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APPENDIX.

JEAN PAUL FRIEDRICH RICHTER'S REVIEW OF MA.

DAME DE STAEL'S 'ALLEMAGNE.'1

(1830.)

There are few of our readers but have read and partially admired Madame de Staël's Germany; the work, indeed, which, with all its vagueness and manifold shortcomings, must be regarded as the precursor, if not parent, of whatever acquaintance with Gerinan Literature exists among us. There are few also but have heard of Jean Paul, here and elsewhere, as of a huge mass of intellect, with the strangest shape and structure, yet with thews and sinews like a real Son of Anak. Students of German Literature will be curious to see such a critic as Madame de Staël adequately criticised, in what fashion the best of the Germans write reviews, and what worth the best of them acknowledge in this their chief eulogist and indicator among foreigners. We translate the Essay from Richter's Kleine Bücherschau, as it stands there reprinted from the Heidelberg Jahrbücher, in which periodical it first appeared, in 1815. We have done our endeavour to preserve the quaint grotesque style so characteristic of Jean Panl; rendering with literal fidelity whatever stood before us, rugged and unmanageable as it often seemed. This article on Madame de Staël passes, justly enough, for the best of his reviews; which, however, let our readers understand, are no important part of his writings. This is not the lion that we see, but only a claw of the lion, whereby some few may recognise him.

To review a Revieweress of two literary Nations is not easy ; for you have, as it were, three things at to give account of. With regard to France and Germany, however, it is chiefly in reference to the judgment which the intellectual Amazon of these two countries has pronounced on them, and thereby on herself, that they come before us here. To write such a Literary Gazette of our whole literary Past, enacting editor and so many contributors in a single person, not to say a female one ; above all, summoning and spellbinding the spirits of German philosophy — this, it must be owned, would have been even for a Villers, though Villers can now retranslate himself from German into French, no unheroic undertaking. Meanwhile, Madame de Staël had this advantage, that she writes especially for Frenchmen ; who, knowing about German art and the German language simply nothing, still gain somewhat, when they learn never so little. On this subject you can scarcely tell them other truths than new ones, whether pleasant or not. They even know more of the English, as these do of them, — than of the Germans. Our invisi. bility among the French proceeds, it may be hoped, like that of Mercury, from our proximity to the Sun-god; but in regard to other countries, we should consider, that the constellation of our New Literature having risen only half a century ago, the rays of it are still on the road thither.

1 FRASER'S MAGAZINE, Nos. 1 and 4.

Greatly in favour of our Authoress, in this her picture of Germany, was her residence among us; and the title-page might be translated Letters from Germany' (de l'Allemagne), as well as on Germany. We Germans are in the habit of limning Paris and London from the distance ; which capitals do sit to us, truly, – but only on the bookstall of their works. For the deeper knowledge of a national poetry, not only the poems are necessary, but the poets, at least their country and countrymen: the living multitude are notæ variorum to the poem. A German himself could write his best work on French poetry nowhere but in Paris. Now our Authoress, in her acquaintance with the greatest German poets, had, as it were, a living translation of their poems; and Weimar, the focus of German poesy, might be to her what Paris were to the German reviewer of the Parisian.

But what chiefly exalts her to be our critic, and a poetess herself, is the feeling she manifests : with a taste sufficiently French, her heart is German and poetic. When she says, 1

Toutes les fois que de nos jours on a pu faire entrer un peu de sève étrangère, les Français y ont applaudi avec transport. J. J. Rousseau, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Chateaubriand, &c. &c., dans quelques-uns de leurs ouvrages, sont tous, même à leur insçu, de l'école germanique, c'est à dire, qu'ils ne puisent leur talent que dans le fond de leur âme;' she might have classed her own works first on the list. Everywhere she breathes the ather of higher sentiments than the marsh-miasma of Salons and French Materialism could support. The chapters, in Volume Sixth, on philosophy, depict what is Germanism of head badly enough, indeed; but the more warmly and justly what is Ger. inanism of heart, with a pure clearness not unworthy of a Herder.

1 Tom. ii. p. 6.

6

For the French, stript bare by encyclopedists, and revolutionists, and conscripts, and struggling under heart-ossification, and contraction of the breast, such German news of a separation and independence between Virtue and Self-Interest, Beauty and Utility, &c. will not come too late : a lively people, for whom pleasure or pain, as daylight or cloudy weather, often hide the upper starry heaven, can at least use star-catalogues, and some planisphere thereof. Many are the jewel-gleams with which she illuminates the depths of the soul against the Gallic lownesses. Of this sort are, for instance, the passages where l she refuses to have the Madonna of Beauty made a housemaid of Utility ; where she asks, Why Nature has clothed, not the nutritive plants, but only the useless flowers with charms ?

