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upon this subject. We remind Mr. Badger of the deep responsibility resting upon him, and of the high expectations formed of his administration. We would entreat the President of the United States to hasten the time when, in the language of his address, “the Navy, not inappropriately termed the right hand of the public defence, which has spread a light of glory over the American flag, in all the waters of the earth, shall be rendered replete with efficiency.”

ART. IV. - (Euvres de GEORGE SAND.

line, Cans, et Compagnie. 1839. Grand in-8.

Bruxelles : MeTrois Volumes.

The powers of external nature become an object of study and reflection to the man of science, not only in their quiet and ordinary operation, by which the chain of being is preserved and ihe machinery of the universe does its work, but also in those occasional starts and aberrations, which at irregular intervals appall the observer and seem to menace the destruction of the whole fabric. The invisible and mysterious fluid, which many consider to be the hidden cause of the secret affinities and repulsions by which the primary particles of dissimilar substances act on each other, and hence as one of the most beneficial and efficient instrunients in nature's laboratory, at times collects itself in fearful force, to rain in fire from the clouds, cleaving the firm-set oak, prostrating the rock-founded labors of the architect, and stopping by a single touch the issues of life in man himself. The springs of motion around and above us, which keep the mass of the atmosphere from stagnating and generating disease, sometimes also send forth the tornado, as it were to sweep a track of ocean and land with the besom of destruction. Volcanoes and earthquakes, sudden famine and epidemic disease, are alike objects of research to the curious student of nature with those peaceful phenomena, recurring at fixed periods, which make the earth the garden and palace of man. Often, indeed, the violent and unlooked-for outbreak supplies more pregnant hints than the ordinary workings of physical agents for the explanation of Nature's laws. The exception suggests the theory, the accident makes known the principle. And the mind also is most effectually stimulated to its work, when a sense of danger impels us to investigate causes, and knowledge is courted not merely to gratify curiosity, but to afford protection.

So it is in the moral and intellectual world. The morbid anatomy of mind is studied, that the philosophy of health may be properly understood. The corrupt and pernicious products of a diseased literary taste, a reckless will, and a licentious imagination are held up as a warning, or carefully probed in order to lay bare the seeds of the evil, which may exist also in other soils, and there again at another time bring forth their appropriate harvest of sickness and death. That is a blind caution, which would lead us to study only the healthy manifestations of life, and to pass silently over the baneful tokens in certain subjects, which show that maladies exist, and perhaps are eating out the very core of existence. Equally unwise is it to palliate the evil, by representing it as temporary, or negative, or weak, and therefore leaving it to be eliminated by chance and the lapse of time. The violence of the symptoms proves, that a robust constitution is attacked, and the crisis of the complaint may even increase the natural strength of the patient. To speak without metaphor, literary power may exist for evil as well as good, and even transcendent ability may be, and often is, exerted in disseminating paradox, sophistry, and skepticism. The evil cannot be successfully met by underrating it, or by undervaluing the power which is scattering it abroad.

Bad books may be written with wonderful talent, and the merits of their execution may be freely admitted, while we point out and strive against their destructive tendency, and mourn over the prostitution of genius that appears in their pages.

Thus much by way of apology to our readers, for calling their attention to a contemporary, who, though belonging to another nation and writing in a foreign tongue, is already known to some among us, and whom the present taste for foreign literature and novel opinions may come hereafter 10 make a favorite with many.

Within ten or twelve years, an extraordinary change has come over the spirit of French literature. Afier continuing for centuries in a cold and pedantic imitation of classical models, a Romantic school has suddenly risen up, and is now working with all the vigor and activity, which usually accompany or produce great revolutions in literary opinions. Corneille and Racine have palled upon the taste, and the appetite now calls for the more exciting and perilous food, which the writers of la jeune France endeavour to supply. Time was, when Voltaire called Shakspeare a barbarian, when the delicate nerves of a French audience could not bear killing on the stage, and when their scrupulous taste rejected with disgust ihat mixture of farce and tragedy, that alternation of smiles and tears, of which nature and the old English drama present such frequent examples. Mais nous avons changé tout celà since the revolution of 1830. The French are imitators still, though Shakspeare and Goethe, Hoffman and Walter Scott, are now the models, and have pushed from their pedestals those nondescript figures of Greek gods and heroes, dressed in long periwigs and laced coats, which presided so long over the fortunes of the stage and the destinies of literature. As usual, the violence of the reaction has carried taste to the opposite extreme, and the spirit of the middle ages is now caricatured as remorselessly by modern French authors, as was the genius of Greece and Rome by their immediate predecessors. What is deformed, horrible, and grotesque, is now introduced not merely as an element in art, but to the exclusion of what is calm, beautiful, and pure. Violence is now done, not merely to the rule of the unities, which so long weighed like an incubus upon the genius of Gallic playwrights, but to all the laws of probability, consistency, and homogeneousness, which form ihe essence of the creative and imitative process. The guests at the literary banquet now sup full of horrors; and all the springs of terror, violence, and crime are set in motion to stimulate their diseased and jaded appetites.

