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CONTENTS OF No. CCXIII.
VI. HARVARD MEMORIAL BIOGRAPHIES
VII. STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS
509 A Brief Treatise upon Constitutional and Party Questions, and the History of Political Parties, as I received it orally from the late Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illi
nois. By J. MADISON Cutts. VIII. THE SEWARD-JOHNSON REACTION
IX. CRITICAL Notices
549 Legge's Chinese Classics, 549. — Felix Holt, the Radical, 557. - Alford's
Plea for the Queen's English, 563. — Carey's Principles of Social Science, 573. — Marcy's Thirty Years of Army Life, 580. — Lea's Superstition and Force, 583. — Wight's National Academy of Design, 586.
- Brownson's American Republic, 589. — Towle’s History of Henry the Fifth, 595. — Laugel's United States during the War, 599. - Report of the Board of State Charities, 602. — Stith's History of Virginia, 604. — Froude's History of England, 606.— International Policy, 608. - Coffin's Four Years of Fighting, 609. — Howells's Venetian Life, 610. - Coloney's Manomin, 613. – Murray's History of Usury, 619. — Fifteen Days, 620. — Brace's Short Sermons to News Boys, 621. - Sarmi. ento's Las Escuelas, 622. — Gilmor's Four Years in the Saddle, 623. – Smith's Lectures on the Study of History, 624. — Cleaveland's First Century of Dummer Academy, 626.
NOTE TO ARTICLE V.
626 Mr. Dana's Notes on Wheaton's Elements of International
LIST OF SOME RECENT PUBLICATIONS
NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
ART. 1. - 1. Storia della Letteratura Italiana. Di Paolo
EMILIANI-GIUDICI. Firenze : Poligrafia Italiana. 1854. 2. Della Letteratura Italiana: Esempi e Giudizj. Esposti
da CESARE CANTÙ. Torino: Presso l'Unione Tipografico
Editrice. 1860. 3. I Poeti Patriottici dell'Italia. Studio del PROF. GIUSEPPE
ARNAUD. Milano: Serafino Muggiani e Compagnia. 1862. 4. I Contemporanei Italiani : Galleria Nazionale del Secolo
XIX. Torino : Dall'Unione Tipografico-Editrice. 1862. 5. L'Italie est-elle la Terre des Morts ? Par MARC-MONNIER.
Paris : Libraire de L. Hachette et Cie. 1860. 6. Italics. By FRANCES POWER COBBE. London: Trübner
& Co. 1861.
We think there is no good history of Italian literature which makes mention of writers later than Giacomo Leopardi, though there are several critical works which go far to supply the want felt in this direction. It seems to have been the wise resolution of Emiliani-Giudici not to venture upon notice of contemporary authors; and he, whom we had willingly trusted in most things, speaks only of such poets of this century as were dead at the time his book was written. You feel in coming to the end of his work, and thence setting out alone through Italian literature, that, without his clear sight, cordial criticism, and skilful judgment, the way is to be much guessed at, and often lost. But it had been to little purpose that he led you through five VOL. CIII.
centuries, - from Dante to Foscolo, - if you had not learned to distinguish in some degree for yourself the true from the false, the great from the mean, in Italian letters, after he ceased to guide you. Perhaps, therefore, the best preparation for acquaintance with modern Italian poetry is thorough study of the critic who scarcely deals with it as a fact, but discusses it as a possibility. The absence of extracts from the authors criticised is a defect in his work to be chiefly felt by non-Italian readers, but it is to be overcome in some degree by reference to the history of Italian literature by Cesare Cantù, in which numerous examples are given with considerable judgment, so far as all but contemporary poets are concerned. This history, if it were not so large, would repay study as the product of an utterly commonplace mind, imbued with the very best principles. The never-failing want of originality, which we have felt in all the books of Cantù we have opened, and we may own, without a blush, that we have not opened half of them,) assumes here almost a positive quality, and it is the author's singular misfortune, when he comes to criticise the poetry of the present day, that his gift of selection, faithful enough till he reaches this period, abandons him, and the extracts which give value to the other parts of his book in this part are of slight use. He seems to have chosen from the works of the living poets whatever is least characteristic and least interesting, and from such writers as Giusti, Dall'Ongaro, Prati, and Aleardi there is scarcely a line which reveals the striking peculiarities of their thought and style.
It is with absolute relief that you turn from Cantù's volume to a little book like that of Giuseppe Arnaud, in which the qualities of the recent poets are brought out with striking relief on a ground of generous and original comment. His critique of the patriotic poetry of the Italians forms the best continuation of Giudici's work; and though you feel that there is an unconscious tendency to depreciate such poets as are not positively and directly patriotic, yet these poets are so very few in number that you feel also a security that very slight injustice is done. The book has, moreover, the advantage of occasional and judicious excerpts from the authors criticised, and presents an admirable, though rapid, view of all the Italian poetry from the time of Alfieri to the present day, including the last poem of Aleardi and the newest flight of Dall'Ongaro's “ Starlings.” Even in the supreme moments of sentence, when criticism may be forgiven for a certain bigwiggedness, for bullying the prisoners, and browbeating the bar, our critic does not forget to be modest.
We suppose that it would not be quite fair to criticise Monsieur Marc-Monnier as a critic, and his constant good-nature makes us loath to criticise him at all. But it is certain that, if there is another Frenchman in this world more disagreeable than the Frenchman who believes that nothing is great which is not Parisian, it is that rare Frenchman who has found out the national mistake, and desires to convince his compatriots of their error. He feels that, however great the newly discovered un-Gallic grandeur may be, it is not at all comparable to his own grandeur in discovering it. He voyages unknown seas to find it, and he consequently wishes to give his own splendid name to the continent when he reaches it. Certainly it is a new world, but is he not Columbus ?
Sitting in a corner of Italy, (which it seems the French nation had the amiable habit of calling the Land of the Dead,) Monsieur Monnier takes the Italian literature of this century upon his knee, and discerns that it is a Christmas pie of incredible depth and relish ; and breaking through the crust of a language supposed to be devoted solely to the libretti of operas, he pulls out one plum after another, with never-failing cries of exultation in the remarkable genius which divined their exist
He lauds this pie with deafening uproar; he praises and patronizes these plums with a noble condescension : “Ah! my great fellow-countrymen, you supposed this pie was no better than the charred pastry which they dig out of Pompeiian ovens, and that the plums in it were so many dead coals ! But behold history, but behold poetry, but behold plulosophy, but behold political economy! Death of my life! behold fresh and honeyed plums plucked yesterday from the living tree!”
It is impossible to deny that Marc-Monnier has written a very lively, brilliant, and useful book. His biographical notices and personal sketches of the living authors are valuable : but his criticism, being more a defence than an analysis, discredits it