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Account os feme Foreign Literary Publications
AS many of our readers, who hare no opportunities of seeing the •Literary Journals of France and Germany, may be desirous of some information concerning the state of foreign literature, we therefore propose to give
tion of aerial metesrs treats of the winds in general, trade-winds, hurricanes, &c. The luminous meteors ate, the rainbow, halo's, parrheha, &c. lit this work we have an account of all the late experiments and discoveries
occasionally, in the suture Numbers of concerning the operation and effects of this Miscellany, a short account of the the principle of electricity; for a con
nature and character of the most respectable literary publications which appear, from time to time, on the continent. Our readers will not expect, however, under this article, a cornpleat analysis of the publications which shall be thus announced to them: It ■will be enough for us to mention the name, the subject, and the general merits of such works as we may take notice of.
sidcrable number of which the world is indebted to the ingenuity and industry of M. l'Abbe- Bertholon. The various memoirs which this indefaugable observer of nature formerly published on subjects connected with the knowledge of electricity, and which have been often reprinted, as well as translated into several foreign languages, pave the Public reason to regard him as highly qualified for such a work
"M.I'ÆbeBertholon of LangtieJof, as the present; and his readers will already well known in the philosophi- probably acknowledge, that their hopes cal world, has lately published, at Pa- are not disappointed." ris, a valuable work on the Eleelricity "M. I'Abbe MasCenhas lately pnbcf Meteors. His work is divided in- lifhed the 4th, 5th, and 6th volumes to seven parts, or sections. In his of his Translation of Lucian. This first section, he treats of the electricity wit, who so happify ridiculed the reof the atmosphere in general; and here ligion, the vices, the follies, and somehe gives an account of the observations times even the learning and the virtue! of the ancients concerning the pheno- of the ancients, is not unworthy of the menu of natural electricity; mentions attention of the moderns. A good
translation os his works must be as ornament to any modern languageCervantes, Rabelais, and Swift, whatever entertainment they may assort), however high the character which they have attained, are not superior to Lu« cian, and have consivterable obligations to him. The Dialogues of the Dead, species forms the subject of a separate which have been successively presented section. Under the denomination of to the world by Feneson, Fonteuelle, igneous meteors, he considers thunder and Lyttleton, are but faint copies of and lightning, earthquakes, the aaro- the lively wit, or the sound fense disra borealis, falling stars, the ignis fa- played in the dialogues of this learned suits, and those appearances which the and ingenious Greek. Of I.ucur. ancients distinguished by the names of we have a very faithful and elegant Helena, and Castor and Pollux. Wa- English translation by Dr Frank toter-spouts, snow, hail, and all the Indeed, when we recollect the aaces Various forms which vapour assumes and the labours-of Potter, Frantfin, in the air, are included under the Pope, and Gillies, we canaot help Same of aqueous t/ieteors. The sec- thinking that the English hare heea
* Communicated by a Corresponding
those modern philosophers who first conjectured thunder to be an electrical phenomenon > and details the brilliant experiments by which the truth of that conjecture was fully ascertained. He next divides meteors into sour different species, igneous, aqueous, aerial, and luminous. Each of these
Account assume Foreign Literary Tublications.
hajfp'er than any of their European neighbours, in translating into their language the sense and spirit of the noblest writers of ancient Greece. When M. 1'Abbc Maffieu published the three first volumes of his translation, the opinion of the Public was, that the pompous gravity of his style was directly opposite to the sprightliness and ease os the original. He ieems to have listened to that opinion with attention and respect: and, accordingly, in the volumes now offered to the world, the character and spirit of Lucian are more faithfully expressed. Yet this translator is sometimes trivial and mean, where he wishes to be familiar and easy; his sprightliness is not always natural, nor his negligence always graceful. However, with all its faults, his work is considerably superior to any former French version of Lucian."
"A collection of fugitive prose pieces, lately published at Paris, under the title of Le Conservatenr, is not unworthy of our notice. It consists of short original essays, translations, and extracts from some more voluminous works; most of which, though already in print, and possessed of considerable merit, are yet, from their size, or the circumstances of their publication, less generally known than they deserve. In this collection we find a oumb:r of very entertaining tales, aoecdotes, and essays; the productions of Marmontel, Raynal, St Evremond, Florian, and other respectable names in the literary world. Similar collections have been formerly published in England by Dodstey, and other booksellers. They were not ill received by the Public, and the design appears laudable. To preserve such little pieces, by collecting them, as in a detached state, would soon be lost and forgotten, notwithstanding their merit and elegance is t« perform no unimportant service to literature. Yet let iuch collectors be cautious of raking ".. 3B
together rubbish, while th«y are endeavouring to pick up gems."
