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died out, and the devotion to physical science, to sociology, The epistles and satires are among the best of their kind, the and to a kind of free-thinking optimism which was to inspire verse tales are in the same way admirable, and the epigrams, Voltaire and the Encyclopedists had not yet become fashionable. impromptus, and short miscellaneous poems generally are the Fénelon and Malebranche still survived, but they were emphatic-ne plus ultra of verse which is not poetry. The Anglomania ally men of the last age, as was Massillon, though he lived till of the century extended into poetry, and the Seasons of Thomson nearly the middle of the century. The characteristic literary set the example of a whole library of tedious descriptive verse, figures of the opening years of the period are d'Aguesseau, which in its turn revenged France upon England by producing Fontenelle, Saint-Simon, personages in many ways interesting or helping to produce English poems of the Darwin school. and remarkable, but purely transitional in their characteristics. The first of these descriptive performances was the Saisons Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle (1657–1757) is, indeed, perhaps of Jean François de Saint-Lambert (1716-1803), identical in the most typical figure of the time. He was a dramatist, a title with its model, but of infinitely inferior value. Saintmoralist, a philosopher, physical and metaphysical, a critic, an Lambert was followed by Jacques Delille (1738-1813) in Les historian, a poet and a satirist. The manner of his works is Jardins, Antoine Marin le Mierre (1723-1793) in Les Fastes, always easy and graceful, and their matter rarely contemptible. and Jean Antoine Roucher ( 745-1794) in Les Mois. Indeed,
18ik-Century Poetry.-The dispiriting signs shown during the everything that could be described was seized upon by these 17th century by French poetry proper received entire fulfilment describers. Delille also translated the Georgics, and for a time in the following age. The two poets who were most prominent was the greatest living poet of France, the title being only disat the opening of the period were the abbé de Chaulieu (1639- puted by Escouchard le Brun (1729-1807), a lyrist and ode 1720) and the marquis de la Fare (1644-1712), poetical or rather writer of the school of J. B. Rousseau, but not destitute of energy. versifying twins who are always quoted together. They were The only other poets until Chénier who deserve notice are both men who lived to a great age, yet their characteristics are Nicolas Gilbert (1751-1780)--the French Chatterton, or perrather those of their later than of their earlier contemporaries. haps rather the French Oldham, who died in a workhouse at They derive on the one hand from the somewhat trifling school twenty-nine after producing some vigorous satires and, at the of Voiture, on the other from the Bacchic sect of Saint-Amant; point of death, an elegy of great beauty; Jacques Charles Louis and they succeed in uniting the inferior qualities of both with Clinchaut de Malfilâtre (1732-1767), another short-lived poet the cramped and impoverished though elegant style of which whose “ Ode to the Sun” has a certain stateliness; and Jean Fénelon had complained. Their compositions are as a rule Baptiste Gresset (1709-1777), the author of Ver-Verl and of other lyrical, as lyrical poetry was understood after the days of Mal-poems of the lighter order, which are not far, if at all, below the herbe--that is to say, quatrains of the kind ridiculed by Molière, level of Voltaire. André Chénier (1762-1794) stands
Chénier. and Pindaric odes, which have been justly described as made far apart from the art of his century, though the strong up of alexandrines after the manner of Boileau cut up into shorter chain of custom, and his early death by the guillotine, prevented or longer lengths. They were followed, however, by the one him from breaking finally through the restraints of its language poet who succeeded in producing something resembling poetry and its versification. Chénier, half a Greek by blood, was wholly
in this artificial style, J. B. Rousseau (1671-1741). one in spirit and sentiment. The manner of his verses, the very J. B. Rousseau.
