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Bida has been exhibiting at the Place ing heard. We have been introduced this Vendôme three hundred drawings and winter to the “ Tempest” and the “Sardawater-colors, and has thus given us an napalus” of M. Duvernoy, two dramatic opportunity of forming a general impres. symphonies, broad in style and lofty in sion of the work of one of the greatest conception, and to the "Velléda" of M. artists of our time. No great historical Lefèvre, which, with less of grandeur, painting could fill the mind with a loftier has more of passion and of grace. The ideal than these illustrations of the Gos- works of Wagner have become classic pels, of Tobit, and of a few scenes of Ori- since the master's death, and are listened ental life. The drawing of the “Even to with devout and enthusiastic reverence. ing after the Battle of Rocroy” is a mag: Three orchestras, the Pasdeloup, the Co. nificent revival of the heroic period of lonne, and the Lamoureux, have given the seventeenth century ; the De Musset Wagner concerts; and M. Lamoureux's illustrations are an invaluable monument in particular, the best composed and best of social history between 1840 and 1850; directed of the three, showed rare intellithe illustrations to Molière form a most gence in the execution of the selections original and characteristic interpretation from " Lohengrin,' Parsifal," and the of the genius of the great comedian. Even “ Meistersinger.” the Museum of Decorative Art has had It may be hoped that before long Wagits picture-galleries, where you could see ner's operas will be brought out at one of M. Lepic's numerous and interesting the Parisian theatres. But it is more water-color drawings, his northern sail- difficult for a musician to find an opening ors and Egyptian views; and the strange in the theatre than in the concert room, and powerful paintings by M. Tissot, of and especially at the Grand Opéra, which, the “ Parable of the Prodigal Son,” trans. in consequence of the excessive luxury lated into the form of a modern English of its arrangements, and the deplorable novel; and the charming designs for character of its public composed chiefly Gobelin tapestry, by M. Galland; and the of passing strangers, and of fashionable drawings of M. Urbain Bourgeois, worthy subscribers who know and care nothing of the great masters of the sixteenth cen- about art — is absolutely incapable of tury. All these, however, are but the progress or initiative. We have neverchanging accessories of the Museum, the theless had two musical works worthy of basis of which is a collection of objects remark this winter“ Lakmé" at the of industrial art, from early antiquity Opéra Comique, and “ Henry VIII." at down to our own day, and which is in the Grand Opéra. “ Lakmé" is the work tended as a sort of South Kensington of Léo Delibes, the author of “Sylvia Museum for Paris. To obtain funds for and of " Coppelia,” the two most poetic the construction of a permanent building, ballets ever given at the Opéra. If be and for adding to the collections, a lottery lacks force, he writes at least in a most of fourteen millions has been opened. It harmonious, abundant, and individual is a grievous thing that a work of national vein. The present experiment seems 10 importance like this should have to be show that his gift is rather for symphony dependent on any such means; but it was than for the drama. The flow of musical certainly high time that this country, with phrase in “ Lakmé” is somewhat scanty, its flourishing art industries in pottery, but he never fails of his accustomed goldsmith's work, textile fabrics, and up- grace; his melodies are admirably adapted holstery, should possess, in addition to to the Oriental cast of the opera; and Cluny — wbich is an historical museum bis heroine is incarnated in Mlle. Van- a real student's museum methodically zandt, whose Lakmé must always be her arranged for technical purposes.

most perfect creation. Henry VIII.”

is a work of higher range. The bitterest Next after painting, the art for which criticism on the Grand Opéra is to be the public most care is music. The fash- found in the simple fact that a composer ion of Sunday concerts goes on spreading, of the merit — some would say the genius and M. Pasdeloup has undertaken to con- - of Saint Saëns, should have bad to wait tinue his, after Easter, in the luxurious till he was over fifty before any work of Oriental premises of the Eden Theatre, his was acted there. His “Samson and where every evening there is an Italian Dalilah,” an admirable piece, had been ballet of extraordinary magnificence and acted at Weimar and at Hamburg, bis perfection. Our young musicians – those “ Etienne Marcel” had been given at of them at any rate who have given us Lyons, his “ Timbre d'Argent” at the symphonies cannot complain of not be- Gaîté; but before he could appear at the

