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FOREIGN LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.
JULY, 1 84 4.
JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES. dith, standing by his bed, said in her hoart, O
Lord God of all power, look at this present upon Judith, chapter xiii. from verse 2d to 8th, inclusive. the works of my hands for the exallation of Jeru
salem. For now is the time to help thine inheri“And Judith was left alone in the tent, and tance, and to execute mine enterprises to the deHolofernes lying along upon his bed; for he was struction of the enemies which are risen up filled with wine.
against us. * Now Judith bad commanded her maid to " Then she came to the pillar of the bed which stand without her bed-chamber, and to wait for was at Holofernes's head, and took down his falher coming forth as she did daily : for she said chion from thence, and approached to his bed, and she would go forth to her prayers, and she spake took hold of the hair of his head, and said, to Bagoas according to the same purpose. Strengthen me, O Lord God of Israel, this day.
“So all went forth, and none was left in the And she smote twice upon his neck with all her bed-chamber, neither little nor great. Then Ju- i might, and she took away his head from him.”
SIR CHARLES BELL'S ESSAYS ON EX- higher branches of the subject, that they PRESSION,
must be considered as a new work. They From the British and Foreign Review,
formed, indeed, the earliest and latest object
of their lamented author's tasteful solicitude. The Anatomy and Philosophy of Expres. They were originally composed, chiefly persion, as connected with the Fine Arts. haps with reference to the very striking deBy the late Sir Charles Bell. Third signs of his own ingenious pencil, before the edition, enlarged. London : Murray, serious pursuits of life began, and before his 1844.
subsequent experience and reflection had These Essays have long been prized by given him the key to those phenomena those who are so fortunate as to possess which in art he illustrated, and explained in even the former editions of them, as one of science. The first edition of the work apthe most valuable contributions of English peared nearly forty years ago, in 1806, when literature to the arts, and one of the most Sir Charles Bell left Edinburgh to fix his pleasing volumes of an English library. We professional residence in London. During gladly therefore announce their re-appear- the most active years of a life which was ance in an entirely new form, re-written, unceasingly devoted to the arduous duties rather than revised, and with such copious of the medical profession, and to the proadditions, especially with reference to the motion of the highest branches of medical JULY, 1844.
science, the revisal and illustration of this knowledge and to perfect the truth of art; volume was his habitual recreation. In whilst either gift was used alike to simplify 1824 a second edition was produced, with our understanding of the works of the Creconsiderable additions ; but from that time ator, and to raise our conceptions of natural Sir Charles Bell resisted the demand of the beauty. public for a farther issue of this book, until It has sometimes been asserted that the he should have had an opportunity of veri- pursuits and practices of the medical profying his principles of criticism in art, by fession tend to deaden sensibility, and to the study of the greatest works of the Italian bring the loftiest and noblest powers of the masters. With this especial object, he vis- | human mind into too close a subjection to ited the continent in 1840; a brief but ex- the conclusions of material science. The tensive excursion enabled him to refresh philosophy of Broussais and the heartlessand to corroborate those impressions and ness of Roux or Dupuytren, may have girconvictions which had been the delight and en a color to such imputations; but a host the study of his life; and upon his return of names crowd upon the memory from the he recomposed the whole work for a third records of all nations, and from none more edition. Materials were collected in abun-than our own, to repel the charge. The dance, and for the most part they had been proper function of medical science in its already adapted to the purposes and subjects highest sense, is not to degrade the spirituof these Essays. The text had already been al inmate of the human frame to the level prepared for the press; and the care of the of the machinery so admirably adapted to editor appears to have surmounted most of his service, but rather to pursue through the the disadvantages inseparable from post- intricacies of contrivance the purposes of humous publication. Some of the more fu- life, to acknowledge the energy of being in gitive notes from the author's journals have those functions to which it imparts activity, been subjoined, which record with the rap- and to trace in the mysterious sympathies id grace of an artist's pencil the vivid plea- and expressions of the body the higher laws sures of an Italian journey to a man endow- of that vital power which the body obeys. ed with so simple a love of nature, and so To such objects as these no man ever ascultivated a comprehension of art. These pired more constantly, and we will add, remarks bear with singular originality and more devoutly, than Sir Charles Bell. His acuteness on the style and the works of the sensibility was of the most delicate kind; great masters : and if they sometimes wear and his mind seemed to turn with predilecthe shape of a sudden conception, rather tion from the distressing studies of patholothan of mature thought, they are not the gy to the observation of the phenomena of less characteristic of that ingenuity and en- health. It is related of him, that in the thusiasm which Sir Charles Bell carried as course of his great discoveries in the nervfar in the practice of the fine arts as in the ous system, which it was absolutely necesmore profound researches of science. It sary to carry on upon a living animal, he deserves, indeed, to be recorded that his was arrested on the very verge of demonearly studies on the subject of expression stration by a degree of compassion for an in painting, and his observation of the ass, which he could not surmount; and he effects of passion and emotion on the face declared that he had rather abandon the disand frame of man, first engaged this emi-covery on which his fame was to rest, than nent surgeon in those investigations of the put that animal to torture. An abler