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feeling. So in his enthusiasm at having her letters put at once into her private proved that the girl is really strict, - box, excite suspicion. Her aims are of for she repulsed his warmer advances, importance enough to justify the utmost - and has the courage to demand the bravery in their pursuit. When they conventional contract that vindicates con shall prove impracticable, she is ready fessions of passion, he prays her to al- to grasp other plans with new and full low him to present her to his mother. energy, without spending overmuch time She can tell his mother of her past. in regret and mortification.
Miss Webster reflects. She answers Miss Webster, in short, is one of the him in monosyllables. The mention of personages that have been evolved in her past brings up pictures of drinking German literature at the same time that saloons in the West, where her father native American literature has been was the landlord or bar-tender. As her forming its Daisy Millers and Alices; horse starts and rears before a drunken she is an embodiment of the practical, tramp in the road, she shudders. The active type of the American girl, as these face of the man is disfigured by vice, are of the passive, sentimental, retiring but she has recognized it as that of her type. Her appearance is quite common; father, who is wont to follow her thus indeed, there is scarcely an American from one place to another, that he may heroine in German fiction who has not expose her or obtain fresh supplies of more or less of Miss Webster's forwardmoney. She considers it quite probable
Even the refined Otillie in Linthat he may at any moment knock at dau's Mayo, it may be remembered, the door of the widow's house ; yet while makes advances to her admirer. She is the young assessor, that evening, is put frank, courageous, and sterling, the Gerout of sorts by a trifle and cannot follow American girl ; but she lacks the moves of his chessmen, she masters the soft immaturity of youth. Her charher imminent dread, and concentrates acter is mature ; her will is determined; her mind
with final suc her life is concentrated upon a single aim. cess.
She does not wish to be merely like some The plot of the novel is complicated, heroines of the American variety; she but the character of Miss Webster is is a female duplicate of the self-made clear enough. While she does not hold it to be incumbent on her to speak of the humbleness of her origin and connections, A greater variety of character is found she will not disavow them should they among the delineations of American become known. Her nature is self-re men, although even here the types may liant and independent; she is quite free be reduced to two. Gutzkow, Freytag, from servile social hypocrisy. She al and their followers make their Amerilows herself a certain license in large cans or Americanized Germans single interests, such as the attainment of men, unincumbered by a wife or family. worldly position ; but she balances her This, too, is the case in Spielhagen's excess in this direction by drawing a early romances ; for Leo goes to Amerline for her own conduct well inside the ica, and returns thence alone. In Paul conventional allowance of flattery. The Lindau's Mayo, the hero is compelled servility and eavesdropping inquisitive- to quit the military service because of a ness of the widow and her daughters gambling debt, and betroths himself afterdisgust her. Nor does she condescend ward in America. But the action of the to fabricate explanations for them, even novel plays itself out with this betrothal. when she notices that some of her di- Mayo threatened, therefore, but did not rections, such as her order to have all break the standing order of the day.
This has been done thoroughly for the in their way, depict us generally as first time by Spielhagen in his tale A radicals.
radicals. Republicanism, emancipation, New Pharaoh, where a group of Amer- reformation, renovation, innovation, icans compose the centre of the novel's these are the marks they have found in action. We shall see later what their the Yankee, the features that compose quality is.
In the mean time it must his type. be noted that Spielhagen follows the Something of this character inheres new current by representing Americans even in Freytag's heroes; for although in Germany ; whereas Paul Lindau fell Von Fink has probed the quicksilvery back into the practice of the old school bottom of American business corruption, of Sealsfield, Gerstaecker, and Ruppius, he has also gained an insight into New when he transported his hero to the World enterprise and been infected by United States.
American boldness. His engineering The first chapter of Mayo opens with scheme on his Polish estate is a result of a street and bachelor-lodgings scene in his American experiences. Mosenthal's Berlin; the story continues, however, hero is open in his acknowledgment of with narrations of life in the wild West, the source whence came the radical blood and closes finally in a Kansas parlor. that he attempts to infuse into the slugMiss Webster makes her début, as we gish social and agricultural veins of the have seen, in a provincial town; Acker- fatherland. Gutzkow's Ackermann is a mann, Saalfeld, and Von Fink reside in foil among foils ; but his quality is meant provincial cities. Spielhagen places his to be typically American, and as such we Curtis family in none of these habitual have in him a practical, vigorous fellow, literary backgrounds. He finds strong whose reforming theories permeate his enough contrasts outside of the pictur- very being, “ have hands and feet,” esque old haunts of the fatherland for
as the phrase goes,
while the theories his Americans, and boldly sets them in of his Catholic friends nestle in the the middle of the new imperial capital of brain, and those of his socialist friends Berlin, and in the midst of its fashion- in the heart. Leo, in Durch Nacht zum able, ambitious society. With his sur Licht, adds to his own original political roundings Mr. Curtis offers a quite new revolutionism by contact with Amerifigure per se, new, that is, in German
He is not altered, perhaps, literature. The Beautiful American but he is intensified; and this essence Girls, by the same author, contains the of stimulation is the one and invariable germ of the character; so also is it im- trait which German authors of eminence plied by Auerbach in A Villa on the assign as of one accord to the specifiRhine, and by Freytag in Debit and cally American in their American or Credit; but the full-fledged business Americanized personages. swindler appears, massive and successful, Nor has Spielhagen, one of the most for the first time here, and on German eminent, left the beaten track in his soil.