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Opéra he had to consent to work at a the search after violent and bizarre effects libretto not of his own choosing, which he fails to hide the absence of imaginative heartily disliked, and which in fact is alto- power. But we must not be too exacting; gether absurd. Nothing could be less and if during these last months no piece musical either in its action or its person of the first order has appeared, there has ages — Catharine of Aragon resigned and at least been a praiseworthy effort to prosad, Henry a brutal and sensual tyrant, and duce works which have a literary value Anne Boleyn an ambitious oman, who quite independent of theatrical success. marries the king while she loves another And yet the most successful of these have

The whole of the last act turns not been altogether those of the highest upon Catharine's possession of a com- literary value. M. J. Claretie's “ M. le promising letter, which she burns in order Ministre owes its popularity, first to the to save the rival who has dethroned her; subject itself, which reproduces a scandalwhile Henry, in order to make her give ous story afloat some years ago about a up the letter, tries to excite her jeal- minister well known for his weakness of ousy by making in her presence the most character; and then to the assistance of passionate declarations to Anne. The M. A. Dumas, who has thrown into it whole thing is at once odious and gro- something of his own keen and cynical tesque. Nevertheless, even out of this humor and dramatic skill; but what gives unmanageable play, Saint Saëns has suc- the piece its real interest is the attempt, ceeded in getting some fine musical in sometimes very fortunate, to portray the spirations. A love duet in the second political manners and customs of the act, the whole of the third act, which third republic. This is certainly a fine contains the divorce, and a quartette in subject for comedy; but M. Claretie is the fourth act, are really beautiful. With- too amiable to be a satirist. The “ Père out altogether abandoning the formalities de Martial” of M. A. Delpit is the work of the French opera, -the traditional of a really gifted dramatic writer, who division into chorus, recitative, duet, trio, has more of the true histrionic temperaand quartette, Saint Saëns has bor- ment than any of his contemporaries. rowed several happy modifications from His plot is always interesting, and his the Wagnerian opera; he gives a great situations never fail to strike. Unfortumelodic importance to the orchestra, as. nately he is a poor psychologist; his char. signs to the recitative a considerable place acters are superficial, and he is wanting in the musical development of the.piece, in moral feeling. He invites us to wit. characterizes the personages by means of ness the most disagreeable scenes — and “motives "repeated throughout the whole the most improbably disagreeable too – work, and mingles the recitative with apparently without a misgiving. Admitarrested and developed portions of the ting, however, the good qualities and the melody, instead of sharply distinguishing achieved success of these writers, we the airs, the concerted pieces, and the may turn from them to other efforts, less recitatives. What is most remarkable in successful, but by no means less interestthe work of M. Saint Saëns is his orches. ing. I will not include among them, tral power and knowledge ; but he is not deserving as it may be, M. Vacquerie's merely a symphonist; be understands the versified drama of "Formosa,” in which treatment of the voice, and gives it tones Warwick the king.maker appears as one by turns tragical and tender. There is of the personages; it is one of the romuch talk of the institution, side by side mantic plays, concocted according to a with the Grand Opéra, of a popular opera, receipt of Victor Hugo's, and long gone which the Municipal Council would gladly out of fashion. On the other hand, subsidize, and which would aim, not at M. Richepin's “ La Glu,” in which we offering the most luxurious decorations watch the struggle of a Breton peasant and the most celebrated singers, and put. against the depraved but fascinating pariting a small number of plays on the staye sienne who has seduced her son, though at an enormous expense, but at securing it has some chilly scenes contains vigora good ensemble and a widely varied re. ously drawn characters and pathetic situ. pertory, so as to present in turn all forms ations, and is expressed in picturesque, of theatrical music, and thus carry on a and nervous language. M. Richepin las really educational work. But this lauda- more pith and Havor than most of our ble project is not yet realized.

young writers; but like the rest, he tries If the opera languishes, the theatre is to attract attention by wilful eccentricity. always pretty lively. Here, as in paint. He is the author of "Les Morts Bizarres' ing, sincerity and simplicity are rare, and (Dreyfous); and he has introduced into

