This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1885 edition. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER VIII. THE FRENCH ACADEMY. A Seat amongst the 'forty Immortals' is the high and honourable aim of every distinguished Frenchman. But the chequered history of the Academy since its formation by Richelieu two centuries and a half ago, furnishes another evidence of the truth that merit does not always secure its just reward. Again and again have men illustrious in letters been passed over, whilst those who had no claim upon the nation's regard have snatched fortuitous honours by unworthy means. Amongst those who knocked on more than one occasion at the doors of the French Academy in vain, was Victor Hugo. That such a man must be ultimately successful was beyond a doubt; but it says little for the Academy that it failed to recognise his claims until its hostile attitude had become a scandal to literature. As a kind of apology for, or defence of his career, in 1834 Hugo published his Litterature et Philosophic Melees. For those who could see nothing but tergiversation in the development of his views, as regarded from the Royalist standpoint of 1819 and the Revolutionary standpoint of 1834, these collected papers presented a series of progressive arguments well worthy of study. Nor was it merely from the personal point of view that the author issued this work; he believed that the gradual changes of thought which they revealed, all tending towards a fuller liberty in art, politics, and literature, were but typical of the states of mind through which a very large moiety of the young thinkers of his generation had passed. That he did not spare the crudities and defects which marked his own period of literary adolescence will be apparent from this passage, in which he frankly discusses his early compositions: 'There were historical...
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