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sential elements of success; namely, a thorough knowledge and an intense admiration of the poem he has undertaken to translate. His thorough knowledge of his subject is shown in the able and judicious introductions which he has prefixed to the work; and his success in imitating not only Chaucer's language and style, but in embodying so much of the original author's spirit into his version, is so great that we should not be surprised to find Chaucer speedily dividing with Shakspere the admiration and attention of our critical brethren in Germany. A few lines from the opening of the poem, and the corresponding passage from Tyrwhitt's edition, will show that we have not given the translator greater credit than his work deserves.
Facts and Fictions Illustrative of Oriental Character.
In a series of highly interesting sketches and tales, Mrs. Postans has embodied the results of many years' observations of the East, assigning
The Calcutta Review.
to 'Fact all those impressions produced by what she really beheld, and to' Fiction' all those fanciful ideas conjured up by the rugged and wild scenery through which she continually passed. The stories are full of exciting adventure, perilous escapes, death, battle, and slaughter: a deep interest is mostly excited, which is always well sustained; the characters are, for the most part, ably drawn, and there are numerous scenes highly pathetic. From the perusal of these tales we should judge Mrs. Postans to be a very clever writer, but from her sketches we should pronounce her to be, what is far higher praise, an original thinker. One paper is really deserving of great admiration. It is that entitled 'Native Indian Society,' which embodies the result of much keen observation, and in which the several characters of the Hindu, the Moslem, the Parsee, and the Portuguese, are struck off in a most vigorous manner. There are many other papers highly deserving of attention, among which we may mention Sindh and its Ameers,' and 'Characteristics of Aden,' which latter is really a delightful and instructive sketch. The book is one which will add greatly to the knowledge we already possess concerning the East, and will deservedly extend its authoress's reputation.
The Calcutta Review. No. I. May, 1844. Calcutta.
THE contents of this number are as follows:-1. The English in India. 2. Lord Teignmouth. 3. Our Earliest Protestant Mission to India. 4. Ouchterloney's Chinese War. 5. Rural Life in Bengal. 6. The Ameers of Sinde, &c. On many, perhaps most, of the subjects which it has discussed, the Calcutta Review' puts forward opinions different from ours; but that does not prevent our viewing its appearance with satisfaction, because on all points the more discussion the better. Besides, though the theoretical views of the publication should continue in many cases to be wrong, it cannot fail to supply us here in Europe with valuable information acquired fresh on the spot. We would beg to suggest to its conductor, however, that in every English publication addressed to the English people, an English spirit should be predominant, otherwise little good can ever be effected by it. For, if you begin by offending people, they will refuse to listen to you, and then whatever you may have to communicate will be lost. We would observe, moreover, that residence in a country does not always qualify men for writing dictatorially respecting it. People may be too near an object as well as too far from it. On a future occasion we may consider some of the doctrines maintained in the Calcutta Review,' the labours of which it will always afford us pleasure to make known in this country, however much we may object to the results towards which they seem to tend.
Skizzen aus dem Norden. (Sketches of the North.) Von THEODOR MUGGE. 2 Bände. Hannover. 1844. London: Williams and
THE title of this book is a misnomer: it holds out to the reader a promise of graphic delineations, and the work is lumpish and dull, full of tedious disquisitions, and sadly deficient in that personal interest which ought surely to belong to the narrative of travels in such a land and among such a people as Norway and her children. But the author is a painstaking, though a clumsy writer, and his labours are not without their value for those who may have a special vocation to study the actual condition of the Norwegians. Herr Mügge takes credit to himself for having carefully recorded in his book such particulars as may render it a useful manual for future travellers; his merits in this respect are, however, almost neutralised by the difficulty of sifting out the one grain of fact you may be in search of from the bushels of chaff in which it is hidden. A thousand pages written in the lumbering style of German journalism, and having neither table of contents, index, nor page or chapter headings, would not be eligible furniture for the knapsack of a mountain traveller.
Das Königreich Norwegen, statistisch beschrieben, &c. (Statistical Description of the Kingdom of Norway, with a Preface. By CARL RITTER.) Von GUSTAV PETER BLOM. Leipzig. 1843.
A WORK very different in character from the preceding one, than which it is much easier to read, although it makes no pretension to rank in the class of light literature. It is sufficient warrant of its intrinsic worth to know that it comes to us with the strong recommendation of the prince of geographers, Carl Ritter.
Versuch einer getreuen Schilderung der Republik Mejico besonders in Beziehung auf Geographie, Ethnographie, und Statistik. (An Attempt at a Faithful Delineation of the Republic of Mexico, especially in regard to Geography, Ethnography, and Statistics.) Von EDUARD MUHLENPFORDT. 2 Bände. Hannover. 1844. London: Williams and Norgate.
COMPREHENSIVE in plan, and copious in detail; written in a plain, perspicuous style; and free alike from verbosity and from pedantic dryness, this work must take a prominent place among those regarded as indispensable by the assiduous inquirer into the condition and prospects of Mexico. The author, a civil engineer, spent upwards of seven years in the country he describes, and appears to have devoted himself with unwearied diligence to the task of collecting the most accurate and trustworthy information on all things pertaining to its physical, moral, and political circumstances. He has evidently made good use of his time, and as a practical man he has a due regard for the time of his readers, giving them into two moderate sized volumes an amount of multifarious information, rarely equalled in works of twice the bulk. We shall return to this book in a future number.
