Famous Reviews eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Famous Reviews.
benefit all this time, while the author was elaborating his performance?  Would the communication between the writer and the public have been what it is now—­something continual, confidential, something like personal affection?  I do not know whether these stories are written for future ages; many sage critics doubt on this head.  There are always such conjurors to tell literary fortunes; and, to my certain knowledge, Boz, according to them, has been sinking regularly these six years.  I doubt about that mysterious writing for futurity which certain big wigs prescribe.  Snarl has a chance, certainly.  His works, which have not been read in this age, may be read in future; but the receipt for that sort of writing has never as yet been clearly ascertained.  Shakespeare did not write for futurity, he wrote his plays for the same purpose which inspires the pen of Alfred Bunn, Esquire, viz., to fill his Theatre Royal.  And yet we read Shakespeare now.  Le Sage and Fielding wrote for their public; and through the great Dr. Johnson put his peevish protest against the fame of the latter, and voted him “a dull dog, sir,—­a low fellow,” yet somehow Harry Fielding has survived in spite of the critic, and Parson Adams is at this minute as real a character, as much loved by us as the old doctor himself.  What a noble, divine power of genius this is, which, passing from the poet into his reader’s soul, mingles with it, and there engenders, as it were, real creatures; which is as strong as history, which creates beings that take their place besides nature’s own.  All that we know of Don Quixote or Louis XIV we got to know in the same way—­out of a book.  I declare I love Sir Roger de Coverley quite as much as Izaak Walton, and have just as clear a consciousness of the looks, voice, habit, and manner of being of the one as of the other.

And so with regard to this question of futurity; if any benevolent being of the present age is imbued with a desire to know what his great-great-grandchild will think of this or that author—­of Mr. Dickens especially, whose claims to fame have raised the question—­the only way to settle it is by the ordinary historic method.  Did not your great-great-grandfather love and delight in Don Quixote and Sancho Panza?  Have they lost their vitality by their age?  Don’t they move laughter and awaken affection now as three hundred years ago?  And so with Don Pickwick and Sancho Weller, if their gentle humours and kindly wit, and hearty benevolent natures, touch us and convince us, as it were, now, why should they not exist for our children as well as for us, and make the twenty-fifth century happy, as they have the nineteenth?  Let Snarl console himself, then, as to the future.

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