Rousseau, who in some respects was nothing so little air which surrounds them and which they diffuse, are different
asa religious poet, was nevertheless strongly influenced, from those of the 18th century; and his poetry is probably the as Marot had been, by the Psalms of David. His Odes and his utmost that its language and versification could produce. To Cantates are perhaps less destitute of that spirit than the work do more, the revolution which followed a generation after his of any other poet of the century excepting André Chénier. death was required. Rousseau was also an extremely successful epigrammatist, 18th-Century Drama. The results of the cultivation of dramatic having in this respect, too, resemblances to Marot. Le Franc poetry at this time were even less individually remarkable than de Pompignan (1709-1784), to whom Voltaire's well-known those of the attention paid to poetry proper. Here again the sarcasms are not altogether just, and Louis Racine (1692-1763), astonishing power and literary aptitude of Voltaire gave value to who wrote pious and altogether forgotten poems, belonged to his attempts in a style which, not withstanding that it counts the same poetical school; though both the style and matter of Racine among its practitioners, was none the less predestined Racine are strongly tinctured by his Port Royalist sympathies to failure. Voltaire's own efforts in this kind are indisputably as and education. Lighter verse was represented in the 18th successful as they could be. Foreigners usually prefer Mahomet century by the long-lived Saint-Aulaire (1643–1742), by Gentil and Zaire to Bajazel and Mithridate, though there is no doubt Bernard (1710-1775), by the abbé (afterwards cardinal) de Bernis that no work of Voltaire's comes up to Polyeucle and Rodogune, (1715-1794), by Claude Joseph Dorat (1734-1780), by Antoine as certainly no single passage in any of his plays can approach Bertin (1752-1790) and by Evariste de Parny (1753-1814), the the best passages of Çinna and Les Horaces. But the remaining last the most vigorous, but all somewhat deserving the term tragic writers of the century, with the single exception of Crébillon applied to Dorat of ver luisant du Parnasse. The jovial traditions père, are scarcely third-rate. C. Jolyot de Crébillon (1674-1762) of Saint-Amant begat a similar school of anacreontic songsters, himself had genius, and there are to be found in his work evidences which, represented in turn by Charles François Panard (1674- of a spirit which had seemed to die away with Saint-Genesl, and 1765), Charles Collé (1709-1783), Armand Gouffé (1775-1845), was hardly to revive until Hernani. Of the imitators of Racine and Marc-Antoine-Madeleine Desaugiers (1772-1827), led directly and Voltaire, La Motte in Inés de Castro was not wholly unsuccessto the best of all such writers, Béranger. To this class Rougetful. François Joseph de la Grange-Chancel (1677-1758) copied de Lisle (1760-1836) perhaps also belongs; though his most chiefly the worst side of the author of Britannicus, and Bernard famous composition, the Marseillaise, is of a different stamp. Joseph Saurin (1706-1781) and Pierre-Laurent de Belloy (1727Nor is the account of the light verse of the 18th century complete 1775) performed the same service for Voltaire. Le Mierre and La without reference to a long succession of fable writers, who, in an Harpe, mentioned and to be mentioned, were tragedians; but unbroken chain, connect La Fontaine in the 17th century with the Iphigénie en Tauride of Guimond de la Touche (1725-1760) Viennet in the 19th. None of the links, however, of this chain, deserves more special mention than anything of theirs. There with the exception of Jean Pierre Florian (1759-1794) deserve was an infinity of tragic writers and tragic plays in this century,
much attention. The universal faculty of Voltaire but hardly any others of them even deserve mention. The muse Voltair
(1694-1778) showed itself in his poetical productions of comedy was decidedly more happy in her devotees. Molière (poetry).
no less than in his other works, and it is perhaps not was a far safer if a more difficult model than Racine, and the least remarkable in verse. It is impossible nowadays to regard inexorable fashion which had bound down tragedy to a feeble the Henriade as anything but a highly successful prize poem, imitation of Euripides did not similarly prescribe an undeviating but the burlesque epic of La Pucelle, discreditable as it may be adherence to Terence. Tragedy had never been, has scarcely from the moral point of view, is remarkable enough as literature. I been since, anything but an exotic in France; comedy was of the
soil and native. Very early in the century Alain René le Sage the cultivation of the romance, that is to say, fiction dealing (1668-1747), in the admirable comedy of Turcaret, produced a with incident and with the simpler passions, in devoting itself work not unworthy to stand by the side of all but his master's to the novel, that is to say, fiction dealing with the analysis best. Philippe Destouches (1680-1754) was also a fertile comedy of sentiment and character. Le Sage, its first great novelist, in writer in the early years of the century, and in Le Glorieux and his Diable boileux and Gil Blas, went to Spain not merely for Le Philosophe marié achieved considerable success. As the age his subject but also for his inspiration and manner, following went on, comedy, always apt to lay hold of passing events, the lead of the picaroon romance of Rojas and Scarron. Like devoted itself to the great struggle between the Philosophes and Fielding, however, whom he much resembles, Le Sage mingled their opponents. Curiously enough, the party which engrossed with the romance of incident the most careful attention to char. almost all the wit of France had the worst of it in this dramatic acter and the most lively portrayal of it, while his style and portion of the contest, if in no other. The Méchant of Gresset and language are such as to make his work one of the classics of the Mélromanie of Alexis Piron (1689-1773) were far superior French literature. The novel of character was really founded to anything produced on the other side, and the Philosophes of in France by the abbé Prévost d'Exilles (1697-1763), the author Charles Palissot de Montenoy (1730-1814), though scurrilous of Cleveland and of the incomparable Manon Lescaut. The and broadly farcical, had a great success. On the other hand, it popularity of this style was much helped by the immense vogue was to a Philosophe that the invention of a new dramatic style in France of the works of Richardson. Side by side with it, was due, and still more the promulgation of certain ideas on however, and for a time enjoying still greater popularity, there dramatic criticism and construction, which, after being filtered flourished a very different school of fiction, of which Voltaire, through the German mind, were to return to France and to whose name occupies the first or all but the first place in every exercise the most powerful influence on its dramatic productions. branch of literature of his time, was the most brilliant cultivator.
