Timeline of World History TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY



1800 - 1899
1800-09 1810-19 1820-29 1830-39 1840-49 1850-59 1860-69 1870-79 1880-89 1890-99
1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890
1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
1802 1812 1822 1832 1842 1852 1862 1872 1882 1892
1803 1813 1823 1833 1843 1853 1863 1873 1883 1893
1804 1814 1824 1834 1844 1854 1864 1874 1884 1894
1805 1815 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1885 1895
1806 1816 1826 1836 1846 1856 1866 1876 1886 1896
1807 1817 1827 1837 1847 1857 1867 1877 1887 1897
1808 1818 1828 1838 1848 1858 1868 1878 1888 1898
1809 1819 1829 1839 1849 1859 1869 1879 1889 1899
  BACK-1871 Part I NEXT-1871 Part III    
An Unfortunate Experiment
1870 - 1879
History at a Glance
1870 Part I
Alfonso XII
Leopold of Hohenzollern
"Ems Telegram"
Franco-Prussian War
Lenin Vladimir
Vladimir Lenin
Smuts Jan
1870 Part II
Adler Alfred
Keble College
Papal infallibility
Ludwig Anzengruber: "Der Pfarrer von Kirchfeld"
Bunin Ivan
Disraeli: "Lothair"
Kuprin Aleksandr
Ivan Goncharov: "The Precipice"
Jules Verne: "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea"
1870 Part III
Barlach Ernst
Ernst Barlach
Corot: "La perle"
Dante Gabriel Rossetti: "Beata Beatrix"
Borisov-Musatov Victor
Victor Borisov-Musatov
Benois Alexandre
Alexandre Benois
Denis Maurice
Maurice Denis
Soldiers and Exiles
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Delibes: "Coppelia"
Tchaikovsky: "Romeo and Juliet"
Wagner: "Die Walkure"
Lehar Franz
Franz Lehar - Medley
Franz Lehar
Balfe Michael
Michael Balfe - "The Bohemian Girl"
1870 Part IV
Przhevalsky Nikolai
Peaks and Plateaus
Johnson Allen
Gloucestershire County Cricket Club
Luxemburg Rosa
Standard Oil Company
Lauder Harry
Lloyd Marie
1871 Part I
Siege of Paris
Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Frankfurt
Paris Commune
Treaty of Washington
Law of Guarantees
British North America Act, 1871
Ebert Friedrich
1871 Part II
Old Catholics
Charles Darwin: "The Descent of Man"
Jehovah's Witnesses
Russell Charles Taze
John Ruskin: "Fors Clavigera"
Lewis Carroll: "Through the Looking Glass"
Crane Stephen
Dreiser Theodore
George Eliot: "Middlemarch"
Mann Heinrich
Morgenstern Christian
Ostrovsky: "The Forest"
Proust Marcel
Valery Paul
Zola: "Les Rougon-Macquart"
1871 Part III
Gabriele Rossetti: "The Dream of Dante"
White Clarence
History of photography
Clarence White
Rouault Georges
Georges Rouault
Feininger Lyonel
Lyonel Feininger
Balla Giacomo
Giacomo Balla
Sloan John
John Sloan
The 'Terror'of the Commune
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Royal Albert Hall
"The Internationale"
Verdi: "Aida"
1871 Part IV
Schweinfurth Georg August
Quotations by Georg August Schweinfurth
Stanley Henry
Henry Morton Stanley
Further Exploration of the Nile
Heinrich Schliemann begins to excavate Troy
Ingersoll Simon
Rutherford Ernest
The Industrialization of War
The Industrialization of War
Bank Holiday
Great Chicago Fire
1872 Part I
Third Carlist War
Carlist Wars
Burgers Thomas Francois
Ballot Act 1872
Amnesty Act of 1872
Blum Leon
Coolidge Calvin
1872 Part II
Russell Bertrand
Klages Ludwig
Beerbohm Max
Samuel Butler: "Erewhon, or Over the Range"
Alphonse Daudet: "Aventures prodigieuses de Tartarin de Tarascon"
Alphonse Daudet
"Tartarin de Tarascon"
Diaghilev Sergei
Duse Eleonora
Thomas Hardy: "Under the Greenwood Tree"
Turgenev: "A Month in the Country"
Jules Verne: "Around the World in 80 Days"
Lever Charles
1872 Part III
Bocklin: "Self-Portrait with Death"
Whistler: "The Artist's Mother"
Mondrian Piet
Piet Mondrian
Beardsley Aubrey
Aubrey Beardsley
The Rise of Durand-Ruel
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Scriabin Alexander
Scriabin - Etudes
Alexander Scriabin
Williams Vaughan
Williams - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Vaughan Williams
1872 Part IV
Bleriot Louis
Tide-predicting machine
Westinghouse George
Elias Ney
Hague Congress
Scotland v England (1872)
Scott Charles Prestwich
Nansen Ski Club
1873 Part I
First Spanish Republic
Mac-Mahon Patrice
Financial Panic of 1873
League of the Three Emperors
Bengal famine of 1873–1874
1873 Part II
Moore G. E.
Barbusse Henri
Ford Madox Ford
Maurier Gerald
Reinhardt Max
Rimbaud: "Une Saison en enfer"
Tolstoi: "Anna Karenina"
Bryusov Valery
1873 Part III
Cezanne: "A Modern Olympia"
Gulbransson Olaf
Manet: "Le bon Bock"
Gathering of the Future Impressionists
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Bruckner: Symphony No. 2
Carl Rosa Opera Company
Caruso Enrico
Enrico Caruso - Pagliacci No!
The greatest opera singers
Enrico Caruso
Chaliapin Feodor
Feodor Chaliapin - "Black Eyes"
The greatest opera singers
Feodor Chaliapin
Reger Max
Max Reger - Piano Concerto in F-minor
Max Reger
Rachmaninoff Sergei
Rachmaninoff plays Piano Concerto 2
Sergei Rachmaninov
Rimsky-Korsakov: "The Maid of Pskov"
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2
Slezak Leo
Leo Slezak "Wenn ich vergnugt bin" 
The greatest opera singers
Leo Slezak
1873 Part IV
James Clerk Maxwell: "Electricity and Magnetism"
Euler-Chelpin Hans
Frobenius Leo
Payer Julius
Weyprecht Karl
Franz Josef Land
Cameron Verney Lovett
E. Remington and Sons
Remington Eliphalet
Hansen Gerhard Armauer
World Exposition 1873 Vienna
Wingfield Walter Clopton
1874 Part I
Anglo-Ashanti Wars (1823-1900)
Brooks–Baxter War
Swiss constitutional referendum, 1874
Colony of Fiji
Hoover Herbert
Weizmann Chaim
Churchill Winston
1874 Part II
Berdyaev Nikolai
Cassirer Ernst
Chesterton Gilbert
G.K. Chesterton quotes
G.K. Chesterton 
Flaubert: "La Tentation de Saint Antoine"
Frost Robert
Robert Frost
Thomas Hardy: "Far from the Madding Crowd"
Hofmannsthal Hugo
Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Victor Hugo: "Ninety-Three"
Maugham Somerset
Stein Gertrude
1874 Part III
Roerich Nicholas
Nicholas Roerich
Max Liebermann: "Market Scene"
Renoir: "La Loge"
The Birth of Impressionism
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Schmidt Franz
Franz Schmidt "Intermezzo" Notre Dame
Franz Schmidt
Schoenberg Arnold
Schoenberg: Verklarte Nacht
Arnold Schoenberg
Holst Gustav
Gustav Holst - Venus
Gustav Holst
Ives Charles
Charles Ives - Symphony 3
Charles Ives
Moussorgsky "Boris Godunov"
Johann Strauss II: "Die Fledermaus"
Verdi: "Requiem"
1874 Part IV
Bosch Carl
Marconi Guglielmo
Curtius Ernst
Shackleton Ernest
Stanley: Expedition to the Congo and Nile
Still Andrew Taylor
Bunker Chang and Eng
Universal Postal Union
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Gerry Elbridge Thomas
Outerbridge Mary Ewing
1875 Part I
Guangxu Emperor
Herzegovina Uprising of 1875–77
Public Health Act 1875
Congregations Law of 1875
Theosophical Society
Jung Carl
Congregations Law of 1875
Buchan John
Deledda Grazia
Mann Thomas
Rejane Gabrielle
Rilke Rainer Maria
1875 Part II
Bouguereau William-Adolphe
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Monet: "Woman with a Parasol"
An Unfortunate Experiment
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Bizet: "Carmen"
Brull Ignaz
Ignaz Brull - Das goldene Kreuz
Coleridge-Taylor Samuel
Coleridge Taylor Samuel - Violin Concerto
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Karl Goldmark: "Die Konigin von Saba"
Ravel Maurice
Ravel - Rapsodie espagnole
Maurice Ravel
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1
Boisbaudran Lecoq
Schweitzer Albert
Webb Matthew
1876 Part I
Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876
Ethio-Egyptian War
April Uprising
Batak massacre
Murad V
Abdulhamid II
Serbian–Ottoman War (1876–78)
Montenegrin–Ottoman War (1876–78)
Tilden Samuel Jones
Hayes Rutherford Birchard
Ottoman constitution of 1876
Groselle Hilarion Daza
Adenauer Konrad
1876 Part II
Bradley Francis Herbert
Trevelyan George Macaulay
Pius XII
Felix Dahn: "Ein Kampf um Rom"
London Jack
Mallarme: "L'Apres-Midi d'un faune"
Mark Twain: "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"
Modersohn-Becker Paula
Paula Modersohn-Becker
Renoir: "Le Moulin de la Galette"
Impressionism Timeline
1876 Part III
Brahms: Symphony No. 1
Casals Pablo
Leo Delibes: "Sylvia"
Falla Manuel
Manuel de Falla - Spanish dance
Manuel de Falla
Ponchielli: "La Gioconda"
Wagner: "Siegfried"
Walter Bruno
Wolf-Ferrari Ermanno
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari - "Intermezzo"
Alexander Bell invents the telephone
Johns Hopkins University
Hopkins Johns
Bacillus anthracis
Macleod John James Rickard
Brockway Zebulon Reed
Centennial International Exhibition of 1876
1877 Part I
Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78
Siege of Plevna
Satsuma Rebellion
1877 Part II
Granville-Barker Harley
Hesse Hermann
Hermann Hesse
Ibsen: "The Pillars of Society"
Henry James: "The American"
Zola: "L'Assommoir"
Praxiteles: "Hermes"
Dufy Raoul
Raoul Dufy
Winslow Homer: "The Cotton Pickers"
Kubin Alfred
Alfred Kubin
Manet: "Nana"
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
1877 Part III
Brahms: Symphony No. 2
Dohnanyi Ernst
Erno Dohnanyi - Piano Concerto No. 1
Camille Saint-Saens: "Samson et Delila"
Tchaikovsky: "Francesca da Rimini"
Ruffo Titta
Titta Ruffo: Di Provenza
Aston Francis William
Barkla Charles
Cailletet Louis-Paul
Pictet Raoul-Pierre
Liquid oxygen
Schiaparelli observes Mars' canals
Martian canal
German patent law
Madras famine of 1877
Maginot Andre
1878 Part I
Umberto I
Ten Years War 1868-1878
Battle of Shipka Pass
Epirus Revolt of 1878
Treaty of San Stefano
Treaty of Berlin 1878
Anti-Socialist Laws
Italian irredentism
Stresemann Gustav
1878 Part II
Buber Martin
Romanes George John
Treitschke Heinrich
Stoecker Adolf
Christian Social Party
Thomas Hardy: "The Return of the Native"
Kaiser Georg
Masefield John
Sandburg Carl
Sinclair Upton
1878 Part III
Malevich Kazimir
Kazimir Malevich
Kustodiev Boris
Boris Kustodiev
Petrov-Vodkin Kuzma
Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin
Multiple Disappointments
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Ambros August Wilhelm
Boughton Rutland
Boughton: The Queen of Cornwall
1878 Part IV
Mannlicher Ferdinand Ritter
Pope Albert Augustus
Watson John
Blunt and Lady Anne traveled in Arabia
Blunt Anne
Benz Karl
New Scotland Yard
Deutscher Fussballverein, Hanover
Paris World Exhibition 1878
1879 Part I
Anglo-Zulu War
Alexander of Battenberg
Second Anglo–Afghan War (1878-1880)
Treaty of Gandamak
Tewfik Pasha
Stalin Joseph
Joseph Stalin
Trotsky Leon
1879 Part II
Beveridge William
Henry George: "Progress and Poverty"
Giffen Robert
Forster Edward Morgan
Ibsen: "A Doll's House"
Henry James: "Daisy Miller"
Meredith: "The Egoist"
Stevenson: "Travels with a Donkey"
Strindberg: "The Red Room"
Valera Juan
1879 Part III
Picabia Francis
Francis Picabia
Steichen Edward Jean
Edward Steichen
Cameron Julia Margaret
Cameron Julia
Klee Paul
Paul Klee
Renoir: "Mme. Charpentier"
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Suppe: "Boccaccio"
Tchaikovsky: "Eugene Onegin"
Respighi Ottorino
Respighi - Three Botticelli Pictures
Ottorino Respighi
Bridge Frank
Frank Bridge - The Sea
Einstein Albert
Albert Einstein
Aitken Maxwell

Alice entering the Looking Glass. Illustration by Sir John Tenniel
YEAR BY YEAR:  1800 - 1899
1871 Part II
First congress of Old Catholics meets in Munich
Old Catholics

The sect organised in German-speaking countries to combat the dogma of Papal Infallibility.

Filled with ideas of ecclesiastical Liberalism and rejecting the Christian spirit of submission to the teachings of the Church, nearly 1400 Germans issued, in September, 1870, a declaration in which they repudiated the dogma of Infallibility "as an innovation contrary to the traditional faith of the Church". They were encouraged by large numbers of scholars, politicians, and statesmen, and were acclaimed by the Liberal press of the whole world. The break with the Church began with this declaration, which was put forth notwithstanding the fact that the majority of the German bishops issued, at Fulda on 30 August, a common pastoral letter in support of the dogma. It was not until 10 April, 1871, that Bishop Hefele of Rotterdam issued a letter concerning the dogma to his clergy. By the end of 1870 all the Austrian and Swiss bishops had done the same.

The movement against the dogma was carried on with such energy that the first Old Catholic Congress was able to meet at Munich, 22-24 September, 1871. Before this, however, the Archbishop of Munich had excommunicated Döllinger on 17 April 1871, and later also Friedrich. The congress was attended by over 300 delegates from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, besides friends from Holland, France, Spain, Brazil, Ireland, and the representatives of the Anglican Church, with German and American Protestants. The moving spirit in this and all later assemblies for organization was Johann Friedrich von Schulte, the professor of dogma at Prague.

Von Schulte summed up the results of the congress as follows:

Adherence to the ancient Catholic faith;
maintenance of the rights of Catholics as such;
rejection of the new dogmas,
adherence to the constitutions of the ancient Church with repudiation of every dogma of faith not in harmony with the actual consciousness of the Church;
reform of the Church with constitutional participation of the laity;
preparation of the way for reunion of the Christian confessions;
reform of the training and position of the clergy;
adherence to the State against the attacks of Ultramontanism;
rejection of the Society of Jesus;
solemn assertion of the claims of Catholics as such to the real property of the Church and to the
title to it.

A resolution was also passed on the forming of the parish communities, which Döllinger vehemently opposed and voted against. The second congress, held at Cologne, 20-22 September, 1872, ws attended by 350 Old Catholic delegates, besides one Jansenist and three Anglican bishops, Russian clergy, and English and other Protestant ministers. The election of a bishop was decided on, and among the most important resolutions passed were those pertaining to the organization of the pastorate and parishes. This was followed by steps to obtain recognition of the Old Catholics by various governments; the general feeling of that time made it easy to obtain this recognition from Prussia, Baden, and Hesse. Professor Reinkens of Bonn was elected bishop, 4 June, 1873, and was consecrated at Rotterdam by the Jansenist Bishop of Deventer, Heydekamp, 11 August, 1873. Having been officially recognized as "Catholic Bishop" by Prussia, 19 September, and having taken the oath of allegiance, 7 October, 1873, he selected Bonn as his place of residence. The bishop and his diocese were granted by Prussia an annual sum of 4800 Marks ($1200). Pius IX excommunicated Reinkens by name, 9 November, 1873; previous to which, in the spring of 1872, the archbishop of Cologne had been obliged to excommunicate Hilgers, Langen, Reusch, and Knoodt, professors of theology at Bonn. The same fate had also overtaken several professors at Braunsberg and Breslau. The fiction brought forward by Friedrich von Schulte that the Old Catholics are the true Catholics was accepted by several governments in Germany and Switzerland, and many Catholic churches were transferred to the sect. This was done notwithstanding the fact that a decree of the Inquisition, dated 17 September, 1871, and a Brief of 12 March, 1873, had again shown that the Old Catholics had no connection with the Catholic church; represented, therefore, a religious society entirely separate from the Church; and consequently could assert no legal claims whatever to the funds or buildings for worship of the Catholic Church.
The development of the internal organization of the sect occupied the congresses held at Freiburg in the Breisgau, 1874; at Breslau, 1876; Baden-Baden, 1880; and Krefeld, 1884; as well as the ordinary synods. The synodal constitution, adopted at the urgency of von Schulte, seems likely to lead to the ruin of the sect. It has resulted in unlimited arbitrariness and a radical break with all the disciplinary ordinances of Catholicism.

