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novels, which have been already noticed, must be specified Jane Austen's admirable tales of common life Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, &c.
which their beautiful and too short-lived authoress commenced as a sort of protest against the romantic and extravagant nonsense of Mrs. Radcliffe's novels, and Miss Edgeworth's hardly less admirable stories of Irish life and character. In Oratory, though this period falls far below that which preceded it, we may name the speeches of Canning, Sheil, O'Connell, and Sir Robert Peel. In political writing and pamphleteering, the chief names are William Cobbett, with his strong sense and English heartiness, author of the Englishman's Register-Scott (whose political squib- the Letters of Malachi Malagrowtherhad the effect of arresting the progress of a measure upon which the ministry had resolved)-Southey-and Sydney Smith. In Journalism, the present period witnessed the growth of a great and vital change, whereby the most influential portion of a newspaper is no longer, as it was in the days of Junius, the columns containing the letters of well-informed correspondents, but the leading articles representing the opinions of the newspaper itself. In prose satire, the inexhaustible yet kindly wit of Sydney Smith has furnished us with some incomparable productions; witness his Letters to Archdeacon Singleton, his articles on Christianity in Hindostan, and his letter to the Times on Pennsylvanian repudiation. In History, we have the unfinished Roman history of Arnold, the Greek histories of Mitford, Thirlwall, and Grote, the English history of Lingard, and the work similarly named (though "History of the Revolution and of the Reign of William III." would be an exacter title) by Lord Macaulay. In Biography, out of a countless array of works, may be particularised the lives of Scott, Wilberforce, and Arnold, compiled respectively by Lockhart, the brothers Archdeacon Wilberforce and the Bishop of Oxford, and Dr.
Stanley. As to other works subsidiary to history,-such as accounts of Voyages and Travels,—their name is legion; yet perhaps none of their authors has achieved a literary distinction comparable to that which was conferred on Lamartine by his Voyage en Orient. In Theology, we have the works of Robert Hall and Rowland Hill, representing the dissenting and Low Church sections; those of Arnold, Whately, and Hampden, representing what are sometimes called Broad Church, or Liberal, opinions; those of Froude, Pusey, Davison, Keble, Sewell, &c., representing various sections of the great High Church party; and lastly, those of Milner, Dr. Doyle - the incomparable “J. K. L.”—Wiseman, and Newman, on the side of the Catholics. In Philosophy, we have the metaphysical fragments of Coleridge, the ethical philosophy of Bentham, the logic of Whately and Mill, and the political economy of the last-mentioned writers, and also Ricardo and Harriet Martineau. Among the essay-writers, must be singled out Charles Lamb, author of the Essays of Elia, which appeared in 1823. In other departments of thought and theory, e. g. Criticism, we have the literary criticism of Hazlitt and Thackeray, and the Art-criticism of Mr. Ruskin.
ENGLISH literature is now to be considered under that which is its natural and legitimate arrangement; that arrangement, namely, of which the principle is, not sequence in time, but affinity in subject; and which aims, by comparing together works of the same kind, to arrive with greater ease and certainty than is possible by the chronological method, at a just estimate of their relative merits. To effect this critical aim, it is evident that a classification of the works which compose a literature is an essential prerequisite. This we shall now proceed to do. With the critical process, for which the proposed classification is to serve as the foundation, we shall, in the present work, be able to make but scanty progress. Some por
tions of it we shall attempt, with the view rather of illustrating the conveniences of the method, than of seriously undertaking to fill in the vast outline which will be furnished by the classification.
First of all, what is literature? In the most extended sense of the word, it may be taken for the whole written thought of man; and in the same acceptation a national literature is the whole written thought of a particular nation. But this definition is too wide for our present