"While the fine arts are so generally and successfully cultivated, their history naturally becomes an object of curiosity and attention. In Britain, the public have been gratified with histories of poetry, music, and painting; and with biographical accounts of our molt distinguished poets, painters, and musicians. The French and Italians, among whom the fine arts received earlier encouragement than among us, have discovered no less desire to hpnour and perpetuate the memory of their illustrious artists. M.D—, whose father, in i 762, published an Abridgment of the Lives ■ of the wji famous Painters, has lately offered to the Public, as a sequel to that work, The Lives, of the most famous Architefls who have appeared Jince the revival of Arts and Letters, •with a Description os their Works. His inquiries have Dot been confined to the history of French Architects. The Italians and English have also engaged his attention; and he does justice to the memory of Michael Angelo, Inigo Jones, and Sir Christopher Wren, as well as to Manfart, and Perrault. A second part of this work is assigned to the biography of the most famous Sculptors. Arrists will, doubtless, consider themselves as under particular obligations to the industry of M. D—, and his work seems well intitled to the favour of the Public in general."
"One of the most pleasing literary publications, which have of late appeared in France, is a new edition of a Journey to Provence, by AL PÆbS Papon. This work contains an accurate and comprehensive account of the antiquities and the present state of Provence. The face of the country, its climate, and natural productions are well described. Its present population, and the condition of its inhabitants, have also attracted the notice of this agreeable writer. Provence was
the £)% Account os some Foreign
the country as the Troubadours, who in the 12th and 13th centuries wandered through the courts of Europe, celebrating the valour of knights and heroes, and the charms and virtues of the ladies; and of these M. de Papon gives a number of very entertaining anecdotes. Many other interesting particulars relative .to the history of Provence, are also to be found in this work, which is written in a very lively style. As. de Papon is also the author of a very compleat history of Provence, in four quarto vo!s. which, however, cannot be expected to be equally popular with the worl^ before us."
"The illustrious reign of Queen Eiiz ibeth, and the character and fate of her hated rival, the lovely and unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, which have of late so much engaged the inquiries of pur most respectable Britilh historians, have also attracted the attention of foieigners. In France, where the fair sex are more ambitious of the favours of philosophy and the muses, than in Britain, though we are IK>t disposed to detract from the merits of a Montague, a Burney. and a Garter, Mademoiselle de 'Keralio has lately published the third and concluding volume of her history of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, which (lie informs the Public is the fruit of ten years laborious study and caresol inquiry. In a preliminary discourse, (he traces the history of the constitution and government of England, from the earlist period of its existence, through its various revolutions and different ages, Notwithstanding, som.e trifling inaccuracies and a few mistakes, it must be acknowledged, that in this discourse, the laborious researches of the antiquary, the accurate knowsedge of the lawyer, and the profound reflections of the politician are jointly displayed. The lady is not content with pronouncing the elogium of the British constitution, and celebrating the political advantages which we ea>
joy; she a so points out its defects, and the dangers to which it is exposed from its peculiar form and circumffan, ces. In entering upon the history of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, she takes occasion to recount the causes which effected, and the circumstances which attended the Reformation of Religion in England. She, with noble indignation, execrates that tyranny, bigotry, enthusiasm, and barbarity, which, amid these convulsions, violated all the natural and civil tights of humanity; and, under the pretence of religious zeal, sought the basest ends by the most unjustifiable means. Tho' her work is entituled, The Reign of Queen Elizabeth, yet Elizabeth is po: the chief object of our Historian's attention ; she seldom appears, and is not exhibited in very flattering colours. In the third volume, the amiable, but imprudent Mary comes upon the stage; and with all the impartiality of an advocate and a friend, Mademoiselle Keralio defends the character, and laments the misfortunes of that unhappy Queen. Not the doughty Goodall, the acute Tytler, the virulent Stuart, or the diffuse and conceited Whitaker, has more warmly espoused her cause, pr more keenly attacked the Murray*, Knoxes, Humes, and Robertsons, who have presumed to call her virtue dubious, or her character imperfect.
"Yet as we have not been altogether satisfied, even with the laborious researches, and ingenious sophistry by whioh the former advocates of Mary have endeavoured to vindicate her from the guilt of her husband's murder, and to brand her brother Murray with that atrocious crime; so neither is it our ppinion, that Mile de Keralio, notwithstanding all her pretences of plodding among manuscripts, and consulting original papers, affords complete demonstration of the innocence of our heroine. Indeed the moderation of Hume, and the candour and penetration of the respectable Robertson,' have induced us rather to join
them In acknowledging and lamenting the failings of that unfortunate princess. The additional arguments with which Dr Robertson has lately condescended to support his opinions concerning the character and conduct of Mary, concuT with those formerly produced, to raise the evidence on this fide of the question to a very high degree of probability. It is at present, indeed, the fashion, to defend and magnify her virtues, and to vilify those characters to whose noble exertions we owe that simple and rational •religion which is professed, and that happy form of church-government which is established in Scotland:— Nay, to whom we are farther indebted for enjoying, at this day, that civil liberty which is so well secured to every member of the British constitution, instead of being the staves and dependants of the French monarch. But happily, fashions which originate from caprice, envy, and petulant ignorance, generally sink, in a short time, into lasting oblivion. This female historian, however, merits considerable praise for the industry with which she has collected her information, and for that good sense and political discernment which she generally displays. She is sometimes too diffuse ;ind particular; her style, without vigour or elevation, cannot fail to fatigue the attention by its monotonous and unvaried uniformity: Yet the critics of her own nation scruple not to declare, that few modern publications merit the fame" degree of the public esteem ; and to foretell, that her work will obtain a very favourable reception among all the nations of Europe.
