als man bisher annehmen konnte. Seine eigenen Schriften sind irreführend, wenn er in der American Crisis mit einem Zukunftsbild von den Gefahren einer Besetzung Amerikas durch die “Hessen” aufwartet oder sich in den Rights of Man eines solchen erinnern will, der ihm berichtete, deutsche Untertanen äßen Stroh, wofern es ihr Fürst nur beföhle. Die Söldnertruppen waren schwerlich die einzigen Deutschen seines Umgangs in Amerika, und gar in Paris gab es neben dem Preußen Anacharsis Clootz genug, durch die er sich über deutsche Verhältnisse unterrichten konnte. Hier traf er Georg Forster und Carl Friedrich Cramer, und es ist wahrscheinlich, daß er von den vielen anderen Mitgliedern der deutschen Kolonie doch wenigstens die persönlich kannte, die auch in der englischen verkehrten. Jedenfalls wird die Übersetzung der einen oder anderen seiner späteren Schriften geradezu vor seinen Augen stattgefunden haben. Ja schon bei der ersten deutschen Ausgabe von Common Sense in Philadelphia hatte er möglicherweise seine Hand mit im Spiel; denn das Vorwort läßt darauf schließen, daß den Herausgebern der anonyme Autor wohlbekannt war. Eine deutsche Antwort auf Common Sense blieb schon in Amerika nicht aus; den einzigen Beweis aber, daß er nicht ganz im unklaren über die deutsche Aufnahme seiner Schriften war, liefert Paine erst viele Jahre später in Europa. In seiner Vorrede zu einer Neufassung der Rights of Man erklärt er nämlich 1794: “The Chancellor at Berlin, or the Judges at Vienna shall not punish unfortunate individuals for publishing or reading what tyranny may be pleased to call my libels upon their different States.” Er beschließt jetzt ausdrücklich: “I write for the world at large.”
Dans ses salons et essais critiques, Diderot établit volontiers des comparaisons entre les tableaux de contemporains qu'il se propose d‘évaluer et les chefs-d‘œuvre des grands maîtres du passé qui avaient traité des thèmes similaires. Et ces fécondes confrontations iconographiques entre les écoles et les styles les plus divers font partie intégrante de ses méthodes critiques.
Parmi les noms de peintres fameux qui reviennent sous la plume du Philosophe, il en est un qui, bien que moins fréquemment évoqué qu'un Raphaël ou un Rubens, réapparaît cependant dans des contextes extrêmement significatifs. En effet, devant les toiles et gravures de Rembrandt, Diderot a été amené à formuler quelques-unes de ses observations les plus pénétrantes. L'art de ce peintre—si éloigné de la vision idéalisée des statuaires antiques et des Italiens de la Renaissance, ainsi que de la verve joyeuse d'un Rubens et du fini précieux, du réalisme minutieux de la plupart des Hollandais—l'a forcé pour ainsi dire à remettre en question nombre de notions sur des aspects importants de la peinture. Nous verrons que, malgré les grands changements de style qui ont renouvelé et quelquefois bouleversé les arts plastiques depuis l'époque où Diderot rédigeait ses Salons, ces problèmes esthétiques sont toujours actuels et concernent le praticien aussi bien que l'amateur éclairé. D'autre part, la manière dont le plus génial des salonniers du dix-huitième siècle a vu, senti et compris le style si original et anti-académique de Rembrandt est révélatrice, dans une large mesure, des tendances, des goûts etdes partis-pris de son temps.
