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Edward Dowden

Buffon, whose power of wing was great, and who did not love the heat and dust of combat, soared smoothly above the philosophic strife. Born in 1707, at Montbard, in Burgundy, GEORGE-LOUIS LECLERC, created Comte de BUFFON by Louis XV., fortunate in the possession of riches, health, and serenity of heart and brain, lived in his domestic circle, apart from the coteries of Paris, pursuing with dignity and infinite patience his proper ends.

To present VICTOR HUGO in a few pages is to carve a colossus on a cherry-stone. His work dominates half a century. In the years of exile he began a new and greater career. During the closing ten years his powers had waned, but still they were extraordinary. Even with death he did not retire; posthumous publications astonished and perhaps fatigued the world.

Victor-Marie Hugo was born at Besançon on February 26, 1802, son of a distinguished military officer—

H. HETTNER. Literaturgeschichte des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts: Zweiter Theil. 1872.

VILLEMAIN. Tableau de la Litt. au XVIIIe Siècle. 4 vols. 1841.

DE BARANTE. Tableau de la Litt. fr. au XVIIIe Siècle. 1856.

BERSOT. Études sur le XVIIIe Siècle. 1852.

VINET. Hist. de la Litt. fr. au XVIIIe Siècle. 1853.

The literature of the Middle Ages is an expression of the spirit of feudalism and of the genius of the Church. From the union of feudalism and Christianity arose the chivalric ideals, the new courtesy, the homage to woman. Abstract ideas, ethical, theological, and those of amorous metaphysics, were rendered through allegory into art. Against these high conceptions, and the overstrained sentiment connected with them, the positive intellect and the mocking temper of France reacted; a literature of satire arose.

Bossuet's great antagonist in the controversy concerning Quietism might have found the approval of the philosophers for some of his political opinions. His religious writings would have spoken to them in an unknown tongue.

ROUSSEAU—BEAUMARCHAIS—BERNARDIN DE SAINT-PIERRE—ANDRÉ CHÉNIER

ALFRED DE MUSSET has been reproached with having isolated himself from the general interests and affairs of his time. He did not isolate himself from youth or love, and the young of two generations were his advocates. Born in 1810, son of the biographer of Rousseau, he was a Parisian, inheriting the sentiment and the scepticism of the eighteenth century. Impressionable, excitable, greedy of sensations, he felt around him the void left by the departed glories of the Empire, the void left by the passing away of religious faiths.

E. GERUZEZ. Hist. de la Litt. fr. pendant la Révolution. 1881.

E. ROUSSE. Mirabeau. 1891. (Grands Écrivains fr.)

DE LESCURE. Rivarol et la Société fr. pendant la Révolution et l'Émigration. 1883.

DE LESCURE. Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. (Classiques populaires.)

DE LESCURE. Chateaubriand. 1892. (Grands Écrivains fr.)

NARRATIVE RELIGIOUS POETRY

 

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