GENEVA, Sept 9th, 1844.
A SERIES of literary reminiscences and associations, extending through several generations, has taught us to regard the city of Rousseau, of De Staël, and of Sismondi, as a community peculiarly devoted to the pursuits of literature. And though the last of these its greater lights has gone down after a long life of useful and honourable literary labour, and has left behind him in the city of his predilection no other name aut simile aut secundum' to his own in the world of letters, yet Geneva may still boast her possession of a knot of literary men, remarkably numerous in proportion to the mass of her population. But the productions of the Genevese press are no longer any fair criterion of the amount and importance of the literary labours of her citizens. The quantity of publishing business done here has within the last few years fallen off to nothing in comparison with what it used to be. This decadence has been caused by the policy of France, who thought fit, a short time since, to impose a heavy duty on books entering her territory from Geneva. Not that France had any wish to deprive her citizens of the works produced by Genevese talent and labour; but that she wished to secure to her own paper manufacturers, printers, and publishers, the advantages arising from the publication of them. She was well aware, that so large a portion of the circulation on which a Genevese publisher could calculate for any work of general interest, was supplied by her own people, that the imposition of such duties as should deprive the Genevese bookseller of that market, would be fatal to the majority of publishing speculations. The result has perfectly corresponded to her expectations. The authors of Geneva publish their works at Paris; and their own more liberal country permits the copies, whose production has thus served to feed the trade of their rivals, to come into their own territory duty free.
Notwithstanding these all-sufficient reasons for a great falling-off in the amount of books published at Geneva, a quarter rarely elapses unmarked by the appearance of some work destined to take its place in the ranks of European literature. To this class of works unquestionably belongs M. F. J. Pictet's Elementary Treatise on Palæontology; or, Natural History of Fossil Animals,' the first volume of which appeared about two months since. M. Pictet is Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy in the Academy of Geneva, and has already made himself favourably known to the scientific world by several smaller works. The treatise in question is to occupy three volumes; and from the manner in which the subject is handled in this first portion of the work, it is expected by those most competent to judge in such a matter, that M. Pictet's treatise will be one of the most complete and satisfactory works on the very interesting subject he has undertaken to elucidate. M. Pictet has frequently been a contributor to the pages of the 'Bibliothèque Universelle,' a monthly literary and scientific review published at Geneva, which may claim to be one of the eldest of the publications of this nature extant in Europe, having now attained its fiftieth year.
originally established under the title of the Revue Britannique,' a denomination which it retained till the French took Geneva. That title being then found not to be popular, was changed to that which the work has ever since retained. It still continues frequently to notice English works, and almost always in a spirit of fair, liberal, and unprejudiced criticism. Most of the leading literary men of Geneva contribute to its pages. But its circulation is much less than it was formerly; probably on account of the duty imposed on its entry into France. It is said, however, to find its way into Italy to a considerable extent; a fact sufficient to assure us that it is politically colourless.
A literary association, calling itself The Genevese Historical and Archaiological Society,' has recently been established here. It has already published three volumes of Memoires,' the last within a few weeks only. Its object, of course, is to illustrate and investigate, more especially, Genevese history; but it occasionally permits itself to stray over a wider field. And in all cases it professes to treat the particular points, which are the objects of its researches, in a general manner, by comparing the institutions which it studies, with those of neighbouring countries, and by connecting as much as possible the facts it investigates with analogous facts in the history of bordering states.' The third volume is decidedly an improvement on its two predecessors, at least as far as the general interest of its contents is concerned. The entire volume--a good sized octavo-is occupied with two memoirs; one, an exceedingly interesting detailed account of the prosecution of Michael Servetus, by Calvin, at Geneva, in 1553, by M. Rilliet de Candolle; and the other, a curious account of the hospitals of Geneva, before the Reformation, in the days when, here as elsewhere throughout Europe, such establishments were not places of permanent asylum for the sick; but, as their name imports, houses of universal and indiscriminate hospitality' for the wayfarers of all sorts, and more particularly pilgrims. This curious paper is the joint work of MM. Chaponnière and Sordet. The fourth volume, to be shortly issued by this young, and evidently vigorous society, is to contain the hitherto unpublished Chronicle of Jean Ballard,' the historian of that obscure portion of Genevese history immediately preceding the Reformation. In the graver departments of science and history, Geneva can thus-all things considered-render a tolerably fair account of her doings. But what can be said for her belles lettres? A certain Marquis Gaston de Chaumont has just published here an octavo volume of poetry. On its title page is written, Le Jardin des Glaciers-Fleurs de Foi.' The first Flower of Faith,' in this icy garden, is entitled 'Hommage à Dieu;' and the second, 'Hommage à Charles Albert!' Both are printed twelve lines to the octavo page-a moderation, which there can be no doubt will be appreciated by the poet's readers. N. B. Charles Albert is the man, who plays at being king at Turin.
It is worth remarking, perhaps, in conclusion that, apparently, piracy can thrive, where honest trade cannot. For at Lausanne they are already printing a wonderfully cheap edition of Le Juif Errant,' notwithstanding the importation of rival piracies from Germany and from Belgium. When is this to cease?
BERLIN, Sept. 1844.
So completely have the minds of all classes here been for the last few months engrossed by events of a political nature, that the labourers in the fields of literature and science have become conscious of their inability to