Especially far-reaching was the abolition of celibacy, called forth by the lack of priests. After the repeal of this law a number of priests who were tired of celibacy, none of whom were of much intellectual importance, took refuge among the Old Catholics. The statute of 14 June, 1878, for the maintenance of discipline among the Old Catholic clergy, has merely theoretical value. A bishop's fund, a pension fund, and a supplementary fund for the incomes of parish priests have been formed, thanks to the aid given by governments and private persons. In the autumn of 1877, Bishop Reinkens founded a residential seminary for theological students, which, on 17 January, 1894, was recognized by royal cabinet order as a juridical person with an endowment of 110,000 Marks ($27,500). A house of studies for gymnasial students called the Paulinum was founded 20 April, 1898, and a residence for the bishop was bought. Besides other periodical publications there is an official church paper. These statements, which refer mainly to Germany, may also be applied in part to the few communities founded in Austria, which, however, have never reached any importance. In Switzerland the clergy, notwithstanding the very pernicious agitation, acquitted themselves well, so that only three priests apostatized. The Protestant cantons — above all, Berne, Basle, and Geneva — did everything possible to promote the movement. An Old Catholic theological faculty, in which two radical Protestants lectured, was founded at the University of Berne. At the same time all the Swiss Old Catholic communities organized themselves into a "Christian Catholic National Church" in 1875; in the next hear Dr. Herzog was elected bishop and consecrated by Dr. Reinkens.

Berne was chosen as his place of residence. As in Germany so in Switzerland confession was done away with, celibacy abolished, and the use of the vernacular prescribed for the service of the altar. Attempts to extend Old Catholicism to other countries failed completely. That lately an apostate English priest named Arnold Matthew, who for a time was a Unitarian, married, then united with another suspended London priest named O'Halloran, and was consecrated by the Jansenist Archbishop of Utrecht, is not a matter of any importance. Matthew calls himself an Old Catholic bishop, but has practically no following. Some of the few persons who attend his church in London do so ignorantly in the belief that the church is genuinely Catholic.
  The very radical liturgical, disciplinary, and constitutional ordinances adopted in the first fifteen years gradually convinced even the most friendly government officials that the fiction of the Catholicism of the Old Catholics was no longer tenable. The damage, however, had been done, the legal recognition remained unchanged, and the grant from the budget could not easily be dropped. In Germany, although there was no essential change in this particular, yet the political necessity which led to a modus vivendi in the Kulturkampf chilled the interest of statesmen in Old Catholics, particularly as the latter had not been able to fulfil their promise of nationalizing the Church in Germany.
The utter failure of this attempt was due to the solidarity of the violently persecuted Catholics. In many cases entire families returned to the Church after the first excitement had passed, and the winning power of the Old Catholic movement declined throughout Germany in the same degree as that in which the Kulturkampf powerfully stimulated genuine Catholic feeling. The number of Old Catholics sank rapidly and steadily; to conceal this the leaders of the movement made use of a singular device. Up to then Old Catholics had called themselves such, both for the police registry and for the census. They were now directed by their leaders to cease this and to call themselves simply Catholics. The rapid decline of the sect has thus been successfully concealed, so that it is not possible at the present day to give fairly exact statistics.

The designation of themselves as Catholics by the Old Catholics is all the stranger as in essential doctrines and worship they hardly differ from a liberal form of Protestantism. However, the prescribed concealment of membership in the Old Catholic body had this much good in it, that many who had long been secretly estranged from the sect were able to return to the Church without attracting attention. On account of these circumstances only Old Catholic statistics of some years back can be given. In 1878 there were in the German empire: 122 congregations, including 44 in Baden, 36 in Prussia, 34 in Bavaria, and about 52,000 members; in 1890 there were only about 30,000 Old Catholics on account of a decided decline in Bavaria. In 1877 there were in Switzerland about 73,000; in 1890 only about 25,000. In Austria at the most flourishing period there were perhaps at the most 10,000 adherents, today there are probably not more than 4000. It may be said that the total number of Old Catholics in the whole of Europe is not much above 40,000.

It seems strange that a movement carried on with so much intellectual vigour and one receiving such large support from the State should from bad management have gone to pieces thus rapidly and completely, especially as it was aided to a large degree in Germany and Switzerland by a violent attack upon Catholics.

The reason is mainly the predominant influence of the laity under whose control the ecclesiastics were placed by the synodal constitution. The abrogation of compulsory celibacy showed the utter instability and lack of moral foundation of the sect. Döllinger repeatedly but vainly uttered warnings against all these destructive measures. In general he held back from any active participation in the congresses and synods. This reserve frequently irritated the leaders of the movement, but Döllinger never let himself be persuaded to screen with his name things which he considered in the highest degree pernicious. He never, however, became reconciled to the Church, notwithstanding the many efforts made by the Archbishop of Munich. All things considered, Old Catholicism has practically ceased to exist. It is no longer of any public importance.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Charles Darwin: "The Descent of Man"

The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex is a book by English naturalist Darwin Charles , first published in 1871, which applies evolutionary theory to human evolution, and details his theory of sexual selection, a form of biological adaptation distinct from, yet interconnected with, natural selection. The book discusses many related issues, including evolutionary psychology, evolutionary ethics, differences between human races, differences between sexes, the dominant role of women in mate choice, and the relevance of the evolutionary theory to society.

As Darwin wrote, he posted chapters to his daughter Henrietta for editing to ensure that damaging inferences could not be drawn, and also took advice from his wife Emma. Many of the figures were drawn by the zoological illustrator T. W. Wood, who had also illustrated Wallace's The Malay Archipelago (1869). The corrected proofs were sent off on 15 January 1871 to the publisher John Murray and published on 24 February 1871 as two 450-page volumes, which Darwin insisted that it was one complete, coherent work, and were priced at £1 4 shillings.

Within three weeks of publication, a reprint had been ordered; and 4,500 copies were in print by the end of March 1871, netting Darwin almost £1,500. Darwin's name created demand for the book, but the ideas were old news. "Everybody is talking about it without being shocked," which he found, "...proof of the increasing liberality of England".

Editions and reprints
Darwin himself and some of his children edited many of the large number of revised editions, some extensively. In late 1873, Darwin tackled a new edition of the Descent of Man. Initially, he offered Wallace the work of assisting him, but, when Emma found out, she had the task given to their son George, so Darwin had to write apologetically to Wallace.
Huxley assisted with an update on ape-brain inheritance, which Huxley thought "pounds the enemy into a jelly... though none but anatomists" would know it. The manuscript was completed in April 1874 and published on 13 November 1874 and has been the edition most commonly reprinted after Darwin's death and to the present.

Title page of the first edition of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex
Part I: The evolution of man

Evolution of physical traits

In the introduction to Descent, Darwin lays out the purpose of his text:

"The sole object of this work is to consider, firstly, whether man, like every other species, is descended from some pre-existing form; secondly, the manner of his development; and thirdly, the value of the differences between the so-called races of man."

Darwin's approach to arguing for the evolution of human beings is to outline how similar human beings are to other animals. He begins by using anatomical similarities, focusing on body structure, embryology, and "rudimentary organs" that presumably were useful in one of man's "pre-existing" forms. He then moves on to argue for the similarity of mental characteristics.

Evolution of mental traits
Based on the work of his cousin Galton, Darwin is able to assert that human character traits and mental characteristics are inherited the same as physical characteristics, and argues against the mind/body distinction for the purposes of evolutionary theory. From this Darwin then provides evidence for similar mental powers and characteristics in certain animals, focusing especially on apes, monkeys, and dogs for his analogies for love, cleverness, religion, kindness, and altruism. He concludes on this point that "Nevertheless the difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind." He additionally turns to the behaviour of "savages" to show how many aspects of Victorian England's society can be seen in more primitive forms.

In particular, Darwin argues that even moral and social instincts are evolved, comparing religion in man to fetishism in "savages" and his dog's inability to tell whether a wind-blown parasol was alive or not. Darwin also argues that all civilisations had risen out of barbarism, and that he did not think that barbarism is a "fall from grace" as many commentators of his time had asserted.

Natural selection and civilised society
In this section of the book, Darwin also turns to the questions of what would after his death be known as social Darwinism and eugenics. Darwin notes that, as had been discussed by Alfred Russel Wallace and Galton, natural selection seemed to no longer act upon civilised communities in the way it did upon other animals:

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused.

Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature.

Embryology (here comparing a human and dog) provided one mode of evidence
The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil. We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely that the weaker and inferior members of society do not marry so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage, though this is more to be hoped for than expected. (Chapter 5)
Darwin felt that these urges towards helping the "weak members" was part of our evolved instinct of sympathy, and concluded that "nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature". As such, '"we must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind". Darwin did feel that the "savage races" of man would be subverted by the "civilised races" at some point in the near future, as stated in the Human races section above.

He did show a certain disdain for "savages", professing that he felt more akin to certain altruistic tendencies in monkeys than he did to "a savage who delights to torture his enemies". However, Darwin is not advocating genocide, but clinically predicting, by analogy to the ways that "more fit" varieties in a species displace other varieties, the likelihood that indigenous peoples will eventually die out from their contact with "civilization", or become absorbed into it completely.
Darwin's primary rhetorical strategy was to argue by analogy. Baboons, dogs, and "savages" provided his chief evidence for human evolution.
His political opinions (and Galton's as well) were strongly inclined against the coercive, authoritarian forms of eugenics that became so prominent in the 20th century. Note that even Galton's ideas about eugenics were not the compulsory sterilisation or genocidal programs of Nazi Germany, but he instead hoped that by encouraging more thought in hereditary reproduction, human mores could change in a way that would compel people to choose better mates.

For each tendency of society to produce negative selections, Darwin also saw the possibility of society to itself check these problems, but also noted that with his theory "progress is no invariable rule." Towards the end of Descent of Man, Darwin said that he believed man would "sink into indolence" if severe struggle was not continuous, and thought that "there should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring", but also noted that he thought that the moral qualities of man were advanced much more by habit, reason, learning, and religion than by natural selection. The question plagued him until the end of his life, and he never concluded fully one way or the
other about it.


Darwin argued that the female peahen chose to mate with the male peacock who had the most beautiful plumage in her mind.
The race debate
Darwin lastly applied his theory to one of the more controversial scientific questions of his day: whether the different races of human beings were of the same species or not:

"The question whether mankind consists of one or several species has of late years been much agitated by anthropologists, who are divided into two schools of monogenists and polygenists. Those who do not admit the principle of evolution, must look at species either as separate creations or as in some manner distinct entities; and they must decide what forms to rank as species by the analogy of other organic beings which are commonly thus received."
Darwin reasoned that most of the visual differences between human races were superficial—issues of skin color and hair type—and that most of the mental differences were merely cases of "civilization" or a lack of it. It was important to Darwin to relay the arguments of whether or not all races were of the same species—he had spent much of the preceding book tracing humans back to the Paleolithic age, and now he had to bring them back to the present time again. If the "savages" like those he met while on his Beagle voyage were not of the same species as civilised Englishmen, he would not be able to draw the complete continuum he felt necessary. Darwin concluded that the visual differences between races were not adaptive to any significant degree, and were more likely simply caused by sexual selection—different standards of beauty and mating amongst different people—and that all of humankind was one single species.

He concludes that "...when the principle of evolution is generally accepted, as it surely will be before long, the dispute between the monogenists and the polygenists will die a silent and unobserved death."

Part II and III: Sexual selection
Part II of the book begins with a chapter outlining the basic principles of sexual selection, followed by a detailed review of many different taxa of the kingdom Animalia which surveys various classes such as molluscs and crustaceans. The tenth and eleventh chapters are both devoted to insects, the latter specifically focusing on the order Lepidoptera, the butterflies and moths. The remainder of the book shifts to the vertebrates, beginning with cold blooded vertebrates (fishes, amphibians and reptiles) followed by four chapters on birds. Two chapters on mammals precede those on humans. Darwin explained sexual selection as a combination of "female choosiness" and "direct competition between males".

Darwin's theories of evolution by natural selection were used to try to show women's place in society was the result of nature. One of the first women to critique Darwin, Antoinette Brown Blackwell published The Sexes Throughout Nature in 1875. She was aware she would be considered presumptuous for criticising evolutionary theory but wrote that "disadvantages under which we [women] are placed...will never be lessened by waiting". Blackwell's book answered Darwin and Herbert Spencer, who she thought were the two most influential living men.
Antoinette Blackwell, one of the first women
to write a critique of Darwin
She wrote of "defrauded womanhood" and her fears that "the human race, forever retarding its own advancement...could not recognize and promote a genuine, broad, and healthful equilibrium of the sexes".

In the Descent of Man, Darwin wrote that by choosing tools and weapons over the years, "man has ultimately become superior to woman" but Blackwell's argument for women's equality went largely ignored until the 1970s when feminist scientists and historians began to explore Darwin. As recently as 2004, Griet Vandermassen, aligned with other Darwinian feminists of the 1990s and early 2000s (decade), wrote that a unifying theory of human nature should include sexual selection. But then the "opposite ongoing integration" was promoted by another faction as an alternative in 2007. Nonetheless, Darwin's explanation of sexual selection continues to receive support from both social and biological scientists as "the best explanation to date".

Apparently non-adaptive features
In Darwin's view, anything that could be expected to have some adaptive feature could be explained easily with his theory of natural selection. In On the Origin of Species, Darwin wrote that to use natural selection to explain something as complicated as a human eye, "with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration" might at first appear "absurd in the highest possible degree," but nevertheless, if "numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist", then it seemed quite possible to account for within his theory.

More difficult for Darwin were highly evolved and complicated features that conveyed apparently no adaptive advantage to the organism. Writing to colleague Asa Gray in 1860, Darwin commented that he remembered well a "time when the thought of the eye made me cold all over, but I have got over this stage of the complaint, & now small trifling particulars of structure often make me very uncomfortable. The sight of a feather in a peacock's tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!"

Why should a bird like the peacock develop such an elaborate tail, which seemed at best to be a hindrance in its "struggle for existence"? To answer the question, Darwin had introduced in the Origin the theory of sexual selection, which outlined how different characteristics could be selected for if they conveyed a reproductive advantage to the individual. In this theory, male animals in particular showed heritable features acquired by sexual selection, such as "weapons" with which to fight over females with other males, or beautiful plumage with which to woo the female animals. Much of Descent is devoted to providing evidence for sexual selection in nature, which he also ties in to the development of aesthetic instincts in human beings, as well as the differences in coloration between the human races.

Darwin had developed his ideas about sexual selection for this reason since at least the 1850s, and had originally intended to include a long section on the theory in his large, unpublished book on species.

When it came to writing Origin (his "abstract" of the larger book), though, he did not feel he had sufficient space to engage in sexual selection to any strong degree, and included only three paragraphs devoted to the subject. Darwin considered sexual selection to be as much of a theoretical contribution of his as was his natural selection, and a substantial amount of Descent is devoted exclusively to this topic.

  Darwin's background issues and concerns
It was Darwin's second book on evolutionary theory, following his 1859 work, On the Origin of Species, in which he explored the concept of natural selection and which had been met with a firestorm of controversy in reaction to Darwin's theory. A single line in this first work hinted at such a conclusion: "light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history".

When writing The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication in 1866, Darwin intended to include a chapter including man in his theory, but the book became too big and he decided to write a separate "short essay" on ape ancestry, sexual selection and human expression, which became The Descent of Man.

The book is a response to various debates of Darwin's time far more wide-ranging than the questions he raised in Origin. It is often erroneously assumed that the book was controversial because it was the first to outline the idea of human evolution and common descent.

Coming out so late into that particular debate, while it was clearly Darwin's intent to weigh in on this question, his goal was to approach it through a specific theoretical lens (sexual selection), which other commentators at the period had not discussed, and consider the evolution of morality and religion. The theory of sexual selection was also needed to counter the argument that beauty with no obvious utility, such as exotic birds' plumage, proved divine design, which had been put strongly by the Duke of Argyll in his book The Reign of Law (1868).

Human faculties
The major sticking point for many in the question of human evolution was whether human mental faculties could have possibly been evolved. The gap between humans and even the smartest ape seemed too large, even for those who were sympathetic to Darwin's basic theory. Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection, believed that the human mind was too complex to have evolved gradually, and began over time to subscribe to a theory of evolution that took more from Spiritualism than it did the natural world. Darwin was deeply distressed by Wallace's change of heart, and much of the Descent of Man is in response to opinions put forth by Wallace.

Darwin focuses less on the question of whether humans evolved than he does on showing that each of the human faculties considered to be so far beyond those of beasts—such as moral reasoning, sympathy for others, beauty, and music—can be seen in kind (if not degree) in other animal species (usually apes and dogs).

