Antonia: A novel (Google eBook)

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Roberts brothers, 1870 - 297 pages
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Page 276 - Mulock made perfect books which Podsnap might have read with approval and put without a scruple into the hands of that modest young person, his daughter ? Certainly one cannot but think that a different kind of early life would have given a quite different complexion to the literary individuality of George Sand. Bulwer Lytton, in one of his novels, insists that true genius is always quite independent of the. individual sufferings or joys of its possessor, and describes some inspired youth in...
Page 295 - ... that of Nello, the hero, would have done the same thing ; and yet so simply and naturally are the characters wrought out, and the incidents described, that the idea of pompous, dramatic selfsacrifice never enters the mind of the reader, and it seems to him that Nello could not do otherwise than as he is doing. I speak of these two stories particularly, because in both of them there is a good deal of the world and the flesh ; that is, both are stories of strong human passion and temptation. Many...
Page 288 - ... and told her story backwards, the author calmly explains that the hero of the narrative in his dying hour called his brother to his bedside, and enjoined him, if occasion should ever arise, if the partner of his sin should ever calumniate him in his grave, to vindicate his memory and avenge the treason practised upon him. "Of course," adds the narrator, "the brother made the promise and I have since heard that he has kept his word.
Page 283 - ... however ignoble and base, as when contracted in the spirit of the purest mutual love. Here is a woman of great power and daring genius, who says that the essential condition of marriage is love and natural fitness ; that a legal union of man and woman without this is no marriage at all, but a detestable and disgusting sin. Now the more delicately, modestly, plausibly she can put this revolutionary and pernicious doctrine, the more dangerous she becomes, and the more earnestly we ought to denounce...
Page 280 - I venture to think, a single, ''revolutionary" idea, as slow and steady-going people would call it, afloat anywhere in Europe or America, on the subject of woman's relations to man, society, and destiny, which is not due immediately to the influence of George Sand, and to the influence of George Sand's unhappy marriage upon George Sand herself. The world has of late years grown used to this extraordinary woman, and has lost much of the wonder and terror with which it once regarded her. I can quite...
Page 292 - I claim, then, that when we have taken all these considerations into account, we are bound to admit that Aurora Dudevant deserves the generous recognition of the world for the use which she made of her splendid gifts. Her influence on French literature has been on the whole a purifying and strengthening power. The cynicism, the recklessness, the wanton, licentious disregard of any manner of principle, the debasing parade of disbelief in any higher purpose or nobler restraint, which are the shame...
Page 290 - Imaginaire," who invites his fiancee as a delightful treat to see him dissect the body of a woman. I am afraid that George Sand did sometimes invite an admirin'g public to an exhibition yet more ghastly and revolting the dissection of the heart of a dead lover. But in truth we shall never judge George Sand and her writings at all if we insist on criticising them from any point of view set up by the proprieties or even the moralities of Old England or New England.
Page 275 - GEORGE SAND. BY JUSTIN M'CARTHY. Reprinted from " jfiie Galaxy" for May, 1870. VX7E are: all of us probably inclined, now and then, to waste a little time in vaguely speculating on what might have happened if this or that particular event had not given a special direction to the career of some great man or woman. If there had been an inch of difference in the size of Cleopatra's nose ; if Hannibal had not lingered at Capua ; if Cromwell had carried out his idea of emigration ; if Napoleon Bonaparte...
Page 293 - ... code of ethics which has been so much in fashion of late years. I find nothing in George Sand which does not do homage to the existence of a principle and a law in everything. This daring woman, who broke with society so early and so conspicuously, has always insisted, through every illustration, character, and catastrophe in her books, that the one only reality, the one only thing that can endure, is the rule of right and of virtue. Nor has she ever, that I can recollect, fallen into the enfeebling...
Page 292 - If ever the two natures could be united in one form, if ever a single human being could have the soul of man and the soul of woman at once, George Sand might be described as that physical and psychological phenomenon. Now the point to which I wish to direct attention is the peculiarity of the temptation to which a nature such as this was necessarily exposed at every turn when, free of all restraint and a rebel against all conventionality, it confronted the world and the world's law, and stood up,...

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