Das stück hat eine tiefe Anlage und sein Kern dürfte nicht gleich anfänglich vorspringen.“ Thus Stifter writes in reference to Der Nachsommer to his publisher and friend Heckenast on 28 January 1855. A year and nine months later, Stifter, who was then engaged in correcting proof, made the following confession in a letter to Heckenast of 20 October 1856:
Nur Ihnen getraue ich mir zu sagen, was ich jezt sage: ich glaube, dass das gegenwärtige Buch eine Tiefe haben soll, die in neuer Zeit nur von Göthe übertroffen ist. Wenn dieser Saz unter die Litteraten käme, sie steinigten mich. Ich kann mich irren; aber die lezten Correcturbögen haben mich selber, wie ernste Ruhe und Tiefe ergriffen, was mir noch bei keiner Correctur geschah. (xviii, 336)
Self-adulation was not one of Stifter's failings as an artist, nor was ambition, in its usual sense. He does confess, however, to a “Thatenergeiz” which he defines in a letter to Heckenast of 6 March 1849 as the impulse “die menschliche Bildung wesentlich zu fördern.” How intense is this impulse is revealed in his statement: “Mein Gott, ich gäbe gerne mein Blut her, wenn ich die Menschheit mit einem Ruke auf die Stufe sittlicher Schönheit heben könnte, auf der ich sie wünschte” (xvii, 323). This ambition, “ein tiefer heiliger Drang” (xviii, 224), social rather than selfish, is indeed so strong, even compelling, that one may recognize in it the force which led to Stifter's achievements as artist and man of practical affairs as well as the cause of his frustrations, disappointments, and miseries. For Stifter, satisfaction with any of his writings could spring only from a realization that artistic form and ethical content were in perfect partnership: “Der höchste Ruhm die höchste Freude wäre mir die, zu wissen, dass ich auch nur einige Steinchen zu dem Baue dieses Reiches auf der Erde gelegt habe, dass ich die Zahl der Herzen vermehren geholfen habe, welche das lieben, was ich liebe, und mit reinerem Sinne nach Oben schauen.”
Among Dickens' full-length novels, Barnaby Rudge has been the awkward stepchild, impossible to ignore and difficult to love. Compared to Nicholas Nickleby and The Old Curiosity Shop, its predecessors, it is not remarkably rich in either comic invention or moving pathos. It does not glow with the high spirits of Pickwick or the warm, compassionate tolerance of David Copperfield: its best humor is edged with satire, and the pathos is often rather thin and forced. Nor, despite the crowds that swarm through its pages, does its world seem free or spacious: there is, for Dickens, an almost tight-lipped unwillingness to deviate from the intricate and rather grim progression of the story. This may be partly accounted for by the mode of publication: Dickens seldom felt at ease in the short weekly installments which did not leave space to “play around [the story] here and there, and mitigate the severity of . . . your sticking to it.” Some have thought that Dickens' imagination was constricted by subject matter he had systematically “researched” from written documents, even though some of the freest and most vigorous writing occurs in the passages based on history. Whatever the reason, Barnaby Rudge is a rather forbidding and at times even arid book, disturbing rather than reassuring despite the happy ending: in feeling as in technique, it is akin to such later “dark” and comparatively unpopular novels as Hard Times and Our Mutual Friend. But I think it is both richer and more firmly and meaningfully organized than many critics have allowed.
In a long essay apropos of Yeats's Oxford Book of Modern Verse, G. M. Young works himself around to modern versification and to G. M. Hopkins. What should have been a development, he says, has turned out to be a catastrophe. “It is common, too, I find to look on Hopkins as the chief legislator of the new mode. For Hopkins as a poet I have the greatest admiration, but his theories on metre seem to me to be as demonstrably wrong as those of any speculator who has ever led a multitude into the wilderness to perish. Unfortunately they have been used as a justification for the cacophonies which naturally result when the metrically deaf write verse, and the metrically deaf are a very large class.” Young is not sure of the right meaning of counterpoint, but “using it as Hopkins did,” he says: “You must counterpoint to avoid monotony, but you must not silence the pattern. You can only work within limits, and if you go beyond them the result is prose. It is no use saying like the Pharisees: ‘It is Corban, a sprung rhythm’: it will not be verse.” That Young uses Hopkins as a stick to beat the moderns is merely amusing; they had their own bit of chaos and needed a form in which to express it. But when he casts a doubt on Hopkins' theories on meter and forth-rightly accuses Hopkins of “an ignorance of his subject so profound that he was not aware there was anything to know”—that is, as he would say, certainly a bone for the dog. And when, on the other hand, Sir Herbert Read, lending his authority to the defense, says that “Hopkins shows that he understood the technique of English poetry as no poet since Dryden had understood it,” it is time to apply a few tests. A beginning was made ten years ago by Yvor Winters, rather more extreme than what follows here. But granted that both Young and Winters have a strong case, it still seems best to deal patiently with Hopkins, if only because he was an impetuous novice in prosody, too impatient to think his theories through before he began to explain them.
Fifine at the fair is not altogether such a poem as Bishop Blougram's Apology, Caliban upon Setebos, Mr. Sludge, “The Medium,” or Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau. Of Browning's recorded statements of his intentions in Fifine, none is more revealing than his remark, preserved in Domett's Diary, that it was “the most metaphysical and boldest” poem he had written since Sordello. The adjective metaphysical characterizes the method of the poem as well as its themes, certain of which were a resumption, more than thirty years later, of the philosophical preoccupations of the earlier work.
