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Literary Gazette-that " the wandering Bavarian," after her debut on the stage, had been lost' sight of by her fair country women :--if the reader has fancied any such thing, surely he has been sadly mistaken. Let him therefore be informed, that tens of thousands of his fellow-creatures, to wit, all the readers of the Morgen Blatt, of the Abend Zeitung, of the Gazette for the Elegant World, and who can tell how many more periodicals, are as completely an fait on those important affairs, as a minute and animated report cạn render them. Indeed, there is scarcely a novelty brought out even by the numina minorum gentium, but a notice of it is forth with committed to writing, and goes out in the shape of foreign letters, the weight and postage of which, who can calculate?
If such is the case with the London Stage, it may be readily conceived that they are not backward in reporting whatever is going on at the principal theatres nearer home. The Moryen Blatt has long been famous for its extensive connections in all the principal towns of Europe, and for the exemplary sedulity of its agents, in the transmission, besides other literary chit-chat, of theatrical novelties.
It may be asked, what it can be that gives such a peculiar interest just to that sort of intelligence? It is not the result of a passionate predilection for the drama. The Germans are not a nation that would imitate the classical shouts of “ Panem et Circenses.”They are not so fond of the stage as the French are; and their enthusiasm, at least as far as our observation goes, is not that bearlike kindness which threatens to subvert the foundation of the house. They are not great admirers of show either; and we have often been shocked at the heresy of our German friends, who expressed their horror at what they called, (without at all entering into the fun of the thing,) the absurdity and vulgarity of the English pantomime.
But they are great reasoners on every thing connected with science, or the fine arts, or literature. When you fancy them in the clouds, they are deep in the philosophy of taste. They speculate upon the things they admire ; they want a reason even for the taste that is in them. They want to dissect, to analyse, to abstract, and upon all occasions to be very profound indeed. Besides, they are dotingly fond of making a speech upon nothing, and a comment upon less than nothing ; they are enthusiastic upon theory, and romantic with premeditation; and if it gives them pleasure, we cannot see why they should not be so. It is, moreover, a great encouragement to some branches of literature. Look at their catalogues, the voluminous bulletins of the Leipsic fair, such as our table at present is groaning under, and let us see, if that happy propensity to speculate were at once taken away either from the writing or the reading part of the public, (for these are the only two imaginable classes of that body-tertium non datur,) what were to become of half the authors, who now put forth Beitrage, or Fragmente, or Grundrisse, or Versuche, or other profound works, "Von
Ueber,” this or that? And if all that scribbling were to go to the devil at once; if the ambition of essayists should subside, and
“ Hearts that once beat high for praise
Should feel that thrill no more,” what would then become of the remaining half of literature? With all its excellencies, it would not be relished any more, unless set off with advantage against a commensurate quantity of trash. Upon these grounds, and out of consideration to that valuable community, we would say to the German book-makers, aye, and to others too, go on :-and we are fully satisfied, that they will instinctively have followed this sage advice long before this now forthcoming number of their friend, The Inspector, shall have reached them.
But to return to the German theatricals; there are other reasons also, which contribute to give a peculiar interest to that department of their journals. The most distinguished performers of the German theatres are frequently visiting other places, and act their favorite parts : this is attended by very considerable advantages for the state of the dramatic art. It relieves the public from the monotonousness occasioned by a constant repetition of the same acting of a character by the same individual. It frequently presents a novel view of favorite scenes, or throws a new light on the finer shades of a character; and on the Germans, devoted as they are to analyse what they have seen, and frequently qualified for it by acute discernment, no hint of that sort is ever lost. The only fear is, that they will make too much of it—and that they will discover what the poet, or the performer, never meant to have said. The performers, in their turn, are certainly benefited by the lessons which their reception by a different, and an observing, audience may give them. For in most of the German theatres, the upper regions, “ the Paradise,” in the German phrase, have not yet taken the ex. clusive privilege of representing the taste of the public. It is obvious, that the readers of the theatrical criticisms, not being strangers to the principal performers of Germany, may be somewhat gratified by the recital of details which otherwise might have been uninteresting
The reports of foreign dramatics are very welcome, because they are foreign ; because the Germans like of all things to know what is going on in foreign parts ; because they like to consult, and, we believe, occasionally overrate, foreign criticism and taste : and because they would be bored to death, however interesting their immediate environs might be, if they were to be cut off from foreign intelligence, fashion, and literature. It is astonishing to see what a mass of information from all parts of Europe is collected in their journals; they are the most sedulous, and the most tasteful, translators; there is not a work of note published at London or Paris, but that goes to Leipsic, or Berlin, or Dresden, or Stutgard, to be done, or, as their phrase curiously says, overset, in German. Of works which are anticipated to have a great run, the proof sheets have
frequently been known to be sent separately, so that the work was published in Germany a fortnight after it had appeared at London or Paris. Of the Waverley novels, there are at least six different translations, besides three or four editions of the original.
