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emory he had ever known, and in genius and critical skill surpassed all the scholars of his time. In alluding to his last publication, he said he had written his Life of Bentley with uncommon talent, because in doing it he had exhibited and defended his own character, and in all he said showed that he had high admiration and regard for him. Of Lord Byron, he spoke with interest and discrimination,—said that his poetry showed great knowledge of human nature and great talent in description; Lara, he thought, bordered on the kingdom of spectres; and of his late separation from his wife, that, in its circumstances and the mystery in which it is involved, it is so poetical, that if Lord Byron had invented it he could hardly have had a more fortunate subject for his genius. All this he said in a quiet, simple manner, which would have surprised me much, if I had known him only through his books; and it made me feel how bitter must have been Jean Paul's disappointment, who came to him exp
F. G. Klopstock (search for this): chapter 5
eading the way in this emancipation. If any one author or work must be selected, it would probably be the Literary Letters,—a periodical publication managed by Lessing; but this was so instantly succeeded and surpassed by the earliest works of Klopstock, Wieland, and Goethe, that it is evident the spirit of regeneration had long been working in the land, and that, if Lessing was the first to call it forth, it was rather from accident than extraordinary genius or boldness. The literature of of studying the Greek classics was lost, these two young men had knowledge enough to restore it. . . . . In the evening he took us to the house of a friend, Mr. Von Couta, a councillor of state; where we met a daughter of Herder, a cousin of Klopstock; Prof. Hand, the editor of Lucretius, a young man of thirty-five; and Myer, the archaeologist, now Goethe's intimate friend, an old man of sixty or seventy, short and fat, with very odd manners, but lively and amusing in conversation. Octobe
Alexander Hill Everett (search for this): chapter 5
it, do you tell him he lies, and that I say so. When I went from Gottingen to Berlin, Wolf told me to go to his house,—a bachelor establishment,—and to look at his books. I went, and amongst many interesting things happened to see on his working-table a Latin and German lexicon, which I knew had been out but five years. I took it up, wondering what such a scholar should need it for, and, to my great surprise, found it much worn by use. During a six weeks vacation, Mr. Ticknor and Mr. Everett left Gottingen, September 13, 1816, for a tour in the North of Germany, visiting all the principal cities, and every distinguished university and school, whether in a city or small town; Mr. Ticknor always making a minute study of them, and writing full descriptions of them in his journal. He devotes nearly a volume of it to Leipsic, Dresden, and Berlin, having given a fortnight to Dresden, a week each to Leipsic and Berlin, and the rest of the time to Wittenberg, Halle, Weimar, Jena, Go
Henry Nelson Coleridge (search for this): chapter 5
character, that it is very difficult for a stranger to understand it. A Frenchman, or indeed any one of the Roman nations, generally makes as bad work with it as Voltaire with Shakespeare, and for the same reasons; for it deals with a class of feelings and ideas which are entirely without the periphery of his conceptions. An Englishman, too, if he studies it at home only, generally succeeds about as well,—but show me the man who, like Walter Scott, has studied it as it deserves, or, like Coleridge, has been in the country, and who has gone home and laughed at it. Mr. Rose, in Berlin, told me he would defy all the critics of his nation to produce such an instance. After all, however, you will come round upon me with the old question, And what are your Germans, after all? They are a people who, in forty years, have created to themselves a literature such as no other nation ever created in two centuries; and they are a people who, at this moment, have more mental activity than any
r classics, except Haller, Muller, the elder Voss, Schiller, and Burger. This number is certainly small, and d from which even the proud and original genius of Schiller hardly escaped. Its empire, however, was soon goninfluence and example as when Herder, Wieland, and Schiller were alive. I asked what had been his relationsom holding similar views in philosophy, Goethe and Schiller were nearest to each other, and Herder and Wieland; but that after the deaths of Schiller and Herder, Goethe became intimate with Wieland. Schiller, he said, hSchiller, he said, had profited much by his connection with Goethe, and borrowed much from his genius,—among other pieces, in his the author of a Review of Goethe's Life, and says Schiller is the first genius Germany has produced, or, likeut it. The critics of the North say the reading of Schiller's Robbers makes an epoch in every man's life; from is apparent the innocent do not know that, though Schiller's countrymen are aware of the strength of characte