To a greater degree than in the other monologues, the casuistry of Fifine at the Fair is a detail of the dramatic situation into which the monologue is set. The epigraph which Browning placed before the poem, a fragment of a scene from Molière's Don Juan, provides an analogue for the comedy which occasions the long discursive argument. In Molière's scene, Donna Elvira reproaches Don Juan for his faithlessness and sarcastically supplies him with a defense, an avowal of deathless devotion to her. Fifine at the Fair is its unnamed hero's rationalization to his wife, Elvire, of his interest in Fifine, a gypsy dancer whom they see at the Fair, and the main line of his defense is that proposed by Donna Elvira in the epigraph. Almost from the beginning of the poem, however, the defense strains against its dramatic limits, as the speakerdigresses on truth and error, good and evil, art and nature, to develop a relativistic philosophy of human knowledge, of moral principle, and of artistic judgment—“abstruser themes” he calls them midway in the poem, recognizing his own shift in emphasis. His philosophy of relativism, with its underlying sensationalism, provides justification for his interest in Fifine, and the sophistry of his special pleading for the truth of opinions that are convenient to his will is an extension of the hypocrisy of his avowals to Elvire. The monologuist develops both his philosophic themes and his account of the situation which gives rise to them in a highly metaphoric language which is wholly unlike the dialectical arguments of Browning's more typical casuists.
Lionel Stevenson has written persuasively of Shelley's influence on Tennyson and has traced the “high-born maiden” in Tennyson as a symbol of Shelleyan origin. By following the figure through Mariana, The Lady of Shalott, The Palace of Art, Lady Clara Vere de Vere, Locksley Hall, and The Princess, Stevenson has found that the maiden is transformed from a weary, isolated, usually suffering figure in the early poems into a “matter-of-fact literary stock-character” in the later poems, like Elaine in the Idylls; and he has suggested that the figure conforms with Jung's archetypal image of the anima. This is very convincing, but, it seems to me, Stevenson has forgotten that host of maidens—Lilian, Madeline, Margaret, Adeline, Rosalind, Eleänore, Kate—who, unlike Mariana, are not suffering damsels at all, but strong, often cruel, haughty ladies who capture the imagination of the poet and who command his devotion but give nothing in return. These maidens, who at first glance might appear to be nothing more than insensible and flirtatious women, occur with persistency in the 1830 Poems, Chiefly Lyrical, and continue to turn up, in suggestion at least, throughout the first part of Tennyson's poetic career. Like the isolated maidens whom Stevenson has pointed out, they are significant in a study of Tennyson because of the frequency with which they occur and because of the change which they underwent after the publication of the poet's first volume. They are, I believe, a variation on the femme fatale figure and draw their inspiration from Keats, especially from La Belle Dame Sans Merci.
Certain Myths exerted an extraordinary hold on Zola's imagination, as one may see not only in La faute de l'abbé Mouret (1875) but also in at least two of his greatest works, Germinal (1885) and La débâcle (1892). These latter novels were written in a period overshadowed by the idea of decadence—the period described by Mario Praz in the last chapter of The Romantic Agony—when Wagner's Götterdämmerung and Schopenhauer's philosophy were the rage in France and such representative authors as d'Aurevilly, Verlaine, and Huysmans gave voice to a gloomy premonition that the Dies Irae of the West—decadent Latin civilization in particular—was at hand. Zola's La joie de vivre (1884), with its setting suggestive of legendary villes englouties, came out the same year as Elémir Bourges' novel Le crépuscule des dieux and the first volume of d'Aurevilly's La décadence latine; and the next year, the year Germinal was published, saw the foundation of the Revue Wagnérienne. It is not surprising that nearly all the myths appearing in Zola's novels at this time reflected this widespread mood of cosmic catastrophism. Yet even where he used the same mythological themes (for example, Sodom and Gomorrah) as some of the decadents and did so in the same historical frame, the sharp differences in their approaches to history clearly emerge. For where the decadents were almost exclusively obsessed with the theme of decline and fall and a sense of “delicious death agony” (to borrow a phrase from Praz), Zola, without being indifferent to this, was predominantly concerned with the theme of cultural regeneration. Significantly, nearly all the myths evoked in the novels we have mentioned are myths of catastrophe and death but also, at the same time, of redemption and rebirth.
