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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Sidenote Tommaso Grossi In October


[Sidenote:

Gervinus' State trial]

[Sidenote: Death of Tieck]

In Germany, reactionary measures of repression were still in order. An alleged democratic conspiracy was unearthed at Berlin in March, and another in April. In Baden, Georg Gervinus, the historian, on charges of high treason for writing his "Introduction to the History of the Nineteenth Century," was sentenced to ten months' imprisonment, and his book was ordered to be burned. The sentence of imprisonment, however, was not executed. On April 28, Ludwig Tieck, the great German Shakespearian scholar and romantic poet, died at Berlin. Born in 1778 at Berlin, he entered into literary activity at the opening of the Nineteenth Century, and joined the enlightened circle of Weimar. There he issued his great collection of German medieval romances, and of the works of the Minnesingers. It was he who drew Goethe into the study of Shakespeare, and who persuaded Henry Steffens, the Norwegian philosopher, to try his hand at purely literary productions. Together with Schlegel he was the greatest German exponent of the works of Shakespeare.

[Sidenote: Reaction in Italy]

In Italy, likewise, severe measures of reaction were inflicted on the people of the governments of Austria, Naples and some of the petty principalities. In Tuscany, the reading of the Bible was prohibited. In February, a revolt at Milan, instigated

by Mazzini, was ruthlessly put down. A few months later a revolutionary plot was revealed at Rome. Some hundred and fifty conspirators were thrown into prison. As heretofore, Garibaldi figured in these movements. In Sardinia alone, under the enlightened Ministry of Count Cavour, the liberal movement for united Italy was encouraged. The Pope's hostile attitude was resented by the passage of anti-clerical measures in Sardinia. Thus at first ecclesiastical jurisdiction was abolished, and later bills were proposed for the suppression of convents and for the ultimate withdrawal of all State support from the clergy.

[Sidenote: Tommaso Grossi]

In October, while the conspiracy trials were still in full prosecution at Milan, Tommaso Grossi, the Italian romantic poet, died in that city. Grossi was born at Belland, on Lake Como, in 1791, and at an early age won distinction by a patriotic satire against Austrian rule in northern Italy. In 1817 he published "La Fuggitiva," a love story of the French wars, which found great favor. Inspired by his intercourse with Manzoni, a few years later he wrote "Ildegonda," a romantic poem treating of the times of chivalry and cloister life. This poem won a great success. Less happy was his attempt to rival Tasso with an epic poem in fifteen cantos on the Crusades. Among his prose tales, the most lasting in interest are the historical novel "Marco Visconti" and the idyl "Ulrico e Lida." Of his lyric songs, "La Rondiella" achieved the greatest popularity.

[Sidenote: Gustave Courbet]

Gustave Courbet, the French originator of realism in painting, the author of "Le Beau c'est le Laid," the man who claimed that all search for the beautiful or ideality in art was a gross error, this year exhibited his "Women Bathing," and again created a stir on the exhibition of his "Funeral at Ornans" and his "Drunken Peasants at Flagny." This early exponent of realism in its most radical form, despite his taste for vulgar types, showed such strength of technique that his landscapes were accepted almost at once as masterpieces.


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