des Americains du Nord
. Smart they are, as all the world knows; but then smartness is unhappily quite compatible with a “hard unintelligence.”
The Quinionian humour of Mr. Mark Twain
, so attractive to the Philistine of the more gay and light type both here and in America
, another French critic fixes upon as literature exactly expressing a people of this type, and of no higher.
“In spite of all its primary education,” he says, “America
is still, from an intellectual point of view, a very rude and primitive soil, only to be cultivated by violent methods.
These childish and half-savage minds are not moved except by very elementary narratives composed without art, in which burlesque and melodrama, vulgarity and eccentricity, are combined in strong doses.”
It may be said that Frenchmen, the present generation of Frenchmen at any rate, themselves take seriously, as of the family of Shakespeare
, and Goethe
, an author half genius, half charlatan, like M. Victor Hugo
They do so; but still they may judge, soundly and correctly enough, another nation's false literature which does not appeal to their weaknesses.
I am not blaming America
for falling a victim to Quinion, or to Murdstone either.
We fall a victim to Murdstone and Quinion ourselves,