Human races
Darwin was a long-time abolitionist who had been horrified by slavery when he first came into contact with it in Brazil while touring the world on the Beagle voyage many years before (slavery had been illegal in the British Empire since 1833). He considered the "race question" one of the most important of his day. Darwin opposed the polygenism theory, developed by scientific racist discourse, which postulated that the different human races were distinct species and were likely separately "created". To the contrary, Darwin considered that all human beings were of the same species, and that races, if they were useful markers at all, were simply "sub-species" or "variants". This view (known as "monogenism") was in stark contrast with the majority view in anthropology at the time. Polygeny was supported by thinkers of many backgrounds, such as the zoologist, glaciologist, and geologist Louis Agassiz, and by later thinkers who interpreted Darwin's theory to imply that races evolved at different times or stages. Darwin viewed the differences between human races as superficial (he discusses them only in terms of skin color and hair type). Aside from the aforementioned encounter with slavery on the Beagle, Darwin also was perplexed by the "savage races" he saw in South America at Tierra del Fuego, which he saw as evidence of man's more primitive state of civilisation. During his years in London, his private notebooks were riddled with speculations and thoughts on the nature of the human races, many decades before he published Origin and Descent.
When making his case that human races were all closely related and that the apparent gap between humans and other animals was due to closely related forms being extinct, Darwin drew on his experiences on the voyage showing that "savages" were being wiped out by "civilized" peoples.
His encounters with the natives of the Tierra del Fuego on his Beagle voyage made Darwin believe that civilisation had evolved over time from a more primitive state.
As he wrote in Descent,

The great break in the organic chain between man and his nearest allies, which cannot be bridged over by any extinct or living species, has often been advanced as a grave objection to the belief that man is descended from some lower form; but this objection will not appear of much weight to those who, convinced by general reasons, believe in the general principle of evolution. Breaks incessantly occur in all parts of the series, some being wide, sharp and defined, others less so in various degrees; as between the orang and its nearest allies—between the Tarsius and the other Lemuridæ—between the elephant and in a more striking manner between the Ornithorhynchus or Echidna, and other mammals. But all these breaks depend merely on the number of related forms that have become extinct. At some future point, not distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

When Darwin referred to "civilised races" he was almost always describing European cultures, and apparently drew no clear distinction between biological races and cultural races in humans. Few made that distinction at the time, an exception being Alfred Russel Wallace.

Darwin also emphasised the similarities of the human races, stating:

Although the existing races of man differ in many respects, as in colour, hair, shape of skull, proportions of the body, &c., yet if their whole organisation be taken into consideration they are found to resemble each other closely in a multitude of points. Many of these points are of so unimportant or of so singular a nature, that it is extremely improbable that they should have been independently acquired by aboriginally distinct species or races. The same remark holds good with equal or greater force with respect to the numerous points of mental similarity between the most distinct races of man. The American aborigines, Negroes and Europeans differ as much from each other in mind as any three races that can be named; yet I was incessantly struck, whilst living with the Fuegians on board the Beagle, with the many little traits of character, shewing how similar their minds were to ours; and so it was with a full-blooded negro with whom I happened once to be intimate.

However, Richard Webster has argued that The Descent of Man was influenced by racist prejudice, and that in it Darwin looked forward to the extermination of what he considered to be savage races.

Social implications of Darwinism
Since the publication of Origin, a wide variety of opinions had been put forward on whether the theory had implications towards human society. One of these, later known as Social Darwinism, had been put forward by Herbert Spencer before publication of Origin, and argued that society would naturally sort itself out, and that the more "fit" individuals would rise to positions of higher prominence, while the less "fit" would succumb to poverty and disease. He alleged that government-run social programmes and charity hinder the "natural" stratification of the populace, and first introduced the phrase "survival of the fittest" in 1864. Spencer was primarily a Lamarckian evolutionist; hence, fitness could be acquired in a single generation and that in no way did "survival of the fittest" as a tenet of Darwinian evolution predate it.

Another of these interpretations, later known as eugenics, was put forth by Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, in 1865 and 1869. Galton argued that just as physical traits were clearly inherited among generations of people, so could be said for mental qualities (genius and talent). Galton argued that social mores needed to change so that heredity was a conscious decision, to avoid over-breeding by "less fit" members of society and the under-breeding of the "more fit" ones. In Galton's view, social institutions such as welfare and insane asylums were allowing "inferior" humans to survive and reproduce at levels faster than the more "superior" humans in respectable society, and if corrections were not soon taken, society would be awash with "inferiors."

Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, proposed that an interpretation of Darwin's theory was the need for eugenics to save society from "inferior" minds.
Darwin read his cousin's work with interest, and devoted sections of Descent of Man to discussion of Galton's theories. Neither Galton nor Darwin, though, advocated any eugenic policies such as those undertaken in the early 20th century, as government coercion of any form was very much against their political opinions.
Sexual selection
Darwin's views on sexual selection were opposed strongly by his co-discoverer of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace, though much of his "debate" with Darwin took place after Darwin's death. Wallace argued against sexual selection, saying that the male-male competition aspects were simply forms of natural selection, and that the notion of female mate choice was attributing the ability to judge standards of beauty to animals far too cognitively undeveloped to be capable of aesthetic feeling (such as beetles).

Wallace also argued that Darwin too much favoured the bright colours of the male peacock as adaptive without realising that the "drab" peahen's coloration is itself adaptive, as camouflage. Wallace more speculatively argued that the bright colours and long tails of the peacock were not adaptive in any way, and that bright coloration could result from non-adaptive physiological development (for example, the internal organs of animals, not being subject to a visual form of natural selection, come in a wide variety of bright colours). This has been questioned by later scholars as quite a stretch for Wallace, who in this particular instance abandoned his normally strict "adaptationist" agenda in asserting that the highly intricate and developed forms such as a peacock's tail resulted by sheer "physiological processes" that were somehow not at all subjected to adaptation.

Apart from Wallace, a number of scholars considered the role of sexual selection in human evolution controversial. Darwin was accused of looking at the evolution of early human ancestors through the moral lens of the 19th century Victorian society. Joan Roughgarden, citing many elements of sexual behaviour in animals and humans that cannot be explained by the sexual-selection model, suggested that the function of sex in human evolution was primarily social. Joseph Jordania suggested that in explaining such human morphological and behavioural characteristics as singing, dancing, body painting, wearing of clothes, Darwin (and proponents of sexual selection) neglected another important evolutionary force, intimidation of predators and competitors with the ritualised forms of warning display. Warning display uses virtually the same arsenal of visual, audio, olfactory and behavioural features as sexual selection.

  According to the principle of aposematism (warning display), to avoid costly physical violence and to replace violence with the ritualised forms of display, many animal species (including humans) use different forms of warning display: visual signals (contrastive body colours, eyespots, body ornaments, threat display and various postures to look bigger), audio signals (hissing, growling, group vocalisations, drumming on external objects), olfactory signals (producing strong body odors, particularly when excited or scared), behavioural signals (demonstratively slow walking, aggregation in large groups, aggressive display behaviour against predators and conspecific competitors). According to Jordania, most of these warning displays were incorrectly attributed to the forces of sexual selection.

While debates on the subject continues, in January 1871 Darwin started on another book, using left over material on emotional expressions, which became The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

In recent years controversy also involved the peacock tail, the most famous symbol of the principle of sexual selection. A seven-year Japanese study of free-ranging peafowl came to the conclusion that female peafowl do not select mates merely on the basis of their trains. Mariko Takahashi found no evidence that peahens expressed any preference for peacocks with more elaborate trains, such as trains having more ocelli, a more symmetrical arrangement or a greater length. Takahashi determined that the peacock's train was not the universal target of female mate choice, showed little variance across male populations, and, based on physiological data collected from this group of peafowl, do not correlate to male physical conditions. Adeline Loyau and her colleagues responded to Takahashi's study by voicing concern that alternative explanations for these results had been overlooked and that these might be essential for the understanding of the complexity of mate choice. They concluded that female choice might indeed vary in different ecological conditions. Jordania suggested that peacock's display of colourful and oversize train with plenty of eyespots, together with their extremely loud call and fearless behaviour has been formed by the forces of natural selection (not sexual selection), and served as a warning (aposematic) display to intimidate predators and rivals.

Effect on society
In January 1871, Thomas Huxley's former disciple, the anatomist St. George Mivart, had published On the Genesis of Species as a critique of natural selection. In an anonymous Quarterly Review article, he claimed that the Descent of Man would unsettle "our half educated classes" and talked of people doing as they pleased, breaking laws and customs[citation needed]. An infuriated Darwin guessed that Mivart was the author and, thinking "I shall soon be viewed as the most despicable of men", looked for an ally. In September, Huxley wrote a cutting review of Mivart's book and article and a relieved Darwin told him "How you do smash Mivart's theology... He may write his worst & he will never mortify me again". As 1872 began, Mivart politely inflamed the argument again, writing "wishing you very sincerely a happy new year" while wanting a disclaimer of the "fundamental intellectual errors" in the Descent of Man. This time, Darwin ended the correspondence.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charles Darwin

On the Origin of Species by Natural selection
Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witness, member of a millennialist denomination that developed within the larger 19th-century Adventist movement in the United States and has since spread worldwide. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are an outgrowth of the International Bible Students Association, which was founded in 1872 in Pittsburgh by Charles Taze Russell.

The Adventist movement emerged in the 1830s around the predictions of William Miller, who proclaimed that Jesus Christ would return in 1843 or 1844. When Christ did not return as Miller prophecied, Adventists divided into a number of factions. During the 1870s, Charles Taze Russell established himself as an independent and controversial Adventist teacher. He rejected belief in hell as a place of eternal torment and adopted a non-Trinitarian theology that denied the divinity of Jesus. He also interpreted the Second Coming in accordance with the literal translation of the original Greek term, parousia (“presence”), suggesting that Christ would come as an invisible presence and that the Parousia, or “Millennial Dawn,” already had occurred, in 1874. The coming of Christ’s invisible presence signaled the end of the current order of society and would be followed by his visible presence and the establishment of the millennial kingdom on earth in 1914. Although the kingdom did not come, Russell’s teachings motivated a number of volunteers to circulate his many books and pamphlets and a periodical, The Watchtower, and to recalculate the time of the Parousia. In addition to the International Bible Students Association, Russell formed the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (1884), with himself as president. In 1909 he transferred the headquarters of the movement to its current location in Brooklyn.
Charles Taze Russell, photograph by Eric Patterson, 1911.
Russell was succeeded as president in 1917 by Joseph Franklin Rutherford (Judge Rutherford; 1869–1942), who changed the group’s name to Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931 to emphasize its members’ belief that Jehovah, or Yahweh, is the true God and that the Witnesses were his specially chosen followers. Rutherford molded the Witnesses into a cadre of dedicated evangelists, even equipping members with portable phonographs to play his “sermonettes” on street corners and in the living rooms of prospective converts. Under Rutherford’s leadership, Russell’s group became a tightly knit organization.

Rutherford’s successor, Nathan Homer Knorr (1905–77), assumed the presidency in 1942 and continued and expanded Rutherford’s policies. He established the Watch Tower Bible School of Gilead (South Lansing, New York) to train missionaries and leaders, decreed that all the society’s books and articles were to be published anonymously, and set up adult lay-education programs to train Witnesses to teach prospective converts. Under Knorr’s direction, a group of Witnesses produced a new translation of the Bible. Knorr was followed as president of the Jehovah’s Witnesses by Frederick W. Franz (1893–1992) in 1978 and then by Milton G. Henschel in 1992 (1920–2003). In 2000 Henschel stepped down in a reorganization of the leadership and was replaced by Don A. Adams.
Witnesses hold a number of traditional Christian views but also many that are unique to them. They affirm that God—Jehovah—is the most high. Jesus Christ is God’s agent, through whom sinful humans can be reconciled to God. The Holy Spirit is the name of God’s active force in the world.

Witnesses believe that they are living in the last days, and they look forward to the imminent establishment of God’s kingdom on earth, which will be headed by Christ and jointly administered by 144,000 human corulers (Revelation 7:4).

Those who acknowledge Jehovah in this life will become members of the millennial kingdom; those who reject him will not go to hell but will face total extinction. New members are baptized by immersion and are expected to live by a strict code of personal conduct. Marriage is considered a holy covenant, and divorce is disapproved of except in cases of adultery.

Witnesses participate in the annual commemoration of Christ’s death, celebrated on 14 Nisan of the Jewish calendar (March or April of the Gregorian calendar); Witnesses pass around bread and wine, symbols of the body and blood of Christ. Only those thought to be among the 144,000 corulers eat and drink the bread and wine.

The Witnesses’ teachings stress strict separation from secular government. Although they are generally law-abiding, believing that governments are established by God to maintain peace and order, they refuse on biblical grounds to observe certain laws. They do not salute the flag of any nation, believing it an act of false worship; they refuse to perform military service; and they do not participate in public elections. These practices have brought them under the scrutiny of government authorities.

The U.S. government sent Rutherford and other Watchtower leaders to prison for sedition during World War I. In Germany prior to World War II, the Nazis sent Witnesses to concentration camps, and Witnesses were also persecuted in Britain, Canada, and the United States.
After the war the Witnesses brought several suits in American courts dealing with their beliefs and practices, resulting in 59 Supreme Court rulings that were regarded as major judgments on the free exercise of religion.

  They continue to face persecution in several countries, however, particularly for their refusal to serve in the military, and they are often publicly derided for their door-to-door evangelism.

The Witnesses’ distrust of contemporary institutions extends to other religious denominations, from which they remain separate. They disavow terms such as minister and church. The leaders of some mainstream Christian churches have denounced the Witnesses for doctrinal deviation (especially their non-Trinitarian teachings) and have condemned them as a “cult.”

Witnesses also oppose certain medical practices that they believe violate Scripture. In particular, they oppose blood transfusions, because of the scriptural admonition against the consumption of blood (Leviticus 3:17). This belief, which is contrary to standard medical practice, remains an additional point of controversy with authorities, especially in cases concerning children.

In the early years of the movement, members met in rented halls, but under Rutherford the Witnesses began to purchase facilities that they designated Kingdom Halls. Members of a local congregation, or “company,” are known as “kingdom publishers” and are expected to spend five hours a week at Kingdom Hall meetings and to spend as much time as possible in doorstep preaching. “Pioneer publishers” hold part-time secular jobs and try to devote about 70 hours a month to religious service. “Special pioneers” are full-time, salaried employees of the society who are expected to spend at least 150 hours a month in this work. Each Kingdom Hall has an assigned territory and each Witness a particular neighbourhood to canvass. Great pains are taken to keep records of the number of visits, return calls, Bible classes, and books and magazines distributed.

The Watch Tower Society publishes millions of books, tracts, recordings, and periodicals, chief among which are a semimonthly magazine, the Watchtower, and its companion publication, Awake!, which are translated into more than 80 languages. Work is carried out in more than 230 countries by more than seven million Witnesses.

John Gordon Melton

Encyclopædia Britannica

Russell Charles Taze

Charles Taze Russell, byname Pastor Russell (born Feb. 16, 1852, Pittsburgh, Pa., U.S.—died Oct. 31, 1916, Pampa, Texas), founder of the International Bible Students Association, forerunner of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.


Charles Taze Russell
  By the time he was 20, Russell had left both Presbyterianism and Congregationalism because he could not reconcile the idea of an eternal hell with God’s mercy.

He had drifted into skepticism when a chance encounter with some followers of the Adventist movement begun by William Miller introduced him to the idea that the Bible could be used to predict God’s plan of salvation, especially as the plan related to the end of the world.

With the help of tutors, Russell managed to master the use of Hebrew and Greek dictionaries to study the Bible, and he formed his first Bible classes in 1872. With N.H. Barbour of Rochester, N.Y., Russell published Three Worlds and the Harvest of the World in 1877.

Basing his judgment on complex biblical calculations, he preached from 1877 that Christ’s “invisible return” had occurred in 1874 and that the end of the Gentile times and the beginning of a golden age would come in 1914, followed by war between capitalism and communism or socialism, after which God’s kingdom by Christ would rule the earth. Russell dedicated his life and his fortune to preaching Christ’s millennial reign.
In 1879 he started a Bible journal, later called The Watch Tower, and in 1884 he founded the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, which became an extensive publishing business.

His own books and booklets (notably seven volumes of Studies in the Scriptures) reached a circulation of 16 million copies in 35 languages, and 2,000 newspapers published his weekly sermons. He was president of the society until his death.

Russell’s movement survived the problem caused by the apparent failure of his eschatological prediction.

Encyclopædia Britannica

Mommsen: "Roman Constitutional Law"
Mommsen Theodor: Roman Constitutional Law (1871–1888).
This systematic treatment of Roman constitutional law in three volumes has been of importance for research on ancient history.
John Ruskin: "Fors Clavigera"
Fors Clavigera was the name given by Ruskin John  to a series of letters addressed to British workmen during the 1870s. They were published in the form of pamphlets. The letters formed part of Ruskin's interest in moral intervention in the social issues of the day on the model of his mentor Thomas Carlyle.
The phrase "Fors Clavigera" was intended to designate three great powers which form human destiny. These were: Force, symbolised by the club (clava) of Hercules; Fortitude, symbolised by the key (clavis) of Ulysses; and Fortune, symbolised by the nail (clavus) of Lycurgus. These three powers (the "fors") together represent the human talent and ability to choose the right moment and then to strike with energy. The concept is derived from Shakespeare's phrase "There is a tide in the affairs of men/ Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune". Ruskin believed that the letters were inspired by the Third Fors: that he was striking out at the right moment to influence social change.