latest book. Mr. Smith (Baron von The romances of Gerstaecker and Alden), a German political refugee, has Ruppius swarm with American swin- found his leaning toward republicanism dlers ; swindle, sham, and vulgarity were confirmed by his exile in the United the contents, too, of Die Europa müden. States ; and at the close of the novel But the cultivated writers of the new he returns by choice to New York. He school, the authors who include Ameri- is a copy, therefore, of the favorite old cans among the phenomena of social life, type, a political reformer and enthuand treat them as observers and students siast. treat a chance specimen that has fallen The familiar path is trodden by a
familiar figure, but he has a new asso because no king of the beasts of their ciate. And this second hero, who is a ambition or imagination has crossed born American, turns aside from the
their paths. narrow path of idealism into the broad The heroism of the German American way of financial business. We have, in girl is the familiar ewig weibliche lita word, the types that have formed erary heroism of surrender. The Amerthemselves in both literatures, the Ger- ican example, that substitutes a self-reman and American: the type that was tention for the European self-sacrifice, evolved out of the practical experiences is not followed out, although it might and inner consciousness of Germans, be thought to have an attraction for a and that which has been transposed nation so scientific; female self-retenfrom the pages of Bret Harte and Mark tion being after all a logical form of the Twain, as well as from those of James universal human instinct of self-preserand even of Howells. For Mr. Curtis vation. It is exaggerated into an exis a swindling and successful Colonel treme, moreover, in respect of all other Sellers; his son, the thin-blooded young objects than lovers. man of Henry James's books; Anne One last trait that must be mentioned Curtis, the frank, strong-minded Ameri- because of its invariable use is the Amercan girl; and Mrs. Curtis, the invalid ican sense of superiority. It may be mother, is of a type familiar to us in introduced, as by Gustav Freytag, to be the writings of Howells.
put to shame; but — it is there. The Frankness as a trait of American girls Yankee or the Americanized German is made to figure conspicuously in for feels himself better, smarter, and freer eign literatures, and is often shown in than Bismarck's Prussians or the Reich's German fiction to have its source in a Unterthanen. The coarser the persongeneral physical and moral courage ; but age and the more narrow-minded, espethe American girl's purity as respects cially the more material is his view of love is not conceded. American liter- life, the more indiscriminate are his critature has stormed the fortress of Old icisms of German peculiarities. The World literary prepossessions and held sickly, scholarly Ralph, in A New Phaup its Daisy Millers in vain ; the storm- raoh, shows his appreciation of German ing effects only a partial breach. The learning by making his last pilgrimage new image is recorded but as a momen to its seat, and deprecates only certain tary phantom, which is likely to “ma- political and social conditions, while his terialize” into flesh of the traditional coarse father has a cut-and-dried theory quality so soon as it is imbued with pas that Germans are born stupid, and so sion and assailed by temptation.
deserve to be gulled and swindled. In the hands of German authors the On the whole, the traits that are proAmerican girl is not represented as minent in our portraiture of ourselves clinging to the maiden period with zest are faithfully raised into relief by Gerand keen appreciation of its superior man fiction. The modeling touches put freedom; while on the other hand Daisy upon them bring forth different individMiller's coquetry goes so far only be- uals, but their species is the same. The cause it answers to no check of inner hero is middle-aged and material, the consciousness. It is the untethered elderly matron invalid, and the heroine lamb that frisks in every field with silly young and independent. There are no willfulness, quite ignorant of the pre “ heroines of thirty,” nor are there any valence and the nature of lions. Miss naïve Margarets. These prevailing types Webster, on the contrary, and all her are set aside once for all whenever AmerGerman sort remain undevoured only icans are represented.
It is true that the self-made or the maiden, she is at least a copy of an self-making girl of German literature American girl. The German represenis scarcely a substitute for the native tation of the American character posAmerican girl. She is apt to appear sesses indeed the merit of originality ; rather like an exaggeration ; yet a cer yet this self-made girl and the reforming tain resemblance cannot be denied. She energetic young hero, do they not both is similar to our own Alices in that, if illustrate the effect of American examnot a type of the average American ples ?
Lida von Krockow.
RECENT DANTE LITERATURE.
