Thus was formed and developed, far from literary circles and from Parisian coteries, one of the most original writers that had appeared for a long time. He noted his impressions while touring the world; one fine morning he published them, and from the very first the reading public was won. He related his adventures and his own romance. The question could then be raised whether his skill and art would prove as consummate if he should deviate from his own personality to write what might be termed impersonal poems; and it is precisely in this last direction that he subsequently produced what are now considered his masterpieces.
A strange writer assuredly is this, at once logical and illusive, who makes us feel at the same time the sensation of things and that of their nothingness. Amid so many works wherein the luxuries of the Orient, the quasi animal life of the Pacific, the burning passions of Africa, are painted with a vigour of imagination never witnessed before his advent, An Iceland Fisherman shines forth with incomparable brilliancy. Something of the pure soul of Brittany is to be found in these melancholy pages, which, so long as the French tongue endures, must evoke the admiration of artists, and must arouse the pity and stir the emotions of men.
The real name of PIERRE LOTI is LOUIS MARIE JULIEN VIAUD. He was born of Protestant parents, in the old city of Rochefort, on the 14th of January, 1850. In one of his pleasant volumes of autobiography, “Le Roman d’un Enfant,” he has given a very pleasing account of his childhood, which was most tenderly cared for and surrounded with indulgences. At a very early age he began to develop that extreme sensitiveness to external influences which has distinguished him ever since. He was first taught at a school in Rochefort, but at the age of seventeen, being destined for the navy, he entered the great French naval school, Le Borda, and has gradually risen in his profession. His pseudonym is said to have had reference to his extreme shyness and reserve in early life, which made his comrades call him after “le Loti,” an Indian flower which loves to blush unseen. He was never given to books or study (when he was received at the French Academy, he had the courage to say, “Loti ne sait pas lire"), and it was not until his thirtieth year that he was persuaded to write down and publish certain curious experiences at Constantinople, in “Aziyade,” a book which, like so many of Loti’s, seems half a romance, half an autobiography. He proceeded to the South Seas, and, on leaving Tahiti, published the Polynesian idyl, originally called “Raharu,” which was reprinted as “Le Mariage de Loti” (1880), and which first introduced to the wider public an author of remarkable originality and charm. Loti now became extremely prolific, and in a succession of volumes chronicled old exotic memories or manipulated