The letters of Fors Clavigera were written on a variety of topics that Ruskin believed would help to communicate his moral and social vision as expressed in his book Unto This Last. He was principally concerned to develop a vision of moral value in sincere labour.

Libel case
It was in Fors Clavigera that Ruskin published his attack on the paintings of James McNeill Whistler exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877. He attacked them as the epitome of capitalist production in art, created with minimum effort for maximum output. One of the most powerful sentences was "I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face". Ruskin's abusive language led Whistler to sue for libel. Whistler won the case, but only got one farthing in damages. Ruskin withdrew from art criticism for a period following the case.

Encyclopædia Britannica
Title page
see also: John Ruskin  "The King of the Golden River"
Alexis Willibald, German novelist, d. (b. 1798)

Willibald Alexis
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Lewis Carroll: "Through the Looking Glass"
Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) is a novel by Carroll Lewis (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Set some six months later than the earlier book, Alice again enters a fantastical world, this time by climbing through a mirror into the world that she can see beyond it. Through the Looking-Glass includes such celebrated verses as "Jabberwocky" and "The Walrus and the Carpenter", and the episode involving Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Alice entering the Looking Glass. Illustration by Sir John Tenniel
Plot summary
Alice is playing with a white kitten (whom she calls "Snowdrop") and a black kitten (whom she calls "Kitty")—the offspring of Dinah, Alice's cat in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland—when she ponders what the world is like on the other side of a mirror's reflection. Climbing up on the fireplace mantel, she pokes at the wall-hung mirror behind the fireplace and discovers, to her surprise, that she is able to step through it to an alternative world. In this reflected version of her own house, she finds a book with looking-glass poetry, "Jabberwocky", whose reversed printing she can read only by holding it up to the mirror. She also observes that the chess pieces have come to life, though they remain small enough for her to pick up.

Upon leaving the house (where it had been a cold, snowy night), she enters a sunny spring garden where the flowers have the power of human speech; they perceive Alice as being a "flower that can move about."
Elsewhere in the garden, Alice meets the Red Queen, who is now human-sized, and who impresses Alice with her ability to run at breathtaking speeds. This is a reference to the chess rule that queens are able to move any number of vacant squares at once, in any direction, which makes them the most "agile" of pieces.

The Red Queen reveals to Alice that the entire countryside is laid out in squares, like a gigantic chessboard, and offers to make Alice a queen if she can move all the way to the eighth rank/row in a chess match. This is a reference to the chess rule of Promotion.
Alice is placed in the second rank as one of the White Queen's pawns, and begins her journey across the chessboard by boarding a train that literally jumps over the third row and directly into the fourth rank, thus acting on the rule that pawns can advance two spaces on their first move.

Tenniel illustration of Tweedledum (centre) and Tweedledee (right) and Alice (left). 1871)
She then meets the fat twin brothers Tweedledum and Tweedledee, whom she knows from the famous nursery rhyme. After reciting the long poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter", the Tweedles draw Alice's attention to the Red King—loudly snoring away under a nearby tree—and maliciously provoke her with idle philosophical banter that she exists only as an imaginary figure in the Red King's dreams (thereby implying that she will cease to exist the instant he wakes up). Finally, the brothers begin acting out their nursery-rhyme by suiting up for battle, only to be frightened away by an enormous crow, as the nursery rhyme about them predicts.

Alice next meets the White Queen, who is very absent-minded but boasts of (and demonstrates) her ability to remember future events before they have happened. Alice and the White Queen advance into the chessboard's fifth rank by crossing over a brook together, but at the very moment of the crossing, the Queen transforms into a talking Sheep in a small shop. Alice soon finds herself struggling to handle the oars of a small rowboat, where the Sheep annoys her with (seemingly) nonsensical shouting about "crabs" and "feathers".

Unknown to Alice, these are standard terms in the jargon of rowing. Thus (for a change) the Queen/Sheep was speaking in a perfectly logical and meaningful way.

Red King snoring, by John Tenniel
After crossing yet another brook into the sixth rank, Alice immediately encounters Humpty Dumpty, who, besides celebrating his unbirthday, provides his own translation of the strange terms in "Jabberwocky". In the process, he introduces Alice (and the reader) to the concept of portmanteau words, before his inevitable fall. "All the king's horses and all the king's men" come to Humpty Dumpty's assistance, and are accompanied by the White King, along with the Lion and the Unicorn, who again proceed to act out a nursery rhyme by fighting with each other. In this chapter, the March Hare and Hatter of the first book make a brief re-appearance in the guise of "Anglo-Saxon messengers" called "Haigha" and "Hatta" (i.e. "Hare" and "Hatter"—these names are the only hint given as to their identities other than John Tenniel's illustrations).

Upon leaving the Lion and Unicorn to their fight, Alice reaches the seventh rank by crossing another brook into the forested territory of the Red Knight, who is intent on capturing the "white pawn"—who is Alice—until the White Knight comes to her rescue. Escorting her through the forest towards the final brook-crossing, the Knight recites a long poem of his own composition called Haddocks' Eyes, and repeatedly falls off his horse.

His clumsiness is a reference to the "eccentric" L-shaped movements of chess knights, and may also be interpreted as a self-deprecating joke about Lewis Carroll's own physical awkwardness and stammering in real life.
Bidding farewell to the White Knight, Alice steps across the last brook, and is automatically crowned a queen, with the crown materialising abruptly on her head.

She soon finds herself in the company of both the White and Red Queens, who relentlessly confound Alice by using word play to thwart her attempts at logical discussion. They then invite one another to a party that will be hosted by the newly crowned Alice—of which Alice herself had no prior knowledge.

Alice arrives and seats herself at her own party, which quickly turns to a chaotic uproar—much like the ending of the first book. Alice finally grabs the Red Queen, believing her to be responsible for all the day's nonsense, and begins shaking her violently with all her might.

By thus "capturing" the Red Queen, Alice unknowingly puts the Red King (who has remained stationary throughout the book) into checkmate, and thus is allowed to wake up.

Alice suddenly awakes in her armchair to find herself holding the black kitten, whom she deduces to have been the Red Queen all along, with the white kitten having been the White Queen. The story ends with Alice recalling the speculation of the Tweedle brothers, that everything may have, in fact, been a dream of the Red King, and that Alice might herself be no more than a figment of his imagination.

One final poem is inserted by the author as a sort of epilogue which suggests that life itself is but a dream.

Tenniel illustration of the White Knight. 1871

Haigha (March Hare)
Hatta (The Hatter)
Humpty Dumpty
The Jabberwock
Jubjub bird
Red King
Red Queen
The Lion and the Unicorn
The Sheep
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
White King
White Knight
White Queen

Returning characters
The characters of Hatta and Haigha (pronounced as the English would have said "hatter" and "hare") make an appearance, and are pictured (by Sir John Tenniel, not by Carroll) to resemble their Wonderland counterparts, the Hatter and the March Hare. However, Alice does not recognise them as such.

Dinah, Alice's cat, also makes a return – this time with her two kittens; Kitty (the black one) and Snowdrop (the white one). At the end of the book they are associated with the Red Queen and the White Queen respectively in the looking-glass world.

Though she does not appear, Alice's sister is mentioned. In both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, there are puns and quips about two non-existing characters, Nobody and Somebody. Paradoxically, the gnat calls Alice an old friend, though it was never introduced in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

The Creation of Through the Looking Glass
Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass was published six years after he wrote Alice in Wonderland. In these six years Charles Dodgson, also known as Lewis Carroll, had been teaching a young girl by the name of Alice Lidell all about the game of chess and the mysteries that go along with it. He taught her by creating stories to illustrate the moves of the pieces to better explain the rules of the game. Alice Liddell was one of Carroll’s many child friends. She was his main inspiration for the Alice stories. He would tell her all kinds of stories, including the Wonderland story to entertain her and her sisters. Since he had been spending so much time teaching Alice about the game of chess, he only had to come up with the best way to turn all of his stories into one in order to create a sequel.

The entire book is Alice trying to move through the country side that is laid out in squares, like a giant chess board. Her objective is to move all the way to the eighth row, if she can complete this then the Red Queen will make Alice a queen.
At the very beginning of the book Carroll identified the main characters with the chessmen. Throughout her journey, many of the games rules are referenced, the game of chess is worked out quite correctly throughout the entire course of the story. Alice encounters many different characters and obstacles through her journey.

Carroll came across the idea of the looking glass when has was living in London. When he was in London he had met a little girl, invited her into his home and decided to do an experiment. He asked the girl to hold an orange in her right hand then asked her which hand it was that she was holding it in.

The Jabberwock, as illustrated by John Tenniel for Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, including the poem "Jabberwocky"
Once he did this, he turned her in front of a mirror, and asked the girl, “Which hand is that girl holding the orange with?” The little girl answered saying that it was the left hand. The two of them spoke about this further and the little girl told Carroll, “If I was on the other side of the mirror, wouldn’t the orange still be in my right hand?” This reasoning behind the girls answer is what inspired Carroll to write his story in the world behind the other side of a looking glass.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll - photographer
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" 
Through the Looking-Glass" 
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Crane Stephen

Stephen Crane, (born Nov. 1, 1871, Newark, N.J., U.S.—died June 5, 1900, Badenweiler, Baden, Ger.), American novelist, poet, and short-story writer, best known for his novels Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893) and The Red Badge of Courage (1895) and the short stories “The Open Boat,” “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky,” and “The Blue Hotel.”


Stephen Crane
  Stephen’s father, Jonathan Crane, was a Methodist minister who died in 1880, leaving Stephen, the youngest of 14 children, to be reared by his devout, strong-minded mother. After attending preparatory school at the Claverack College (1888–90), Crane spent less than two years at college and then went to New York City to live in a medical students’ boardinghouse while freelancing his way to a literary career. While alternating bohemian student life and explorations of the Bowery slums with visits to genteel relatives in the country near Port Jervis, N.Y., Crane wrote his first book, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893), a sympathetic study of an innocent and abused slum girl’s descent into prostitution and her eventual suicide.

At that time so shocking that Crane published it under a pseudonym and at his own expense, Maggie left him to struggle as a poor and unknown freelance journalist, until he was befriended by Hamlin Garland and the influential critic William Dean Howells. Suddenly in 1895 the publication of The Red Badge of Courage and of his first book of poems, The Black Riders, brought him international fame.
Strikingly different in tone and technique from Maggie, The Red Badge of Courage is a subtle impressionistic study of a young soldier trying to find reality amid the conflict of fierce warfare.
The book’s hero, Henry Fleming, survives his own fear, cowardice, and vainglory and goes on to discover courage, humility, and perhaps wisdom in the confused combat of an unnamed Civil War battle.

Crane, who had as yet seen no war, was widely praised by veterans for his uncanny power to imagine and reproduce the sense of actual combat.

Crane’s few remaining years were chaotic and personally disastrous. His unconventionality and his sympathy for the downtrodden aroused malicious gossip and false charges of drug addiction and Satanism that disgusted the fastidious author. His reputation as a war writer, his desire to see if he had guessed right about the psychology of combat, and his fascination with death and danger sent him to Greece and then to Cuba as a war correspondent.


Stephen Crane
  His first attempt in 1897 to report on the insurrection in Cuba ended in near disaster; the ship Commodore on which he was traveling sank with $5,000 worth of ammunition, and Crane—reported drowned—finally rowed into shore in a dinghy with the captain, cook, and oiler, Crane scuttling his money belt of gold before swimming through dangerous surf. The result was one of the world’s great short stories, “The Open Boat.”

Unable to get to Cuba, Crane went to Greece to report the Greco-Turkish War for the New York Journal. He was accompanied by Cora Taylor, a former brothel-house proprietor. At the end of the war they settled in England in a villa at Oxted, Surrey, and in April 1898 Crane departed to report the Spanish-American War in Cuba, first for the New York World and then for the New York Journal. When the war ended, Crane wrote the first draft of Active Service, a novel of the Greek war. He finally returned to Cora in England nine months after his departure and settled in a costly 14th-century manor house at Brede Place, Sussex. Here Cora, a silly woman with social and literary pretensions, contributed to Crane’s ruin by encouraging his own social ambitions. They ruined themselves financially by entertaining hordes of spongers, as well as close literary friends—including Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, H.G. Wells, Henry James, and Robert Barr, who completed Crane’s Irish romance The O’Ruddy.

Crane now fought a desperate battle against time, illness, and debts. Privation and exposure in his Bowery years and as a correspondent, together with an almost deliberate disregard for his health, probably hastened the disease that killed him at an early age. He died of tuberculosis that was compounded by the recurrent malarial fever he had caught in Cuba.

After The Red Badge of Courage, Crane’s few attempts at the novel were of small importance, but he achieved an extraordinary mastery of the short story.

Stephen Crane
  He exploited youthful small-town experiences in The Monster and Other Stories (1899) and Whilomville Stories (1900); the Bowery again in George’s Mother (1896); an early trip to the southwest and Mexico in “The Blue Hotel” and “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”; the Civil War again in The Little Regiment (1896); and war correspondent experiences in The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure (1898) and Wounds in the Rain (1900).

In the best of these tales Crane showed a rare ability to shape colourful settings, dramatic action, and perceptive characterization into ironic explorations of human nature and destiny. In even briefer scope, rhymeless, cadenced and “free” in form, his unique, flashing poetry was extended into War Is Kind (1899).

Stephen Crane first broke new ground in Maggie, which evinced an uncompromising (then considered sordid) realism that initiated the literary trend of the succeeding generations—i.e., the sociological novels of Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, and James T. Farrell. Crane intended The Red Badge of Courage to be “a psychological portrayal of fear,” and reviewers rightly praised its psychological realism.

The first nonromantic novel of the Civil War to attain widespread popularity, The Red Badge of Courage turned the tide of the prevailing convention about war fiction and established a new, if not unprecedented, one. The secret of Crane’s success as war correspondent, journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and poet lay in his achieving tensions between irony and pity, illusion and reality, or the double mood of hope contradicted by despair. Crane was a great stylist and a master of the contradictory effect.

Encyclopædia Britannica

see also: Stephen Crane
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Dreiser Theodore

Theodore Dreiser, (born Aug. 27, 1871, Terre Haute, Ind., U.S.—died Dec. 28, 1945, Hollywood, Calif.), novelist who was the outstanding American practitioner of naturalism. He was the leading figure in a national literary movement that replaced the observance of Victorian notions of propriety with the unflinching presentation of real-life subject matter. Among other themes, his novels explore the new social problems that had arisen in a rapidly industrializing America.


Theodore Dreiser
Dreiser was the ninth of 10 surviving children in a family whose perennial poverty forced frequent moves between small Indiana towns and Chicago in search of a lower cost of living. His father, a German immigrant, was a mostly unemployed millworker who subscribed to a stern and narrow Roman Catholicism. His mother’s gentle and compassionate outlook sprang from her Czech Mennonite background. In later life Dreiser would bitterly associate religion with his father’s ineffectuality and the family’s resulting material deprivation, but he always spoke and wrote of his mother with unswerving affection. Dreiser’s own harsh experience of poverty as a youth and his early yearnings for wealth and success would become dominant themes in his novels, and the misadventures of his brothers and sisters in early adult life gave him additional material on which to base his characters.

Dreiser’s spotty education in parochial and public schools was capped by a year (1889–90) at Indiana University. He began a career as a newspaper reporter in Chicago in 1892 and worked his way to the East Coast. While writing for a Pittsburgh newspaper in 1894, he read works by the scientists T.H. Huxley and John Tyndall and adopted the speculations of the philosopher Herbert Spencer. Through these readings and his own experience, Dreiser came to believe that human beings are helpless in the grip of instincts and social forces beyond their control, and he judged human society as an unequal contest between the strong and the weak. In 1894 Dreiser arrived in New York City, where he worked for several newspapers and contributed to magazines.

He married Sara White in 1898, but his roving affections (and resulting infidelities) doomed their relationship. The couple separated permanently in 1912.

Dreiser began writing his first novel, Sister Carrie, in 1899 at the suggestion of a newspaper colleague. Doubleday, Page and Company published it the following year, thanks in large measure to the enthusiasm of that firm’s reader, the novelist Frank Norris. But Doubleday’s qualms about the book, the story line of which involves a young kept woman whose “immorality” goes unpunished, led the publisher to limit the book’s advertising, and consequently it sold fewer than 500 copies. This disappointment and an accumulation of family and marital troubles sent Dreiser into a suicidal depression from which he was rescued in 1901 by his brother, Paul Dresser, a well-known songwriter, who arranged for Theodore’s treatment in a sanitarium. Dreiser recovered his spirits, and in the next nine years he achieved notable financial success as an editor in chief of several women’s magazines. He was forced to resign in 1910, however, because of an office imbroglio involving his romantic fascination with an assistant’s daughter.

