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THE

CASTLE OF OTRANTO

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resolution. The supernatural thwarting of his purpose has maddened him. He will divorce his wife and marry Isabella himself. He sends for Isabella and broaches his design to her. She is horrified. He lays hands on her. Then the plumes on the helmet outside in the court-yard are violently agitated, and rustle against the window, accompanied by a low, hollow sound. “See,” Isabella cries, “Heaven itself declares against your wicked purpose !” “Heaven nor Hell shall prevent me!” he says.

At this instant one of the pictures on the wall, the portrait of his grandfather, heaves a deep sigh, and presently walks out of its frame on to the floor.

These examples will give you some idea of how Walpole effected bis proposed reconciliation of reality and romance. The only real importance of his work is that it marks a new point of departure from the novel as conceived by Richardson and Fielding.

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INFLUENCE OF PERCY'S RELIQUES” AND OSSIAN-MISS BURNEY

AND THE LADY NOVELISTS

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At the close of last lecture I mentioned that Walpole's “Castle of Otranto ” founded a new school of novels, the novels of supernatural incident. It was also the first to direct the attention of novelists to the great wealth of materials for their craft that might be found in feudal times, lawless, turbulent characters, unbridled passions, and picturesque costume and architecture. The very year after the “ Castle of Otranto published there appeared what I take to be our first Historical Romance, “ Longsword, Earl of Salisbury.” I only know the work from the description of it in the Monthly Review of the time,-I have never been able to get sight of the book itself. It is never mentioned in our literary histories, as far as I know. According to the Monthly Review, it made an attempt to follow historical truth ; "the truth of history was artfully interwoven with entertaining fictions and interesting episodes. This could not be said of the “ Castle of Otranto," which, although the scene was laid in feudal times, had no basis in actual historical fact. “Longsword,” then, seems to have been the first anticipation in species, if not in quality, of Scott's historical romances.

But, indeed, it would give a wrong impression of the way in which the public mind is gradually prepared for the reception of a writer of genius, and the atmosphere created in which he finds vital sustenance, to ascribe the

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INFLUENCE OF PERCY'S "

RELIQUES

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initiative in any new kind of writing absolutely to one man or one work. I remarked in my last lecture on the injustice of denying to Richardson the praise of inventing the modern English novel of manners. I pointed out at the same time how he had predecessors in one essential feature of this new literary form. But it is possible that, owing to the emphasis I was obliged to lay on his originality, I induced you to think of him as standing out more prominently from his compeers and predecessors, more sharply marked off from his age, than he really was. The individual is great in literature, but he does not create out of nothing; the soil is prepared for him, and the materials gradually accumulated which he seizes upon and turns to new shapes. Individuals take new departures, take the lead in new expeditions into the untried and unexplored ; but the ways and means for the expeditions are first accumulated by the co-operation of many. Thus the “Castle of Otranto” and “Longsword” were new departures; but about the time when they were made there was a general harking back to the customs and the literature of the Middle Ages. A year after the publication of Walpole's romance, 1765, Bishop Percy published his famous "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry”; and, a few years before, Macpherson had produced first his “Fragments” of ancient Gaelic poetry, and then bis pretended translation of the Ossianic epics, “Fingal” and “Temora.” The study of mediæval antiquity was in fact becoming a very general pursuit among the learned when Walpole took the lead in introducing the sentiment of it into prose fiction.

It was some years before Walpole had an eminent successor in his own peculiar walk of romance, flavored with supernatural or quasi-supernatural incident. The next conspicuous romance of this species was Mrs. Radcliffe's “Mysteries of Udolpho," published nearly thirty years later, Meantime, in 1778, a conspicuous

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mark was made by a novel in the Richardson school of domestic fiction, a novel that arrested and sustained universal attention in the literary world amidst the crowd of writings that poured from the press. This was Miss Burney's “ Evelina,” and it was the first of a long series of triumphs for the sex in this branch of literature. In the fifty-five years between Sterne's “ Tristram Shandy” and Scott's “ Waverley " the chief honors in novel-writing were carried off by womenMiss Burney, Mrs. Radcliffe, Miss Edgeworth, and Miss Austen. The names that became classic during this interval were all names of women.

Miss Burney was the first woman to achieve first-rate distinction in the modern novel, thirty-eight years after Richardson had led the way into the new form. But you are not to suppose that during that long period women had abstained from trying a kind of writing for which women have such special qualifications in their keen

eye for manners, their quick sense of the ridiculous, and sharp insight into character. Very soon after the invention of the novel circulating libraries were also invented ; novel-reading became a passion, and novelwriting one of the few money-making branches of literature. As early as 1752 the Monthly Review, a monthly organ of literary criticism started in 1748, complained of the labor of reading the multitude of novels submitted to its judgment. They spring up like mushrooms every year, every work of merit producing a swarm of imitators. In 1755 a witty writer in the Connoisseur proposed to establish a literary factory, and, of course, the manufacture of novels was to be a prominent part of the business, an eminent cutter-out being retained for the plot and leading adventures, with numerous assistants competent to fill in details. Το supply the eager needs of the circulating library many translations were also made from the French, the novels of Marivaux and Mme, Riccoboni being special favor

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MRS. LENNOX'S "

FEMALE QUIXOTE"

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ites. Such being the demand for novels, as soon as this delightful form of literature was invented, women were well to the front both as translators and as original authors. There was Mrs. Charlotte Lennox, for example, a lady with a literary career of nearly half a century, which began very prosperously but ended rather unhappily, the old lady, who for so long had supported herself by miscellaneous work with her pen, being under the necessity of writing after her powers had fallen off. She was one of the great Johnson's favorites, and the success of her first novel, “ Harriet Stuart,” in 1751, was celebrated by a supper at the Devil Tavern, where the mighty “Rambler” crowned her with laurel. Her next work, the “Female Quixote,” in 1752, was a still greater success. It certainly is a very amusing book. It describes the adventures of a beautiful young lady whose father, a powerful Minister, having retired from the world in disgust at his fall from office, kept her in complete seclusion in the country. Here the young lady, finding a complete collection of the fantastic romances to which I have referred as being fashionable in Queen Anne's time, accepts in all seriousness their ideals of heroism and love and the proper behavior of lovers, models her lonely life with her maids after the fashion of the romantic heroines, and keeps her mind constantly occupied with expectations of romantic adventures. Encountering a stranger in one of her rides, she takes him for a desperate lover come to carry her off by force, and behaves as romantic princesses do in such circumstances, orders her servants to secure and disarm the unfortunate man, and treats his protests as signs of villanous duplicity. She takes one of her father's gardeners for a prince in disguise, and is hardly disabused of her fancy when the young man is cudgelled by the head gardener and dismissed, being caught in the act of stealing carp from a fish-pond. Her father wishes to marry her to a cousin, whom he invites to his

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