This was Denis Diderot (1713-1784), the most fertile This was a direct development of the earlier conle, and consisted Diderot (plays).
genius of the century, but also the least productive usually of the treatment, in a humorous, satirical, and not
in finished and perfect work. His chief dramas, the always over-decent fashion, of contemporary foibles, beliefs, Fils naturel and the Père de famille, are certainly not great philosophies and occupations. These tales are of every rank successes; the shorter plays, Est-il bon? est-il méchant? and of excellence and merit both litcrary and moral, and range from La Pièce et le prologue, are better. But it was his follower the astonishing wit, grace and humour of Candide and Zadig Michel Jean Sédaine (1719-1797) who, in Le Philosophe sans le to the book which is Diderot's one hardly pardonable sin, and sovoir and other pieces, produced the best examples of the bour- the similar but more lively efforts of Crébillon fils (1707-1777). geois as opposed to the heroic drama. Diderot is sometimes These latter deeps led in their turn to the still lower depths credited or discredited with the invention of the Comédie Larmoy- of La Clos and Louvet. A third class of 18th-century fiction ante, a title which indeed his own plays do not altogether refuse, consists of attempts to return to the humorous Jatrasie of the but this special variety seems to be, in its invention, rather the 16th century, attempts which were as much influenced by Sterne property of Pierre Claude Nivelle de la Chaussée (1692–1754). as the sentimental novel was by Richardson. The Homme Comedy sustained itself, and even gained ground towards the end aux quorante écus of Voltaire has something of this character, of the century; the Jeune Indienne of Nicolas Chamfort (1741- but the most characteristic works of the style are the Jacques 1794), if not quite worthy of its author's brilliant talent in other le fatalisle of Diderot, which shows it nearly at its best, and paths, is noteworthy, and so is the Bille! perdu of Joseph François the Compère Mathicu, sometimes attributed to Pigault-Lebrun Edouard de Corsembleu Desmahis (1722-1761), while at the (1753-1835), but no doubt in reality due to Jacques du Laurens extreme limit of our present period there appears the remark-(1719-1797), which shows it at perhaps its worst. Another able figure of Pierre Caron de Beaumarchais (1732-1799). The remarkable story-teller was Cazotte (1719-1792), whose Diable Mariage de Figaro and the Barbier de Séville are well known as amoureux displays much fantastic power, and connects itself having had attributed to them no mean place among the literary with a singular fancy of the time for occult studies and diatlerie, causes and forerunners of the Revolution. Their dramatic and manifested later by the patronage shown to Cagliostro, Mesmer, literary value would itself have sufficed to obtain attention for St Germain and others. In this connexion, too, may perhaps them at any time, though there can be no doubt that their also be mentioned most appropriately Bestif de la Bretonne, popularity was mainly due to their political appositeness. The a remarkably original and voluminous writer, who was little most remarkable point about them, as about the school of noticed by his contemporaries and successors for the best part comedy of which Congreve was the chief master in England at of a century. Restif, who was nicknamed the “ Rousseau of the beginning of the century, was the abuse and superfluity of the gutter," Rousseau du ruisseau, presents to an English wit in the dialogue, indiscriminately allotted to all characters imagination many of the characteristics of a non-moral Defoe. alike. It is difficult to give particulars, but would be improper While these various schools busied themselves more or less with to omit all mention, of such dramatic or quasi-dramatic work real life seriously depicted or purposely travestied, the great as the libretti of operas, farces for performance at fairs and the vogue and success of Télémaque produced a certain number of like. French authors of the time from Le Sage downwards didactic works, in which moral or historical information was usually managed these with remarkable skill.
