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5.-A New Spanish Grammar, adapted to every Class of Learners.
By MARIANO CUBI Y SOLER. Second Edition. Revised, corrected, enlarged, and greatly improved. 12mo. pp. 464.
F. Lucas, Jr. Baltimore. 1825. Next to our own language, the Spanish will be likely at a future day to become the most important in this country. The new theatre of enterprise, which is opening to the whole world in the vast extent of the South American republics, and the intimate intercourse, which, from proximity of situation, and similar principles of government, must necessarily grow up between those republics and the United States, will make the language a desirable, if not an essential acquisition to our men of business, as well as to scholars and politicians. Hence any judicious efforts, to facilitate the means of learning the Spanish, will hardly fail to be well received by the public. Mr Sales, the experienced instructer of French and Spanish at Harvard University, has translated from the French Josse's Grammar of the Spanish Language, with valuable additions and illustrations of his own, adapting it to the English student. This work, together with the Exercises, also translated from Josse, Mr Sales has used with great success in bringing his own pupils to a quick and accurate knowledge of the language, and it may doubtless be considered as possessing all the essential requisites of a good grammar.
Without pretending to institute a comparison between this work, and that of Mr Cubi now under notice, we may be permitted to express our high approbation of the latter, as showing much ability in the author, both in regard to the methodical arrangement of his materials, and the clear expositions he has given of the principles and difficulties in the grammatical construction of the language. We have compared the two editions, and think the second in some important respects an improvement on the first. His views are well explained in the preface, from which it is evident, that he has studied the subject with care, and gained much practical knowledge from experience. In the full conjugations and copious list of irregular verbs, and in the illustration of all the rules of syntax by explanations, remarks, and well chosen examples, this grammar is decidedly superior to any we have seen. This we deem particularly worthy of notice, because the success of the learner in studying Spanish, as perhaps almost every other language, depends very much on the readiness with which he may become acquainted with the verbs and syntax. That terrible crux to all beginners, the different uses of the verbs ser and estar, the author has labored with earnestness and ingenuity to remove. He has explained the difficulty with as much clearness, probably, as the nature of the subject will admit. Practice only can make nice distinctions familiar.
Mr Cubi has published in this country a small Spánish Dictionary, compiled from the best authorities, designed as a manual for learners ; and also selections from classical Spanish writers. Within the last year he has published a grammar in Spanish, intended chiefly for the South American market. To a gentleman of his talents, zeal, and industry, we cannot but wish a success, proportioned to his ardor and exertions in making known in the United States the language and literature of his native country.
By a note contained in Mr Cubi's preface, we may be encouraged to hope, that the public will soon be favored with the means of a much more perfect acquaintance with Spanish Literature, than it has hitherto possessed. We give the author's words.
A course of Lectures, on the History and Criticism of Spanish Literature, has been written by Professor George Ticknor, of Boston. This is certainly the production of much taste and labor. Although it has not yet been published, we have had the pleasure of perusing it ; and we do not hesitate to pronounce this work, for plan and execution, the best of the kind, that has yet appeared. The perfect acquaintance, which this gentleman possesses with the Spanish language, the access which he has to the best editions of the many works he mentions, and his indefatigable industry in the pursuit of literary and scientific knowledge, have rendered him so completely master of the subject he handles, that his production may be considered an invaluable acquisition, and entitled to the thanks of every friend of literature and science.'
A very full Syllabus of the Lectures here mentioned has been printed, occupying an octavo pamphlet of eightyfour pages, prepared chiefly we believe for the use of the classes in the University at Cambridge, for whom the lectures were specially written. This syllabus justifies in its fullest extent the spirit of Mr Cubi's commendatory notice. In an advertisement, Professor Ticknor states, that the whole number of lectures is about thirtyfour, and that together they will make two printed octavo volumes. The whole course, as laid down in the syllabus, is divided into three Epochs, each of which is subdivided into other appropriate heads. A general outline is here presented.
[From about 1155 to about 1555.] The literature that existed in Spain between the first appearance of the present written language, and the close of the reign of the Emperor Charles Fifth ; or the period that contains the elements, from which the best literature of the country was afterwards produced.
FIRST DIVISION. That portion of the literature of the first epoch, which was essentially untouched by the influence of any foreign literature.
SECOND Division. Two schools of literature, marked with foreign influences existed during this epoch.
1. Provençal School.
[From about 1555 to about 1700.] The literature, that existed in Spain, between the death of the Emperor Charles Fifth, and the accession of the Bourbon family; or the period that comprehends the best literature of the country.
First Division. The principal authors, who gave the leading impulse to this epoch.
Second Division. The cotemporaries and successors of these leading masters, who in the same, and other departments of Spanish literature, sustained its character down to about the extinction of the Austrian Family, in 1700, arranged according to the species of writing in which they were distinguished.