Somewhat encouraged by the earlier response to Sister Carrie in England and the novel’s republication in America, Dreiser returned to writing fiction. The reception accorded his second novel, Jennie Gerhardt (1911), the story of a woman who submits sexually to rich and powerful men to help her poverty-stricken family, lent him further encouragement. The first two volumes of a projected trilogy of novels based on the life of the American transportation magnate Charles T. Yerkes, The Financier (1912) and The Titan (1914), followed. Dreiser recorded his experiences on a trip to Europe in A Traveler at Forty (1913). In his next major novel, The ‘Genius’ (1915), he transformed his own life and numerous love affairs into a sprawling semiautobiographical chronicle that was censured by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. There ensued 10 years of sustained literary activity during which Dreiser produced a short-story collection, Free and Other Stories (1918); a book of sketches, Twelve Men (1919); philosophical essays, Hey-Rub-a-Dub-Dub (1920); a rhapsodic description of New York, The Color of A Great City (1923); works of drama, including Plays of the Natural and Supernatural (1916) and The Hand of the Potter (1918); and the autobiographical works A Hoosier Holiday (1916) and A Book About Myself (1922).

In 1925 Dreiser’s first novel in a decade, An American Tragedy, based on a celebrated murder case, was published. This book brought Dreiser a degree of critical and commercial success he had never before attained and would not thereafter equal. The book’s highly critical view of the American legal system also made him the adopted champion of social reformers. He became involved in a variety of causes and slackened his literary production.

Theodore Dreiser
  A visit to the Soviet Union in 1927 produced a skeptical critique of that communist society entitled Dreiser Looks at Russia (1928). His only other significant publications in the late 1920s were collections of stories and sketches written earlier, Chains (1927) and A Gallery of Women (1929), and an unsuccessful collection of poetry, Moods, Cadenced and Declaimed (1926).

The Great Depression of the 1930s ended Dreiser’s prosperity and intensified his commitment to social causes. He came to reconsider his opposition to communism and wrote the anticapitalist Tragic America (1931). His only important literary achievement in this decade was the autobiography of his childhood and teens, Dawn (1931), one of the most candid self-revelations by any major writer. In the middle and late ’30s his growing social consciousness and his interest in science converged to produce a vaguely mystical philosophy. In 1938 Dreiser moved from New York to Los Angeles with Helen Richardson, who had been his mistress since 1920. There he set about marketing the film rights to his earlier works. In 1942 he began belatedly to rewrite The Bulwark, a novel begun in 1912. The task was completed in 1944, the same year he married Helen. (Sara White Dreiser had died in 1942.)

One of his last acts was to join the American Communist Party. Helen helped him complete most of The Stoic, the long-postponed third volume of his Yerkes trilogy, in the weeks before his death. Both The Bulwark and The Stoic were published posthumously (1946 and 1947, respectively). A collection of Dreiser’s philosophical speculations, Notes on Life, appeared in 1974.

Dreiser’s first novel, Sister Carrie (1900), is a work of pivotal importance in American literature despite its inauspicious launching. It became a beacon to subsequent American writers whose allegiance was to the realistic treatment of any and all subject matter. Sister Carrie tells the story of a rudderless but pretty small-town girl who comes to the big city filled with vague ambitions. She is used by men and uses them in turn to become a successful Broadway actress while George Hurstwood, the married man who has run away with her, loses his grip on life and descends into beggary and suicide. Sister Carrie was the first masterpiece of the American naturalistic movement in its grittily factual presentation of the vagaries of urban life and in its ingenuous heroine, who goes unpunished for her transgressions against conventional sexual morality. The book’s strengths include a brooding but compassionate view of humanity, a memorable cast of characters, and a compelling narrative line. The emotional disintegration of Hurstwood is a much-praised triumph of psychological analysis.

Dreiser’s second novel, Jennie Gerhardt (1911), is a lesser achievement than Sister Carrie owing to its heroine’s comparative lack of credibility. Based on Dreiser’s remembrance of his beloved mother, Jennie emerges as a plaster saint with whom most modern readers find it difficult to empathize. The novel’s strengths include stinging characterizations of social snobs and narrow “religionists,” as well as a deep sympathy for the poor.

The Financier (1912) and The Titan (1914) are the first two novels of a trilogy dealing with the career of the late-19th century American financier and traction tycoon Charles T. Yerkes, who is cast in fictionalized form as Frank Cowperwood. As Cowperwood successfully plots monopolistic business coups first in Philadelphia and then in Chicago, the focus of the novels alternates between his amoral business dealings and his marital and other erotic relations.

Theodore Dreiser
  The Financier and The Titan are important examples of the business novel and represent probably the most meticulously researched and documented studies of high finance in first-rate fiction. Cowperwood, like all of Dreiser’s major characters, remains unfulfilled despite achieving most of his apparent wishes. The third novel in the trilogy, The Stoic (1947), is fatally weakened by Dreiser’s diminished interest in his protagonist.

The ‘Genius’ (1915) is artistically one of Dreiser’s least successful novels but is nonetheless indispensable to an understanding of his psychology. This book chronicles its autobiographical hero’s career as an artist and his unpredictable pursuit of the perfect woman as a source of ultimate fulfillment.

Dreiser’s longest novel, An American Tragedy (1925), is a complex and compassionate account of the life and death of a young antihero named Clyde Griffiths. The novel begins with Clyde’s blighted background, recounts his path to success, and culminates in his apprehension, trial, and execution for murder.

The book was called by one influential critic “the worst-written great novel in the world,” but its questionable grammar and style are transcended by its narrative power. Dreiser’s labyrinthine speculations on the extent of Clyde’s guilt do not blunt his searing indictment of materialism and the American dream of success.
Dreiser’s next-to-last novel, The Bulwark (1946), is the story of a Quaker father’s unavailing struggle to shield his children from the materialism of modern American life. More intellectually consistent than Dreiser’s earlier novels, this book also boasts some of his most polished prose.

Dreiser’s considerable stature, beyond his historic importance as a pioneer of unvarnished truth-telling in modern literature, is due almost entirely to his achievements as a novelist. His sprawling imagination and cumbersome style kept him from performing well in the smaller literary forms, and his nonfiction writing, especially his essays, are marred by intellectual inconsistency, a lack of objectivity, and even bitterness. But these latter traits are much less obtrusive in his novels, where his compassion and empathy for human striving make his best work moving and memorable. The long novel gave Dreiser the prime form through which to explore in depth the possibilities of 20th-century American life, with its material profusion and spiritual doubt. Dreiser’s characters struggle for self-realization in the face of society’s narrow and repressive moral conventions, and they often obtain material success and erotic gratification while a more enduring spiritual satisfaction eludes them. Despite Dreiser’s alleged deficiencies as a stylist, his novels succeed in their accumulation of realistic detail and in the power and integrity with which they delineate the tragic aspects of the American pursuit of worldly success. Sister Carrie and An American Tragedy are certainly enduring works of literature that display a deep understanding of the American experience around the turn of the century, with its expansive desires and pervasive disillusionments.

Lawrence E. Hussman

Encyclopædia Britannica

see also: Theodore Dreiser
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
George Eliot: "Middlemarch"

Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life is a novel by English author Eliot George , first published in eight instalments (volumes) during 1871–2. The novel is set in the fictitious Midlands town of Middlemarch during 1829–32, and it comprises several distinct (though intersecting) stories and a large cast of characters. Significant themes include the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism, self-interest, religion, hypocrisy, political reform, and education.

Although containing comical elements, Middlemarch is a work of realism that refers to many historical events: the 1832 Reform Act, the beginnings of the railways, the death of King George IV, and the succession of his brother, the Duke of Clarence (the future King William IV). In addition, the work incorporates contemporary medical science and examines the deeply reactionary mindset found within a settled community facing the prospect of unwelcome change.

Eliot began writing the two pieces that would eventually form Middlemarch during the years 1869–70 and completed the novel in 1871. Although the first reviews were mixed, it is now widely regarded as her best work and one of the greatest novels written in English.


Composition and publication

Middlemarch originates in two unfinished pieces that Eliot worked on during the years 1869 and 1870: the novel "Middlemarch"[a] (which focused on the character of Lydgate) and the long story "Miss Brooke" (which focused on the character of Dorothea). The former piece is first mentioned in her journal on 1 January 1869 as one of the tasks for the coming year. In August she began writing, but progress ceased in the following month amidst a lack of confidence about it and distraction caused by the illness of George Henry Lewes's son Thornie, who was dying of tuberculosis. (Eliot had been living with Lewes since 1854 as part of an open marriage.) Following Thornie's death on 19 October 1869, all work on the novel stopped; it is uncertain at this point whether or not Eliot intended to revive it at a later date.
In December she writes of having begun another story, on a subject that she had considered "ever since I began to write fiction". By the end of the month she had written a hundred pages of this story and entitled it "Miss Brooke". Although a precise date is unknown, the process of incorporating material from "Middlemarch" into the story she had been working on was ongoing by March 1871. In the process of composition, Eliot compiled a notebook of hundreds of literary quotations including excerpts from poets, historians, playwrights, philosophers, and critics in eight different languages.

By May 1871, the growing length of the novel had become a concern to Eliot, as it threatened to exceed the three-volume format that was the norm in publishing. The issue was compounded by the fact that Eliot's most recent novel, Felix Holt (1866)—also set in the same pre-Reform Bill England—had not sold well. The publisher John Blackwood, who had made a loss on acquiring the English rights to that novel, was approached by Lewes in his role as Eliot's literary agent. He suggested that the novel be brought out in eight two-monthly parts, borrowing from the method of Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables.

Title page, first ed., Vol. 1, William Blackwood and Sons, 1871 (First volume of eight)
This was an alternative to the monthly issuing that had occurred for such longer works as David Copperfield and Vanity Fair, and it avoided the objections of Eliot herself to the cutting up of her novel into small parts.

Blackwood agreed to the venture, though he acknowledged "there will be complaints of a want of the continuous interest in the story" due to the independence of each volume. The eight books duly appeared throughout 1872, the last three instalments being issued monthly.

With the deaths of William Makepeace Thackeray and Charles Dickens (in 1863 and 1870, respectively), Eliot was "generally recognized as the greatest living English novelist" at the time of the novel's final publication.

Middlemarch is written as a third-person narrative, centering on the lives of the residents of Middlemarch, a fictitious Midlands town, from 1829 onwards — the years preceding the 1832 Reform Act. The narrative is variably considered to consist of three or four plots of unequal emphasis: the life of Dorothea Brooke; the career of Tertius Lydgate; the courtship of Mary Garth by Fred Vincy; and the disgrace of Bulstrode. The two main plots are those of Dorothea and Lydgate. Each plot happens concurrently, although Bulstrode's is centred in the later chapters.

Dorothea Brooke appears set for a comfortable and idle life as the wife of neighbouring landowner Sir James Chettam, but to the dismay of her sister Celia and her uncle Mr Brooke, she marries The Reverend Edward Casaubon. Expecting fulfilment by sharing in his intellectual life, Dorothea discovers his animosity towards her ambitions during an unhappy honeymoon in Rome. Realising his great project is doomed to failure, her feelings change to pity.
Dorothea forms a warm friendship with a young cousin of Casaubon's, Will Ladislaw, but her husband's antipathy towards him is clear and he is forbidden to visit. In poor health, Casaubon attempts to extract from Dorothea a promise that, should he die, she will "avoid doing what I should deprecate and apply yourself to do what I desire". He dies before she is able to reply, and she later learns of a provision to his will that, if she marries Ladislaw, she will lose her inheritance.

The young doctor Tertius Lydgate arrives in Middlemarch.

Dorothea Brooke and Will Ladislaw

Through his voluntary hospital work he meets the town's financier, Mr. Bulstrode, and through him Bulstrode's niece, the mayor's beautiful daughter Rosamond Vincy; Rosamond is attracted to Lydgate, particularly by what she believes to be his aristocratic connections. They marry, and in Lydgate's efforts to please Rosamond is soon deeply in debt and forced to seek help from Bulstrode. He is partly sustained through this by his friendship with Camden Farebrother.

Meanwhile, Rosamond's brother, Fred, is reluctantly destined for the Church. He is in love with his childhood sweetheart, Mary Garth, who will not accept him until he abandons the Church and settles on a more suitable career. At one time Fred had been bequeathed a considerable fortune by Mr Featherstone, but Featherstone later rescinded this will. However, Featherstone, on his deathbed, begs Mary to destroy this second will. Mary refuses and begs Featherstone to wait until the morning when a new legal will can be drawn up, but he dies before being able to. In debt, Fred is forced to take out a loan guaranteed by Mary's father, Caleb Garth. Then, when Fred cannot pay the loan, Caleb Garth's finances become compromised. This humiliation shocks Fred into reassessing his life, and he resolves to train as a land agent under the forgiving Caleb.

John Raffles, who knows of Bulstrode's shady past, appears in Middlemarch with the intent to blackmail him. In his youth, the church-going Bulstrode engaged in questionable financial dealings, and his fortune is founded on a marriage to a much older, wealthy widow. Bulstrode's terror of public exposure as a hypocrite leads him to hasten the death of the mortally-sick Raffles, though word has already spread. Bulstrode's disgrace engulfs Lydgate, as knowledge of the financier's loan to the doctor becomes known, and he is assumed to be complicit with Bulstrode. Only Dorothea and Farebrother maintain faith in him, but nonetheless Lydgate and Rosamund are encouraged by the general opprobrium to leave Middlemarch. The disgraced and reviled Bulstrode's only consolation is that his wife stands by him as he too faces exile.

The peculiar nature of Casaubon's will leads to suspicion that Ladislaw and Dorothea are lovers, creating an awkwardness between the two. Ladislaw is secretly in love with Dorothea, but keeps that to himself, having no desire to involve her in scandal or to cause her disinheritance. He remains in Middlemarch, working as a newspaper editor for Mr Brooke; when Brooke's election campaign collapses, he decides to leave the town and visits Dorothea to make his farewell. But Dorothea has also fallen in love with Ladislaw, whom she had previously seen only as her husband's unfortunate relative. However, the peculiar nature of Casaubon's will led her to begin to see him in a new light. Renouncing Casaubon's fortune, she shocks her family again by announcing that she will marry Ladislaw. At the same time, Fred, who has been successful in his career, marries Mary.

The "Finale" details the eventual fortunes of the main characters. Fred and Mary marry and live contently with their three sons. Lydgate operates a practice outside of Middlemarch but never finds fulfilment and dies aged fifty; after he dies, Rosamond marries a wealthy physician. Ladislaw engages in public reform and Dorothea proves to be contented as a wife and mother; their son inherits Arthur Brooke's estate.

Dorothea Brooke — Is an intelligent, wealthy woman with great aspirations. Dorothea avoids displaying her wealth and embarks upon projects such as redesigning cottages for her uncle's tenants. She marries the elderly Reverend Edward Casaubon, with the idealistic idea of helping him with his research project, The Key to All Mythologies. However, the marriage was a mistake, as Casaubon does not take her seriously and resents her youth, enthusiasm, and energy. Her requests to assist him makes it more difficult for him to conceal that his research is years out of date. Because of Casaubon's coldness during their honeymoon, Dorothea becomes friends with his relative, Will Ladislaw, Some years after Casaubon's death she falls in love with Will and marries him.
Tertius Lydgate — An idealistic, talented, but naïve young doctor, but though of good birth he is relatively poor. Lydgate hopes to make great advancements in medicine through his research. However, he ends up in an unhappy marriage to Rosamond Vincy. His attempts to show that he is not answerable to any man fails and he eventually has to leave town. He ends up sacrificing all of his high ideals in order to please his wife.
Rev. Edward Casaubon — A pedantic, selfish, elderly clergyman who is obsessed with his scholarly research. Because of this his marriage to Dorothea is loveless. His unfinished book The Key to All Mythologies is intended as a monument to the tradition of Christian syncretism. However, his research is out of date because he does not read German. He is aware of this but will not admit this to anyone.
Mary Garth — The practical, plain, and kind daughter of Caleb and Susan Garth, she works as Mr. Featherstone's nurse.
Mary Garth and Fred Vincy
She and Fred Vincy were childhood sweethearts, but she refuses to allow him to woo her until he shows himself willing and able to live seriously, practically, and sincerely.
Arthur Brooke — The often befuddled and none-too-clever uncle of Dorothea and Celia Brooke. He has a reputation as the worst landlord in the county, but stands for parliament on a Reform platform.
Celia Brooke — Dorothea's younger sister is a great beauty. She is more sensual than Dorothea and does not share her sister's idealism and asceticism, and is only too happy to marry Sir James Chettam, when Dorothea rejects him.
Sir James Chettam — A neighbouring landowner, Sir James is in love with Dorothea and helps her with her plans to improve conditions for the tenants. When she marries Casaubon, he marries Celia Brooke.