sought to be conveyed under a more or less thin guise of fiction. 18th-Century Fiction. With prose fiction the case was alto- Such was the Voyage du jeune Anackarsis of Jean Jacques gether different. We have seen how the short tale of a sew Barthélemy (1716-1795); such the Numa Pompilius and pages had already in the 16th century attained high if not the Gonzalve de Cordoue of Florian (1755-1794), who also deserves highest excellence; how at three different periods the fancy for notice as a writer of pastorals, fables and short prose tales; long-winded prose narration developed itself in the prose re-such the Belisaire and Les Incas of Jean François Marmontel handlings of the chivalric poems, in the Amadis romances, (1723-1799). Between this class and that of the novel of sentiand in the portentous recitals of Gombervisle and La Calprenede; ment may perhaps be placed Paul et Virginie.and La Chaumière how burlesques of these romances were produced from Rabelais indienne; though Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737-1814) should to Scarron; and how at last Madame de Lafayette showed the more properly be noticed after Rousseau and as a moralist. way to something like the novel of the day. If we add the fairy Diderot's fiction-writing has already been referred to more than story, of which Perrault and Madame d'Aulnoy were the chief once, but his Religieuse deserves citation here as a powerful practitioners, and a small class of miniature romances, of which specimen of the novel both of analysis and polemic; while his Aucassin et Nicoletle in the 13th, and the delightful Jehan de undoubted masterpiece, the Neveu de Rameau, though very Paris (of the 15th or 16th, in which a king of England is patriotic- difficult to class, comes under this head as well as under any ally sacrificed) are good representatives, we shall have exhausted other. There are, however, two of the novelists of this age, and the list. The 18th century was quick to develop the system of the most remarkable, who have yet to be noticod, and these of the author of the Princesse de Clèves, but it did not abandon I are the author of Marianne and the author of Julie. We do
not mention Pierre de Marivaux (1688-1763) in this connexion of its fertility in ideas, its splendid breadth of view, and the as the equal of Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), but merely felicity with which the author, in a manner unknown before, as being in his way almost equally original and equally remote recognizes the laws underlying complicated assemblages of fact. from any suspicion of school influence. He began with burlesque The style of this great work is equal to its substance; less light writing, and was also the author of several comedies, of which than that of the Lettres, less rhetorical than that of the Grandeur Les Fousses Confidences is the principal. But it is in prose fiction des Romoins, it is still a marvellous union of dignity and wit. that he really excels. He may claim to have, at least in the Around Montesquieu, partly before and partly after him, is opinion of bis contemporaries, invented a style, though perhaps a group of philosophical or at least systematic historians, of the term marivaudage, which was applied to it, has a not alto- whom the chief are Jean Baptiste Dubos (1670-1742), and G. gether complimentary connotation. He may claim also to have Bonnot de Mably (1709-1785). Dubos, whose chief work is not invented the novel without a purpose, which aims simply at historical but aesthetic (Reflexions sur la poésie et la peinture), amusement, and at the same time does not seek to attain that wrote a so-called Histoire critique de l'établissement de la monarchie end by buffoonery or by satire. Gray's definition of happiness, française, which is as far as possible from being in the modern "to lie on a sofa and read endless povels by Marivaux” (it is sense critical, inasmuch as, in the teeth of history, and in order true that be added Crébillon), is well known, and the production to exalt the Tiers étal, it pretends an amicable coalition of Franks of mere pastime by means more or less harmless has since become and Gauls, and not an irruption by the former. Mably (Observaso well-recognized a function of the novelist that Marivaux, as lions sur l'histoire de la France) had a much greater influence one of the earliest to discharge it, deserves notice. The name, than either of these writers, and a decidedly mischievous one,
however, of Jean Jacques Rousseau is of far different especially at the period of the Revolution. He, more than any Rousseau importance. His two great works, the Nouvelle one else, is responsible for the ignorant and childish extolling
Heloise and Emile, are as far as possible from being of Greek and Roman institutions, and the still more ignorant perfect as novels. But no novels in the world bave ever had depreciation of the middle ages, which was for a time charactersuch influence as these. To a great extent this influence was istic of French politicians. Montesquieu was, as we have said, due mainly to their attractions as novels, imperfect though they followed by Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (1727-1781), whose may be in this character, but it was beyond dispute also owing writings are few in number, and not remarkable for style, but to the doctrines which they contained, and which were exbibited full of original thought. Turgot in his turn was followed by in novel form.
