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would say, “without beautiful forms, and If Flaubert had not told us, perhaps we conversely. As it is impossible to extract should never have guessed how tardy and from a physical body the qualities which painful his own procedure really was, and really constitute it-color, extension, 1960 after reading his confession may think and the like without reducing it to a that his almost endless hesitation had hollow abstraction, in a word, without much to do with diseased nerves. Often, destroying it; just so it is impossible to perhaps, the felicity supposed will be the detach the form from the idea, for the product of a happier, a more exuberant idea only exists by virtue of the form.” nature than Flaubert's. Aggravated, cer

All the recognized flowers, the remov- tainly, by a morbid physical condi- (1020 able ornaments of literature (including tion, that anxiety in "seeking the phrase," harmony and ease in reading aloud, very which gathered all the other small ennuis carefully considered by him) counted of a really quiet existence into a kind of certainly; for these too are part of the 1970 battle, was connected with his lifelong actual value of what one says. But still

, contention against facile poetry, facile after all, with Flaubert, the search, the art-art, facile and flimsy; and what unwearied research, was not for the constitutes the true artist is not the slowsmooth, or winsome, or forcible word, as ness or quickness of the process, but the such, as with false Ciceronians, but quite absolute success of the result. As with simply and honestly for the word's ad- those laborers in the parable, the (1030 justment to its meaning. The first con- prize is independent of the mere length dition of this must be, of course, to know of the actual day's work. “You talk," he yourself, to have ascertained your own writes, odd, trying lover, to Madame X.sense exactly. Then, if we suppose (980 “You talk of the exclusiveness of my an artist, he says to the reader, - I want literary tastes. That might have enyou to see precisely what I see. Into the abled you to divine what kind of a permind sensitive to "form," a flood of son I am in the matter of love. I grow random sounds, colors, incidents, is ever so hard to please as a literary artist, that penetrating from the world without, to I am driven to despair. I shall end by become, by sympathetic selection, a part not writing another line."

(1040 of its very structure, and, in turn, the “Happy,” he cries, in a moment of disvisible vesture and expression of that couragement at that patient labor, which other world it sees so steadily within, for him, certainly, was the condition of a nay, already with a partial con- (990 great success, formity thereto, to be refined, enlarged, “Happy those who have no doubts of corrected, at a hundred points; and it is themselves! who lengthen out, as the pen just there, just at those doubtful points runs on, all that flows forth from their that the function of style, as tact or brains. As for me, I hesitate, I disaptaste, intervenes. The unique term will point myself, turn round upon myself in come more quickly to one than another, despite: my taste is augmented in (1050 at one time than another, according also proportion as my natural vigor decreases, to the kind of matter in question. Quick- and I afflict my soul over some dubious ness and slowness, ease and closeness word out of all proportion to the pleasure alike, have nothing to do with the (1000 I get from a whole page of good writing. artistic character of the true word found One would have to live two centuries to at last. As there is a charm of ease, so attain a true idea of any matter whatthere is also a special charm in the signs What Buffon said is a big blasof discovery, of effort and contention phemy: genius is not long-continued patowards a due end, as so often with tience. Still, there is some truth in the Flaubert himself in the style which has statement, and more than people (1060 been pliant, as only obstinate, durable think, especially as regards our own day. metal can be, to the inherent perplexities Art! art! art! bitter deception! phantom and recusancy of a certain difficult that glows with light, only to lead one on thought.

(1010 | to destruction.”

ever.

Again

style it covers, explains, justifies, and at “I am growing so peevish about my the same time safeguards! Scott's [1120 writing. I am like a man whose ear is facility, Flaubert's deeply pondered evocatrue but who plays falsely on the violin: tion of “the phrase," are equally good his fingers refuse to reproduce precisely art. Say what you have to say, what those sounds of which he has the (1070 you have a will to say, in the simplest, inward sense. Then the tears come roll- | the most direct and exact manner posing down from the poor scraper's eyes and sible, with no surplusage:—there, is the the bow falls from his hand."

justification of the sentence so fortuComing slowly or quickly, when it nately born, “entire, smooth, and round," comes, as it came with so much labor of that it needs no punctuation, and also mind, but also with so much luster, to (that is the point!) of the most (1130 Gustave Flaubert, this discovery of the elaborate period, if it be right in its word will be, like all artistic success and elaboration. Here is the office of ornafelicity, incapable of strict analysis: effect ment: here also the purpose of restraint of an intuitive condition of mind, (1080 in ornament. As the exponent of truth, it must be recognized by like intuition that austerity (the beauty, the function, on the part of the reader, and a sort of of which in literature Flaubert understood immediate sense.