Rosamond Vincy — Is vain, beautiful, and shallow, Rosamond has a high opinion of her own charms and a low opinion of Middlemarch society. She marries Tertius Lydgate because she believes that he will raise her social standing and keep her comfortable. When her husband encounters financial difficulties, she thwarts his efforts to economise, seeing such sacrifices as beneath her and insulting. She is unable to bear the idea of losing status in Middlemarch society.
Fred Vincy — Rosamond's brother. He has loved Mary Garth from childhood. His family hopes that he will advance his class standing by becoming a clergyman, but he knows that Mary will not marry him if he does so. Brought up expecting an inheritance from his uncle Mr Featherstone, he is spendthrift. He later changes because of his love for Mary, and finds, by studying under Mary's father, a profession through which he gains Mary's respect.
Will Ladislaw — A young cousin of Mr Casaubon, he has no property because his grandmother married a poor Polish musician and was disinherited. He is a man of great verve, idealism and talent but of no fixed profession. He comes to love Dorothea, but cannot marry her without her losing Mr Casaubon's property.

Humphrey Cadwallader and Eleanor Cadwallader — Neighbours of the Brookes. Mr. Cadwallader is a Rector. Mrs. Cadwallader is a pragmatic and talkative woman who comments on local affairs with wry cynicism. She disapproves of Dorothea's marriage and Mr. Brooke's parliamentary endeavours.
Walter Vincy and Lucy Vincy — A respectable manufacturing family. They wish their children to advance socially, and are disappointed by both Rosamond's and Fred's marriages. Mr. Vincy's sister is married to Nicholas Bulstrode. Mrs. Vincy was an innkeeper's daughter and her sister was the second wife of Mr. Featherstone.
Caleb Garth — Mary Garth's father. He is a kind, honest, and generous businessman who is a surveyor and land agent involved in farm management. He is fond of Fred and eventually takes him under his wing.
Camden Farebrother — A poor but clever vicar and amateur naturalist. He is a friend of Lydgate and Fred Vincy, and loves Mary Garth. His position improves when Dorothea appoints him to a living after Casaubon's death.
Nicholas Bulstrode — Wealthy banker married to Mr. Vincy's sister, Harriet. He is a pious Methodist who tries to impose his beliefs in Middlemarch society; however, he also has a sordid past which he is desperate to hide. His religion favours his personal desires, and is devoid of sympathy for others.

Peter Featherstone — Old landlord of Stone Court, a self-made man who married Caleb Garth's sister and later took Mrs. Vincy's sister as his second wife when his first wife died.
Jane Waule — A widow and Peter Featherstone's sister; has a son, John.
Mr. Hawley — Foul-mouthed businessman and enemy of Bulstrode.
Mr. Mawmsey — Grocer.
Dr. Sprague — Middlemarch doctor.
Mr. Tyke — Clergyman favoured by Bulstrode.
Rigg Featherstone — Featherstone's illegitimate son who appears at the reading of Featherstone's will and is given his fortune instead of Fred. He is also related to John Raffles, who comes into town to visit Rigg but instead reveals Bulstrode's past. His appearance in the novel is crucial to the plot.
John Raffles — Raffles is a braggart and a bully, a humorous scoundrel in the tradition of Sir John Falstaff, and an alcoholic. But unlike Shakespeare's fat knight, Raffles is a genuinely evil man. He holds the key to Bulstrode's dark past and Lydgate's future.

Historical novel
The action of Middlemarch takes place "between September 1829 and May 1832" or forty years prior to its publication during 1871–2, a gap in time not so pronounced for it to be regularly labelled as a historical novel; by comparison, Walter Scott's Waverley (1814)—often regarded as the first major historical novel—takes place some sixty years before its publication. Eliot had previously written a more obviously historical novel in Romola (1862–63), set in fifteenth-century Florence. Critics Kathleen Blake and Michael York Mason opine that there has been insufficient attention given to Middlemarch "as a historical novel that evokes the past in relation to the present". Critic Rosemary Ashton notes that the lack of attention to this aspect of the novel might indicate its merits in this regard: "[Middlemarch] is that very rare thing, a successful historical novel. In fact, it is so successful that we scarcely think of it in terms of that subgenre of fiction". For its contemporary readership, the present "was the passage of the Second Reform Act in 1867"; the agitation for the Reform Act of 1832 and its turbulent passage through the two Houses of Parliament, which provide the basic structure of the novel, would have been considered the past. Although irregularly categorised as a historical novel, Middlemarch‍'​s attention to historical detail has been recurrently noticed by critics; in his 1873 review, Henry James recognised that Eliot's "purpose was to be a generous rural historian". Elsewhere, Eliot has been described as adopting "the role of imaginative historian, even scientific investigator in Middlemarch, and her narrator, as conscious "of the historiographical questions involved in writing a social and political history of provincial life"; this narrator compares the novel to "a work of the ancient Greek historian Herodotus", who is often described as "The Father of History".

Rosamond Vincy and Tertius Lydgate

A Study of Provincial Life

Eliot's novel is set in the fictional town of Middlemarch, North Loamshire, which is probably based on Coventry, in the county of Warwickshire, where she had lived prior to moving to London. Like Coventry, Middlemarch is described as being a silk-ribbon manufacturing town.

The subtitle of the novel—"A Study of Provincial Life"—has been viewed as significant, with one critic viewing the unity of Middlemarch as being achieved through "the fusion of the two senses of 'provincial'": that is on the one hand the geographical, meaning "all parts of the country except the capital"; and on the other hand, a person who is "unsophisticated" or "narrow-minded". Carolyn Steedman considers Eliot's emphasis on provincialism in Middlemarch in relation to Matthew Arnold's discussion of social class in England in his series of essays Culture and Anarchy, published in 1869, around the time Eliot began working on the stories which would become Middlemarch. In that series, Arnold classifies British society in terms of the Barbarians (aristocrats and landed gentry), Philistines (urban middle class) and Populace (the working class), and Steedman suggests that Middlemarch "is a portrait of Philistine Provincialism". It is worth noting that Eliot went to London, unlike her heroine Dorothea, where she achieved fame way beyond most women of her time, and certainly more than Dorothea who remained in the provinces. Eliot was rejected by her family once she had established her common-law relationship with Lewes, and "their profound disapproval prevented her ever going home again" and she did not visit Coventry during her last visit to the Midlands in 1855.

The "Woman Question"
Central to Middlemarch is the idea that Dorothea Brooke cannot hope to achieve the heroic stature of a figure like Saint Theresa, because Eliot's heroine lives at the wrong time: "amidst the conditions of an imperfect social state, in which great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion". Antigone, a figure from Greek mythology best known from Sophocles' play Antigone, is given in the "Finale" as a further example of a heroic woman.

Literary critic Kathleen Blake notes that George Eliot emphasises Saint Theresa's "very concrete accomplishment, the reform of a religious order", rather than the fact that she was a Christian mystic. A frequent criticism by feminist critics has been that Dorothea is not only less heroic than Saint Theresa and Antigone, but also George Eliot herself; in response, both Ruth Yeazell and Kathleen Blake chide these critics for "expecting literary pictures of a strong woman succeeding in a period [around 1830] that did not make them likely in life".

Eliot has also been criticized more widely for ending the novel with Dorothea marrying a man, Will Ladislaw, so clearly her inferior. The author Henry James describes Ladislaw as a dilettante and feels that he "has not the concentrated fervour essential in the man chosen by so nobly strenuous a heroine".

Marriage is one of the major themes in Middlemarch as, according to critic Francis George Steiner, "both principle plots [those of Dorothea and Lydgate] are case studies of unsuccessful marriage". Within this account is the suggestion that the lives of Dorothea and Lydgate are unfilled because of these "disastrous marriages".

This is arguably more the case for Lydgate than for Dorothea, who obtains a second chance through her eventual marriage to Will Ladislaw; however, a favourable interpretation of this marriage is dependent upon the character of Ladislaw himself, whom numerous critics have viewed as Dorothea's inferior. In addition to these marriages there is the "meaningless and blissful" marriage of Dorothea's sister Celia Brooke to Sir James Chettam and, more significantly, Fred Vincy's courting of Mary Garth; in this latter story, Mary Garth will not accept Fred until he abandons the Church and settles on a more suitable career. In this regard, Fred resembles Henry Fielding's character Tom Jones, both characters being moulded into a good husband by the love they give to and receive from a woman.

Dorothea is a Saint Theresa, born in the wrong century, in provincial Middlemarch, who mistakes in her idealistic ardor, "a poor dry mummified pedant […] as a sort of angel of vocation".

Middlemarch is, in part, a Bildungsroman—a literary genre focusing on the psychological or moral growth of the protagonist—in which Dorothea "blindly gropes forward, making mistakes in her sometimes foolish, often egotistical, but also admirably idealistic attempt to find a role" or vocation, with which to fulfil her nature. Lydgate is equally mistaken in his choice of marriage partner, because his idea for a perfect wife is someone "who can sing and play the piano and provide a soft cushion for her husband to rest after work". He therefore marries Rosamond Vincy, "the woman in the novel who most contrasts with Dorothea", with the result that he "deteriorates from ardent researcher to fashionable doctor in London".
Critical reception
Contemporary reviews

The Examiner, The Spectator and Athenaeum reviewed each of the eight books that comprise Middlemarch as they were published from December 1871 to December 1872; such reviews hence speculated as to the eventual direction of the plot and responded accordingly. Contemporary response to the novel was mixed. Writing as it was being published, the Spectator‍‍'​‍s reviewer R. H. Hutton criticised the work for what he perceived as its melancholic quality.

Athenaeum, reviewing after its 'serialisation', found the work overwrought and thought that it would have benefited from hastier composition. Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine‍‍'​‍s reviewer W. L. Collins noted the work's most forceful impression to be its ability make the reader sympathise with the characters. Edith Simcox of Academy offered high praises, hailing the work as a landmark event in fiction owing to the originality of its form; she rated it first amongst Eliot's oeuvre, which meant it "has scarcely a superior and very few equals in the whole wide range of English fiction".

"What do I think of ‘Middlemarch’?" What do I think of glory – except that in a few instances this "mortal has already put on immortality." George Eliot was one. The mysteries of human nature surpass the "mysteries of redemption," for the infinite we only suppose, while we see the finite.

Emily Dickinson, Letter to her cousins Louise and Fannie Norcross

  The author Henry James offered a mixed opinion on Middlemarch, opining that it is "at once one of the strongest and one of the weakest of English novels".
His greatest criticism ("the only eminent failure in the book") was towards the character of Ladislaw, who he felt to be an insubstantial hero-figure against that of Lydgate. The scenes between Lydgate and Rosamund he especially praised, on account of their psychological depth—he doubted whether there were any scenes "more powerfully real […] [or] intelligent" in all English fiction. Thérèse Bentzon, writing for the Revue des deux Mondes, was highly critical of Middlemarch. Although finding merit in certain scenes and qualities, Bentzon faulted the structure of the novel, describing it as being "made up of a succession of unconnected chapters, following each other at random […] the final effect is one of an incoherence which nothing can justify". In her view, Eliot's prioritisation of "observation rather than imagination […] inexorable analysis rather than sensibility, passion or fantasy" means that she should not be held amongst the first ranks of novelists.

In spite of the divided contemporary response, Middlemarch gained immediate admirers; in 1873, the poet Emily Dickinson expressed high praise for the novel, and it was admired by Friedrich Nietzsche for its exposure of the fear of social realities that lie beneath any conception of society.

In separate centuries, Florence Nightingale and Kate Millett both remarked on the eventual subordination of Dorothea's own dreams to those of her admirer, Ladislaw. However, in the "Finale" George Eliot herself acknowledges the regrettable waste of Dorothea's potential, blaming social conditions.


The immediate success of Middlemarch may have been proportioned rather to the author's reputation than to its intrinsic merits. ... [the novel] seems to fall short of the great masterpieces which imply a closer contact with the world of realities and less preoccupation with certain speculative doctrines.

—Leslie Stephen, George Eliot (1902)


Later responses
In the first half of the twentieth century, Middlemarch continued to provoke contrasting responses; while her father Leslie Stephen dismissed the novel in 1902, Virginia Woolf described the novel in 1919 as "the magnificent book that, with all its imperfections, is one of the few English novels written for grown-up people". However, Woolf was "virtually unique among the modernists in her unstinting praise for Middlemarch, and the novel also remained overlooked by the reading public of the time. F. R. Leavis's The Great Tradition (1948) is regarded as having "rediscovered" the novel, describing it in the following terms:

The necessary part of great intellectual powers in such a success as Middlemarch is obvious […] the sheer informedness about society, its mechanisms, the ways in which people of different classes live […] a novelist whose genius manifests itself in a profound analysis of the individual.

Leavis' appraisal of it has been hailed as the beginning of the critical consensus that still exists towards the novel, in which it is recognised not only as Eliot's finest work but as one of the greatest novels in English. V. S. Pritchett, in The Living Novel, two years earlier, in 1946 had written,

No Victorian novel approaches Middlemarch in its width of reference, its intellectual power, or the imperturbable spaciousness of its narrative […] I doubt if any Victorian novelist has as much to teach the modern novelists as George Eliot […] No writer has ever represented the ambiguities of moral choice so fully".

In the twenty-first century, the novel continues to be held in high regard. Novelists Martin Amis and Julian Barnes have both described it as probably the greatest novel in the English language, and today Middlemarch is frequently taught in university courses.

In 2013, the then British Education Secretary Michael Gove made reference to Middlemarch in a speech, suggesting its superiority to Stephenie Meyer's vampire novel Twilight. Gove's comments led to debate concerning the teaching of Middlemarch in Britain, including the question of when novels like Middlemarch ought to be read, and the role of canonical texts in teaching. The novel has remained a favourite with readers and appears highly in rankings of reader preferences: in 2003 it was listed at number 27 on the BBC's The Big Read, and in 2007 it was number ten in "The 10 Greatest Books of All Time", based on a ballots of 125 selected writers.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  George Eliot 

"Silas Marner"
  Western Literature

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Mann Heinrich

Heinrich Mann, (born March 27, 1871, Lübeck, Ger.—died March 12, 1950, Santa Monica, Calif., U.S.), German novelist and essayist, a socially committed writer whose best-known works are attacks on the authoritarian social structure of German society under Emperor William II.


Heinrich Mann
  Mann, the elder brother of the novelist Thomas Mann, entered publishing, but, after the death (1891) of their father, a prosperous grain merchant, he became financially independent and lived in Berlin, spending long periods abroad, particularly in France. His early novels portray the decadence of high society (Im Schlaraffenland [1900; In the Land of Cockaigne]), and his later books deal with the greed for wealth, position, and power in William’s Germany. Mann’s merciless portrait of a tyrannical provincial schoolmaster, Professor Unrat (1905; Small Town Tyrant), became widely known through its film version Der blaue Engel (1928; The Blue Angel). His Kaiserreich trilogy—consisting of Die Armen (1917; The Poor); Der Untertan (1918; The Patrioteer); and Der Kopf (1925; The Chief)—carries even further his indictment of the social types produced by the authoritarian state. These novels were accompanied by essays attacking the arrogance of authority and the subservience of the subjects. A lighter work of this period is Die kleine Stadt (1909; The Little Town). After 1918 Mann became a prominent spokesman for democracy and published volumes of political essays, Macht und Mensch (1919; “Might and Man”) and Geist und Tat (1931; “Spirit and Act”). He was forced into exile in 1933 when the Nazis came to power, and he spent several years in France before immigrating to the United States. His novel Henri Quatre (two parts, 1935 and 1938) represents his ideal of the humane use of power.

Encyclopædia Britannica

see also: Heinrich Mann
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Morgenstern Christian

Christian Morgenstern, (born May 6, 1871, Munich, Ger.—died March 31, 1914, Meran, South Tirol, Austria-Hungary [now Merano, Italy]), German poet and humorist whose work ranged from the mystical and personally lyrical to nonsense verse.


Christian Morgenstern
  Morgenstern had studied law at the universities of Breslau and Berlin when in 1893 he was diagnosed as having pulmonary tuberculosis, from which he ultimately died. He left school to travel and lived for a time in Norway, where he translated Henrik Ibsen’s verse dramas with the collaboration of the author and also translated plays by such other Scandinavian playwrights as B.M. Bjørnson, Knut Hamsun, and August Strindberg. Morgenstern removed to Switzerland for his health, marrying Margarete Gosebruch there in 1908, and from 1910 lived in the South Tirol. Morgenstern’s serious poetry, written first under the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche, includes In Phantas Schloss (1895; “In Phanta’s Palace”), in which cosmic, mythological, and philosophical concepts are playfully combined; Ich und die Welt (1898; “I and the World”); Ein Sommer (1900; “One Summer”), which was written in Norway and celebrates physical beauty; and Einkehr (1910; “Introspection”) and Wir fanden einen Pfad (1914; “We Found a Path”), poems written under the influence of Buddhism and the anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner. Morgenstern’s international reputation came from his nonsense verse, in which he invented words, distorted meanings of common words by putting them into strange contexts, and dislocated sentence structure, but always with a rational, satiric point. Volumes of nonsense verse include Galgenlieder (1905; “Gallows Songs”); Palmström (1910), named for an absurd character; and three volumes published posthumously: Palma Kunkel (1916), Der Gingganz (1919), and Die Schallmühle (1928; “The Noise Mill”), all collected in Alle Galgenlieder (1932).

