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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2

Addenda and corrigenda for vol

[4] The chief exceptions are Dumas _fils_, the earliest, and Maupassant, the greatest except Flaubert and far more voluminous than Flaubert himself.

[5] The most unexpected chorus of approval with which Volume I. was received by reviewers, and which makes me think, in regard to this, of that unpleasant song of the Koreish "After Bedr, Ohod," leaves little necessity for defending points attacked. I have made a few addenda and corrigenda to Volume I. to cover exceptions, and the "Interchapter" or its equivalent should contain something on one larger matter--the small account taken here of French _criticism_ of the novel.

[6] I wonder whether he was right, or whether the late Edward Caird was when he said, "I don't think I ever had a pupil [and he was among the first inter-collegiate-lecturers] with more of the philosophical _ethos_ than you have. But you're too fond of getting into logical coaches and letting yourself be carried away in them." I think this was provoked by a very undergraduate essay arguing that Truth, as actually realised, was uninteresting, while the possible forms of Falsehood, as conceivably realisable in other circumstances, were of the highest interest.

[7] I have to give, not only my usual thanks to Professors Elton, Ker, and Gregory Smith for reading my proofs, and making most valuable suggestions, but a special acknowledgment to Professor Ker, at whose request Miss Elsie Hitchcock most kindly looked up for me, at the British Museum, the exact title of that striking novel of M. H. Cochin (_v. inf._ p. 554 _note_). I have, in the proper places, already thanked the authorities of the _Reviews_ above mentioned; but I should like also to recognise here the liberality of Messrs. Rivington in putting the contents of my _Essays on French Novelists_ entirely at my disposal. And I am under another special obligation to Dr. Hagbert Wright for giving me, of his own motion, knowledge and reading of the fresh batch of seventeenth-century novels noticed below (pp. xiv-xvi).


P. 13.--"The drawback of explanations is that they almost always require to be explained." Somebody, or several somebodies, must have said this; and many more people than have ever said it--at least in print--must have felt it. The dictum applies to my note on this page. An entirely well-willing reviewer thought me "piqued" at the American remark, and proceeded to intimate a doubt whether I knew M. Bedier's work, partly on lines (as to the _Cantilenae_) which I had myself anticipated, and partly on the question of the composition of the _chansons_ by this or that person or class, in this or that place, at that or the other time. But I had felt no "pique" whatever in the matter, and these latter points fall entirely outside my own conception of the _chansons_. I look at them simply as pieces of accomplished literature, no matter how, where, in what circumstances, or even exactly when, they became so. And I could therefore by no possibility feel anything but pleasure at praise bestowed on this most admirable work in a different part of the field.

P. 38, l. 27.--A protest was made, not inexcusably, at the characterisation of _Launfal_ as "libellous." The fault was only one of phrasing, or rather of incompleteness. That beautiful story of a knight and his fairy love is one which I should be the last man in the world to abuse _as such_. But it contains a libel on Guinevere which is unnecessary and offensive, besides being absolutely unjustified by any other legend, and inconsistent with her whole character. It is of this only that I spoke the evil which it deserves. If I had not, by mere oversight, omitted notice of Marie de France (for which I can offer no excuse except the usual one of hesitation in which place to put it and so putting it nowhere), I should certainly have left no doubt as to my opinion of Thomas Chester likewise. Anybody who wants this may find it in my _Short History of English Literature_, p. 194.

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