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his “Chanson du Gueux "passages which more eloquent and profound than Schohave laid him open to judicial proceed. penhauer at his best, and equal in beauty ings. He ought to know that he has to the noblest passages of Hindoo philostalent enough to do without these misera- ophy. In addition, he is a man of the ble contrivances. If he would only con. finest literary taste; and his judgments tent himself with being true and human, on Vinet, Chateaubriand, Rousseau, and I am sure he is capable of giving us good Quinet, would not suffer in comparison and lasting work. In the “Mères Enne with the work of the most celebrated crit. mies” of M. Catulle Mendès, which sym-ics of our times; he is a lover of nature, bolizes the struggle between Poland and and, like George Sand or Fromentin, can Russia, and in the “ New World” of M. paint a landscape in a few words; he is, Villiers de l'Isle Adam, where the scene above all, a man of fine moral nature, is laid in America during the War of In- who speaks of duty with a vigor and ele. dependence, we find a courageous attempt vation which fortifies the soul. This jourto introduce lyric and epic elements into nal is not the outward story of a life, but the drama. Both works were imperfect; the inward record of a soul. Penetrating they betrayed the hand of the poet rather psychology, exquisite poetry, profound than that of the dramatist; but both con- philosophy, lofty morality, all unite to tained some scenes of great beauty. We make this a book unique of its kind – may say the same of M. Bergerat's “ Le one of those familiar friends and bedNom,” which failed to obtain at the Odéon fellow's which one reads and reads again, the success it deserved.

and keeps on the choicest shelf in one's We have thus had quite a series of library, between the “ Pensées” of Pascal interesting experiments, in which the at. and the “ Conversations of Goethe and tempt has been made to introduce the Eckermann." representation of the nobler passions, of The other literary event is the appear. a real human struggle and tragedy; but ance of the “Souvenirs d'Enfance et de we have none as yet which has command- Jeunesse,” of M. Renan (Lévy). This ed the homage of the public.

autobiography, which contains stories and

scenes of incomparable grace and charm, The great literary events of the last (the flax-grinder, Noémi, and the Semifew months have been the appearance of naire d'Issy), is at the same time of the two autobiographies, both of which must deepest interest as bearing on the moral rank among the masterpieces of the and intellectual history of M. Renan. It French language. The first, “ Fragments brings us down to the moment of his final d'un Journal intime,” by Amiel (Sandoz emancipation from Catholicism, and his et Thuilier), bas been a real revelation. abandonment of an ecclesiastical for a Its author was a professor in the Acad. scientific career. This turning point of emy of Geneva, where he was considered his intellectual and moral lise is given in tiresome, vapid, and obscure; he had its most minute details, and illustrated by published some volumes of poetry which letters written at the moment of the rupnobody cared to read; and now he bursts ture with his professors and friends of upon us, a thinker and writer of the bigh-St. Sulpice. One cannot but admire the est order. The infirmity which made his sincerity, the courage, the disinierestedlife so unproductive sprang from the ness of the young Breton, thus sacrificing very grandeur of his ideal and the breadth so many dear and sacred ties to the cali of his thought. The perfect, the entire, of what he believed to be the truth. It the absolute, – these he required in every- will be seen with surprise how like he was thing. Just as he has never married be then to what he is now. He had already cause he placed his ideal of marriage too acquired that harmonious, supple, and in. high, so he can rest in no philosophy, in tricate style, – that undulating thought, no conception of the universe, because it fold within fold, full of subile contradoes not appear to bim that any can be dictions, - that fundamental scepticism, true, none being adequate to the infinite. united with an indescribable metaphysical It is not scepticism, strictly speaking; mysticism. In one point, however, he has but it is a despair of thought, because he not remained the same. In the preface feels its powerlessness - a despair of life, to his moral and critical essays he wrote: because he has sounded its emptiness. “ I am proud of my pessimism; and if, "L'homme est un néant qui s'ignore," he while the times remain what they are, I says in his journal; and the reveries into felt it beginning to yield, I should inwhich he falls in his contemplation of the stantly look to see which fibre of my universe find utterance in expressions i heart had given way.” Now since 1857