Condorcet (1743-1794), whose tendency is somewhat more Such are the principal developments of fiction during the sociological than directly historical. Towards the end of the century; but it is remarkable that, varied as they were, and period, too, a considerable number of philosophical histories excellent as was some of the work to which they gave rise, none were written, the usual object of which was, under cover of a kind of these schools was directly very fertile in results or successors. of allegory, to satirize and attack the existing institutions and The period with which we shall next have to deal, that from government of France. The most famous of these was the the outbreak of the Revolution to the death of Louis XVIII., is Histoire des Indes, nominally written by the Abbé Guillaume curiously barren of fiction of any merit. It was not till English Thomas François Raynal (1713-1796), but really the joint work influence began again to assert itself in the later days of of many members of the Philosophe party, especially Diderot. the Restoration that the prose romance began once more to be Side by side with this really or nominally philosophical school written.
of history there existed another and less ambitious school, which 18th-Century History. It is not, however, in any of the contented itself with the older and simpler view of the science. departments of belles-lettres that the real eminence of the 18th The Abbé René de Vertot (1655-1735) belongs almost as much century as a time of literary production in France consists. to the 17th as to the 18th century; but his principal works, In all serious branches of study its accomplishments were, from especially the famous Histoire des Chevaliers de Malle, date from a literary point of view, remarkable, uniting as it did an extra- the later period, as do also the Révolutions romaines. Vertot ordinary power of popular and literary expression with an ardent is above all things a literary historian, and the well-known spirit of inquiry, a great speculative ability, and even a far more "Mon siége est fait,” whether true or not, certainly expresses considerable amount of laborious erudition than is generally his system. Of the same school, though far more comprehensive, supposed. The historical studies and results of 18th-century was the laborious Charles Rollin (1661-1741), whose works in speculation in France are of especial and peculiar importance. the original, or translated and continued in the case of the There is no doubt that what is called the science of history Histoire romaine by Jean Baptiste Louis Crévier (1693-1765), dates from this time, and though the beginning of it is usually were long the chief historical manuals of Europe. The president assigned to the Italian Vico, its complete indication may perhaps Charles Jean François Hénault (1685-1770), and Louis Pierre with equal or greater justice be claimed by the Frenchman Anquetil (1723-1806) were praiseworthy writers, the first of Turgot. Before Turgot, however, there were great names in French history, the second of that and much else. In the sam French historical writing, and perhaps the greatest of all is that class, too, far superior as is his literary power, must be ranked of Charles Secondat de Montesquieu (1689–1755). The three the historical works of Voltaire, Charles XII, Pierre le Grand, principal works of this great writer are all historical and at the &c. A very perfect example of the historian who is literary same time political in character. In the Lettres persones he first of all is supplied by Claude Carloman de Rulhière (1735handled, with wit inferior to the wit of no other writer even in 1791), whose Revolution en Russie en 1762 is one of the little that witty age, the corruptions and dangers of contemporary masterpieces of history, while his larger and posthumous work on morals and politics. The literary charm of this book-the the last days of the Polish kingdom exhibits perhaps some of plan of which was suggested by a work, the Amusements sérieur the defects of this class of historians. Lastly must be mentioned et comiques, of Dufresny (1648-1724), a comic writer not destitute the memoirs and correspondence of the period, the materials of merit—is very great, and its plan was so popular as to lead of history is not history itself. The century opened with the most to a thousand imitations, of which all, except those of Voltaire famous of all these, the memoirs of the duc de Saint-Simon and Goldsmith, only bring out the immense superiority of the (1675-1755), an extraordinary series of pictures of the court original. Few things could be more different from this lively of Louis XIV. and the Regency, written in an unequal and and popular book than Montesquieu's next work, the Grandeur incorrect style, but with something of the irregular excellence a décadence des Romains, in which the same acuteness and of the great 16th-century writers, and most striking in the sombre knowledge of human nature are united with considerable erudi- bitterness of its tone. The subsequent and less remarkable tion, and with a weighty though perhaps somewhat grandiloquent memoirs of the century are so numerous that it is almost imposand rhetorical style. His third and greatest work, the Esprit sible to select a few for reference, and altogether impossible 10 des lois, is again different both in style and character, and such mention all. Of those bearing on public history the memoirs defects as it has are as nothing when compared with the merits of Madame de Staël (MUe Delaunay) (1684-1750), of Pierre