In every one of those so well) becomes not the correctness or masterly sentences of Flaubert there purism of the mere scholar, but a security was, below all mere contrivance, shaping against the otiose, a jealous exclusion of and afterthought, by some happy in what does not really tell towards the (1140 stantaneous concourse of the various pursuit of relief, of life and vigor in the faculties of the mind with each other, portraiture of one's sense. License again, the exact apprehension of what was needed the making free with rule, if it be indeed, to carry the meaning. And that (1090 as people fancy, a habit of genius, flinging

, it fits with absolute justice will be a judg- aside or transforming all that opposes ment of immediate sense in the apprecia- the liberty of beautiful production, will tive reader. We all feel this in what may be but faith to one's own meaning. The be called inspired translation. Well! all seeming baldness of Le Rouge et Le Noir language involves translation from in- is nothing in itself; the wild ornament ward to outward. In literature, as in all of Les Misérables is nothing in it- (1150 forms of art, there are the absolute and self; and the restraint of Flaubert, amid the merely relative or accessory beauties; a real natural opulence, only redoubled and precisely in that exact proportion beauty—the phrase so large and so preof the term to its purpose is the (1100 cise at the same time, hard as bronze, absolute beauty of style, prose or verse.

in service to the more perfect adaptation All the good qualities, the beauties, of of words to their matter. Afterthoughts, verse also, are such, only as precise ex- retouchings, finish, will be of profit only pression.

so far as they too really serve to bring In the highest as in the lowliest litera- out the original, initiative, generative, ture, then, the one indispensable beauty sense in them.

(1160 is, after all, truth:-truth to bare fact In this way, according to the wellin the latter, as to some personal sense known saying, “The style is the man," of fact, diverted somewhat from men's complex or simple, in his individuality, ordinary sense of it, in the former; (1110 his plenary sense of what he really has truth there as accuracy, truth here as to say, his sense of the world; all cautions expression, that finest and most intimate regarding style arising out of so many form of truth, the vraie vérité. And what natural scruples as to the medium through an eclectic principle this really is! em- which alone he can expose that inward ploying for its one sole purpose—that sense of things, the purity of this medium, absolute accordance of expression to

expression to its laws or tricks of refraction: (1170 idea-all other literary beauties and ex- nothing is to be left there which might cellences whatever: how many kinds of give conveyance to any matter save that.

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Style in all its varieties, reserved or opu- its triumphs since the youth of Bach, lent, terse, abundant, musical, stimulant, have assigned that place to music. Music academic, so long as each is really char- and prose literature are, in one sense, acteristic or expressive, finds thus its the opposite terms of art; the art of (1230 justification, the sumptuous good taste of literature presenting to the imagination, Cicero being as truly the man himself, through the intelligence, a range of inand not another, justified, yet insured terests, as free and various as those which inalienably to him, thereby, as would (1180 music presents to it through sense. And, have been his portrait by Raffaelle, certainly the tendency of what has been in full consular splendor, on his ivory here said is to bring literature too under chair.

those conditions, by conformity to which A relegation, you may say perhaps, music takes rank as the typically perfect a relegation of style to the subjectivity, art. If music be the ideal of all art whatthe mere caprice, of the individual, which ever, precisely because in music it is (1240 must soon transform it into mannerism. impossible to distinguish the form from the Not so! since there is, under the condi- substance or matter, the subject from the tions supposed, for those elements of expression, then literature, by finding its the man, for every lineament of the (1190 specificexcellence in the absolutecorresponvision within, the one word, the one ac- dence of the term to its import, will be but ceptable word, recognizable by the sensi- fulfilling the condition of all artistic qualtive, by others “who have intelligence" ity in things everywhere, of all good art. in the matter, as absolutely as ever any- Good art, but not necessarily great thing can be in the evanescent and deli- art; the distinction between great art cate region of human language. The style, and good art depending immediately, (1250