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the times have gone on getting worse, and | dignant outcry against MM. Hachette for yet M. Renan says, at the end of his “ Rec- refusing to admit “ Une Vie” into the ollections: ” “ The century in which I have railway libraries. MM. Hachette were lived will probably not have been the more than justified. It rests with the greatest, but it will no doubt be held to libraries and literary public to form the have been the most entertaining of cen- police of literature, since men of talent do turies. In bidding adieu to life, I shall not blush to pander to the lowest instincts only have to thank the Source of all Good of the crowd, and the government finds for the delightful passage through reality itself powerless to stay the food of im. which it has been given me to accom- moral literature which is poisoning us. plish.” It will be seen that his tone has There is a blast of sensuality which changed a good deal in these twenty-four seems to spare no one, and to which the years. He has made up his mind to re- venerable and powerful Revue des Deux gard things and men with an indulgence Alondes itself succumbs. The novelist which looks rather like weakness. He who hesitates to depict dubious situations seems to have remained attached, in spite and irresistible passions is reckoned in. of himself, to his old theological views, sipid, prudish, and absurd; the action and to find no virtue or morality apart must be violent, breathless, agitating. from faith. In his latest work, as at the Neither M. Cherbuliez, with all the refineSeminary, he still suspects himself of ment and daintiness of his chiselled style, pride, and caluniniates himself in order 10 in his “Ferme de Choquard” (Hacheite), avoid it. Unlike Victor Hugo, whose nor M. Theuriet with his exquisite por. habit of tampering with the truih in order trayal of rustic lise, in liis “ Michel Verto enhance his own importance and the neuil” (Ollendorf), has escaped the contabrilliancy of the part he has played, has gion. The delicious smell of the meadow just been exposed by M. Biré in his which fills his volume of verse, “Le “Victor Hugo before 1830" (Gervais), Livre de la Payse,” has a very different M. Renan loves to represent himself as savor from that of the boudoir scents of frivolous, egotistic, weak, more polished some pages of “Michel Verneuil."

In than sincere, and so forth. We simply these sensation novels one has no time disbelieve him; and notwithstanding his either to study the characters or to anamoral scepticism, we shall continue to lyze the situations. If it were not for M. reverence him not only as an admirable Theuriet's fine descriptive talent and free writer, but as one of the noblest spirits of and individual style, the sudden catasour time.

trophes of his story would seem too startIn a few months we shall have in our lingly improbable. M. Glouvet has not hands other recollections of childhood and the charm of M. Theuriet; but he is a youth, which will show us the Lehrjahre vigorous observer, and in his “Famille of another of our great writers — Miche. Bourgeois be gives a very interesting let. It was an heroic childhood and picture of provincial manners. M. G. youth ; for it was in poverty and obscurity Ohnet may be classed with M. de Glouihat the little boy.printer formed his char- vet among those who, though they have acter and his genius. Nothing could be felt the realistic influence, do not seek more touching than the story of his trials, repulsive subjects. His talents have a or more pure and noble than the develop- certain affinity with those of M. Delpit. ment of his warm and tender heart. I Like him, he has the dramatic temperahave had the privilege of reading these ment, and his novels consist of a series of pages; they are truly edifying, and they scenes leading up to the catastrophe; but, make one love their author.

while he is inferior to M. Delpit in style, Of works of imagination there are few he is his superior in moral sensitiveness. which attract special attention. “ Une His “Maître des Forges” was a noble and Vie,” by Guy de Maupassant, who is affecting story. His “ Contesse Sarah," without question the most remarkable of which has just appeared, is less remark. the young novelists of the realistic school, able; the subject is less uncommon, and is undoubtedly the strongest. It is a pity the characters less interesting; but it is that his pictorial power and his perception not wanting in that passionate vehemence of character should be joined to a coarsely which is the characteristic note of M. material conception of life and a taste for Ohnet. M. Coppée for his part, is pre. voluptuous scenes and equivocal situa. eminent in literary style. His “Vingt tions which degrade his works to the rank Contes Nouveaux" will be read with of bad books. M. de Maupassant and lively pleasure by those who love simple some of the journalists have raised an in- and wholesome speech. This series of

