John Lothrop Motley. a memoir — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 70 pages of information about John Lothrop Motley. a memoir Volume 1.
we must commend the hearty English spirit in which the book is written; and fertile as the present age has been in historical works of the highest merit, none of them can be ranked above these volumes in the grand qualities of interest, accuracy, and truth.”

A writer in “Blackwood” (May, 1861) contrasts Motley with Froude somewhat in the way in which another critic had contrasted him with Prescott.  Froude, he says, remembers that there are some golden threads in the black robe of the Dominican.  Motley “finds it black and thrusts it farther into the darkness.”

Every writer carries more or less of his own character into his book, of course.  A great professor has told me that there is a personal flavor in the mathematical work of a man of genius like Poisson.  Those who have known Motley and Prescott would feel sure beforehand that the impulsive nature of the one and the judicial serenity of the other would as surely betray themselves in their writings as in their conversation and in their every movement.  Another point which the critic of “Blackwood’s Magazine” has noticed has not been so generally observed:  it is what he calls “a dashing, offhand, rattling style,”—­“fast” writing.  It cannot be denied that here and there may be detected slight vestiges of the way of writing of an earlier period of Motley’s literary life, with which I have no reason to think the writer just mentioned was acquainted.  Now and then I can trace in the turn of a phrase, in the twinkle of an epithet, a faint reminiscence of a certain satirical levity, airiness, jauntiness, if I may hint such a word, which is just enough to remind me of those perilous shallows of his early time through which his richly freighted argosy had passed with such wonderful escape from their dangers and such very slight marks of injury.  That which is pleasant gayety in conversation may be quite out of place in formal composition, and Motley’s wit must have had a hard time of it struggling to show its spangles in the processions while his gorgeous tragedies went sweeping by.

ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS: 

All classes are conservative by necessity
Already looking forward to the revolt of the slave States
Attacked by the poetic mania
Becoming more learned, and therefore more ignorant
But not thoughtlessly indulgent to the boy
Cold water of conventional and commonplace encouragement
Could paint a character with the ruddy life-blood coloring
Emulation is not capability
Excused by their admirers for their shortcomings
Excuses to disarm the criticism he had some reason to fear
Fear of the laugh of the world at its sincerity
Fitted “To warn, to comfort, and command”
How many more injured by becoming bad copies of a bad ideal
Ignoble facts which strew the highways of political life
Indoor home life imprisons them in the domestic circle
Intellectual dandyisms of Bulwer

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Project Gutenberg
John Lothrop Motley. a memoir — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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