Although most critics agree that Howards End (1910) is a less perfect novel than A Passage to India (1924), it is, in its own right, spontaneous and vigorous and more confidently authoritative. Even adverse criticism of Howards End has tended to recognize it as “the most ambitious as well as the most explicit of the novels.” Possibly because Forster had not brooded excessively over his materials and because the Great War had not yet accentuated his latent pessimism, Howards End has the force deriving from a poised and fundamentally positive view of life.
If Howards End lacks the fully mature artistry of A Passage to India, it is largely free from the negative effects upon Forster's art of his later skepticism—a disturbing austerity verging upon spiritual fatigue, and an almost excessive distancing of the writer from his characters verging upon indifference to them. In Howards End the Schlegel sisters are involved in emotionally more central situations than are Fielding, Aziz, and Adela Quested, and they are themselves warmer, more impulsive, and more genial. In some ways their perplexities and valuations of experience—reflecting their life in the now spiritually removed period of prosperous Edwardian England—are indeed remote. Yet Helen and Margaret Schlegel, through their sensitivity, conscientiousness, and moral complexity, achieve at times a depth and spaciousness transcending the somewhat limited universe prescribed for their activity and warrant a continued concern with the novel. Forster has also conceived their friends, acquaintances, relatives, and antagonists, for the most part, with vigor, with understanding, and with sympathy.
In march of 1890, after a preparatory experience with Madame Blavatsky's Theosophical Society, W. B. Yeats joined the Hermetic Students of the Golden Dawn. Like Joris-Karl Huysmans, who at about this time became interested in the activities of the French counterpart of the Golden Dawn, “Le Grand Ordre Kabbalistique du Rose Croix,” Yeats's interests were largely aroused by the willingness of the members of the group to experiment with magical practices. Where Yeats, however, committed himself by oaths and rituals to a cult which pretended to be the guardian of ancient insights into the super-sensory life, Huysmans stood apart, first skeptical, then fascinated, and finally outraged. The eccentric MacGregor Mathers headed the London Rosicrucians, and he and his French wife, the sister of Henri Bergson, were acquainted with all the principal figures involved with the slightly older French order. The latter had been founded in 1888 by Sâr Joséphin Péladan and the self-styled nobleman Stanislas de Guaita. The French group existed on the shady fringe of clerical politics in the hostile rationalism of the early Third Republic, and it was in search of documentary material for a novel about this fantastic circle of clerical Royalists that Huysmans was first drawn to them. Like Saul who only sought lost asses, this quest led him, as he came to believe, to God's grace.
Before he became a Catholic Huysmans was, in effect, something of a Manichean. As Yeats did, he sought experimental evidence to confirm the existence of opposing forces of good and evil, and when he had this evidence he rejected forcefully the Devil through whom he had found God. Yeats was more equivocal. The inversion of values in Huysmans' A rebours, and of ritual in his Là-bas never confounded or reconciled the opposition of good and evil and of false and true worship, as Yeats tried to do in his Rosicrucian stories of 1896. But then Huysmans was never so deeply involved as Yeats in constructing out of the farrago of late nineteenth-century occult beliefs a systematic basis for his life. The Rosicrucian Golden Dawn did provide the beginnings for such a systematic basis, and in his three stories of 1896, “The Tables of the Law,” “Rosa Alchemica,” and “The Adoration of the Magi,” Yeats draws on the beliefs and rituals of his cult. It seems to me that there are elements in the first two of these Rosicrucian stories which have curious affinities to the writings of Huysmans, and these become significant in the context of other relations between the two writers.
In 1892, at the age of thirty-six, Bernard Shaw was a notorious socialist and a bachelor, living with his musical mother and sister in London. He had begun paying his way seven years before as a critic of art; now he assayed music; soon, in 1894, it was to be weekly evaluation of the drama. Four of his six novels—five of them written while his mother supported him—had appeared obscurely and unprofitably. In 1891 a young Dutch friend and fellow critic, Jacob T. Grein, had produced Ibsen's Ghosts to inaugurate the new Independent Theatre in support of Shaw's almost solitary campaign for the New Drama. Grein sought but could not at first find an adequate English play in the new vein. “This was not to be endured,” Shaw later recalled. “I had rashly taken up the case, and rather than let it collapse, I manufactured the evidence.” He had embarked upon Widowers' Houses in 1885 only to lay it aside uncompleted; he now finished it, and Grein produced it on 9 December 1892 at the Royalty Theatre, on quite unfashionable Dean Street in Soho. It was Shaw's first appearance on any stage.