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University Extension Lectures


of a

Course of Six Lectures


Social Messages of Some Nineteenth Century Prophets


Leslie Willis Sprague, B. D.

1. Friedrich Schiller, and the Gospel of Freedom
2. Victor Hugo, and the Rising of the People
3. Thomas Carlyle, and the Worth of Man
4. Lyof N. Tolstoy, and the

Social Message of Christianity
5. Joseph Mazzini, and the

Affirmation of Nationality and Humanity 6. Walt Whitman, and the Hope of Democracy

No. 219

Price, 15 cents

Copyright, 1903, by
The American Society for the Extension of University Teaching

111 South Fifteenth Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

“Servants of God-or sons

Shall I call you? because
Not as servants ye knew
Your Father's innermost mind,
His, who unwillingly sees
One of His little ones lost-
Yours is the praise if mankind

Hath not as yet in its march
Fainted and fallen and died.”

-Matthew Arnold.

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“The two supreme interests of history, whether modern or ancient, lie in the history of men and the history of movements; and, of the two, the first is the more central, for there is no movement which is not 'first incarnated in a life; and reforms, institutions, eras, and even constitutions, can only be interpreted through men who lived in them and in whom they lived.”—D. Macfadyen.

Through all the differences of racial situation and temperament, one subject and one impulse control the imagination of the modern world. In the significant literature of every European nation, we may trace the growth of what we have called a new factor in the life of the race" (viz: the social consciousness).–Vida D. Scudder.

“Contact of this kind strengthens, restores, refreshes. Courage returns as we gaze; when we see what has been, we doubt no more that it can be again. At the sight of a man we too say to ourselves, Let us also be men.”—Henri Frédéric Amiel.


Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805) and the Gospel

of Freedom.

“When a race, tending by vale and hill

Free flocks, contented with its rude domain-
Bursts the hard bondage with its own great will,

Lets fall the sword when once it rends the chain,
And, flush'd with victory, can be human still-
Then blest the strife, and then inspired the strain.
my theme.


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OUTLINE OF THE LECTURE. I. Introductory.-Purpose of the course: To sketch some social movements of the nineteenth century, study their effects upon some of the greatest minds, and discover the social messages of six men—representative of six modern nations and their bearing upon the problems of to-day.

II. The social heritage of the nineteenth century.- Unfulfilled task of the Protestant revolt, seen in Peasants’ War. The French Revolution and the era of reform as the result. Failure and success of the French Revolution: destruction of the old régime, preparation for the new order of social life.

III. Europe at the opening of the nineteenth century.--General conditions. The German Empire expiring. The mission of Napoleon. Effect of the Reign of Terror upon European literature, and of Napoleon upon nationality.

IV. Schiller as the prophet of the dawn of the new era.--His maturity belongs to the opening of the century. His greatest dramas between 1798-1804.

V. Schiller's education and preparation.-Effects of military discipline of Karlsschule. Storm and stress literature. Personal revolt and the literature of revolt.

VI. Schiller's first period.- Protest against political and social tyranny. "The Robbers”-reform by violence. "Fiesco "-hopelessness of the republican ideal. "Cabal and Love"-a tragedy of class distinction. This period marked by the energy of despair.

VII. Schiller's second period.-From Manheim to Jena. Variety of creative activity: poetry, philosophy, history and the drama. The dramatist pre-eminent in all. Social interest of the poems of this period: “The Artists,” “The Walk,” etc. “Don Carlos ": the character of Posa. Schiller's ideal of a benevolent ruler. Effect of the French Revolution upon Schiller.

VIII. Schiller's third period.-Activity despite illness. Historic drama as true vocation. Growth of ideal in this period. “Wallenstein"-the "exalted criminal ” again. Difficulty of using the historical material. Character study of the play. Futility of ambition as a social force. Removal of Schiller to Weimar. "Mary Stuart”-a tragedy of self-conquest. Departure

: from history, yet pictures the times. Lacking social interestturning from political to purely artistic interests, secures variety.

“The Maid of Orleans”-a "romantic tragedy" of national feeling. Departs from historic sources to escape shocking execution of the Maid. Use of the supernatural. Mysticism serves poetic interest. Patriotic feeling as the real magic of Joan.

“The Bride of Messina"-an unsuccessful experiment. Yet portrays the self-destruction of a ruling house as punishment upon its usurpation and lawlessness.

“William Tell”-a drama of national freedom. Based on old Aryan myth. Swiss version expresses Swiss genius; Schiller's rendering expresses his own. The people, not the great man, acting. Consequent untragic ending.

Schiller's development through these periods unbroken and


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