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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

While not bearing very hard on Restif on the whole


divided into nearer two than one hundred volumes. He followed Prevost in _Nouveaux Memoires d'un Homme de Qualite_ as he had followed Marivaux in the _Paysan Perverti_. He completed this work of his own with _La Paysanne Pervertie_; he wrote, besides the _Pornographe_, numerous books of social, general, and would-be philosophical reform--_Le Mimographe_, dealing with the stage; _Les Gynographes_, with a general plan for rearranging the status of women; _L'Andrographe_, a "whole duty of man" of a very novel kind; _Le Thesmographe_, etc.,--besides, close upon the end and after the autobiography above described, a _Philosophie de M. Nicolas_. His more or less directly narrative pieces, _Le Pied de Fanchette_, _Lucile_, _Adele_, _La Femme Infidele_, _Ingenue Saxancour_, are nearly always more or less tinged with biography of himself and of persons closely connected with him, as _La Vie de Mon Pere_, his most respectable book, is wholly. It may be added, perhaps, that the notice in Vapereau, while not bearing very hard on Restif on the whole, repeats the words _cynisme_ and _cynique_ in regard to him. Unless the term is in part limited and in part extended, so as to mean nothing but "exposure of things generally kept secret without apparent shame," it is entirely misplaced. Not merely outside of, but actually in his erotomania, Restif was a sentimental philanthropist of the all but most genuine kind, tainted indeed with the vanity and self-centredness which had reached their acme in Rousseau, but very much more certainly sincere, and of a temperament as different as possible from what is commonly called cynicism.

[421] There are, however, contradictory statements on this point.

[422] Nicolas [Edme] Restif being apparently his baptismal name, and "de la Bretonne" merely one of the self-bestowed agnominal nourishes so common in the French eighteenth century. He chose to consider the surname evidence of descent from the Emperor Pertinax; and as for his Christian name he seems to have varied it freely. Rose Lambelin, one of his harem, and a _soubrette_ of some literature, used to address him as "Anne-Augustin," Anne being, as no doubt most readers know, a masculine as well as a feminine _prenom_ in French.

[423] Some, and perhaps not a few of their objects, may have been imaginary "dream-mistresses," created by Morpheus in an impurer mood than when he created Lamb's "dream-children." But some, I believe, have been identified; and others of the singular "Calendar" affixed to _Monsieur Nicolas_ have probably escaped identification.

[Sidenote: His life and the reasons for giving it.]

[424] It has not been necessary (and this is fortunate, for even if it had been necessary, it would have been scarcely possible) to give biographies of the various authors mentioned in this book, except in special cases. Something was generally known of most of them in the days before education received a large E,


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