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Platform Monologues   By: (1859-1946)

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PLATFORM MONOLOGUES

By

T. G. TUCKER

LITT.D. (CAMB.); HON. LITT.D. (DUBLIN) Professor of Classical Philology in the University of Melbourne

MELBOURNE THOMAS C. LOTHIAN 1914 PRINTED IN ENGLAND

Copyright. First Edition May, 1914.

PREFACE

The following monologues were given as public addresses, mostly to semi academical audiences, and no alteration has been made in their form. Their common object has been to plead the cause of literary study at a time when that study is being depreciated and discouraged. But along with the general plea must go some indication that literature can be studied as well as read. Hence some of the articles attempt what must always be a difficult task the crystallizing of the salient principles of literary judgment.

The present collection has been made because the publisher believes that a sufficiently large number of intelligent persons will be interested in reading it. On the whole that appears to be at least as good a reason as any other for printing a book.

The addresses on "The Supreme Literary Gift," "The Making of a Shakespeare," and "Literature and Life," have appeared previously as separate brochures. Those on "Two Successors of Tennyson" and "Hebraism and Hellenism" were printed in the Melbourne Argus at the time of their delivery, and are here reproduced by kind permission of that paper. The talk upon "The Future of Poetry" has not hitherto appeared in print.

Though circumstances have prevented any development of the powers and work of the two "Successors of Tennyson," there is nothing either in the criticism of those writers or in the principles applied thereto which seems to call for any modification at this date. For the rest, it is hoped that the lecture will be read in the light of the facts as they were at the time of its delivery.

CONTENTS

PAGE

PREFACE 5

THE SUPREME LITERARY GIFT 9

HEBRAISM AND HELLENISM 53

THE PRINCIPLES OF CRITICISM, APPLIED TO TWO SUCCESSORS OF TENNYSON 95

THE MAKING OF A SHAKESPEARE 147

LITERATURE AND LIFE 191

THE FUTURE OF POETRY 219

The Supreme Literary Gift

When we have been reading some transcendent passage in one of the world's masterpieces we experience that mental sensation which Longinus declares to be the test of true sublimity, to wit, our mind "undergoes a kind of proud elation and delight, as if it had itself begotten the thing we read." We are disposed by such literature very much as we are disposed by the Sistine Madonna or before the Aphrodite of Melos. Things like these exert a sort of overmastering power upon us. Our craving for perfection, for ideal beauty, is for once wholly gratified. Our spirit glows with an intense and complete satisfaction. It would build itself a tabernacle on the spot, for it recognizes that it is good to be there. We do not analyse, we do not criticize, we simply deliver over our souls to a proud elation and delight. Nay, at the moment when we are in the midst of such spontaneous and exquisite enjoyment, we should, in all likelihood, resent any attempt to make us realize exactly why this particular creation of art so fills up our souls down to the last cranny of satisfaction while another stops short of that supreme effect.

And yet, afterwards, when we are meditating upon this strange potency of a poem or a building or a statue, or when we are trying to communicate to others the feeling of its charm, do we not find ourselves importunately asking wherein lies the secret of great art? And, in the case of literature, we think it at such times no desecration of our delight to put a passage of Shakespeare or of Milton beside a passage of Homer, of Æschylus, or of Dante, an essay of Lamb beside a chapter of Heine, a lyric of Burns by one of Shelley, and to seek for some common measure of their excellence... Continue reading book >>




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