Encyclopædia Britannica

Gallows Songs

Morgenstern's best known works are the Galgenlieder (Gallows Songs, 1905), eight of which were used in a song cycle by Jan Koetsier for soprano and tuba, five in a song cycle by Siegfried Strohbach for male choir a cappella. This volume of humorous verses was followed by Palmström in 1910. Published posthumously were the important companion volumes Palma Kunkel in 1916, Der Gingganz in 1919, and Alle Galgenlieder in 1932. In German these works have gone through dozens of different editions and reprints and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. English translations include:

- The Gallows Songs. Christian Morgenstern's Galgenlieder, translated by Max Knight (University of California Press, 1964).
- Gallows Songs, translated by W.D. Snodgrass and Lore Segal (Michigan Press, 1967).
- Songs from the Gallows: Galgenlieder, translated by Walter Arndt (Yale University Press, 1993).
- Lullabies, Lyrics and Gallows Songs, translated by Anthea Bell with illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger (North South Books, 1995).

A number of these poems were translated into English by Jerome Lettvin with explanations of Morgensterns wordplay methods and their relationship to Lewis Carroll's methods. These were published in a journal called The Fat Abbot in the Fall Winter 1962 edition, along with an essay illuminating subtle characteristics of the originals.


To get this research undertook
I bought a needle and the BOOK,

and with the BOOK an old and hairy
faintly starving dromedary.

N.A.M., to help this thesis,
gave, on loan, a standard Croesus.

When the Croesus, missal-guided
went to Heaven's gate and tried it,

Peter spoke - "The Gospel proves
a camel through a needle moves

Sooner than we may admit
a Rich man." (Christ, J., opus cit).

Testing to confirm the Word,
I loosed our camel, hunger-spurred,

and motivated by a lure
of buns behind the aperture,

The subject, in a single try,
squeezed grunting through the needle's eye;

a graceless act. The camel crammed
and Croesus muttered, "I'll be damned."


One night, a werewolf, having dined,
left his wife to clean the cave
and visited a scholar's grave
asking, "How am I declined?"

Whatever way the case was pressed
the ghost could not decline his guest,
but told the wolf (who'd been well-bred
and crossed his paws before the dead),

"The Iswolf, so we may commence,
the Waswolf, simple past in tense,
the Beenwolf, perfect; so construed,
the Werewolf is subjunctive mood."

The werewolf's teeth with thanks were bright,
but, mitigating his delight,
there rose the thought, how could one be
hypostasized contingency?

The ghost observed that few could live,
if werewolves were indicative;
whereat his guest perceived the role
of Individual in the Whole.

Condition contrary to fact,
a single werewolf Being lacked
but in his conjugation showed
the full existence, a la mode.


When Anthony addressed the fishes
a simple shark became religious,
adored the Host, denounced the Aryan,
and turned, save Fridays, vegetarian.

Seeds and weeds he bolted whole
with faith as firm as amphibole,
till vitals issued, overloaded,
lapsed Pelagian and exploded.

So littoral this revelation
fish schools died of inspiration.
The Saint, recalled to bless the lowly,
said only: "Holy! Holy! Holy!"


The Moonsheep cropped the Furthest Clearing,
Awaiting patiently the Shearing.
The Moonsheep.

The Moonsheep munched some grass and then
Turned leisurely back to its Pen.
The Moonsheep.

Asleep, the Moonsheep dreamt he was
The Universal Final Cause.
The Moonsheep.

Morning came. The sheep was dead.
His Corpse was white, the Sun was red.
The Moonsheep.


When I sit, I sitting, tend
to sit a seat with sense so fine
that I can feel my sit-soul blend
insensibly with seat's design.

Seeking no support the while
it assesses stools for style,
leaving what the structure means
for blind behinds of Philistines.

Zwei Trichter wandeln durch die Nacht.
Durch ihres Rumpfs verengten Schacht
fließt weißes Mondlicht
still und heiter
auf ihren
u. s.

  Western Literature

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Ostrovsky: "The Forest"

The Forest (Les, Лес) is a play by Ostrovski Alexander  written in 1870 and first published in the January 1871 issue of Otechestvennye Zapiski magazine. It was premiered in Saint Petersburg’s Alexandrinsky Theatre on November 1, 1871, as a benefit for actor Fyodor Burdin. In Moscow's Maly Theatre it was performed on November 26, 1871.

Ostrovsky started writing The Forest in the last days of summer 1870 in his Shchelykovo estate. "The end of it is near but I don't think it would be worthwhile to try and have it staged this season," he informed his friend Fyodor Burdin in a letter on November 4. Initially The Forest was conceived as a family comedy but gradually the satirical line in it strengthened with Nestchastlivtsev, originally a marginal character, becoming the main hero.
Like many previous Ostrovsky's plays, this one has been tried out at informal recitals in friends' literary parties. The first of such readings took place in Mikhail Ostrovsky's home. Inspired by it success and following his brother's advice, soon after its publication Ostrovsky nominated the play for the prestigious Uvarov's Prize but hasn't got it. The jury's decision has been criticized by Pavel Annenkov who wrote: "Alexander Nikolayevich has been refused the Prize. Such was the decision of those walking suit-cases stuffed with quasi-scientific nonsense who sit in the [Academy's] Department of the Russian literature, having... not a drop of taste or poetical feeling; not a trace of understanding what mastery is in literature," he wrote to Mikhail Ostrovsky.
On May 14, 1871 the play got the approval of the Theatre and Literature committee. It was premiered in Saint Petersburg's Alexandrinsky Theatre as a benefit for Fyodor Burdin who played Neschastlivtsev. It also featured Maria Tchitau (as Gurmyzhskaya), Yelena Struyskaya (Aksyusha) and Platon Pronsky (Milonov). Ostrovsky was not in a position to contreol the process personally, tried to do it by means of letters addressed to Burdin. After the premier the latter informed the author that the "play has been received very warmly" but that his personal absence did a lot of harm to the quality of the production." In reality things were quite different.
The play flopped dismally, due, first and foremost to the inadequacy of Burdin who, according to one reviewer, "had not a modicum of a tragic actor in him." Tchitau's performance (as Gurmyzhskaya) was found wanting too, in fact, only two actors, Zubrov (as Schastlivtsev) and Vasilyev the 2nd (Vosmibratov) have been mentioned by reviewers in the positive light.

In Moscow The Forest was performed on November 26, 1871, as a benefit for Sofia Akimova (who played Ulita). It also featured Nadezhda Medvedeva (Gurmyzhskaya), Glikeria Fedotova (Aksyusha), Ivan Samarin (Milonov), Vasily Zhivokini (Bodayev), Prov Sadovsky (Vosmibratov, Neschastlivstev), Sergey Shumsky (Schastivtsev).

Critics of the conservative camp reviewed the play negatively. Viktor Burenin saw The Forest as having no relevance whatsoever, arguing that the play was lacking serious content and was built upon the accidental sets of events and characters.

Nikolai Strakhov, a Slavophile critic, had similar reservations, seeing the play as having no social significance and criticizing it's humour as "Shchedrinian" and a "low-brow" type.

The play, on the other hand, was greeted warmly by the democratic press. It was praised by Nikolai Nekrasov (who called it 'brilliant') and Ivan Turgenev: in a personal letter the latter told Ostrovsky that he thought the character of 'a tragic' [actor Neschastlivtsev] to be one of his very best.

Several years later Aleksey Pleshcheev, reviewing the Moscow Artist Club's production of The Forest expressed indignation at the fact that such masterpiece has been ignored by the 'official' Russian theatre. Positively ecstatic about the play was the actor Prov Sadovsky who made a personal request for his son Mikhail to feature in the role of the gymnasium student Bulanov which he did at the Moscow premier on November 26, 1871.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

see also: Aleksandr Ostrovsky
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Proust Marcel

Marcel Proust, (born July 10, 1871, Auteuil, near Paris, France—died Nov. 18, 1922, Paris), French novelist, author of À la recherche du temps perdu (1913–27; In Search of Lost Time), a seven-volume novel based on Proust’s life told psychologically and allegorically.


Marcel Proust
  Life and works
Marcel was the son of Adrien Proust, an eminent physician of provincial French Catholic descent, and his wife, Jeanne, née Weil, of a wealthy Jewish family. After a first attack in 1880, he suffered from asthma throughout his life. His childhood holidays were spent at Illiers and Auteuil (which together became the Combray of his novel) or at seaside resorts in Normandy with his maternal grandmother. At the Lycée Condorcet (1882–89) he wrote for class magazines, fell in love with a little girl named Marie de Benardaky in the Champs-Élysées, made friends whose mothers were society hostesses, and was influenced by his philosophy master Alphonse Darlu. He enjoyed the discipline and comradeship of military service at Orléans (1889–90) and studied at the School of Political Sciences, taking licences in law (1893) and in literature (1895). During these student days his thought was influenced by the philosophers Henri Bergson (his cousin by marriage) and Paul Desjardins and by the historian Albert Sorel. Meanwhile, via the bourgeois salons of Madames Straus, Arman de Caillavet, Aubernon, and Madeleine Lemaire, he became an observant habitué of the most exclusive drawing rooms of the nobility. In 1896 he published Les Plaisirs et les jours (Pleasures and Days), a collection of short stories at once precious and profound, most of which had appeared during 1892–93 in the magazines Le Banquet and La Revue Blanche. From 1895 to 1899 he wrote Jean Santeuil, an autobiographical novel that, though unfinished and ill-constructed, showed awakening genius and foreshadowed À la recherche.
A gradual disengagement from social life coincided with growing ill health and with his active involvement in the Dreyfus affair of 1897–99, when French politics and society were split by the movement to liberate the Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus, unjustly imprisoned on Devil’s Island as a spy. Proust helped to organize petitions and assisted Dreyfus’s lawyer Labori, courageously defying the risk of social ostracism. (Although Proust was not, in fact, ostracized, the experience helped to crystallize his disillusionment with aristocratic society, which became visible in his novel.) Proust’s discovery of John Ruskin’s art criticism in 1899 caused him to abandon Jean Santeuil and to seek a new revelation in the beauty of nature and in Gothic architecture, considered as symbols of man confronted with eternity: “Suddenly,” he wrote, “the universe regained in my eyes an immeasurable value.” On this quest he visited Venice (with his mother in May 1900) and the churches of France and translated Ruskin’s Bible of Amiens and Sesame and Lilies, with prefaces in which the note of his mature prose is first heard.

The death of Proust’s father in 1903 and of his mother in 1905 left him grief stricken and alone but financially independent and free to attempt his great novel. At least one early version was written in 1905–06. Another, begun in 1907, was laid aside in October 1908. This had itself been interrupted by a series of brilliant parodies—of Balzac, Flaubert, Renan, Saint-Simon, and others of Proust’s favourite French authors—called “L’Affaire Lemoine” (published in Le Figaro), through which he endeavoured to purge his style of extraneous influences. Then, realizing the need to establish the philosophical basis that his novel had hitherto lacked, he wrote the essay “Contre Sainte-Beuve” (published 1954), attacking the French critic’s view of literature as a pastime of the cultivated intelligence and putting forward his own, in which the artist’s task is to release from the buried world of unconscious memory the ever-living reality to which habit makes us blind. In January 1909 occurred the real-life incident of an involuntary revival of a childhood memory through the taste of tea and a rusk biscuit (which in his novel became madeleine cake); in May the characters of his novel invaded his essay; and, in July of this crucial year, he began À la recherche du temps perdu. He thought of marrying “a very young and delightful girl” whom he met at Cabourg, a seaside resort in Normandy that became the Balbec of his novel, where he spent summer holidays from 1907 to 1914; but, instead, he retired from the world to write his novel, finishing the first draft in September 1912. The first volume, Du côté de chez Swann (Swann’s Way), was refused by the best-selling publishers Fasquelle and Ollendorff and even by the intellectual La Nouvelle Revue Française, under the direction of the novelist André Gide, but was finally issued at the author’s expense in November 1913 by the progressive young publisher Bernard Grasset and met with some success. Proust then planned only two further volumes, the premature appearance of which was fortunately thwarted by his anguish at the flight and death of his secretary Alfred Agostinelli and by the outbreak of World War I.

Marcel Proust
During the war he revised the remainder of his novel, enriching and deepening its feeling, texture, and construction, increasing the realistic and satirical elements, and tripling its length. In this majestic process he transformed a work that in its earlier state was still below the level of his highest powers into one of the greatest achievements of the modern novel. In March 1914, instigated by the repentant Gide, La Nouvelle Revue Française offered to take over his novel, but Proust now rejected them. Further negotiations in May–September 1916 were successful, and in June 1919 À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (Within a Budding Grove) was published simultaneously with a reprint of Swann and with Pastiches et mélanges, a miscellaneous volume containing “L’Affaire Lemoine” and the Ruskin prefaces. In December 1919, through Léon Daudet’s recommendation, À l’ombre received the Prix Goncourt, and Proust suddenly became world famous. Three more installments appeared in his lifetime, with the benefit of his final revision, comprising Le Côté de Guermantes (1920–21; The Guermantes Way) and Sodome et Gomorrhe (1921–22; Sodom and Gomorrah). He died in Paris of pneumonia, succumbing to a weakness of the lungs that many had mistaken for a form of hypochondria and struggling to the last with the revision of La Prisonnière (The Captive). The last three parts of À la recherche were published posthumously, in an advanced but not final stage of revision: La Prisonnière (1923), Albertine disparue (1925; The Fugitive), and Le Temps retrouvé (1927; Time Regained).

Proust’s enormous correspondence (although thousands of letters have appeared in print, many await publication), remarkable for its communication of his living presence, as well as for its elegance and nobility of style and thought, is also highly significant as the raw material from which a great artist built his fictional world. For À la recherche du temps perdu is the story of Proust’s own life, told as an allegorical search for truth.


Marcel Proust
At first, the only childhood memory available to the middle-aged narrator is the evening of a visit from the family friend, Swann, when the child forced his mother to give him the goodnight kiss that she had refused. But, through the accidental tasting of tea and a madeleine cake, the narrator retrieves from his unconscious memory the landscape and people of his boyhood holidays in the village of Combray. In an ominous digression on love and jealousy, the reader learns of the unhappy passion of Swann (a Jewish dilettante received in high society) for the courtesan Odette, whom he had met in the bourgeois salon of the Verdurins during the years before the narrator’s birth. As an adolescent the narrator falls in love with Gilberte (the daughter of Swann and Odette) in the Champs-Élysées. During a seaside holiday at Balbec, he meets the handsome young nobleman Saint-Loup, Saint-Loup’s strange uncle the Baron de Charlus, and a band of young girls led by Albertine. He falls in love with the Duchesse de Guermantes but, after an autumnal visit to Saint-Loup’s garrison-town Doncières, is cured when he meets her in society. As he travels through the Guermantes’s world, its apparent poetry and intelligence is dispersed and its real vanity and sterility revealed. Charlus is discovered to be homosexual, pursuing the elderly tailor Jupien and the young violinist Morel, and the vices of Sodom and Gomorrah henceforth proliferate through the novel. On a second visit to Balbec the narrator suspects Albertine of loving women, carries her back to Paris, and keeps her captive. He witnesses the tragic betrayal of Charlus by the Verdurins and Morel; his own jealous passion is only intensified by the flight and death of Albertine. When he attains oblivion of his love, time is lost; beauty and meaning have faded from all he ever pursued and won; and he renounces the book he has always hoped to write. A long absence in a sanatorium is interrupted by a wartime visit to Paris, bombarded like Pompeii or Sodom from the skies. Charlus, disintegrated by his vice, is seen in Jupien’s infernal brothel, and Saint-Loup, married to Gilberte and turned homosexual, dies heroically in battle. After the war, at the Princesse de Guermantes’s afternoon reception, the narrator becomes aware, through a series of incidents of unconscious memory, that all the beauty he has experienced in the past is eternally alive. Time is regained, and he sets to work, racing against death, to write the very novel the reader has just experienced.
Proust’s novel has a circular construction and must be considered in the light of the revelation with which it ends. The author reinstates the extratemporal values of time regained, his subject being salvation.

Marcel Proust
  Other patterns of redemption are shown in counterpoint to the main theme: the narrator’s parents are saved by their natural goodness, great artists (the novelist Bergotte, the painter Elstir, the composer Vinteuil) through the vision of their art, Swann through suffering in love, and even Charlus through the Lear-like grandeur of his fall. Proust’s novel is, ultimately, both optimistic and set in the context of human religious experience. “I realized that the materials of my work consisted of my own past,” says the narrator at the moment of time regained. An important quality in the understanding of À la recherche lies in its meaning for Proust himself as the allegorical story of his own life, from which its events, places, and characters are taken. In his quest for time lost, he invented nothing but altered everything, selecting, fusing, and transmuting the facts so that their underlying unity and universal significance should be revealed, working inward to himself and outward to every aspect of the human condition. À la recherche is comparable in this respect not only with other major novels but also with such creative and symbolic autobiographies as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Dichtung und Wahrheit and the Viscount de Chateaubriand’s Mémoires d’outretombe, both of which influenced Proust.
Proust projected his own homosexuality upon his characters, treating this, as well as snobbism, vanity, and cruelty, as a major symbol of original sin. His insight into women and the love of men for women (which he himself experienced for the many female originals of his heroines) remained unimpaired, and he is among the greatest novelists in the fields of both heterosexual and homosexual love.