Every thing relating to English dramatic literature, may be supposed to present an additional interest to the Germans. They are under great obligations to the old English drama; and their acknowledgments have certainly been as handsome on their part, as they were well deserved on ours. They were not content with imitating the freer forms of the English stage, and discarding for ever the pretensions of the “ Classical” French tragedy, with its “ three “piled hyperboles, spruce affectation, figures pedantical.” They received Shakspeare with genuine enthusiasm; and there is not one of their poets of the first rank, but who has contributed to render his works still more popular in Germany. Those who are at all acquainted with the modern dramatic school of the Germans, can bear witness, that their most distinguished works, though evidently written by men who were imbued with the spirit of the Greek drama and of Shakspeare's poetry, are by no means to be called imitations of either, and that they yet have come much nearer to the true standard of both, than perhaps any thing written since the reign of Elizabeth. We ought not to forget, that what some of their first critics have done for the illustration of Shakspeare's text, and for the knowledge of the English drama, both of his own age, and some time previous to his appearance, though but little known in this country, except from quotations, is yet fully entitled to a place at the side of the most highly esteemed works of English critics. In saying so, we trust that we shall not be accused of undue partiality for the German critics by any one who is acquainted with the writings of Lessing, Schlegel, Voss, Horn, and L. Tieck.
There is one feature in the theatricals of the Morgen Blatt, which, as far as German theatres are concerned, has obtained for it a high reputation. Its reports are considered to be drawn up with greater impartiality, and connected with less intrigue, than those of other journals, which would lend their columns to the most harmless of factions—a faction which even the watchful governments of Germany have not yet declared a subject of apprehension, as they would undoubtedly have done, if its machinations and menées were extending beyond a somewhat humorous discussion of the tastes of authors, managers, performers, critics, and the public. We remember some of those feuds, which had originated in local cabals, but which were taken up with a good deal of spirit by the leading journals, whose highest ambition it was, to give both in prose and in verse, the latest intelligence of the actual state and movements of the belligerent powers. Only last year an intrigue of that sort gained great publicity by the lively publications which emanated from several Berlin coteries. Who has not heard of Mademoiselle Sonntag, by whose silver sounds all Paris was enchanté ? Who is not dying to hear her? So they were in Berlin-and Berlin was all
enthusiasm, when the wittiest journal of Germany, the Schnellpost, edited by Saphir at Berlin, commenced its scurrilous attacks upon the general favorite. Berlin was in an uproar. The friends of Mademoiselle Sonntag were absolutely enraged. It so happened, that one fine morning as the beau monde were making their way through the Friedrichs-Strasse, (next Oxford Street, we believe the longest specimen of the kind in the civilized world) their progress was stopped for a few minutes by a file of heavy loaded waggons, which crossed the street, and were severally unpacked, with great ceremony and mystery, at Herbigs', the booksellers. Novelties from Leipsic! What could it be? Was it an essay on the quadrature of the circle? Was it the hundred seventy-fifth volume of a compendious abrégé of the theory of the human mind? But it looked much too smart for that-it must be a novel-and a novel it was ; and, such a novel ! The loungers commenced an attack. Great was the glee among some, and long were the faces of others, when they read “ Henrietta, “the fair Songstress :" and so it was, scenes of fashionable life depicted with much spirit, by one who must evidently have had access in the highest circles; by one who had pourtrayed some characters at full length, and annoyed others by anecdote and inuendo; by one who more than probably was among them at the moment, and watching with infinite satisfaction the sniile that played round many a lip, and the blood that rushed up into many a cheek. The names were altered in a laughable manner, and served only to signalize the characters more distinctly. Matrons and Spinsters, Professors and Hofrathe, Saints and Worldlings, were amused and terrified by turns, by the exhibition of the chronique scandaleuse. It was'a bolder stroke than any thing achieved by the Prussians since Katzbach and Waterloo. But in a few days, the twelve thousand copies that had been sent from Leipsic, were sold off, and were devoured; the public fancied, with what right is still unknown, they had detected the author; much of the zest was gone; and a week after the book had been published, the thing was declared to be after all but an illnatured quiz; and the river Spree was seen to pursue its natural course, and so were the beau monde their's along the FriedrichsStrasse.