Louis de Voyer, marquis d'Argenson (1694-1757), of Charles little claim to their title. There were some who manifested, Pinot Duclos (1704-1772), of Stephanie Félicité de Saint-Aubin, however, an aptitude for purely philosophical argument, and one Madame de Genlis (1746–1830), of Pierre Victor de Bésenval who confined himself strictly thereto. Among these the most (1723-1791), of Madame Campan (1752-1822) and of the cardinal remarkable are Julien Ofroy de la Mettrie (1709-1751) and de Bernis (1715-1794), may perhaps be selected for mention; Denis Diderot. La Mettrie in his works L'Homme machine, of those bearing on literary and private history, the memoirs L'Homme plante, &c., applied a lively and vigorous imagination, of Madame d'Epinay (1726–1783), those of Mathieu Marais a considerable familiarity with physics and medicine, and a (1664–1737) the so-called Mémoires secrets of Louis Petit de brilliant but unequal style, to the task of advocating materialistic Bachaumont (1690-1770), and the innumerable writings having ideas on the constitution of man. Diderot, in a series of early reference to Voltaire and to the Philosophe party generally works, Lettre sur les aveugles, Promenude d'un sceplique, Pensées Here, too, may be mentioned a remarkable class of literature, philosophiques, &c., exhibited a good acquaintance with philoconsisting of purely private and almost confidential letters, sophical history and opinion, and gave sign in this direction, which were written at this time with very remarkable literary as in so many others, of a far-reaching intellect. As in almost all excellence. As specimens may be selected those of Mademoiselle his works, however, the value of the thought is extremely unequal, Aissé (1694-17.57), which are models of easy and unaffected while the different pieces, always written in the hottest haste, tenderness, and those of Mademoiselle de Lespinasse (1732-1776) and never duly matured or corrected, present but few the companion of Madame du Deffand and afterwards of specimens of finished and polished writing. Charles Bonnet d'Alembert. These latter, in their extraordinary fervour and (1720-1793), a Swiss of Geneva, wrote a large number of works, passion, not merely contrast strongly with the generally languid many of which are purely scientific. Others, however, are more and frivolous gallantry of the age, but also constitute one of its psychological, and these, though advocating the materialistic most remarkable literary monuments. It has been said of them philosophy. generally in vogue, were remarkable for uniting that they“ burn the paper," and the expression is not exagger materialism with an honest adherence to Christianity. The ated. Madame du Deffand's (1697-1780) own letters, many of half mystical writer, Louis Claude de Saint-Martin (1743–1803) which were written to Horace Walpole, are noteworthy in a very also deserves notice. But the French metaphysician of the different way. Of lighter letters the charming correspondence century is undoubtedly Etienne Bonnot, abbé de
Coodus of Diderot with Mademoiselle Voland deserves special mention. Condillac (1714-1780), almost the only writer of the But the correspondence, like the memoirs of this century, defies time in France who succeeded in keeping strictly to philosophy justice to be done to it in any cursory or limited mention. In without attempting to pursue his system to its results in 'ethics, this connexion, however, it may be well to mention some of the politics and thcology. In the Traité des sensalions, the Essai most remarkable works of the time, the Confessions, Rêveries, sur l'origine des connaissances humaines and other works and Promenades d'un soliloire of Rousseau. In these works, Condillac elaborated and continued the imperfect sensationalism especially in the Confessions, there is not merely exhibited of Locke. As his philosophical view, though perhaps more re. passion as fervid though perhaps less unaffected than that of stricted, was far more direct, consecutive and uncompromising Mademoiselle de Lespinasse-there appear in them two literary than that of the Englishman, so his style greatly exceeded characteristics which, if not entirely novel, were for the first time Locke's in clearness and elegance and as a good medium of brought out deliberately by powers of the first order, were for the philosophical expression. first time made the mainspring of literary interest, and thereby 18th-Century Theology.-To devote a section to the history of set an example which for more than a century has been persist- the theological literature of the 18th century in France may ently followed, and which has produced some of the finest seem something of a contradiction; for, indeed, all or most of results of modern literature. The first of these was the elaborate such literature was anti-theological. The magnificent list of and unsparing analysis and display of the motives, the weaknesses names which the church had been able to claim on her side in and the failings of individual character. This process, which the 17th century was exhausted before the end of the second Rousseau unflinchingly performed on himself, has been followed quarter of the 18th with Massillon, and none came to fill their usually in respect to fictitious characters by his successors. The place. Very rarely has