hand, nature of the nerves and of their influence however, in a contemporary journal, has on the muscles, which led to his important traced the course of his professional life and liscoveries in the nervous system ; still, as his scientific discoveries, and we are most he advanced in the demonstration of those happy to perceive that the services rendertruths which he detected in the animal ed by Sir Charles Bell to the course of scieconomy, he derived from his more extend-ence have since been acknowledged by a ed knowledge of the physiology of man, a pension to his widow, out of that most inadmore complete theory of art and a more solid equate fund which the parsimony of Parliafoundation for those principles of criticism, ment has placed at the disposal of the Crown, which no one had before applied with equal for the reward, or rather the bare recogniprecision to the productions of the great tion, of the most important benefits which artists. Thus he tended, by a noble sym- can be rendered to the nation and to hupathy between his habitual and favorite manity. The appearance of the volume bepursuits, at once to increase the sphere of fore us suggests a different view of the pur
suits of its distinguished author, and to that pulsive associations of medical literature, we shall exclusively confine ourselves. and with all the charm they derive from a
Sir Charles Bell presents, we believe, a graceful pencil and an original pen. solitary instance of an extraordinary profi- The following extract contains the funciency in medical science, amounting even damental principle on which these specuto the genius of discovery, combined with a lations rest :cultivated and profound acquaintance with
66 We have learned enough to know that the the principles and practice of art. If, on impressions communicated by the external the one hand, his name has been placed by organs of sense belong really to the mind; a high authority in medical criticism by the and there can be no doubt that there is a muside of that of Harvey, and if his investiga- tual influence exercised by the mind and frame tions of the nervous system are the greatest
on each other. This is not asserted on the additions to animal physiology which have mere grounds that each affection which is been made since the discovery of the circu- deeply telt, is accompanied by a disturbance in
our breast ; nor on the language of mankind, lation of the blood; on the other hand, we which gives universal assent to this proposiventure to affirm that, as a manual to the tion; but it may be proved by circumstances young artist, or as a canon of sound criti- of expression, in which we cannot be deceived. cism to the general reader, these Essays de- I shall make it manifest that what the eye, the serve to find a place by the side of the Dis- ear, or the finger, is to the mind, as exciting
those ideas which have been appointed to corcourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds. It does not, indeed, necessarily follow that a know- respond with the qualities of the material world,
the organs of the breast are to the developledge of anatomy must extend the sphere, ment of our affections; and that without them or improve the productions of the arts. The we might see, hear and smell, but we should Greeks, whose studies of the human frame walk the earth coldly indifferent to all emo. were confined to the observations of the tions which may be said in an especial manner external muscles, exceeded in their statues to animate us, and give interest and grace to all the performances of more scientific art
human thoughts and actions. ists. But there is a point at which the ob
“ The heart has an appropriate sensibility, servation of nature, the truths of science, by which it is held united in the closest connecand the perfection of art, seem to meet. tion and sympathy with the other vital organs; Under various forms and accidents the so that it participates in all the changes of the same thought is expressed—the same emo- general system of the body. tion conveyed ; the mind acts visibly; the
“But connected with the heart, and dependsympathy of the spectator is excited; in a there is an extensive apparatus which demands
ing on its peculiar and excessive sensibility, word, the idea assumes its form. That it our attention. This is the organ of breathing: is so, no one has ever doubted, and all crit- a part known obviously as the instrument of icism and precept has recommended the speech; but which I shall show to be more. study of expression to the artist, as the be- The organ of breathing, in its association with ginning and the end of that language which the heart, is the instrument of expression, and he lends to life. But expression in the fine is the part of the frame, by the action of which arts, as it is commonly understood, is the the emotions are developed and made visible
Certain strong feelings of the mind mere imitation of the natural phenomena produce a disturbed condition of the heart ; which accompany emotion : Sir Charles and through that corporeal influence, directly Bell for the first time analyzed and explain from the heart, indirectly from the mind, the ed the causes of these phenomena; he has extensive apparatus constituting the organ of shown what the physical effects of the emo- breathing is pui in motion, and gives us the tions of the mind really are, and how they outward signs which we call expression. The act upon the organs of life; he has brought for not placing a window before the heart, in
man was wrong who found fault with nature us within another circle of these concen- order to render visible human thoughts and tric laws which include the creation—a intentions. There is, in truth, provision made circle nearer to the centre of life and truth. in the countenance and outward bearing for In a word, in exploring the most hidden cells such discoveries.* of our physical structure, he has brought to
* This observation appears to have been borlight truths to which the proper name of rowed by Sir C. Bell from a small treatise by the philosophy pre-eminently belongs. In other French physician La Chambre, entitled 'l'Art de forms, the records of these discoveries will connaitre l'homme.? The passage may be found invite the scrutiny of the man of science ; quoted by Lavater, in the first volume of his · Esbut in this volume, they may be studied in cipal authorities on the science are collected in
says on Physiognomy,' p. 56. Most of the printheir application, without a trace of the re- the same place, The passage from Haller?
