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Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"

NOTES                                133

of the King's Guard, Athos, Porthos and Aramis, united to defend
the honour of Anne of Austria against the machinations of Car-
dinal Richelieu. In the following; year Dumas published Twenty
Years After in ten volumes, and lastly followed The Vicomte de
Bragelonne, which shows us a mature D'Artagnan, a respectable
captain of musketeers. Dumas' other masterpiece was The Count
of Monte Cristo. Thackeray, Andrew Lang and hosts of others have
paid tribute to these great tales of adventure.

Pilgrim's Progress (1678), Bunyan's immortal allegory, the noblest
contribution (if we except Paradise Lost) of Puritanism to literature.

Montaigne (1533-1592), the genial Frenchman who is justly
regarded as the father of the modern Essay. His chief characteristic
is his frank egotism. He tells his readers ail about himself, Ins
tastes, his foibles, without reserve. His influence lias been very
marked throughout the course of English literature, either directly
or through the translations of Flono (1603) and Cotton (1685).
Shakespeare knew Fiorio's Montaigne, though his autograph in the
British Museum copy is of doubtful authenticity.

Whitman's * Leaves of Grass * (1855) was a great and refreshing
work in a totally novel manner, welcomed by Emerson, but con-
demned by the almost unanimous voice of contemporary America
for the irregular rhythm (Whitman has neither rhyme nor metre)
of his extraordinary dithyrambs, and for the supposed indecency of
his frank animalism and outspoken references to sexual topics. His
dauntless optimism, his virility and his love of action and of the
open air made their inevitable appeal to Stevenson.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), philosopher and anthropologist,
who applied the principle of evolution enunciated by Darwin to
the elucidation not only of Biology but of Psychology, Ethics and
Politics. His greatest works are Principles of Psychology (1855),
First Principles (1862), Data of Ethics (1869), Principles of
Sociology (1877) and Political Institutions (1882). His object
was ' by strictly scientific methods to bring about the unification
of phenomena and to comprehend the universe from a single point
of view.'

caput mortuum, residue.

* Goethe's Life ' by Lewes. George Henry Lewes (1817-1878), the
friend of George Eliot and editor of the Fortnightly, is chiefly known
for this, the standard English biography of Goethe (1855),

Werther (1784-5) ' opened the pent-up gates of sentimentalism ;
it wrung the hearts of men and women with imaginary sorrows :
floods of tears were shed over it. Young men dressed up in blue coats
and yellow breeches shot themselves with Werther in their hands.*
Stevenson is less than just to Goethe, whom he never understood.

Schiller (1759-1805), the great German dramatist, author of
many noble historical and patriotic plays, Wallenstein, Wilhelm
Tell, etc. He was Goethe's friend and companion at Weimar,

Martial (c.  66 A.C.), the Roman epigrammatist.      His amazing
cleverness is marred by his gross indecency.
' Meditations ol Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.C.), the * philosopher