We ought to say a few words of the Litteratur Blatt, which has for a series of years been published as a pendant to the Morgen Blatt. It derives its chief merit from the collection of reviews which it gives from time to time of German, English, Italian, and French literature. It is at present conducted with much more talent than it had been before ; and it promises fair to be an independent and highly respectable tribunal of criticism-a thing which is an absolute desideratum among the German periodicals, whatever their other merits may be. We find that the Editor, who has acted for some time as the spirited leader of the opposition in matters of taste and literature, has softened down the high tone of party feeling, with which he had conducted another journal, which we shall mention in our next.
The Kunst Blatt, or Gazette of the Fine Arts, we consider, upon the whole, as the best conducted and most comprehensive periodical of the kind. The reports from Italy and Paris are regular, and drawn from distinguished authorities ; and the articles from different parts of Germany nay contribute to prove, that if the Germans have most excelled in music, they have by no means been backward in the cultivation and encouragement of other arts. It is perhaps curious to see, that the most arbitrary and the most liberal government in Germany are the most active in promoting the arts, as far as any goverament may do by judicious encouragement; and it would be difficult to point out two cities which stand more pre-eminent in that respect, than Berlin and Munich.
We understand that the Morgen Blatt, with the exception of the news of literature and the fine arts, is for the future to be conducted by a young writer of considerable talent, who has opened his career by two highly popular novels, by which he has in a short time acquired celebrity, and a great many enemies; they are both of a satirical turn; the first, “ The Man in the Moon,” is a parody on the manner of one of the most popular novel writers of the day, Clauren, whose literary character certainly deserves to be held out as an example of popularity of the very worst kind. “ The Man in the Moon" has done this in rather a severe but piquant lesson to the public : the public took the dose very quietly, and they were much amused by the circumstance, that the book was published under Clauren's name; but Clauren himself was supremely provoked at the offence, and brought an action against the publisher, tout comme chez nous. Still, to enable our readers to appreciate the wisdom of the court of justice which had to act on the occasion, we must inform them, that there is not such an author in existence as Mr. Clauren, his real name being Carl Heun; but Mr. Carl Heun brought an action for publishing a book under the fictitious name of H. Clauren, which, he said, was neither more nor less than an anagram of his own name Carl Heun!! The court, of course, gave a verdict against the publisher, and the fortune of the book was made: it had an immense run. The other novel we alluded to, is entitled “ The Memoirs of “ Satan :" it is a satire of much incidental merit“ on all things and
some others” in Germany; it discusses literature and fashion, lecture-rooms and drawing-rooms, and gives even a political hint or two; and the Argus of the press was uncommonly civil to the old gentlemap, considering the naiveté of his appearing for once in his own character, which, at any rate, is much less terrifying than that of a revolutionist or demagogue.
Among the rivals of the Morgen Blatt, stands first the Gazette for the Elegant World. Who are the elegant world ? It would be difficult to define the idea; but if we may follow the clue given by that publication, we would infer, that the elegant world delight in very pretty poetry, but nothing distinguished ; in very pretty tales, but rather lengthy, and spun out with more successful sketching than invention; in a world of theatrical reports, of very different merit VOL, II.