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thor with pleasure and his imperfections with dislike." This is an apt illustration of the real Addisonian spirit, through the expression of which the Augustan public of his time was rebuked without being offended, and was led to believe that, with all their faults, the better element prevailed in life and letters. Addison's chief critical work, however, was his acute and comprehensive review of "Paradise Lost," by which he not only justified his own claims as a critic, and exalted the great Puritan poet in the eyes of his contemporaries, but also extended and applied the principles laid down by Dryden and his co-workers. The introduction to the critique is itself a valuable piece of literary criticism, in which, among other subjects, he discusses the wide topic of epic verse, the merits and defects of Milton's great poem, and criticism itself as a literary process and province. In writing of criticism, it is of interest to note that he insists on certain qualifications as essential— that the critic should be versed in classical poetry; that he should have a clear and logical head, and that he should dwell upon merits rather than on defects. No criticism of any separate English work or author, at all comparable to it, had hitherto appeared, and none in which the historical and lit

erary progress of English criticism as a science and art is better shown. It is greatly to the credit of this Augustan essayist that he should have deemed it both safe and essential to devote eighteen papers of a popular weekly periodical to the discussion of so exalted and difficult a theme, while it is no less to the credit of the general literary public of the time that the criticism was welcomed in English drawing-rooms and clubs. In no particular was Addison's work more suggestive and promising than in the combination it evinced of the best traditions of the past with the newly awakened movements and forces that were now visible in England, being liberal and conservative in such wise as to make him a safe guide to all classes in matters of taste. It is also greatly to the credit of Doctor Johnson that, in spite of all the adverse comments of which Addison was the subject, he insisted that Addison as a critic filled. a place and did a work which no one of his contemporaries could so successfully have done.

Another name of special excellence in this era is that of Alexander Pope, the most representative classical poet of the age. Poet that he was, he was a critic as well, the

union of criticism and

satire being one of his distinctive features, and


giving him thus a unique place in the literary history of the time. It is in his justly celebrated Essay on Criticism," published in 1711, when he was just past his majority, that he appears in the special rôle of an English critic, connecting a history of the science with a statement of what he conceives to be its leading laws and purposes. He discusses the topic under three divisions the Basis of Criticism, the Causes Opposing It, and the Canons Producing It. In the first he contends. that as much ability is needed for criticism as for creative production; that taste is as rare as genius; and that nature is the best guide to the judgment, though it should be fortified by training. In the second he emphasizes pride of opinion, partiality, imperfect education, and a superficial method as the special hindrances to a sound judicial process in literature. In the closing section he adduces, among the aids to a true criticism, candor, modesty, and good breeding; descants on the character of a good critic, and refers his readers to Aristotle, Horace, Longinus, and Boileau as among the great critics of classical letters. Appearing at about the same time as Addison's great critique, it did for general criticism what that critique did for the science as applied to a concrete product; so

that, as contemporary contributions to the developing art, their value cannot be exaggerated. It is pertinent to note, just here, that, though Dryden was Pope's ideal and accepted guide, this is not to say that English criticism had not advanced since the days of Dryden, nor is it to affirm that in this special province the work of Pope was not one of the indications of this advance.

THE AGE OF JOHNSON (1700-1800)

We reach, at this point, the third representative historical stage in the history of English criticism, and its third great exponent, Doctor Johnson. He sustained the same relation to the eighteenth century that Dryden did to the seventeenth, and Sidney and Bacon to the sixteenth, though differing decidedly from any one of them in his closer relation to the opening of the Modern Era Proper and in the almost autocratic position that he held among the authors of his time. Born at the opening of the century (1709) and living well on toward its close (1785) he may be said to have dominated its literary life, as Sidney and Bacon in no sense did that of their time, or Dryden that of his century. This in itself was enough to have made him a critic of men and books, even if by

natural bent and training and definite purpose and a happy conjunction of events he had not been. made such. He was the self-appointed and accepted literary dictator of his time, to whom the rising authors of the day naturally looked for needed counsel, and whom it was somewhat unsafe for the most experienced writers to ignore. Criticism, moreover, was as congenial to him, as it was by necessity made a part of his literary work. So independent an author as Reynolds, in speaking of his own "Discourses," writes that "whatever merit they may have must be imputed in a great measure to the education I may be said to have had under Doctor Johnson"; and, he adds, “no man had like him the faculty of teaching minds the art of thinking." Goldsmith and others were completely under his sway. Thus it is that whatever he wrote was in a sense critical, an independent judgment on the topic in hand. His most discursive essays as given us in the Rambler and Idler and Adventurer are full of distinct critical suggestion, so that their pages might easily afford a good manual on the critical art.

The satirical reflection of Macaulay, that Johnson's criticisms were valuable on topics that were treated in the line of his own preferences, is

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