free ebooks

A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2

Who objected to my omission there of Madame de Charrieres


style="text-align: justify;"> ADDENDA AND CORRIGENDA FOR VOL. II

P. 65.--A reviewer of my first volume, who objected to my omission there of Madame de Charrieres, may possibly think that omission made more sinful by the admission of Madame de Montolieu. But there seems to me to be a sufficient distinction between the two cases. Isabella Agnes Elizabeth Van Tuyll (or, as she liked to call herself, Belle de Zuylen), subsequently Madame de Saint-Hyacinthe de Charrieres (how mellifluously these names pass over one's tongue!), was a very interesting person, and highly characteristic of the later eighteenth century. I first met with her long ago (see Vol. I. p. 443) in my "Sensibility" researches, as having, in her maturer years, played that curious, but at the time not uncommon, part of "Governess in erotics" to Benjamin Constant, who was then quite young, and with whose uncle, Constant d'Hermenches, she had, years earlier and before her own marriage, carried on a long and very intimate but platonic correspondence. This is largely occupied with oddly business-like discussions of marriage schemes for herself, one of the _pretendants_ being no less a person than our own precious Bozzy, who met her on the Continental tour for which Johnson started him at Harwich. But--and let this always be a warning to literary lovers--the two fell out over a translation of the Corsica book which she began. Boswell was not the wisest of men, especially where women

were concerned. But even he might have known that, if you trust the bluest-eyed of gazelles to do such things for you, she will probably marry a market-gardener. (He seems also to have been a little afraid of her superiority of talent, _v._ his letters to Temple and his _Johnson_, pp. 192-3, Globe Ed.)

Besides these, and other genuine letters, she wrote not a few novels, concocted often, if not always, in epistolary form. Their French was so good that it attracted Sainte-Beuve's attention and praise, while quite recently she has had a devoted panegyrist and editor in Switzerland, where, after her marriage, she was domiciled. But (and here come the reasons for the former exclusion) she learnt her French as a foreign language. She was French neither by birth nor by extraction, nor, if I do not mistake, by even temporary residence, though she did stay in England for a considerable time. Some of these points distinguish her from Hamilton as others do from Madame de Montolieu. If I put her in, I do not quite see how I could leave Beckford out.

P. 400, ll. 2, 3.--_For_ "1859 ... 1858" _read_ "1857--a year, with its successors 1858 and 1859,"

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

PAGE

MADAME DE STAEL AND CHATEAUBRIAND 1

Reasons for beginning with Mme. de Stael--_Delphine_--The tone--The story--_Corinne_--Its improved conditions--An illustrated edition of it--The story--The character of Nelvil--And the book's absurdities--Compensations: Corinne herself--Nelvil again--Its aesthetics--The author's position in the History of the Novel--Chateaubriand: his peculiar position as a novelist--And the remarkable interconnection of his works in fiction--_Atala_--_Rene_--Difference between its importance and its merit--_Les Natchez_--_Les Martyrs_--The story--Its "panoramic" quality--And its remarkable advance in style--Chateaubriand's Janus-position in this--Illustrated.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us