The Encyclopaedia Britannica; A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature Volume 7

The Encyclopaedia Britannica; A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature Volume 7

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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1888 edition. Excerpt: ...between the versification of French tragedy and that of French comedy is at times an imperceptible one. The universal genius of Voltaire (1694-1778) found it necessary to shine in all branches of literature, and in tragedy to surpass predecessors whom his own authority declared to have surpassed the efforts of the Attic muse. He succeeded in impressing the world with the belief that his innovations had imparted a fresh vitality to French tragedy; in truth, however, they represent no essential advance in art, but rather augmented the rhetorical tendency which paralyzes true dramatic life. Such life as his plays possess lies in their political and social sentiments, their invective against tyranny, and their exposure of fanaticism.5 In other respects his versatility was barren of enduring results. He might take his themes from French history, ' or from Chinese,7 or Egyptian,8 or Syrian, from the days of the Epigoni10 or from those of the Crusades;11 he might appreciate Shakespeare, with a more or less partial comprehension of his strength, and condescendingly borrow from and improve the barbarian.u But he added nothing to French tragedy where it was weakest--in character; and where it was strongest--in diction--he never equalled Comeille in fire or Racine in teinement. While the criticism to which French tragedy in this age at last began to be subjected has left unimpaired the real titles to immortality M its great masters, the French theatre itself has all but buried in respectful oblivion the dramatic works bearing the name of Voltaire--a name second to none in the history of modern progress and of. modern civilization. As it is of relatively littlo interest to note the ramifications of an art in its decline, the contrasts need not more

Product details

  • Paperback | 1050 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 52mm | 1,833g
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 1236883209
  • 9781236883209