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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

Chapter ixthe seventeenth century novel ii



_From "Francion" to "La Princesse de Cleves"--Anthony Hamilton._

The material of the chapter--Sorel and _Francion_--The _Berger Extravagant_ and _Polyandre_--Scarron and the _Roman Comique_--The opening scene of this--Furetiere and the _Roman Bourgeois_--Nicodeme takes Javotte home from church--Cyrano de Bergerac and his _Voyages_--Mme. de la Fayette and _La Princesse de Cleves_--Its central scene--Hamilton and the Nymph--The opening of _Fleur d'Epine_--_Les Quatre Facardins_.



The subjects of the chapter--Lesage: his Spanish connections--Peculiarity of his work generally--And its variety--_Le Diable Boiteux_--Lesage and Boileau--_Gil Blas_: its peculiar cosmopolitanism--And its adoption of the _homme sensuel moyen_ fashion--Its inequality, in the Second and Fourth Books especially--Lesage's quality: not requiring many words, but indisputable--Marivaux: _Les Effets de la Sympathie_ (?)--His work in general--_Le Paysan Parvenu_--_Marianne_: outline of the story--Importance of Marianne herself--Marivaux and Richardson: "Marivaudage"--Examples: Marianne on the _physique_ and _moral_ of Prioresses and Nuns--She returns the gift-clothes--Prevost--His

minor novels: the opinions on them of Sainte-Beuve--And of Planche--The books themselves: _Histoire d'une Grecque Moderne_--_Cleveland_--_Le Doyen de Killerine_--_The Memoires d'un Homme de Qualite_--Its miscellaneous curiosities--_Manon Lescaut_--Its uniqueness--The character of its heroine--And that of the hero--The inevitableness of both and the inestimableness of their history--Crebillon _fils_--The case against him--For the defendant: the veracity of his artificiality and his consummate cleverness--The Crebillonesque atmosphere and method--Inequality of his general work; a survey of it.



The use of the novel for "purpose"; Voltaire--General characteristics of his tales--_Candide_--_Zadig_ and its satellites--_Micromegas_--_L'Ingenu_--_La Princesse de Babylone_--Some minors--Voltaire, the Kehl edition, and Plato--An attempt at different evaluation of himself--Rousseau: the novel character of the _Confessions_--The ambiguous position of _Emile_--_La Nouvelle Heloise_--Its numerous and grave faults--The minor characters--The delinquencies of Saint-Preux--And the less charming points of Julie; her redemption--And the better side of the book generally--But little probability of more good work in novel from its author--The different case of Diderot--His gifts and the waste of them--The various display of them--_Le Neveu de Rameau_--_Jacques le Fataliste_--Its "Arcis-Pommeraye" episode--_La Religieuse_--Its story--A hardly missed, if missed, masterpiece--The successors--Marmontel--His "Telemachic" imitations worth little--The best of his _Contes Moraux_ worth a good deal--_Alcibiade ou le Moi_--_Soliman the Second_--_The Four Flasks_--_Heureusement_--_Le Philosophe Soi-disant_--A real advance in these--Bernardin de Saint-Pierre.

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