Of course, the change has not come peacefully about, or without strenuous opposition from the adherents of the former school. But the defenders are only a few literary veterans, Chateaubriand and others, donati jam rude, who, shut up in their last fortress, the French Academy, wage a feeble warfare against their youthful and fiery assailants. Even this position is at last invaded, for after a canvass of years, and great agitation of spirits and shedding of ink, Victor Hugo, the Corypheus of the new school, has just obtained the honors of the session, and is now enrolled among the “ · Forty.” Dumas and Balzac must soon follow, and the abolition of the - No. 112.

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VOL. LIII.

Salic law may possibly be marked by crowning Madame Dudevant with the laurels of an academician. The populace have sided with the innovators, and the stage, which al Paris has even more influence than the press, of course follows the guidance of the many. Romance and the drama, indeed, have been the chief points of success with the modern school, and the mass of readers are, therefore, enlisted under their banners.

We have no inclination to trace out the characteristics of this singular revolution, any further than they may appear in a brief examination of the merits of the writer, whose works are now before us. Nor should we have alluded to the subject, if it were not that the peculiarities of our author, when viewed only in connexion with what was the spirit of French literature some dozen years since, would appear more startling and unprecedented than they really are. George Sand is but one of a numerous school, ihough in point of literary power, perhaps the first among them, not even Hugo excepted. Her writings are affecting, not merely the literary taste, but the political, religious, and social opinions of her countrymen, and are deeply interesting as a study, whether we consider them as producing, or produced by, the general sermentation of spirits, that is now going on in France. Her writings, we say, not forgetting the distinction of genders, for it is well known, that George Sand is a mere nom de guerre, under which Madame Dudevant chooses to appear in the authors' lists. Respecting her personal history, little can be ascertained from the thousand rumors with which the gossips of Paris amuse themselves, while speculating on the singularities of her character and writings. It is known, however, that, being unhappily matched in early life, she chose to set at defiance the laws of morality and the opinions of the world, by eloping from her husband and forming a connexion with another person. Scandal adds many piquant particulars of her impatience under the restraints which nature or custom have imposed on her sex, and of her desire to ape the manly character ; that she smokes cigars and wears a frock coat, to say nothing of other habiliments, which are usually monopolized by the lords of creation. Such tales, whether well founded or not, would not require an allusion here, if they were not in keeping with the eccentricities of her published theories, and did not manifest the impression that her works have given, respecting her private history.

The bulk of George Sand's writings consists of tales and romances, some fifteen or twenty of which have already appeared, following each other from the press in such quick succession as to evince great fertility of invention, and a perfect command of her resources.

Some of them are novels, properly so called, with a due proportion of events and characters. Often, however, there is but a slender thread of incident, on which are hung copious disquisitions upon pbilosophy, religion, and social life. Sometimes the story is cast in a dramatic form, though evidently not intended for the stage. But, whatever garb her works assume externally, they are all pervaded with one purpose, and tend constantly in one direction. The same morbid imagination, the same gloomy and passionate spirit, at war with the world and the allotments of Providence, and discontented with itself, appear everywhere in her writings, and give a sad image of the temperament and feelings of the author. None but a mind and heart thoroughly diseased could pour forth such effusions, while the impetuosity of manner, the vivid descriptions, the eloquent portraiture of passion, and the richness of style prove, but too evidently, ihat a noble nature has gone astray. In point of vigor and originality of genius, she may well be classed with Rousseau, or, if the comparison be confined to her own sex, she may be placed even higher than Madame de Staël. She is less affected than the latter, and her style, equally rich, is more condensed and energetic. For eloquent and imaginative writing, the most brilliant passages of “Corinne,” when placed beside many chapters of " Indiana,” or “ Valentine," will gain nothing by the contrast. Her pages bear no marks of the various, but rather superficial, learning, which appears in the “ Allemagne,” but her observation of life, though tinged by a morbid temperament, is even more keen, while her picturesque and glowing descriptions display a more perfect appreciation of external nature.

But the parallel, which these volumes naturally suggest, lies between their author and “the self-torturing sophist, wild Rousseau.” We see in each the same wayward direction of a richly gifted spirit, the same ardent delineations and intense sensibility, pictures of life shadowed with similar gloom, and an equal command over the sympathy of the reader. Both

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