orthodoxy been so badly defended as at other novelty was the feeling for natural beauty and the elaborate this time. The literary championship of the church was entirely description of it, the credit of which latter must, it has been in the hands of the Jesuits, and of a few disreputable literary freeagreed by all impartial critics, be assigned rather to Rousseau lances like Elie Fréron (1719-1776) and Pierre Francois Guyot, than to any other writer. His influence in this direction was, abbé Desfontaines (1685-1745). The Jesuits were learned enough, however, soon taken up and continued by Bernardin de Saint and their principal journal, that of Trévoux, was conducted with Pierre, the connecting link between Rousseau and Chateaubriand, much vigour and a great deal of erudition. But they were in the some of whose works have been already alluded to. In particular first place discredited by the moral taint which bas always hung the author of Paul et Virginie set himself to develop the example over Jesuitism, and in the second place by the persecutions of the of description which Rousseau had set, and his word-paintings, Jansenists and the Protestants, which were attributed to their though less powerful than those of his model, are more abundant, influence. But one single work on the orthodox side has premore elaborate, and animated by a more amiable spirit. served the least reputation; while, on the other hand, the names
18th-Century Philosophy.—The Anglomania which distin- of Père Nonotte (1711-1793) and several of his fellows have been guished the time was nowhere more stongly shown than in the enshrined unenviably in the imperishable ridicule of Voltaire, cast and direction of its philosophical speculations. As Montes one only of whose adversaries, the abbé Antoine Guénée (1717quieu and Voltaire had imported into France a vivid theoretical 1803), was able to meet him in the Lettres de quelques Juifs with admiration for the British constitution and for British theories something like his own weapons. It has never been at all accur. in politics, so Voltaire, Diderot and a crowd of others popularized ately decided bow far what may be called the scoffing and continued in France the philosophical ideas of Hobbes and school of Voltaire represents a direct revolt against
(theology). Locke and even Berkeley, the theological ideas of Bolingbroke, Christianity, and how far it was merely a kind of Shaftesbury and the English deists, and the physical discoveries guerilla warfare against the clergy. It is positively certain that of Newton. Descartes, Frenchman and genius as he was, and Voltaire was not an atheist, and that he did not approve of though his principles in physics and philosophy were long clung atheism. But his Dictionnaire philosophique, which is typical of to in the schools, was completely abandoned by the more adven- a vast amount of contemporary and subsequent literature, conturous and progressive spirits. At no time indeed, owing to the sists of a heterogeneous assemblage of articles directed against confusion of thought and purpose to which we have already various points of dogma and ritual and various characteristics alluded, was the word philosophy used with greater looseness of the sacred records. From the literary point of view, it is one than at this time. Using it, as we have hitherto used it, in the of the most characteristic of all Voltaire's works, though it is sense of metaphysics, the majority of the Philosophes have very perhaps not entirely his. The desultory arrangement, the light
and lively style, the extensive but not always too accurate votaries of noble sentiment to whom we have also alluded. erudition, and the somewhat captious and quibbling objections, The works of Thomas chiefly took the form of academic éloges are intensely Voltairian. But there is little seriousness about it, or formal panegyrics, and they have all the defects, both in and certainly no kind of rancorous or deep-seated bostility manner and substance, which are associated with that style. With many, however, of Voltaire's pupils and younger contem- of yet a third school, corresponding in form to La Rochefoucauld poraries the case was altered. They were distinctively atheists and La Bruyère, and possessed of some of the antique vigour and anti-supernaturalists. The atheism of Diderot, unquestion of preceding centuries, was Luc de Clapiers, marquis de ably the greatest of them all, has been keenly debated; but in Vauvenargues (1715-1747). This writer, who died the case of Etienne Damilaville (1723-1768), Jacques André very young, has produced maxims and reflections Naigeon (1738-1810), Paul Henri Dietrich, baron d’Holbach, of considerable mental force and literary finish. From and others there is no room for doubt. By these persons a Voltaire downwards it has been usual to compare him with great mass of atheisticand anti-Christian literature was composed Pascal, from whom he is chiefly distinguished by a striking but and set afloat. The characteristic work of this school, its last somewhat empty stoicism. Between the moralists, of whom we The
word indeed, is the famous Système de la nalure, have taken these three as examples, and the politicians may *System
attributed to Holbach (1723-1789), but known to be, be placed Rousseau, who in his novels and miscellaneous works of Nature in part at least, the work of Diderot. In this remarks is of the first class, in his famous Contret social of the second.
