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Edward Dowden

"When I recall Diderot," wrote his friend Meister, "the immense variety of his ideas, the amazing multiplicity of his knowledge, the rapid flight, the warmth, the impetuous tumult of his imagination, all the charm and all the disorder of his conversation, I venture to liken his character to Nature herself, exactly as he used to conceive her—rich, fertile, abounding in germs of every sort ...

Among the members of the Cénacle was to be seen a poet already famous, their elder by several years, who might have been the master of a school had he not preferred to dwell apart; one who, born for poetry, chose to look on verse as no more than an accident of his existence. In the year 1820 had appeared a slender volume entitled Méditations Poétiques. The soul, long departed, returned in this volume to French poetry. Its publication was an event hardly less important than that of the Génie du Christianisme. The well-springs of pure inspiration once more flowed.

Histoire littéraire de la France (a vast repertory on mediæval literature).

GASTON PARIS. La Littérature française au moyen Âge. 1890.

AUBERTIN. Hist. de la Langue et de la Litt. françaises au moyen Âge. 2 vols. 1883.

G. PARIS. La Poésie du moyen Âge. 2 vols. 1887.

LÉON GAUTIER. Les Épopées françaises. 2nd edition. 4 vols. 1878-94.

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