English Literature, Considered as an Interpreter of English History eBook

Henry Coppée
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about English Literature, Considered as an Interpreter of English History.

John Keble, 1792-1866:  the modern George Herbert; a distinguished clergyman.  He was Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and produced, besides Tracts for the Times, and other theological writings, The Christian Year, containing a poem for every Sunday and holiday in the ecclesiastical year.  They are devout breathings in beautiful verse, and are known and loved by great numbers out of his own communion.  Many of them have been adopted as hymns in many collections.

Martin Farquhar Tupper, born 1810:  his principal work is Proverbial Philosophy, in two series.  It was unwontedly popular; and Tupper’s name was on every tongue.  Suddenly, the world reversed its decision and discarded its favorite; so that, without having done anything to warrant the desertion, Tupper finds himself with but very few admirers, or even readers:  so capricious is the vox populi.  The poetry is not without merit; but the world cannot forgive itself for having rated it too high.

Matthew Arnold, born 1822:  the son of Doctor Arnold of Rugby.  He has written numerous critical papers, and was for some time Professor of Poetry at Oxford. Sorab and Rustam is an Eastern tale in verse, of great beauty.  His other works are The Strayed Reveller, and Empedocles on Etna.  More lately, an Inspector of Schools, he has produced several works on education, among which are Popular Education in France and The Schools and Universities of the Continent.

CHAPTER XXXIX.

THE LATER HISTORIANS.

   New Materials.  George Grote.  History of Greece.  Lord Macaulay.  History
   of England.  Its Faults.  Thomas Carlyle.  Life of Frederick II.  Other
   Historians.

NEW MATERIALS.

Nothing more decidedly marks the nineteenth century than the progress of history as a branch of literature.  A wealth of material, not known before, was brought to light, increasing our knowledge and reversing time-honored decisions upon historic points.  Countries were explored and their annals discovered.  Expeditions to Egypt found a key to hieroglyphs; State papers were arranged to the hand of the scholar; archives, like those of Simancas, were thrown open.  The progress of Truth, through the extension of education, unmasked ancient prescriptions and prejudices:  thus, where the chronicle remained, philosophy was transformed; and it became evident that the history of man in all times must be written anew, with far greater light to guide the writer than the preceding century had enjoyed.  Besides, the world of readers became almost as learned as the historian himself, and he wrote to supply a craving and a demand such as had never before existed.  A glance at the labors of the following historians will show that they were not only annalists, but reformers in the full sense of the word:  they re-wrote what had been written before, supplying defects and correcting errors.

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English Literature, Considered as an Interpreter of English History from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.