The entire climate of the 20th-century novel was affected by À la recherche du temps perdu, which is one of the supreme achievements of modern fiction. Taking as raw material the author’s past life, À la recherche is ostensibly about the irrecoverability of time lost, about the forfeiture of innocence through experience, the emptiness of love and friendship, the vanity of human endeavour, and the triumph of sin and despair; but Proust’s conclusion is that the life of every day is supremely important, full of moral joy and beauty, which, though they may be lost through faults inherent in human nature, are indestructible and recoverable. Proust’s style is one of the most original in all literature and is unique in its union of speed and protraction, precision and iridescence, force and enchantment, classicism and symbolism.

George Duncan Painter

Encyclopædia Britannica
see also: Marcel Proust
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Valery Paul

Paul Valéry, in full Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry (born Oct. 30, 1871, Sète, Fr.—died July 20, 1945, Paris), French poet, essayist, and critic. His greatest poem is considered La Jeune Parque (1917; “The Young Fate”), which was followed by Album de vers anciens 1890–1900 (1920) and Charmes ou poèmes (1922), containing “Le Cimetière marin” (“The Graveyard by the Sea”). He later wrote a large number of essays and occasional papers on literary topics and took a great interest in scientific discoveries and in political problems.


Paul Valéry
  Valéry was born at a small Mediterranean port where his father was a customs officer. He was educated at Montpellier, where he studied law and cultivated his interest in poetry and architecture. He was a diffident youth, and his few friends at this time were Gustave Fourment, who became a professor of philosophy, and the writers Pierre Louÿs and André Gide. His early literary idols were Edgar Allan Poe, J.-K. Huysmans, and Stéphane Mallarmé, to whom he was introduced in 1891 and whose artistic circle he came to frequent regularly.
Valéry wrote many poems between 1888 and 1891, a few of which were published in magazines of the Symbolist movement and favourably reviewed, but artistic frustration and despair over an unrequited love affair prompted him in 1892 to renounce all emotional preoccupations and to dedicate himself to the “Idol of the Intellect.” He disposed of most of his books, and from 1894 until the end of his life he would rise at dawn each day, meditate for several hours on scientific method, consciousness, and the nature of language, and record his thoughts and aphorisms in his notebooks, which were later to be published as the famous Cahiers. Valéry’s new-found ideals were Leonardo da Vinci (“Introduction à la méthode de Léonard de Vinci” [1895]), his paradigm of the Universal Man, and his own creation, “Monsieur Teste” (Mr. Head), an almost disembodied intellect who knows but two values, the possible and the impossible (“La Soirée avec Monsieur Teste” [1896]).

From 1897 to 1900, Valéry worked as a civil servant in the French War Office; from 1900—the year of his marriage to a close friend of Mallarmé’s daughter—until 1922, he was private secretary to Edouard Lebey, director of the French press association.

Valéry’s main daily duty was to read out the chief events from the newspapers and the Paris Stock Exchange to the director, and he thereby became a well-informed commentator on current affairs.

Pressed by Gide in 1912 to revise some of his early writings for publication, Valéry began work on what was intended to be a valedictory poem to the collection La Jeune Parque, centred on the awakening of consciousness in the youngest of the three ancient “Parques,” or “Fates,” which traditionally symbolized the three stages of human life. He became so engrossed in the technical problems it presented that he took five years to complete the long symbolic work. When finally published in 1917, it brought him immediate fame. His reputation as the most outstanding French poet of his time was quickly consolidated with Album de vers anciens, 1890–1900 and Charmes ou poèmes, a collection that includes his famous meditation on death in the cemetery at Sète (where he now lies buried).

Valéry’s most idiosyncratic works are all variations on the theme of the tension within the human consciousness between the desire for contemplation and the will to action: in “Introduction à la méthode de Léonard de Vinci” and repeatedly in his notebooks, he contrasts the infinite potentialities of mind with the inevitable imperfections of action; in La Jeune Parque, he shows a young Fate by the sea at dawn, uncertain whether to remain a serene immortal or to choose the pains and pleasures of human life; in “Le Cimetière marin” he broods by the sea at noon on Being and Not-Being, on the living and the dead; his many letters regularly complain of the conflict in his own life between the dictates of public life and his desire for solitude.


Paul Valéry
  Valéry wrote no more poetry of consequence after 1922, but his place as a major writer was secure. Though his fame was first established, and still largely rests, on his poetic achievements, and though he devoted considerable attention to the problems of writing poetry, he consistently claimed that poetry in itself did not much interest him, and that literary composition, like mathematics and the sciences, served him only as mirrors to the workings of his own mind.

His essays and prefaces, more often than not written quickly to order, were the fruits of his regular meditations and reveal his interest in a remarkably wide variety of subjects: writers and writing, philosophers and language, painters, dancing, architecture, and the fine arts are all reexamined with refreshing vigour. He retained an abiding interest in education, politics, and cultural values, and two remarkably prescient youthful essays on the Sino-Japanese conflict (“Le Yalou,” written 1895) and the threat of German aggression (“La Conquête allemande,” 1897) reveal the same anxious awareness of the forces menacing Western civilization as his very last public lecture on Voltaire (delivered in 1944).

After the death of Lebey in 1922, the formerly retiring Valéry became a prominent public personage. His erudition, courtesy, and dazzling conversational gifts made him a much sought-after society figure, and he was as much at ease in the company of the foremost international writers and scientists of the day as with generals and heads of state.

Valéry was greatly interested in the state of modern physics and mathematics, and through extensive reading and, often, personal acquaintances he became well versed in the work of such scientists and mathematicians as Maurice, duc de Broglie, Bernhard Riemann, Michael Faraday, Albert Einstein, and James Clerk Maxwell. He made lecture tours all over Europe and delivered speeches on a number of national occasions. He was elected to the Académie Française in 1925, was made administrative head of the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen at Nice in 1933, and became professor of poetry, a chair created especially for him, at the Collège de France in 1937. On his death, he was given a full state funeral.

Though he made much of his preoccupation with intellectual problems and incurred the particular displeasure of the Surrealists for his scathing attacks on poetic inspiration, there is ample evidence in Valéry’s work that he remained all his life keenly responsive to the pleasures of the senses: the voluptuousness of his female nude studies (“Luxurieuse au bain,” “La Dormeuse,” and the picture of Eve in “Ébauche d’un serpent”), the warmth with which he writes of the lovers’ embrace (“Le Cimetière marin,” “Fragments du Narcisse,” “La Fausse Morte”) or of the sun, sky, and sea, which he had loved since his Mediterranean childhood—all show that he must not be too closely identified with his arid Monsieur Teste. The distinctive feature of his prose and poetry, even when he is dealing with the most abstract of subjects, is sensuousness; his prose is aphoristic and graceful, his poetry rich in natural images and allusions, always classical in form, and, at its best, as sinewy, subtly rhythmical, and melodious as the very best verse of the great dramatist Jean Racine or the Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine.

Robert Donald Davidson Gibson

Encyclopædia Britannica

see also: Paul Valéry
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Zola: "Les Rougon-Macquart"
Les Rougon-Macquart is the collective title given to a cycle of twenty novels by French writer Zola Emile . Subtitled Histoire naturelle et sociale d'une famille sous le Second Empire (Natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire), it follows the lives of the members of the two titular branches of a fictional family living during the Second French Empire (1852–1870) and is one of the most prominent works of the French naturalism literary movement.
Early in his life, Zola discovered the work of Honoré de Balzac and his famous cycle La Comédie humaine. This had a profound impact on Zola, who decided to write his own, unique cycle. However, in 1869, he explained in Différences entre Balzac et moi, why he would not make the same kind of book as Balzac:
In one word, his work wants to be the mirror of the contemporary society. My work, mine, will be something else entirely. The scope will be narrower. I don't want to describe the contemporary society, but a single family, showing how the race is modified by the environment. (...) My big task is to be strictly naturalist, strictly physiologist.

As a naturalist writer, Zola was highly interested by science and especially the problem of heredity and evolution. He notably read and mentioned the work of the doctor Prosper Lucas, Claude Bernard, and Charles Darwin as references for his own work. This led him to think that people are heavily influenced by heredity and their environment.
He intended to prove this by showing how these two factors could influence the members of a family.

In 1871, in the preface of La Fortune des Rougon, he explained his intent:

The great characteristic of the Rougon-Macquarts, the group or family which I propose to study, is their ravenous appetite, the great outburst of our age which rushes upon enjoyment. Physiologically the Rougon-Macquarts represent the slow succession of accidents pertaining to the nerves or the blood, which befall a race after the first organic lesion, and, according to environment, determine in each individual member of the race those feelings, desires and passions—briefly, all the natural and instinctive manifestations peculiar to humanity—whose outcome assumes the conventional name of virtue or vice.

Zola, with the book of the Rougon-Macquart under his arm, salutes the statue of Balzac.
In a letter to his publisher, Zola stated his goals for the Rougon-Macquart: "1° To study in a family the questions of blood and environments. [...] 2° To study the whole Second Empire, from the coup d'état to nowadays."

Genealogy and heredity
Since his first goal was to show how heredity can affect the lives of descendants, Zola started working on the Rougon-Macquart by drawing the family tree for the Rougon-Macquart. Though it was to be modified many times over the years, with some members appearing or disappearing, the original tree shows how Zola planned the whole cycle before writing the first book.

The tree provides the name and date of birth of each member, along with certain properties of his heredity and his life:

-The prepotency : The prepotency is a term used by the doctor Lucas. It is part of a biological theory that tries to determine how heredity transmits traits through generations. Zola apply this theory to the mental state of his protagonists and uses terms from the work of the doctor Lucas: Election du père (Prepotency of the father, meaning the father is the main influence on the child), Election de la mère (Prepotency of the mother), Mélange soudure (Fusion of the 2 parents) or Innéité (No influence from either parent).

-Physical likeness: Whether the member looks like his mother or his father.

-Biographical information: his job and important facts of his life. Additionally, for members still living at the end of Le Docteur Pascal, their place of living at the end of the cycle may be included. Otherwise, the date of death is included.

The study of the Second Empire
To study the Second Empire, Zola thought of each novel as a novel about a specific aspect of the life in his time. For example, in the list he made in 1872, he intended to make a "political novel", a "novel about the defeat", "a scientific novel", and a "novel about the war in Italy". The first three ideas led to Son Excellence Eugène Rougon, La Débâcle, and Le Docteur Pascal, respectively. However, the last idea would never be made into a book. Indeed, at the beginning, Zola didn't know exactly how many books he would write. In the first letter to his publisher, he mentioned "ten episodes". In 1872, his list included seventeen novels, but some of them would never be made (such as the one on the war in Italy), whereas others were to be added later on. In 1877, in the preface of L'Assommoir, he stated that he was going to write "about twenty novels". In the end, he settled for twenty books.

Almost all of the main protagonists for each novel are introduced in the first book, La Fortune des Rougon. The last novel in the cycle, Le Docteur Pascal, contains a lengthy chapter that ties up loose ends from the other novels. In between, there is no "best sequence" in which to read the novels in the cycle, as they are not in chronological order and indeed are impossible to arrange into such an order. Although some of the novels in the cycle are direct sequels to one another, many of them follow on directly from the last chapters of La Fortune des Rougon, and there is a great deal of chronological overlap between the books; there are numerous recurring characters and several of them make "guest" appearances in novels centered on other members of the family.


Note by Zola (1872) mentioning 17 ideas of book. Some would never be made, others were to be added later on.
The Rougon-Macquart
The Rougon-Macquart family begins with Adelaïde Fouque. Born in 1768 in the fictional Provençal town Plassans to middle-class parents (members of the French "bourgeoisie"), she has a slight intellectual disability. She marries Rougon, and gives birth to a son, Pierre Rougon. However, she also has a lover, the smuggler Macquart, with whom she has two children: Ursule and Antoine Macquart. This means that the family is split in three branches:

- The first, legitimate, one is the Rougons branch. They are the most successful of the children. Most of them live in the upper classes (such as Eugene Rougon who becomes a minister) or/and have a good education (such as Pascal, the doctor which is the main protagonist of Le Docteur Pascal).

- The second branch is the low-born Macquarts. They are blue-collar workers (L'Assommoir), farmers (La Terre), or soldiers (La Débâcle).

- The third branch is the Mourets (the name of Ursule Macquart's husband). They are a mix of the others two. They are middle-class people and tend to live more balanced lives than the others.

Because Zola believed that everyone is driven by their heredity, Adelaide's children show signs of their mother's original deficiency. For the Rougon, this manifests as a drive for power, money, and excess in life. For the Macquarts, who live in a difficult environment, it is manifested by alcoholism (L'Assommoir), prostitution (Nana), and homicide (La Bête humaine). Even the Mourets are marked to a certain degree; in La Faute de l'Abbé Mouret, the priest Serge Mouret has to fight his desire for a young woman


┌─ Eugène Rougon ┌─ Maxime Saccard ──── Charles Saccard
│ 1811–? │ 1840–1873 1857–1873
│ │
├─ Pascal Rougon --------├─ Clotilde Saccard ── A son
│ 1813–1873 │ 1847–? 1874–?
│ │
┌─ Pierre Rougon ────┼─ Aristide Saccard───┴─ Victor Saccard
│ 1787–1870 │ 1815–? 1853–?
│ │
│ ├─ Sidonie Touché ────── Angélique Marie
│ │ 1818–? 1851–1869
│ │
│ └─ Marthe Mouret ───┐ ┌─ Octave Mouret ──────────── A son and a daughter
│ 1819–1864 │ │ 1840–?
│ │ │
│ ├─┼─ Serge Mouret
│ │ │ 1841–?
│ │ │
│ ┌─ François Mouret ─┘ └─ Désirée Mouret
│ │ 1817–1864 1844–?
│ │
Adélaïde Fouque ─┼─ Ursule Macquart ──┼─ Hélène Rambeau ────── Jeanne Grandjean
1768–1873 │ 1791–1839 │ 1824–? 1842–1855
│ │
│ └─ Silvère Mouret
│ 1834–1851

│ ┌─ Lisa Quenu ─────── Pauline Quenu
│ │ 1827–1863 1852–?
│ │
│ │ ┌─ Claude Lantier ─────────── Jacques-Louis Lantier
│ │ │ 1842–1876 1864–1876
│ │ │
└─ Antoine Macquart ─┼─ Gervaise Coupeau ─┼─ Jacques Lantier
1789–1873 │ 1829–1869 │ 1844–1870
│ │
│ ├─ Étienne Lantier ────────── A daughter
│ │ 1846–?
│ │
│ └─ Anna Coupeau ─── Louis Coupeau
│ 1852–1870 1867–1870

└─ Jean Macquart ─────── Two children

View of France under Napoleon III
As a naturalist, Zola also gave detailed descriptions of urban and rural settings, and different types of businesses. Le Ventre de Paris, for example, has a detailed description of the central market in Paris at the time.

As a political reflection of life under Napoleon III, the novel La Conquête de Plassans looks at how an ambitious priest infiltrates a small Provence town one family at a time, starting with the Rougons. La Débâcle takes place during the 1870 Franco-Prussian War and depicts Napoleon III's downfall. Son Excellence also looks at political life, and Pot-Bouille and Au Bonheur des Dames look at middle class life in Paris.

Note that Zola wrote the novels after the fall of Napoleon III.

List of the novels
In an "Introduction" of his last novel, Le Docteur Pascal, Zola gave a recommended reading order, although it is not required, as each novel stands on its own.
Publication order

La Fortune des Rougon (1871)
La Curée (1871–2)
Le Ventre de Paris (1873)
La Conquête de Plassans (1874)
La Faute de l'Abbé Mouret (1875)
Son Excellence Eugène Rougon (1876)
L'Assommoir (1877)
Une Page d'amour (1878)
Nana (1880)
Pot-Bouille (1882)
Au Bonheur des Dames (1883)
La Joie de vivre (1884)
Germinal (1885)
L'Œuvre (1886)
La Terre (1887)
Le Rêve (1888)
La Bête humaine (1890)
L'Argent (1891)
La Débâcle (1892)
Le Docteur Pascal (1893)
  A recommended reading order

La Fortune des Rougon (1871)
Son Excellence Eugène Rougon (1876)
La Curée (1871-2)
L'Argent (1891)
Le Rêve (1888)
La Conquête de Plassans (1874)
Pot-Bouille (1882)
Au Bonheur des Dames (1883)
La Faute de l'Abbé Mouret (1875)
Une Page d'amour (1878)
Le Ventre de Paris (1873)
La Joie de vivre (1884)
L'Assommoir (1877)
L'Œuvre (1886)
La Bête humaine (1890)
Germinal (1885)
Nana (1880)
La Terre (1887)
La Débâcle (1892)
Le Docteur Pascal (1893)
Emile Zola

J'accuse" (I accuse)
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