previous next
[254] of Spanish literature as to make the literature itself the exponent of the peculiar culture and civilization of the Spanish people. Whether I have succeeded or no remains to be seen. But if I have, my book, I think, will be read by my countrymen, whose advance in a taste for reading on grave and thoughtful subjects increases so perceptibly that there is a plain difference since you were here.

To Mr. George T. Curtis he says the same thing in other words:—

As you read, please to bear in mind that my book is an attempt to make literary history useful, as general reading, to a people like the American, by connecting it with the history of civilization and manners in the country to which it relates. Whether I have succeeded is another question; but you will not judge me as I wish to be judged, unless you take this for what the Germans call your ‘stand-punct.’

A history of literature necessarily falls far short, in animation and in human interest, of a history of events, and it must consist, in great part, of a catalogue—more or less thematique, but essentially a chronological list—of books, accompanied by statements of dates and skeletons of contents. Mr. Ticknor, however, in pursuing his object of giving a living interest to his work, seized every opportunity for a sketch of national character and experience, or of individual lives, into which he infused variety and vivacity, as well as philosophic observation; and he enlivened his pages by translations, and by intelligible and attractive criticism.

The result is, that while it is a work of which one of the English writers who noticed it1 said, when it appeared, he believed there were not six men in Europe able to review it, and which, by universal consent, is a thorough and scholarly history, not likely to be superseded for the period it covers, it has actually proved so attractive to general readers, that several thousand copies have been sold in the United States, and it has been translated into three of the great languages of Europe.2 Among the reviews and notices of the book, which appeared on both sides of the Atlantic immediately after its publication, we find, therefore,

1 Shirley Brooks, in the ‘Morning Chronicle.’

2 Spanish, German and French.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George Ticknor (1)
George Ticknor Curtis (1)
Shirley Brooks (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: