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Titan: A Romance v. 1   By: (1763-1825)

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First Page:

[Illustration]

TITAN:

A ROMANCE.

FROM THE GERMAN OF

JEAN PAUL FRIEDRICH RICHTER.

TRANSLATED BY

CHARLES T. BROOKS.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

[Illustration]

BOSTON: TICKNOR AND FIELDS. 1864.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by

TICKNOR AND FIELDS,

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

THIRD EDITION.

UNIVERSITY PRESS: WELCH, BIGELOW, AND COMPANY, CAMBRIDGE.

TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

The "Titan" is Jean Paul's longest and the author meant it, and held it, to be his greatest and best romance; and his public (including Mr. Carlyle) seems, on the whole, to have sustained his opinion. He was ten years about it, and his other works, written in the interval, were preparatory and tributary to this.

As to the general meaning of the title there can hardly, on the whole, be any doubt. It does not refer, as the division into Jubilees and Cycles might, to be sure, suggest to one on first approaching it, to the titanic scale and scope of the work, but to the titanic violence against which it is aimed.

It seems, indeed, from a letter of the author's, that he thought at first of calling it "Anti Titan." The only question in regard to the application of the title seems to be, whether the champion of truth and justice against the moral Titans in this case was meant to be understood as represented by the hero of the story, with his friends, resisting the iniquity which moved earth and hell to ruin him, or whether the book itself is the Anti Titan, and an age of extravagance the Titan.

A French critic says of the "Titan":

"It is a poem, a romance; a psychological résumé , a satire, an elegy, a drama, a fantasy; having for theme and text the enigma of civilization in the eighteenth century.

"How is it to end, this civilization which exaggerates alike intellectual and industrial power at the expense of the life of the soul, wholly factitious, theatrical, intoxicating, consuming itself with pleasure, seeking everywhere new enjoyments, exploring all the secrets of nature, without being able to penetrate the first causes, the secrets of God, what will be the fate of these generations supersaturated with romances, dramas, journals, with science, ambition, with vehement aspirations after the unknown and impossible?...

"In augmenting the sum of its desires, will it augment the sum of its happiness? Is it not going to increase immensely its capacity of suffering?

"Will it not be the giant that scales heaven

"And that falls crushed to death?

"TITAN!"

In giving his romance the title of "Titan," says the same writer, "it is not Albano de Cesara the author has in view, but his antipode, Captain Roquairol, that romantic being, that insatiable lover of pleasure, that anticipated Byron, that scaler of heaven, who, after having piled mountain upon mountain to attain his object, ends in finding himself buried under the ruins....

"Even while at work upon 'Hesperus,' he had formed the resolution of placing a pure man, great and noble, by the side of a reprobate, and of surrounding them both with a multitude of beings corresponding to them. He wished to concentrate in a single work all the ideas of high philosophy which he had disseminated in his other creations, and to show them followed by their natural consequences. So strong a mind could not stop there: he resolved to show the absurdity of exaggeration, whether in good or in evil, in virtue or in vice.

"Hence those reproductions of the same types, those satellites gravitating around their respective planets; in fine, those parodies of the principal personages of the drama.

"By the side of the coldness and the vast plans of Don Gaspard de Cesara, we have the no less dangerous intrigues, though upon a less elevated scale, of the Minister von Froulay; by the side of the ventriloquist Uncle, the lying Roquairol; the Princess Isabelle is opposed to Linda de Romeiro, the aerial Liana to her physical counterpart, the Princess Idoine; the comic vulgarity of Dr... Continue reading book >>




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