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asks of you is an occasional tap of the knuckle at those firm, thin plates of gold which constitute the leaves of his books. This passing tribute will yield the best results when you have been prompted to it by some other prose.
In other words, with all his want of portée, as the psychological critics of his own country would say of him, poor Flaubert is one of the artists to whom an artist will always go back. And if such a pilgrim in the very act of acknowledgment, drops for an instant into the tenderness of compassion, it is a compassion singularly untainted with patronage or with contempt; full, moreover, of mystifications and wonderments, questions unanswered and speculations vain. Why was he so unhappy if he was so active; why was he so intolerant if he was so strong? Why should he not have accepted the circumstance that M. de Lamartine also wrote as his nature impelled, and that M. Louis Enault embraced a convenient opportunity to go to the East? The East, if we listen to him, should have been closed to one of these gentlemen and literature forbidden to the other. Why does the inevitable perpetually infuriate him, and why does he inveterately resent the ephemeral ? Why does he, above all, in his private, in other words his continuous epistolary, despair, assault his correspondents with malodorous comparisons? The bad smell of the age was the main thing he knew it by. Naturally, therefore, he found life a chose hideuse. If it was his great merit and the thing we hold on to him for that the artist and the man were welded
together, what becomes, in the proof, of a merit that is so little illuminating for life? What becomes of the virtue of the beauty that pretends to be worth living for? Why feel, and feel genuinely, so much about "art,” in order to feel so, little about its privilege? Why proclaim it on the one hand the holy of holies, only to let your behavior confess it on the other a temple open to the winds? Why be angry that so few people care for the real thing, since this aversion of the many leaves a luxury of space? The answer to these too numerous questions is the final perception that the subject of our observations failed of happiness, failed of temperance, not through his excesses, but absolutely through his barriers. He passed his life in strange oblivion of the circumstance that, however incumbent it may be on most of us to do our duty, there is, in spite of a thousand narrow dogmatisms, nothing in the world that any one is under the least obligation to like,- not even (one braces one's self to risk the declaration) a particular kind of writing. Particular kinds of writing may sometimes, for their producers, have the good fortune to please; but these things are windfalls, pure luxuries, not resident even in the cleverest of us as natural rights. Let Flaubert always be cited as one of the devotees and even, when people are fond of the word, as one of the martyrs of the plastic idea; but let him be still more considerately preserved and more fully presented as one of the most conspicuous of the faithless. For it was not that he went too far, it was, on the contrary, that he stopped
too short. He hovered forever at the public door, in the outer court, the splendor of which very properly beguiled him, and in which he seems still to stand as upright as a sentinel and as shapely as a statue. But that immobility and even that erectness were paid too dear. The shining arms were meant to carry further, the other doors were meant to open. He should at least have listened at the chamber of the soul. This would have floated him on a deeper tide; above all, it would have calmed his nerves.
L. E. GATES: NEWMAN'S STYLE.
From "Three Studies in Literature," New York, 1899, pp. 88-108.1
In this extract may be pointed out most of what is good in the various methods of criticism. In the first place there is the sensitive and sympathetic understanding of the author; there is the knowledge of literature and the times which makes possible a juster estimate by comparison with other writers; there is the firm but reasonable judgment; there is the skilful and discriminating comparison which is the master-word of the critical method; and finally, there is a delicacy and a range of expression always equal to the keenness and the exactness of the thought.
FOR still another reason the lectures on the "Present Position of Catholics" are specially interesting to a student of Newman's methods; they illustrate exceptionally well his skill in the use of irony. To the genuine rhetorician there is something specially attractive in the duplicity of irony, because of the opportunity it offers of playing with points of view, of juggling with phrases, of showing virtuosity in the manipulation of both thoughts and words. Newman was too much of a rhetorician not to feel this fascination. Moreover, he had learned from his study of Copleston and Whately the possibilities of irony as a 1 Copyright, 1899, by the Macmillan Company.
controversial weapon. Copleston's "Advice to a Young Reviewer," and Whately's "Historic Doubts relative to Napoleon Buonaparte" were typical specimens of academic irony, where, with impressive dignity and suavity and the most plausible simplicity and candour, the writers, while seemingly advocating a certain policy, or theory, or set of conclusions, were really sneering throughout at a somewhat similar policy or theory that of their opponents — and laying it open to helpless ridicule.
One of the most noteworthy characteristics of Newman's irony and in this point his irony resembled that of his masters-was its positive argumentative value. Often an elaborate piece of irony is chiefly destructive; it turns cleverly into ridicule the general attitude of mind of the writer's opponents, but makes no attempt to supply a substitute for the faith it destroys. Swift's irony is usually of this character. It is intensely ill-natured, even savage, and is so extravagant that it sometimes defeats its own end as argument. Its hauteur and bitterness. produce a reaction in the mind of the reader, and force him to distrust the judgment and sanity of a man who can be so inveterately and fiercely insolent. Its indictment is so sweeping, and its mood so cynical, that the reader, though he is bullied out of any regard for the ideas that Swift attacks, is repelled from Swift himself, and made to hate his notions as much as he despises those of Swift's opponents. Moreover, full of duplicity and innuendo as it is, its innuendoes are often merely disguised sneers, and