Puslapio vaizdai

chester had nothing in common with all this. It observes no standards of forms or rhythm, or balanced and deliberate expression. What is it? It is not declamation. It is not persuasion. It is not argument. It is not analysis, and yet to many men and women of imagination it is more interesting and more moving than any of the cultivated orations that are to be heard today. It is simply the way in which a man who has lived in poverty and among very poor people talks of life as he sees it. He has passed through no mill or school. His mind is not linked with any tradition or conventional form. The recognized controversies are not in his blood. The feuds of Orangemen and Hibernians have never touched his imagination. Most men who speak start from some great plan or principle or prejudice connected with this or that organization -Home Rule, the Church, the Land System; their party with its past and the future; or perhaps the great history of Eng, land and the dignity of the House of Commons, and the wrongs of the Irish race. The speech starts and ends with the actual lives of men and women.” The illustration quoted from Mr. Larkin's speech is certainly very striking and however we class the style it is not lacking in pathos and eloquence. Speaking of a young girl who had been sent to "an industrial home for fallen women" because he had tried to persuade another girl not to take her place, he said, “And they put this girl in there at that age when the imagination of a woman is at the very highest apex, when everything beautiful looks beautiful, they put her in there amongst those poor creatures ("Shame,' and a voice 'Get her out'You can get her out—the voice of the women—the women can get her out. (Cheers.) There has been no voice raised in Ireland about her losing her faith. But, thank God, she is one of those whose faith and whose virtue cannot be lost."

Though the man may be lacking in statesmanship, he evidently speaks out of a deep experience and reminds us that it would be well if politicians could bring to an end their strife about constitutional forms and turn their energies to the purpose for which governments really exist—the promotion of peace and mutual helpfulness among the different classes of society, as well as among the nations of the earth.

W. G. J.


April, May, June, 1914

No. 4



very modest acquaintance with the vagaries of literary

criticism suffices to convince us that the ordinary fate of the exponent of a new gospel is to be misunderstood, if not actually despised, by his contemporaries as well as by the generations immediately succeeding him Nor is this to be wondered at. Innovator as he is, he stands of course in intimate relation to his time; to use the words of Schiller, he is "the child of his age, but ill for him if he is its creature"; he receives approximately the same manifold of impressions as his comrades, but the vital formative principle within him is peculiarly active and enables him to combine in his own inner experience the common data into new and unfamiliar shapes. Thus existing circumstances suggest to him an ideal, as yet unattained, which takes possession of his whole being and imparts constancy to all his actions As the advocate of a higher and more perfect form of life he finds himself in revolt against time-hallowed traditions, and the demon within him constrains him to attempt to rouse his fellowmen from their beloved inertia. Condemnation is almost inevitably the lot of such a rebel reformer, no matter in what sphere his activities may lie; whether in philosophy, religion, politics, morality, or whatever pursuit of the human mind we choose to name, "dogmatic slumber" is universally preferred to strenuous exertion and a habit of severe critical enquiry which forces the individual to shift for himself by destroying the comfortable sup port provided by acquiescence in external authority.

Nor unfortunately is this thesis disproved by the volumes of indiscriminate censure emitted by professed progressives; such men generally unmask themselves as puppets of some soulstifling organisation or other if only we take pains to scrutinise the motives of their censure.

In the realm of art the persistence of approved canons passes more unnoticed than where the more material interests of men are involved. Yet the law of inertia already referred to holds good here as elsewhere. Artistic genius is not simply the observer of old, but also the creator of new values. Patient, sympathetic, unbiassed study of the works and personality of an unfamiliar writer, often aided by critical interpretation, is essential to effect that modification of emotional quality which renders possible an adequate appreciation of his achievements. And this end is frequently not attained until after repeated condemnation of his works has revealed the one-sidedness of existing standards of criticism. The difficulty is increased when we are called upon to evaluate an author belonging to a foreign nation, since our emotions, which are a necessary adjunct to intellect in pronouncing any aesthetic judgment, are fashioned primarily by immediate environment and the transformation they must undergo in order to do justice to what is on first acquaintance so alien to them is so much greater. As a concrete illustration of this general statement one need only refer to the difficulty of satisfying ourselves that we have appreciated the whole appeal to our spiritual nature made by the artistic products of Greece, in spite of the fact that Greek thought and life, through one channel or another, enter so largely into the composition of our spiritual experience.

Bearing in mind the foregoing consideration, we may perhaps best approach the study of Schiller's specific contribution to our aesthetic and moral world by passing in review the various schools of literary thought which have stood in conscious or unconscious antagonism to him. This review does not attempt to deal exhaustively with them, but is content with insisting on certain fundamental facts which precluded their assent to what pre-eminently constitutes the art of Schiller. Also we must remember that few writers have been so variously judged as Schiller; seldom has the acerbity of criticism been so intense as when directed against him and seldom on the other hand has a man of literature found such enthusiastic admiration Even now, more than a century after his death, it is almost impossible to find a dispassionate estimate of his merits, so inveterate is the custom of regarding him as an object of controversy But the most violent hostility towards him is confined to literary cliques who have cultivated a spurious and artificial kind of emotion and who are simply beside themselves with fury at the sound of the words idealism or morality in connection with art, no matter how sanely these words may be conceived. Unshaken by such partisan disputes, his popularity with the masses, which was instantaneous, has been sustained to the present day; it would of course be absurd to suppose that this popularity rests on a complete apprehension of his worth, which it has taken a century of exposition to reveal, but there is in all his dramas an unmistakable appeal to every well-poised mind, obvious without the subtleties of criticism

Among his earliest antagonists whose polemic was based on genious principle, were the writers of the Romanic school. Romanticism took its origin in an endeavour to satisfy certain demands of man's emotional nature which had been starved by the narrowness of the Aufklärung and Classicism as interpreted by Gottsched and even by Lessing, and insisted on the justification of the irrational in face of a hasty and superficial rationalisation of the aesthetic world, such as had been accomplished in particular by the French classics and thence imported into Germany The cult of classicism was mainly a legacy of the Renaissance and dominated literature during the greater part of the eighteenth century, although in this strictly rational form it could only satisfy a temperament like that of the French, which, speaking generally, far more than the Germanic, delights in law and regularity in artistic matters. As a natural consequence of its origin the critical work of the Romanticists was essentially negative in character and was intended as a censure on existing literary conditions. They opposed the view that the ideal of art and life as embodied in the works of Greek and Roman antiquity should hold good for all time, an ideal characterised generally by the sovereign rule of law and order, and restraint in matters of passion. By way of opposition to purely classical subjects they energetically advocated the study of what was distinctively Germanic in saga, poetry and philosophy.

Their propaganda very naturally conduced to a revival of medieval ideals which had existed anterior to the Reformation, and, by fami

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