( the manner, would be the man, not in as regards literature at all events, not his unreasoned and really uncharac- on its form, but on the matter. Thackteristic caprices, involuntary or affected, eray's Esmond, surely, is greater art than but in absolutely sincere apprehen- [1200 Vanity Fair, by the greater dignity of its sion of what is most real to him. But interests. It is on the quality of the matlet us hear our French guide again.- ter it informs or controls, its compass, its

“Styles," says Flaubert's commenta- | variety, its alliance to great ends, or the tor, "Styles, as so many peculiar molds, depth of the note of revolt, or the largeeach of which bears the mark of a par- ness of hope in it, that the greatness ticular writer, who is to pour into it the of literary art depends, as The Divine (1260 whole content of his ideas, were no part Comedy, Paradise Lost, Les Misérables, of his theory. What he believed in was The English Bible, are great art. Given Style: that is to say, a certain absolute the conditions I have tried to explain as and unique manner of expressing a (1210 constituting good art;-then, if it be thing, in all its intensity and color. For devoted further to the increase of men's him the form was the work itself. As happiness, to the redemption of the opin living creatures, the blood, nourishing pressed, or the enlargement of our symthe body, determines its very contour pathies with each other, or to such preand external aspect, just so, to his mind, sentment of new or old truth about the matter, the basis, in a work of art, ourselves and our relation to the (1270 imposed necessarily the unique, the just world as may ennoble and fortify us in expression, the measure, the rhythm- our sojourn here, or immediately, as with the form in all its characteristics."

Dante, to the glory of God, it will be also If the style be the man, in all the [1220 great art; if, over and above those qualicolor and intensity of a veritable apprehen- ties I summed up as mind and soul

. sion, it will be in a real sense "impersonal.” | that color and mystic perfume, and that

a I said, thinking of books like Victor reasonable structure, it has something of Hugo's Les Misérables, that prose litera- the soul of humanity in it, and finds its ture was the characteristic art of the logical, its architectural place, in the nineteenth century, as others, thinking of great structure of human life. (1280

WORDSWORTH

the presence of an alien element in Words

worth's work, which never coalesced with Some English critics at the beginning what is really delightful in it, nor underof the present century had a great deal went his special power. Who that values to say concerning a distinction of much his writings most has not felt the intruimportance, as they thought, in the true sion there, from time to time, of someestimate of poetry, between the Fancy, i thing tedious and prosaic? Of all poets and another more powerful faculty--the ¡ equally great, he would gain most by (60 Imagination. This metaphysical distinc- a skilfully made anthology. Such a selection, borrowed originally from the writ- tion would show, in truth, not so much ings of German philosophers, and perhaps what he was, or to himself or others not always clearly apprehended by (10 seemed to be, as what, by the more ener

, those who talked of it, involved a far getic and fertile quality in his writings, deeper and more vital distinction, with he was ever tending to become. And the which indeed all true criticism more or mixture in his work, as it actually stands, less directly has to do, the distinction, is so perplexed, that one fears to miss the namely, between higher and lower de- least promising composition even, lest grees of intensity in the poet's perception some precious morsel should be lying (70 of his subject, and in his concentration of hidden within--the few perfect lines, , himself upon his work. Of those who the phrase, the single word perhaps, to dwelt upon the metaphysical distinc- which he often works up mechanically tion between the Fancy and the Im- (20 through a poem, almost the whole of agination, it was Wordsworth who made which may be tame enough. He who the most of it, assuming it as the basis thought that in all creative work the for the final classification of his poetical larger part was given passively, to the writings; and it is in these writings that recipient mind, who waited so dutifully the deeper and more vital distinction, upon the gift, to whom so large a measwhich, as I have said, underlies the meta- ure was sometimes given, had his (80 physical distinction, is most needed, and times also of desertion and relapse; and may best be illustrated.