“ One, ignorant of the grounds on which “So in grief, if we attend to the same class these opinions are founded, has said, ' Every of phenomena, we shall be able to draw an strong emotion is directed towards the heart: exact picture. Let us imagine to ourselves the heart experiences various kinds of sensa- the overwhelming influence of grief on woman. tion, pleasant or unpleasant, over which it has The object in her mind has absorbed all the no control; and from thence the agitated spir-powers of the frame, the body is no more reits are diffused over the body. The fact is garded, the spirits have left it, it reclines, and certainly so, although the language be figur- the limbs gravitate ; they are nerveless and ative. How are these spirits diffused, and relaxed, and she scarcely breathes; but why what are their effects ?
comes at intervals the long-drawn sigh ?“We find that the influence of the heart why are the neck and throat convulsed ?upon the extended organ of respiration has what causes the swelling and quivering of the sway at so early a period of our existence, lips, and the deadly paleness of the face ?-or that we must acknowledge that the operation why is the hand so pale and earthy cold ?or play of the instrument of expression pre- and why, at intervals, as the agony returns, cedes the mental emotions with which they does the convulsion spread over ihe frame are to be joined, accompanies them in their like a paroxysm of suffocation ? first dawn, strengthens them, and directs them. " It must, I think, be acknowledged, when So that it is not, perhaps, too much to conclude we come to arrange these phenomena, these that, from these organs moving in sympathy outward signs of the passions, that they canwith the mind, the same uniformity is produced not proceed from the direct influence of the among men, in their internal feelings, emo- mind alone. However strange it may sound tions, or passions, as there exists in their ideas to unaccustomed ears, it is to the heart and of external nature from the uniform operations lungs, and all the extended instrument of of the organs of sense.
breathing, that we are to trace these effects. “Let us place examples before us, and then “ Over such motions of the body the mind try whether the received doctrines of the pas- has an unequal control. By a strong effort sions will furnish us with an explanation of the the outward tokens may be restrained, at least phenomena, or whether we must go deeper, in regard to the general bearing of the body; and seek the assistance of anatomy.
but who, while suffering, can retain the natu“ In the expression of the passions, there is ral fulness of his features, or the healthful color a compound influence in operation. Let us of his cheek, the unembarrassed respiration contemplate the appearance of terror. We and clearness of the natural voice? T'he vilcan readily conceive why a man stands with lain may command his voice, and mask his eyes intenily fixed on the object of his fears, purpose with light and libertine words, or the eyebrows elevated to the utmost, and the carry an habitual sneer of contempt of all eye largely uncovered; or why, with hesi-, softer passions; but his unnatural paleness, tating and bewildered steps, his eyes are and the sinking of his seatures, will betray rapidly and wildly in search of something. In that he suffers. Clarence says to his murderthis, we only perceive the intent application of ers, his mind to the object of his apprehensionsits direct influence on the outward organ. But
" How deadly dost thou speak! observe him further: there is a spasm on his
Your eyes do menace me : Why look you pale?' breast, he cannot breathe freely, the chest is elevated, the muscles of his neck and shoul
“But the just feelings of mankind demand ders are in action, his breathing is short and respect; men will not have the violence of rapid, there is a gasping and a convulsive mo
grief obtruded on them. To preserve the dig. tion of his lips, a tremor on his hollow cheek, wity of his character, the actor must permit a gulping and catching of his throat; and why those uncontrollable signs of suffering alone to does his heart knock at his ribs, while yet escape, which betray how much he feels, and
how much he restrains. there is no force of circulation ?-for his lips and cheeks are ashy pale.
“Even while asleep, these interior organs
of feeling will prevail, and disclose the source • Elementa Physiologiæ,' tom. v. p. 590, is well of expression. ^ Has my reader seen Mrs. Sidworthy of notice, for it contains a careful investi- dons in Queen Katherine during that solemn gation of the effects of passion on the counten- scene where the sad note was played which ance. Lavater himself applies the term physiog- she named her knell? Who taught the crowd nomy to the science of the features in a state of sitting at a play, an audience differing in age, repose ; and he calls the science of expression habits and education, to believe those quirerpathog nomy, as it concerns the features under the ing motions, and that gentle smile, and those ed of the movements or form of the features as if slight convulsive twitchings to be true to nathey were directly affected by the disposition or
ture? To see every one hushed to the softest emotions of the mind. Sir Charles Bell was the breathing of sympaihy with the silent expresfirst physiologist who showed that the affections sion of the actress, exhibits all mankind held of the mind first acted upon the heart, and that, together by one universal feeling: and that by means of the respiratory nerves, they then feeling, excited by expression, so deeply laid produced a certain re-action, which we call ex- in our nature, as to have influence, without pression, in the countenance
being obvious to reason."