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for the morbid than has Sudermann. He deals with the “unavoidable consequences of heredity and environment, the sufferings of the lower workingclasses, the brutality of their unclean lives, the terrors of starvation." He is a strong realist, and his admirers claim for him that he aims at purifying life by exhibiting its evil tendencies in a strong light. His most powerful play is The Weavers. It is founded on scenes that took place among the weavers of Silesia during an uprising in 1844. The dramatic strength of the play lies in the contrast between the rich employer, who oppresses the starv. ing workmen, and the workmen themselves, driven to desperation by suffering and without laws to protect them.
The new tendency exhibited by Sudermann and Hauptmann is practically a note of revolt-in the upper and lower classes of the populace. A new storm and stress movement seems to be taking form. After some years of distinctly foreign influence, German themes again are finding place in the works of German authors. The motive force one hundred years ago was the struggle between the aristocracy and the unenlightened masses ; to-day it is--to put it roughly---between the educated conservative and the equally educated radical. This struggle is expressed in contemporary German literature. There are new aims and new hopes, unthought of before, “At present we are witnessing another turning of the tide. With German unity established, with
German industry and commerce successfully established in the world's market, with German science setting the methods of research to all other nations, the ideals of the inner life are once more beginning to assert themselves, and it is clear that literature is once more to take the lead in the strife for social progress.” The sons of Germany have all faith in their majestic Fatherland, for it has the seeds of victory and yet higher development in its splendid strength and buoyancy.
AN EVEN DEVELOPMENT. - ROMANTICISM.-ROUSSEAU AND
VOLTAIRE. — AN INTERVAL. —CHATEAUBRIAND. - MME. DE STAËL.–BÉRANGER.–LAMARTINE-GUIZOT.-MINOR NAMES. -THE SWELLING OF THE FLOOD.
THERE is one fact about French literature which particularly impresses the superficial observer, and that is, its remarkably even development. The liter. ature of England grew by periods of very unequal achievement. After Chaucer there is a long stretch of barren years until we reach Spenser; and again, during the eighteenth century the standard of literary achievement--at least in poetry-was very low. The literature of Germany was almost inarticulate as a national utterance until the time of Goethe and Schiller. But in France the case is different from both.
Beginning early as a national expression, the literature grew with great steadiness and symmetry. Each century can show some notable achievement. In the earliest times—up to about the close of the fifteenth century-we have (after the purely formative stage) the beginning of lyric poetry, the “Fabliaux,"
or short verse tales, and François Villon. The sixteenth century gives Rabelais, the “Pléiade” (which aimed at bringing the French language and literature to a closer conformity with the classic ideal), and Montaigne. In the seventeenth century are found Corneille, Racine, Molière, Boileau, who represent the golden age of the French Drama. The following hundred years are made famous by Voltaire and Jean Jacques Rousseau. This represents a far more even distribution of literary talent than we find in the other literatures under consideration. Moreover, French literature presents a greater unity -a stronger nationality, so to speak. It has been less susceptible throughout its history to foreign influence. Its development has been more absolute. But it is sufficient here to merely indicate this interesting fact, by way of introduction.
The great Revolution of 1789 was an event which bad a profound effect on the French people. It represented the culmination of many causes and the turning point of many ideas. Its immediate effect was (roughly) the emancipation of the lower classes. But there was another effect which was not at once apparent—which did not reach its height until many years later. This was the triumph of romanticism in France, which took place in 1830. The present chapter will be devoted to a consideration of the chief literary events and personages up to that important year.
The Revolution was the most noticeable phase of the great movement towards Liberation, which stirred all Europe towards the close of the last cen. tury. The most noticeable phase, owing to the re markable nature of its course. It began under the guise of an appeal to the eternal principles of Liberty, and at first it excited the most intense fervor of admiration in England and Germany. In Eng. land, Burns, Wordsworth and Byron were intoxi. cated with the grandeur of its ideas; in Germany the effect was less marked only because they had already passed through their Sturm und Drang. The reason for this appeal to foreign eyes was in a somewhat spectacular element which underlay the whole of the Revolution. To the enthusiastic, both in England and Germany, it represented the glorious picture of a whole people rising in its might, shaking itself free from the shackles of ancient superstition, and claiming for itself the government of its country. An alluring sight, surely, to the imagi. native gazer. But the after events disillusionized even the most enthusiastic. The high hopes raised by the beginning of the period were quenched in the blood of the Reign of Terror. In fact, the feeling changed to almost universal fear and distrust of the new republic. The governments looked with anxiety at the total disregard of aristocratic power involved in the execution of King Louis XVI., while even those who were not prejudiced in this direction became alienated after the horrors of 1793. Yet the effect of the French Revolution