he has permitted the impress of these For nowhere is there so perplexed a too to remain in his work. And this mixture as in Wordsworth's own poe- (30 duality there—the fitfulness with which try, of work touched with intense and the higher qualities manifest themselves individual power, with work of almost in it, gives the effect in his poetry of a no character at all. He has much con- power not altogether his own, or under his ventional sentiment, and some of that control, which comes and goes when it insincere poetic diction, against which will, lifting or lowering a matter, poor in his most serious critical efforts were itself; so that that old fancy which (90 directed: the reaction in his political made the poet's art an enthusiasm, a ideas, consequent on the excesses of 1795, form of divine possession, seems almost makes him, at times, a mere declaimer literally true of him. on moral and social topics; and he (40 This constant suggestion of an absolute seems, sometimes, to force an unwilling duality between higher and lower moods, pen, and write by rule. By making the and the work done in them, stimulating most of these blemishes it is possible to one always to look below the surface, obscure the true æsthetic value of his makes the reading of Wordsworth an work, just as his life also, a life of much excellent sort of training towards the quiet delicacy and independence, might things of art and poetry. It begets in (100 easily be placed in a false focus, and made those, who, coming across him in youth, to appear a somewhat tame theme in can bear him at all, a habit of reading illustration of the more obvious parochial between the lines, a faith in the effect of virtues. And those who wish to under- [50 | concentration and collectedness of mind stand his influence, and experience his in the right appreciation of poetry, an peculiar savor, must bear with patience expectation of things, in this order, coming to one by means of a right discipline human mind, its growth might be (160 of the temper as well as of the intellect. traced from Rousseau to Chateaubriand, He meets us with the promise that he has from Chateaubriand to Victor Hugo: it much, and something very peculiar, (110 has doubtless some latent connection with to give us, if we will follow a certain those pantheistic theories which locate difficult way, and seems to have the secret an intelligent soul in material things, of a special and privileged state of mind. and have largely exercised men's minds And those who have undergone his in- in some modern systems of philosophy: fluence, and followed this difficult way, it is traceable even in the graver writare like people who have passed through ings of historians: it makes as much difsome initiation, a disciplina arcani, by ference between ancient and modern (170 submitting to which they become able landscape art, as there is between the constantly to distinguish in art, speech, rough masks of an early mosaic and feeling, manners, that which is organic, (120 a portrait by Reynolds or Gainsborough. animated, expressive, from that which is of this new sense, the writings of Wordsonly conventional, derivative, inexpressive. worth are the central and elementary

But although the necessity of selecting expression: he is more simply and enthese precious morsels for oneself is an tirely occupied with it than any other opportunity for the exercise of Words- poet, though there are fine expressions worth's peculiar influence, and induces a of precisely the same thing in so different kind of just criticism and true estimate a poet as Shelley. There was in his (180 of it, yet the purely literary product own character a certain contentment, a would have been more excellent, had the sort of inborn religious placidity, seldom writer himself purged away that alien (130 found united with a sensibility so mobile element. How perfect would have been as his, which was favorable to the quiet, the little treasury, shut between the habitual observation of inanimate, or covers of how thin a book! Let us sup- imperfectly animate, existence. His life pose the desired separation made, the of eighty years is divided by no very proelectric thread untwined, the golden foundly felt incidents: its changes are pieces, great and small, lying apart to- almost wholly inward, and it falls into gether. What are the peculiarities of this broad, untroubled, perhaps somewhat (190 residue? What special sense does Words-. monotonous spaces.

What it most reworth exercise, and what instincts does sembles is the life of one of those early he satisfy? What are the subjects (140 Italian or Flemish painters, who, just and the motives which in him excite the because their minds were full of heavenly imaginative faculty? What are the quali- visions, passed, some of them, the better ties in things and persons which he values, part of sixty years in quiet, systematic the impression and sense of which he can industry. This placid life matured a convey to others, in an extraordinary way? quite unusual sensibility, really innate

in him, to the sights and sounds of the An intimate consciousness of the ex- natural world—the flower and its (200 pression of natural things, which weighs, shadow on the stone, the cuckoo and its listens, penetrates, where the earlier echo. The poem of Resolution and Inmind passed roughly by, is a large ele- dependence is a storehouse of such records: ment in the complexion of modern (150 for its fulness of imagery it may be compoetry. It has been remarked as a fact | pared to Keats's Saint Agnes' Eve. To in mental history again and again. It read one of his longer pastoral poems reveals itself in many forms; but is for the first time, is like a day spent in strongest and most attractive in what is

a new country: the memory is crowded strongest and most attractive in mod for a while with its precise and vivid ern literature. It is exemplified, almost incidents

(210 equally, by writers as unlike each other as Senancour and Théophile Gautier: as “The pliant harebell swinging in the breeze a gular chapter in the history of the On some gray rock”;

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