·D'où vient, cependant, que pour parer l'autel de la Divinité, on chercherait plutôt les inutiles fleurs que les productions nécessaires ? D'où vient que ce qui sert au maintien de votre vie aie moins de dignité que les fleurs sans but? C'est que le beau nous rappelle une existence immortelle et divine, dont le souvenir et le regret vivent à la fois dans notre ceur.'

Also 2 the passages where, in contradiction to the principle that places the essence of Art in imitation of Reality, she puts the question :

Le premier des arts, la musique, qu'imite-t-il? De tous les dons de la Divinité, cependant, c'est le plus magnifique, car il semble, pour ainsi dire, superflu. Le soleil nous éclaire, nous respirons l'air du ciel serein, toutes les beautés de la nature servent en quelque façon à l'homme; la musique seule est d'une noble inutilité, et c'est pour cela qu'elle nous émeut si profondement; plus elle est loin de tout but, plus elle se rapproche de cette source intime de nos pensées que l'application à un objet quelconque réserre dans son cours.'

So, likewise, is she the protecting goddess of the higher feelings in love; and the whole Sixth Volume is an altar of religion, which the Gallic pantheon will not be the worse for. Though professing herself a proselyte of the new poetic school, she is a mild judge of sentimentality ; and in no case can immoral freedom in the thing represented excuse itself in her eyes, as perhaps it might in those of this same new school, by the art displayed in representing it. Hence comes her too narrow ill-will against Goethe's Faust and Ottilie. Thus, also, she extends her just anger against a faithlessly luxuriating love, in Goethe's Stella, to unjust anger against Jacobi’s Woldemar; mistaking in this latter the hero's struggle after a free

1 Tom. V. p. 100. 2 Tom. v. p. 101.

3 Tom. v. ch. 18.

disencumbered friendship, for the heart-luxury of weakness. Yet the accompanying passage 1 is a fine and true one :

• On ne doit pas se mettre par son choix dans une situation où la morale et la sensibilité ne sont pas d'accord; car ce qui est involontaire est si beau, qu'il est affreux d'être condamné à se commander toutes ses actions, et à vivre avec soi-même comme avec sa victime.'

She dwells so much in the heart, as the bee in the flower-cup, that, like this honey-maker, she sometimes lets the tulip-leaves overshadow her and shut her in. Thus she not only declares against the learning (that is, the harmonics and inharmonics) in our German music, but also against our German parallelism between tone and word, - our German individuation of tones and words. Instrumental music of itself is too much for her; mere reflection, letter and science : she wants only voices, not words.2 But the sort of souls which take-in the pure impression of tones without knowledge of speech, dwell in the inferior animals. Do we not always furnish the tones we hear with secret texts of our own, nay with secret scenery, that their echo within us may be stronger than their voice without? And can our heart feel by other means than being spoken to and answering? Thus pictures, during music, are seen into more deeply and warmly by spectators; nay many masters have, in creating them, acknowl. edged help from music. All beauties serve each other without jealousy; for to conquer man's heart is the common purpose of all.

As it was for France that our Authoress wrote and shaped her Germany, one does not at first see how, with her depth of feeling, she could expect to prosper much there. But Reviewer 3 answereth : The female half she will please at once and immediately ; the male, again, by the twofold mediation of art and mockery. First, by art. Indifferent as the Parisian is to religion and deep feeling on the firm ground of the household floor, he likes mightily to see them bedded on the soft fluctuating clouds of art; as court-people like peasants on

1 Tom. v. p. 180.

2 Tom. iv. pp. 123–125. 3 The imperial 'we' is unknown in German reviewing : the · Recensent' must there speak in his own poor third person singular; nay stingy printers are in the habit of curtailing him into mere · Rez.,' and without any article: 'Rez. thinks,' Rez. says,' as if the unhappy man were uttering affidavits, in a tremulous halfguilty attitude not criticisms ex cathedra, and oftentimes inflatis buccis ! The German reviewer, too, is expected, in many cases, to understand something of his subject; and, at all events, to have read his book. Happy England! Were there a bridge built hither, not only all the women in the world, as a wit has said, but faster than they, all the reviewers in the world, would hasten over to us, to exchange their toilsome mud-shovels for light kingly sceptres ; and English Literature were one boundless, self-devouring Review, and (as in London routs you had to do nothing, but only to see others do nothing. - T.

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