|About the Book|
Let no enthusiast of the pastoral or romantic school, no fair reader with eyes deeply, darkly, beautifully blue, sneer at the title of my paper. I have written it after much and mature meditation. It would be absurd to deny that the great andMoreLet no enthusiast of the pastoral or romantic school, no fair reader with eyes deeply, darkly, beautifully blue, sneer at the title of my paper. I have written it after much and mature meditation. It would be absurd to deny that the great and material changes which our progress in civilization and the arts effect, should not impress literature as well as manners- that the tone of our thoughts, as much as the temper of our actions, should not sympathize with the giant strides of inventive genius. We have but to look abroad, and confess the fact. The facilities of travel which our day confers, have given a new and a different impulse to the human mind- the man is no longer deemed a wonder who has journeyed some hundred miles from home, -the miracle will soon be he who has not been everywhere. To persist, therefore, in dwelling on the same features, the same fortunes, and the same characters of mankind, while all around us is undergoing a great and a formidable revolution, appears to me as insane an effort as though we should try to preserve our equilibrium during the shock of an earthquake. The stage lost much of its fascination when, by the diffusion of literature, men could read at home what once they were obliged to go abroad to see. Historical novels, in the same way, failed to produce the same excitement, as the readers became more conversant with the passages of history which suggested them. The battle-and-murder school, the raw-head-and-bloody-bones literature, pales before the commonest coroners inquest in the Times- and even Boz can scarce stand competition with the vie intime of a union workhouse.