The fame lady, whose attention is, doubtless, much more earnestly directed to the acquisition of knowledge and the literary entertainment of the public, than to the adorning of her person, the soft amusements of gallantry, or the cares of housewifery, has also published, with
in these few months, the three first volumes of a Colleftion, in which she endeavours to call the attention of the world upon the principal writings of thole French ladies who have distinguished thcmselres by learning or genius. The whole collection, when completed, will consist of thirty-six octavo volumes. It is introduced by a preliminary discourse, in which Mile de Keralio traces the history of French literature, from the earliest times, through its various dark and brilliant periods, to the twelfth century. While the art of writing was either Wholly unknown, or at least very little cultivated in ancient Gaul, the Bards were their poets, philosophers, and legislators j with their songs they composed civil discords, or reconciled hostile tribes, inspired the warrior with fortitude and valour, and perpetuated the memory and the glory of those heroes who conquered or fell in defence of their country. They also taught the arts of peace ;the duties of justice and benevolence, as well as the rites and obligations of religion.
When the fierce valour of the Gauls yielded to the hardy discipline and martial spirit of Rome, and their country became a Roman .province, the language, the arts, and the literature of Rome were introduced intd Gaul. They took root and flourished ; and in the days of Juvenal, the schools of rhetoric in Gaul were no less • respectable than those jn Italy. In the reign of the Emperor Claudius, a number of the principal inhabitants of Gaul were admitted into the Roman senate; and their eloquence and political knowledge were soch as did honour to that leipectable body. The fame causes which occasioned the corruption and decline cf learning at Rome, at length produced the same unhappy effects on the literature of the Gauls; the universal prevalence of luxury and licentious dissipation, the military government of the Emperors, and at last the inroads and settlement
tlement of the Barbarians. A new language and a new system of government and manners were gradually established. Charlemagne at length appeared; and while, by the force of Arms, he extended his empire over Germany, France, and Italy, he also cultivated the arts of peace, and discovered a soul not insensible to the charms of literature: He laboured to civilize and to enlighten his subjects, invited learned men to his court, and treated them with condescension and favour: He had the glory of patronising Alcuin and Peter os Pisa, as well as several other men of learning and genius who were at that time the luminaries of Europe. His efforts were not unsuccessful, and the clouds of ignorance began to be dispelled. Under him poetry began to be cultivated, and rhyme was introduced. So highly were the ears of Charlemagne's subjects delighted with the melody of Thym2, that not only the praises of 4ierocs and the complaints of lovers, tut even juridical pleadings were composed in rhymes. But literature did liot receive the fame encouragement 'and protection from the successors of "Charlemagne, and the darkness of ignorance again overspread France and •and the rest of Europe. The monks, 'and other ecclesiastics, though nar■jow-minded, selfish, and superstitious, contributed to preserve the dying 1 flame of learning from being wholly extinguished. At length, towards the twelfth century, several circumstances conspired to awake, among the
• French, an eager curiosity for knowledge, and to prompt them to indefatigable industry in the pursuit of learning: St Bernard, the AbbeSuger, and the celebrated Abelard appeared. Mademoiselle Keralio begins her collection with the letters of Eioisa, the lovely mistress of Abelard. They display a vigour of genius, and a warmth
■ and tenderness of sentiment, which are
• highly interesting. Pope has collected - seme detached passages of those cele
brated letters, and attempted to apress the character and romantic sentiments of this unfortunate lady, in his Epistle from Eioisa to Abelard; but his imagination and feelings were wholly inadequate to the task. Rousseau, and the author of the Sorrows of Werter, have better expressed those romantic sentiments, and that enthusiastic lore which really animated the heart of the fair Eioisa. From Eioisa, Mademoiselle de Keralio continues the history of French literature till the reign of Charles V. of France, when Christina os Pi/an flourished; the next lady whose writings form a part of the present collection; and in the same order (lie proceeds to other ladies who have been distinguished for learning or genius. Her collection, when completed on this plan, will doubtless do honour to the fair sex, to the French nation, and to herself."
*' The Bcnedi£lines of the Congregation osSt Maur, have lately published the 13th vol. of a collection of all the original writers of the French history from the earliest times, the former volumes of which have been already published at different times. The present volume contains the records of the history of the three itigns cf Philip I. Lewis VI. and Lewis VII. including a period of izo years, from the year 1060 to 1180. The design of thus reducing into one body the records of their ancient history, is truly noble, and does honour to the French nation. The historian, the politician, the antiquary, and the philosopher, will now have less difficulty to procure anthorities and accurate information concerningthe customs, lairs, transactions, and revolutions of France. Instead of laboriously ransacking private libraries, or trusting to secondhand information, they have only to open this collection, and find thole particulars which they are desirous to know. The editors of this collection merit considerable praise for the care with which they have selected their materials.