MODERN comment upon Dante ap- firm that Mr. Longfellow's translation pears to share the positive and searching in blank verse is and will remain the spirit of the century, which bases itself definitive English text. In it the oriupon “ the document" and is skeptical of ginal metre is retained, the system of all but proven facts. This temper of our rhyme only remitted ; the flexibility and time, provided it shall not mistake the freedom of poetic construction are its means for the end, is the best augury for prerogative; its fidelity to the diction the art of the imminent future as well as of Dante is unsurpassable even by literal a virtue of present criticism. It restores prose. No poet has, more than Longto humanity the personages of history, fellow, possessed the power of sweetly removing from them the cloak of legend compelling words to his will, and of with which Oblivion subtly covers great meeting halfway the spirit of alien men dead. The coming generation of speech. This gift availed him supremewriters, thanks to those who now takely in his work of translating the Commepains to divest truth of all that is ficti- dia, where upon the limpid element of tious, will find themselves free to inter- his art the divine epic "floats double, pret with imaginative art that which is swan and shadow." at present discussed, judged, and an Therefore it does not appear to us nounced.
that there was lacking a version of the Two volumes concerning Dante Commedia in which substance should Professor Charles Eliot Norton's prose not “ be sacrificed for form's sake,” but translation of the Inferno, and the late instead that the value of Professor NorMr. Charles Sterrett Latham's version ton's translation consists in its individof Dante's Letters, with relative com ual excellence, and in the quick appeal ment — are published simultaneously, which prose, devoid of the slight barriers and are representative, each in its own that verse sets before the eye rather than way, of the modern criticism. Certain the mind, is able to make to the readly there is place and office for a prose er's intelligence. Narrative is, perhaps, version of the Commedia; while at the more directly persuasive when it resame time it is not too much to af nounces the conditions and the privileges
1 The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. With Explanatory Notes and Historical ComTranslated by CHARLES Eliot Norton. I. ments. By CHARLES STERRETT LATHAM. EdHell. Boston and New York: Houghton, ited by GEORGE RICE CARPENTER, and with a Mifflin & Co. 1891.
Preface by CHARLES Eliot Norton. Boston 2 A Translation of Dante's Eleven Letters. and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1891.
of poetic form. An interesting testimo- scheme of the Commedia, the great epic ny, however, to the intrinsic relation of of the human will that seeks, in conblank verse with the English language forming itself to the Divine Will, that is noted in the frequency with which liberty which is law. Otherwise his Professor Norton's prose falls into im comment is confined to infrequent exepeccable iambic pentameters. Rhythmic getical footnotes. is to hoped that or semi-rhythmic, his translation always with this translation as a basis, he will, maintains a tonality which is at once
when the Commedia is completed, supelevated and natural; the austere sweet- plement his work with such a body of ness of the phrases is a pleasure to the comment as his long study of Dante intellect and to the ear.
would make of extreme value to younger the most exacting test of a prose ver
students. sion occurs in certain famous passages, Mr. Latham's work enjoys the advanas the episodes of Francesca da Rimini tage of being the first English transand of Count Ugolino, the apology of lation and comment of the Epistles of Fortune, the description of the Wood Dante ; therefore its contents may be of Harpies and of the Image. In these, noted somewhat in detail. Nor can the Professor Norton has admirably suc honorable and pathetic circumstances atceeded in the lyric expression of pity, tendant upon its production be passed tender or poignant, and in music softly over in silence. In 1883, Mr. Latham, revolving about its theme, or in agi- a student at Harvard College, full of tated swift movement, or in portentous ardor in literary and in athletic purchords like those of the opening of a suits, was stricken by paralysis. Despite Beethoven symphony.
the chains with which disease bound him In the comparison of the English bodily, his spirit was unconquered, and with the Italian text, a very few points only longed to prove its valor in equal of verbal question appear : as in the in- competition with men who were in posadvertence which reads, “ As false sight session of every power. Arrangements doth the beast when it is growing dusk”. were made by which Mr. Latham was (Inf. ii. 48), instead of, when it (the enabled to continue his college course. beast) shies, - the verb ombrare or ad Notes
the lectures and direcombrare, to take fright, to shy. In tions for reading were regularly sent to Francesca's speech, the verse prese him ; the prescribed examinations were del costui piacer sì forte” is rendered, held at his bedside ; and in 1888 he “Seized me for the pleasing of him so obtained his degree as of the class of strongly," with non-recognition of the 1884. During the previous year he antique use of the word piacere: avve had studied the works and career of nenza, vaghezza, charm, comeliness. As Dante, and desired to compete for the an example of Professor Norton's felicity Dante Prize, choosing among the subin obtaining an exquisite result by means jects proposed that of the translation of spontaneous and simple art may be and comment of the Letters. Extracts cited the inscription over the infernal from his correspondence with Professor gateway: “ Through me is the way into Norton show Mr. Latham’s nobility of the woeful city ; through me is the way character, and the energy, modesty, and into eternal woe ; through me is the way
talent which were his. He perceived among the lost people.” In it is heard that his physical deprivation had initithe hollow note of bells that toll for dead ated him into the verities of life, its souls.
meaning and its uses.
6 When I comIn the prefatory chapter Mr. Nor- pare myself with other men of my own ton expounds briefly and luminously the age," he said, "I am confident that I