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little scenes shows the touch of the poet, represents, in his “Criquette” (Lévy), a accustomed to work out a finished picture litile girl of the faubourgs of Paris, who within a narrow limit. What makes the becomes by the chance of life, first, a charm of these stories is the note of ten. figurante in a Théâtre de féeries; then derness one finds in each of them. I a convent boarder, where she receives the should compare M. Coppée to Bret Harte. most austere education; then an actress While Bret Harte shows us the divine in a provincial theatre; and finally an spark struck out from the heart of the ambulance-nurse in the army of Mans, in bardened criminals and depraved women 1871, where she takes the malady of who formed the population of the Far which she dies; and he makes his CriWest, M. Coppée presents the moral and quette an ideally touching figure. There pathetic aspects of Parisian life, even are many improbabilities in the working among the fallen and the vicious, and thus out of the plot, and the end is somewhat gives an ideal side to pictures the realisin melodramatic; but, independently of the of which is sometimes startling enough. exquisite character of the heroine, the

Finally, let us give honor where honor descriptions of the home of Rosita, an is due. M. Zola, the master of the real actress at the Gaîté, of provincial life at istic school, has given us a new novel, Beauvais, and of the house of the man" Au Bonheur des Dames” (Charpentier). ager of the theatre at Mans, are finished Having touched, in “Pot Bouille," the pictures in which a half-smile is always utmost limits of the obscene and the nau. softened by emotion, and the sharp note seous, be las found his way back to a of reality is joiued to a poetry which truer and more temperate realism. Not springs from the heart. It is, again, this that his new work shows us very elevated same mixture of reality, sensibility, and characters or very sensitive consciences; poetry which forms the merit of the chil. but they are at least tolerable ; there is dren's stories M. France has given us even one delicately drawn female type. under the title of " Le Petit Bonhomme.” But the interest of the novel is not here; M. France is a writer who will make his it consists, in the first place, in the repre: mark; he has not yet achieved the reputasentation of life in the great magasins de tion which his talents will command. He nouveautés of Paris, such as the Louvre has the gist which is of all gifts the rarest and the Bon Marché. Though descrip. amongst French authors freshness. tion too often degenerates into catalogue, If the taste for the horrible and the and becomes provokingly wearisome, M. immoral has made ravages among our Zola has applied his remarkable epic fac- novelists, what are we to say of the poets? ully to this trivial subject, and has lifted If there are some who, like M. Lemaître, it into positive grandeur by the display of in his “ Petites Orientales,” know how to the powerful organization, the vast pro- give a note of Parisian realism which duction and consumption, of modern remains refined and takes nothing from industry. On the other hand, M. Zola's the really exquisite poetry of his little book contains an interesting philosophic lyrics, there are also men of real talent, idea. We find a man like Mouret, the and of astonishing skill in versification, manager of the Magasin au Bonheur des who, like M. Rollinat in bis “ Névroses Dames a man absolutely selfish, and (Charpentier), have succeeded in revolt. caring for nothing but the success of bis ing the least fastidious readers. He work becoming a real benefactor of paints, alas ! a malady only too real, and humanity, and diffusing around him life, of which he himself is one of the first order, and prosperity. By his activity he victims – the malady of a generation improves himself and does good to oth- which no longer has any heart, and which, ers. Action, then, is the supreme duty having nothing left but senses, exhausts and the true good. This philosophy cer- them in abusing them, and ends by falling tainly represents but one side of the truth; into hysteria or insensibility. but it is interesting to see the high priest She is ill of neurosis, that great artiste of naturalism driven, as it were by force, Sarah Bernhardt, who finds even in her to introduce philosophic ideas into his marriage occasion of scandal and comrealistic portraiture of bourgeois life. tempt. He is a nevropath, that Polignac

The violence, the cynicism, and the who attempts to set fire to the house of sensualities of the realists, must inevita. the father who has deserted him. There bly bring about a reaction, and bere and is a whole collection of nevropaths in that there one can already ciscern the tokens curious series of types which we have just of its coming. M. L. Halévy, a man witnessed in the Monasterio case the thoroughly acquainted with Parisian life, old adventuress-and-brokeress mother;

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