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the eighteenth century. The only English poets mentioned are Shakespeare, Thomson, and Byron, the whole subject of English poetry being disposed of in less than a page.
In Ruskin's Modern Painters (1843-60) are several most interesting chapters on Landscape in classical, mediæval, and modern times. “Of the Pathetic Fallacy” and “The Moral of Landscape" are also suggestive though misleading studies.
Victor de Laprade's La Sentiment de la Nature (1866, 1868) contains in full the theories already suggested in the preface to his Les Symphones. In the introductory chapters he outlines his conception of the development of art. He regards architecture as essentially the expression of man's interest in religion ; sculpture of his interest in the demi-god or hero; painting of his interest in the complex and varied life of man as man; while the characteristic art of the present age is music with which the love of nature is closely allied, since both affect the mind indirectly through indeterminate and vaguely suggestive harmonies, and both tend by their complexity and subtlety to rouse sweet reveries, luxurious emotion, nameless longings, ineffectual aspirations, but leave the conscience and the will untouched. No one can read these critical studies of Laprade or his earlier poems without feeling his enthusiastic joy in the presence of nature. But he feared this joy and counted it a part of the concupiscence of the flesh except as it became an avenue to communion with the divine spirit. His indictment against the passion for nature in modern music, painting, poetry, fiction, science, is that the material is everywhere exalted at the expense of the spiritual. To be of value the presentation of the external world in whatever realm of art must subordinate its appeal to the senses, and emphasize its appeal to man's inner life. Laprade's work is a plea for idealism as against realism. In all his brilliant presentation of the attitude towards external nature of different races in different epochs, this point of view must be taken into account. In his rapid survey of English poetry the poets to receive closest attention are Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton. In later times the most significant of the poets who "gravitent antour de Lord Byron" are Wordsworth and Shelley,
who, in their attitude towards nature, are respectively moralist and metaphysician. Byron's distinction is that he alone found “ le juste équilibre entre l'exubérance de la nature et celle du pur esprit.” Thomson's Seasons are of value because of good genre pictures and vivid descriptions of English sports, but the initial force in the return to nature is Burns.
Unquestionably the most important of the books that treat of nature in the realm of art is Biese's Die Entwickelung des Naturgefühls im Mittelalter und in der Neuzeit (1888). The book is written with enthusiasm and is most stimulating and suggestive. The subject matter is well in hand, and so thoroughly organized that the great movements in the historical development of the love of nature are easily grasped. The plan is comprehensive, including not only poetry, but, in briefer outline, landscape painting and gardening, and, incidentally, even fiction and philosophy. The least satisfactory portion of the book is the treatment of the love of nature in English life and thought. There is some stress on the development of the English garden, but English landscape painting is not mentioned. In the casual mention of English fiction the emphasis is on Defoe. In poetry two epochs are recognized, that of Shakespeare and that of Byron. The chapter on Shakespeare is a close and valuable study. The work of Byron is estimated with justness and sympathy, as is also that of Shelley. But the study of Wordsworth as a poet of nature is singularly inadequate. His genius is considered as essentially of the pastoral-idyllic order, with now and then glimpses of an “echte Liebe für die Natur,” and an unmistakable Pantheism. He is chiefly important as having done for England what Scott did for Scotland and Moore for Ireland and as sounding certain notes which rang again in Byron “in verstärkter Tonart." Thomson is the only eighteenth century poet studied. Here again is a failure to recognize the real importance of the poet's
* Biese has two earlier important books: Die Entwickelung des Naturgefühls bei den Griechen (1882) and Die Entwickelung des Naturgefühls bei den Römern (1884). In Zeitschrift für vergleichende Litteraturgeschichte, Neue Folge, Siebenter Band (1894), p. 311, is a valuable annotated summary of recent (since 1882) German studies on das antike und das deutsche Naturgefühl.
work. Biese acknowledges the truth of Thomson's separate pic-
In 1887 appeared John Veitch's The Feeling for Nature in
In John Campbell Shairp's Poetic Interpretation of Nature (1889) are studies of Homer, Lucretius, and Virgil; of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton; and of Wordsworth. Two chapters are devoted to the eighteenth century. Ramsay is the poet to whom the reappearance of the feeling for natural beauty is traced. Thomson is praised for his minute faithfulness in description, and his genuine love of the country, but his tawdry diction and superficial conception of nature are heavy indictments against him. The chapter on Collins, Gray, Goldsmith, Burns, Cowper, Ossian, and the Ballads is interesting, but from its brevity is necessarily inadequate. The most suggestive chapter in the book is the one in which there is a classification of the ways in which poets deal with nature. The whole subject of the treatment of nature in poetry is an attractive one to Mr. Shairp, and he fre
'(a) They express childlike delight in the open-air world. (6) They use nature as the background or setting to human action or emotion. (c) They see nature through historic coloring. (d) They make nature sympathize with their
quently recurs to it in his Studies in Poetry and Philosophy and Aspects of Poetry.
In many books, also, not devoted exclusively to the treatment of nature in literature there are special studies and much running comment of a valuable sort. This is true of almost all essays on the early nineteenth century poets, and especially so of the various essays on Wordsworth. There is something to be found in Manuals of English Literature, as in Gosse's Eighteenth Century in the chapter, "The Dawn of Naturalism," in various notes in Perry's English Literature of the Eighteenth Century, Phelps's The English Romantic Movement, and others; also, in some histories, as in Lecky's History of England in the Eighteenth Century; in some philosophical studies, as in Leslie Stephen's English Thought in the Eighteenth Century ("The Literary Reaction "), and in Stopford Brooke's Theology in the English Poets (passim); in various literary studies, as in McLaughlin's Studies in Mediæval Life and Literature ("The Mediæval Feeling for Nature”), Vernon Lee's Euphorion (“The Outdoor Poetry "), Symonds's Essays Speculative and Suggestive ("Landscape") ("Nature Myths and Allegories"), Burroughs's Fresh Fields (“Birds and Poets") and Fischer's Drei Studien zur Englischen Litteraturgeschichte (“Uber den Einfluss der See auf die Englische Litteratur").
The books indicated show that there is much interest in the general theme of nature as an element of art.
The literary periods that have been most studied are, however, the Greek and Roman, the mediæval, and the modern. The treatment of nature in so barren a time as the eighteenth century in England has naturally received little close attention. In my own work on this period I have endeavored to discover what indications there are that the attitude toward nature of the early nineteenth century is but the legitimate outcome of influences actively at work during the eighteenth century. This study is therefore one of origins.
I have divided my work into three parts. I have endeavored
own feelings. (e) They dwell upon the Inhuman or Infinite side of nature. (f) They give description for its own sake. (g) They interpret nature by imaginative sympathy. () They use nature as a symbol of spirit.
to give first a general statement of the chief characteristics that marked the treatment of nature under the dominance of the English classical poets. Then follows a detailed study of such eighteenth century poets as show some new conception of nature. The third division is made up of briefer studies of the landscape gardening, the fiction, the books of travel, and the painting of the eighteenth century, the purpose being to deterinine in how far the spirit found in the poetry reveals itself in other realms in which the love of nature might be expected to find expression.