1. Epic Poetry
[From about 1700 to the present time.] The literature, that has existed in Spain, since the accession of the Bourbons.
This epoch is divided in the order of the Spanish kings, from Philip Fifth to Ferdinand Seventh.
This outline is too general to give any idea of the execution of the work, but it is enough to show the vast compass of the author's undertaking. The Syllabus is minute, and contains hints, we believe, on nearly every author's works, and every subject upon which the lecturer touches with copious references to the best sources of information.
He makes it ap- .
6.-An Address pronounced at the Opening of the New York
Athenæum, December 14, 1824. By HENRY WHEATON. 8vo. pp. 44. New York.
C. Wiley As a suitable subject on which to address an association formed exclusively for literary purposes, for the diffusion of knowledge and the improvement of taste and intellect, Mr Wheaton in this discourse has taken a rapid view of what has already been accomplished by the American mind, and made some reflections on what may reasonably be hoped to be achieved hereafter. He shows the difficulties we have had to surmount in overcoming the first great obstacles to the cultivation of letters; we had a wilderness to subdue, personal safety to look after, cruel Indian wars to carry on, wants to provide for, political rights to secure and maintain, and at last the struggle of the revolution, and the hard fought contest for our independence. These were the absorbing occupations in which the lives, and thoughts, and hearts of all were engaged ; and amidst this series of sufferings and dangers, of privations and labors, to which we were subjected from the very circumstances of our condition, it could not be expected that much room would be left for the mere embellishments of life, for literature and the arts, for the culture of mind and the sports of the imagination. These topics Mr Wheaton touches with discrimination. pear, however, that a great and rapid change has taken place since our political organisation has been established, and liberty and security have become the birthright of every citizen. The fruits of this change are already obvious, and its causes are growing stronger and more active every day. Our literary progress during the last few years, compared with what it was at any former period, has been not less remarkable, than the happy success of our political experiment, and free institutions.
Among the causes,' says Mr Wheaton, which have hitherto impeded the cultivation of letters in the United States, may probably be enumerated the want of a national language and literature peculiar to ourselves, and the consequent servitude to foreign models. But this will hardly be considered as a sufficient apology for our past literary deficiencies, when we consider that our fathers spoke and wrote the noble dialect of England, not as a foreign language, but as their own native idiom; that they broke off from the parent stem, after that idiom had been perfected by the pens of Shakspeare, and Milton, and Taylor, and Clarendon ; that their descendants have constantly been supplied with the standard productions of the British press, and have never been strangers to the real or supposed improvements, which each successive age has wrought in English diction. During all this lapse of time, the VOL, XX.-NO, 47.
genial soil of England has never ceased to bear fruits and flowers worthy of the spring time of her literature, though often suppressed in their growth by foreign and false modes of culture. Our countrymen were therefore, in this respect, placed upon an equal footing with their British brethren. Originality of language is immaterial to the success of literary enterprise. The language of the mind is to be found in its own vigorous, overpowering thoughts and emotions. It matters not in what dialect they are poured forth. The forms of diction used by different nations, who write the same language, are no more necessarily alike, than those of different individuals ; nor is the imitation of the classical models of English style more likely to have an unfavorable influence upon an American, than a British writer-upon a Franklin or a Frisbie, than upon a Burke or a Johnson. It is the faculty of true genius to assimilate with itself, and incorporate into its own intellectual nature, the elements produced by other minds. Thus the poetical powers of Dante and Milton were nourished, and sustained, and strengthened, by the ambrosial food of Virgil and Homer. In highly gifted and well regulated minds, the profound study and ardent admiration of such models produce merely the effects of that liberal imitation, which teaches them to think, speak, and write, as other great men would have thought, spoken, and written, when placed in the same circumstances. We shall therefore find ourselves compelled to attri- bute our literary poverty to the want of true intellectual courage and enterprise,– to the want of that noble self reliance and consciousness of intellectual power, which has of late only been seen among us ; rather than to the possession and full enjoyment of the literary riches, which have been showered upon us from the abundant sources of the parent country. pp. 10–12.
In regard to the influence of a uniform language of long standing on our literature, and intellectual progress, we have given our views in another part of the present number of our journal. We agree with the author, that a servile imitation of foreign models will never contribute to bring out American mind; we must think and write in our own way, and follow the promptings of a judgment matured in the school of manners and institutions purely American, and of an imagination kindled by the glowing features of nature peculiar to our own country, before we can arrive at a high degree of excellence, or form a literature and intellectual character, which shall distinguish us as a nation from the other enlightened nations. This can never be done by treading in the beaten track of an old language, nor by striving to imitate models constructed under circumstances in so many respects totally different from our own.
Mr Wheaton next considers the disadvantages under which we labor, by reason of our small libraries, and slender endowments of seminaries of learning. These are evils to which we must submit