Critical and Historical Essays — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 877 pages of information about Critical and Historical Essays Volume 1.

Complete Works (Ed. Lady Trevelyan), 8 vols., 1866.

BOOKS OF REFERENCE

Sir G.0.  Trevelyan:  The Life and Letters Of Lord Macaulay (2 vols. 8vo., 1876, 2nd ed. with additions, 1877, subsequent editions 1878 and 1881).

J. Cotter Morison:  Macaulay [English Men of Letters], (1882).

Mark Pattison:  Art.  “Macaulay” in Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Leslie Stephen:  Hours in a Library [new ed. 1892], ii. 243-376.  Art.  “Macaulay” in Dictionary of National Biography.

Frederic Harrison:  Macaulay’s Place in Literature (1894).  Studies in Early Victorian Literature, chap. iii. (1895).

G. Saintsbury:  Corrected Impressions, chaps. ix. x. (189,5). 
A History of Nineteenth Century Literature, pp. 224-232 (1896).

P. Oursel:  Les Essais de Lord Macaulay (1882).

D.H.  Macgregor:  Lord Macaulay (1901).

Sir R.C.  Jebb:  Macaulay (1900).

F.C.  Montague.  Macaulay’s Essays (3 vols. 1901).

A. J. G. August 1907.

HALLAM (September 1828)

The Constitutional History of England, from the Accession of Henry VII. to the Death of George ii.  By Henry Hallam.  In 2 vols. 1827

History, at least in its state of ideal perfection, is a compound of poetry and philosophy.  It impresses general truths on the mind by a vivid representation of particular characters and incidents.  But, in fact, the two hostile elements of which it consists have never been known to form a perfect amalgamation; and at length, in our own time, they have been completely and professedly separated.  Good histories, in the proper sense of the word, we have not.  But we have good historical romances, and good historical essays.  The imagination and the reason, if we may use a legal metaphor, have made partition of a province of literature of which they were formerly seized per my et per tout; and now they hold their respective portions in severalty, instead of holding the whole in common.

To make the past present, to bring the distant near, to place us in the society of a great man or on the eminence which overlooks the field of a mighty battle, to invest with the reality of human flesh and blood beings whom we are too much inclined to consider as personified qualities in an allegory, to call up our ancestors before us with all their peculiarities of language, manners, and garb, to show us over their houses, to seat us at their tables, to rummage their old-fashioned ward-robes, to explain the uses of their ponderous furniture, these parts of the duty which properly belongs to the historian have been appropriated by the historical novelist.  On the other hand, to extract the philosophy of history, to direct on judgment of events and men, to trace the connection of cause and effects, and to draw from the occurrences of former time general lessons of moral and political wisdom, has become the business of a distinct class of writers.

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