able work, which caps the climax of the metaphysical All his theories, whatever their originality and whatever their materialism or rather nihilism of the century, the atheistic value, were made novel and influential by the force of their position is clearly put. It made an immense sensation; and it so statement and the literary beauties of its form. Of direct and Auttered not merely the orthodox but the more moderate free- avowed political writings there were few during the century, and thinkers, that Frederick of Prussia and Voltaire, perhaps the none of anything like the importance of the Contrat social, most singular pair of defenders that orthodoxy ever had, actually theoretical acceptance of the established French constitution set themselves to refute it. Its style and argument are very being a point of necessity with all Frenchmen. Nevertheless unequal, as books written in collaboration are apt to be, and it may be said that almost the whole of the voluminous writings especially books in which Diderot, the paragon of inequality, of the Philosophes, even of those who, like Voltaire, were sincerely had a band. But there is an almost entire absence of the hetero- aristocratic and monarchic in predilection, were of more or less geneous assemblage of anecdotes, jokes good and bad, scraps of veiled political significance. There was one branch of political accurate or inaccurate physical science, and other incongruous writing, moreover, which could be indulged in without much fear. matter with which the Philosophes were wont to stuff their Political economy and administrative theories received much works; and lastly, there is in the best passages a kind of sombre attention. The earliest writer of eminence on these subjects grandeur which recalls the manner as well as the matter of was the great engineer Sébastien le Prestre, marquis de Vauban Lucretius. It is perhaps well to repeat, in the case of so notorious (1633-1707), whose Oisivetés and Dime royale exhibit both great a book, that this criticism is of a purely literary and formal ability and extensive observation. A more utopian economist character; but there is little doubt that the literary merits of of the same time was Charles Irénée Castel, abbé de Saint-Pierre the work considerably assisted its didactic influence. As the (1658–1743), not to be confounded with the author of Poul el Revolution approached, and the victory of the Philosophe Virginie. Soon political economy in the hands of François party was declared, there appeared for a brief space a group of Quesnay(1694-1774)took a regular form, and towards the middle cynical and accomplished phrase-makers presenting some simi- of the century a great number of works on questions connected larity to that of which, a hundred years before, Saint-Evremond with it, especially that of free trade in corn, on which Ferdinand was the most prominent figure. The chief of this group were Galiani (1728-1787), André Morellet (1727-1819), both abbés, Chamfort.
Nicolas Chamfort (1747-1794) on the republican side, and above all Turgot, distinguished themselves. Of writers on Ridol,
and Antoine Rivarol(1753-1801)on thatoftheroyalists. legal subjects and of the legal profession, the century, though not
Like the older writer to whom we have compared them, less fertile than in other directions, produced few or none of any beither can be said to have produced any one work of eminence, great importance from the literary point of view. The chief and in this they stand distinguished from moralists like name which in this connexion is known is that of Chancellor La Rochefoucauld. The floating sayings, however, which are Henri François d'Aguesseau (1668-1751), at the beginning of the attributed to them, or which occur here and there in their century, an estimable writer of the Port Royal school, who took miscellaneous work, yield in no respect to those of the most the orthodox side in the great disputes of the time, but failed famous of their predecessors in wit and a certain kind of wisdom, to display any great ability therein. He was, as became his though they are frequently more personal than aphoristic. profession, more remarkable as an orator than a writer, and his
181h-Century Moralists and Politicians.-Not the least part, works contain valuable testimonies to the especially perturbed however, of the energy of the period in thought and writing was and unquiet condition of his century-a disquiet which is perhaps devoted to questions of a directly moral and political kind. With also its chief literary note. There were other French magistrates, regard to morality proper the favourite doctrine of the century such as Montesquieu, Hénault (1685-1770), de Brosses (1700was what is commonly called the selfish theory, the only one 1773) and others, who made considerable mark in literature; indeed which was suitable to the sensationalism of Condillac but it was usually (except in the case of Montesquieu) in subjects and the materialism of Holbach. The pattern book of this not even indirectly connected with their profession. The Esprit
doctrine was the De l'esprit of Claude Adrien Helvétius des lois stands alone; but as an example of work barristerial
(1715-1771), the most amusing book perhaps which in kind, famous partly for political reasons but of some real ever pretended to the title of a solemn philosophical treatise. literary merit, we may mention the Mémoire for Calas written by There is some analogy between the principles of this work and J, B. J. Elie de Beaumont (1732-1786). those of the Système de la nature. With the inconsistency 18th-Century Criticismand Periodical Literature.--Wehave said some would say with the questionable honesty--which dis-that literary criticism assumes in this century a sufficient imtinguished the more famous members of the Philosophe party portance to be treated under a separate heading. Contributions when their disciples spoke with what they considered imprudent were made to it of many different kinds and from many different outspokenness, Voltaire and even Diderot attacked Helvétius points of view Periodical literature, the chief stimulus to its as the former afterwards attacked Holbach. But whatever may production, began more and more to come into favour. Even be the general value of De l'esprit, it is full of acuteness, though in the 17th century the Journal des savants, the Jesuit Journal Thomas
that acuteness is as desultory and disjointed as its de Trévoux, and other publications hadset the example of different
style. As Helvétius may be taken as the represent kinds of it. Just before the Revolution the Gazette de France was ative author of the cynical school, so perhaps Alexandre Gérard in the hands of J. B. A. Suard (1734-1817), a man who was Thomas (1732-1785) may be taken as representative of the nothing is not a literary critic. Perhaps, however, the most