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"Barchester

of novelists who are sufficient for their day. Towers," however, in which appear Bishop and Mrs. Proudie and Archdeacon Grantley, may still be read with interest. Trollope's are the very best of the machinemade novels. He is mentioned as typical of a class, and not as an individual figure in literary history.

Robert Louis

Stevenson,

1850-1894.

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After the death of Scott the historical novel rapidly degenerated. Dickens laid the scene of two stories, Barnaby Rudge" and the "Tale of Two Cities," in the eighteenth century, but the interest in these depends upon the humors of the personages, not on the historical setting. Thackeray made a splendid success of "Henry Esmond," Charles Reade wrote a great story of the sixteenth century in the "Cloister and the Hearth," Charles Kingsley revived Elizabethan times in "Westward Ho," but the great body of novels tended to the realistic tale of contemporary life, such as those written by Trollope. The tale of adventure, too, seemed out of favor, and poetry and romance seemed to have left the literature of amusement, when a young Scotchman of genius brought it back. Stevenson belonged to a family of lighthouse engineers, and was intended for the profession of his father and grandfather, but his literary tendencies were too strong to allow him to follow any profession. He worked faithfully and laboriously to acquire a finished style. His essays in the Cornhill attracted some attention, and were collected in 1882 in a volume entitled "Virginibus Puerisque." His odd and fanciful, humorous stories, the "New Arabian Nights," appeared in the same year. "Treasure Island," sometimes called a boy's book, but a masterpiece under whatever designation, proved his genius, and the

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Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" captured a large public. These were followed by the romances of adventure," Kidnapped," the "Master of Ballantrae," and "David Balfour." The stories and sketches collected under the title of the "Merry Men" added to his reputation. In collaboration he wrote the "Dynamiter," the "Wrecker," and "Ebb-tide." His verse, contained in " A Child's Garden of Verse," "Underwoods," and "Ballads,” has pleasant qualities. He was of an extremely charming and winning character, and his early death was a distinct loss to literature. He had never been strong, and fixed his abode in the island of Samoa, where he died suddenly in 1894.

Stevenson combined powers of invention both of plot and characters with a certain finished and painstaking style, a union which is very rare. Strong imaginative powers are apt to hurry a man along so that he can pay little attention to minutiæ of construction, as we see readily in the case of Scott and Dickens. But in the most exciting passages of "Treasure Island" or the "Master of Ballantrae" we find the well-built sentence, the appropriate adjective, the novel turn of expression that indicates artistic pains. These excellencies fit into his work and do not weaken it as is so often the case, because Stevenson was a true artist. It has sometimes been said that Stevenson could not draw a female character, but Catriona in "David Balfour" disproved the charge. It has been said that he occupied himself too exclusively with fighting and bloodshed and rough, violent characters. But he wrote tales of adventurers, who naturally encounter adventures, and fighting and love are both proper themes for the novelist. Stevenson died in his forty-fourth year, and he was so thoroughly an artist that it is impossible to say

what he might not have accomplished if life had continued and bodily strength had given him full opportunity for the exercise of his exquisite talent.

In 1837 Wordsworth was an old man and his best work was finished. Coleridge and Scott, Keats, Byron, and Shelley were dead. Alfred Tennyson was

Characteristics of the Literature of the Victorian Period.

a young man in whose verse lovers of poetry found promise of future greatness. Browning was unknown. The date marks the blank between one generation of singers and a succeeding one. It is justly regarded as the beginning of the modern age. But the production of the next sixty years was so vast and so varied that it is impossible to characterize it as a whole. The body of readers, too, increased and became more complex with the increase of facilities for education.

Furthermore the mechanical production and distribution of books has now become so rapid and cheap, and a certain amount of skill in writing has become so general, that an immense mass of ephemeral matter covers up what is really characteristic or dilutes it till it escapes detection. There is some justification for the statement that facility or correctness has increased at the expense of originality and creative power; certainly much verse is produced with which no fault can be found except that it lacks distinction and interest, but that has been the case in other periods. Prose has been developed as a powerful and flexible instrument of expression, and there is no lack in England of competent literary craftsmen. The novel, including the short story, is the form most cultivated, but the great novelists of the middle of the century have left no successors of equal ability. The scientific spirit of exactness and precision seems in some regards to militate

against literary art. No poets are ready to take the places of Tennyson, Browning, and Rossetti. But we cannot say whether that is due to the spirit of the age or because no men of genius have been born in the latter half of the century.

The writing of history has been based on the careful study of the documents and all the relics of antiquity. Light has been thrown upon the life of past ages, and though it is not always the illuminating light of the historic imagination, it enables us to see things as they really were. Criticism of literature and art has been cultivated and—though there has been no one critic equal to Coleridge in appreciative intelligence-is written in a kindlier spirit and from broader knowledge and on juster principles than ever before. thew Arnold in this regard. English writers have been studied, sometimes, it is true, without much appreciation of the worth of the subject, but frequently in such a way as not merely to amass material, but to illustrate the development of literature. In history, biography, and literary criticism the work of the period is of a high order, and marked by justice, conscientiousness, and industry.

The age owes much to Mat-
The lives and works of all

As the number of readers increases, literature, using the word in its broadest sense, tends to lose its solidarity. There are different interests and different schools of thought, each addressed by its own writers. There are many intellectual worlds, each unconsciously seeking to realize its own ideal, each having points of contact with the others, but each so vigorous and individual that none is swallowed up by the dominant controlling spirit of the age. Thus, thirty years ago the "Oxford Movement," the "Pre-Raphaelite school" of artists and critics, and the

liberal, scientific, philosophical writers were contemporaneous. In no other period is the phenomenon of intellectual, artistic, and literary groups so marked, though independent groups or literary schools have always existed. At present the great universities, the art circles, the men of letters in London, and the colleges of the dissenting churches are all centers of ideas and literary activity, each with its own sphere of thought and its own organs and set of essayists and writers of verse, and each nearly as productive as the entire nation was one hundred years ago. Beside these, there are innumerable subgroups of lesser importance, some of which influence large numbers of people.

The ease of travel and the rapid transmission and diffusion of ideas due to mechanical inventions is not without its influence on the character of the literary expression of the age. Intellectual or artistic excitement in any part of the world has its effects in all parts. A book of note in French, German, Italian, or Russian is at once translated, and whatever aliment or stimulant or poison it may contain is quickly absorbed. Therefore, while modern literature is sensitive to outside influences and decidedly cosmopolitan in its tone, it lacks the air of leisure, dignity, and calm which surrounds much of the eighteenth century writing. This cosmopolitan tone broadens the literature of the day at the expense of individualism and distinction.

Modern science has destroyed many illusions and among them some graceful and ornamental growths of the imagination. It has increased the desire to express the exact truth and to avoid exaggeration and hyperbole. Science teaches patience and respect for absolute verity. It has not weakened the fundamental emotions of humanity,

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