does not teach. We remained with him nearly an hour, and when we came away he accompanied us as far as the parlor door with the same simplicity with which he received us, without any German congratulations. In the afternoon, we called on Prof. Thiersch, who is here on a visit. He is thirty-two, and is one of the rare instances of a peasant raising himself to the learned rank in society. He was sent to the Schule Pforte by a village which had this right, and afterwards studied at Gottingen,—was an instructor in the gymnasium there, and, while thus employed, attracted the attention of John Muller, the historian, who said of Thiersch and Dissen, who were then not twenty-five years old, that if the art of studying the Greek classics was lost, these two young men had knowledge enough to restore it. . . . . In the evening he took us to the house of a friend, Mr. Von Couta, a councillor of state; where we met a daughter of Herder, a cousin of Klopstock; Prof. Hand, the editor of Lu
orace,—ab ovo Ledce,—you know there are in this land of gutturals and tobacco two dialects: high German, so called because it is indigenous in the interior and higher parts of the country; and low GerGerman, so called because it is indigenous in the North, among the lowlands, and on the coast. How long these dialects have existed, it is not now possible to determine; but they are probably as old as is dated in Germany. This great revolution accidentally gave the empire of literature to high German. It happened to be the native dialect of Luther. He translated his Bible into it, wrote in it ours, which is as much, I suppose, as my health will bear. My chief objects are still Greek and German, my subsidiary objects Italian and French, my amusement literary history, chiefly ancient, and bention by his edition of Plato's Symposium, which is the more extraordinary, as the notes are in German. This gave him a professorship at Halle, to whose spirit his talents and temper were adapted, a
ted me more than German scholars commonly do. . . . . He remains, by general consent, not only one of the best botanists in Germany, but a good scholar, and an interesting and amiable man . . . . In the course of the forenoon, we visited Prof. Ersch, the librarian, who has shown at least enormous diligence in his works on German literature since 1750, a collection of titles of the books, treatises, pamphlets, etc., published during this period in Germany, making twelve octavo volumes. Whe year he labors night and day, produces a romance, sells it to the booksellers, and from the profits is able to have for the remaining five months the comforts and luxuries he desires. I found him with Prof. Niemeyer; we were soon joined by Prof. Ersch, Prof. Jakobs, etc. The old gentleman's gay volubility, which indicated his literary fertility, kept everybody alive about him, and we passed two hours in a rational kind of happiness with him. . . . . In the evening we made a visit to old
sets behind the Brookline hills? We have a sunset here, too, and I never see it without thinking how often we have admired it together from the Mall. Farewell, Geo. T. To Dr. Walter Channing. GoTtingen, May 17, 1816. . . . . You ask me a great many questions about Blumenbach, and I imagine you have received anticipated , and local situation of Germany, you will easily see its most important tendencies, and conjecture many of its coming effects. . . . . Always your affectionate, Geo. T. To Elisha Ticknor. Gottingen, July 6, 1816. . . . . I know not, dear father, that I can say anything more welcome to you than that my studies of all ki such a salutation from such a distance; as little George said, mine were the farthest and longest kisses he ever had. I must hasten to close my letter. All well. Geo. T. Journal. Gottingen, September 12, 1816.—Within the last three days, I have seen a good deal of Wolf, the corypheus of German philologists, who is here on
Elisha Ticknor (search for this): chapter 5
y all there; but it is impossible to go into the details of this system here. . . . . To Elisha Ticknor. Gottingen, June 5, 1816. . . . .I was telling you of my acquaintance. Saturday eveningve you, in so short a space, of the present condition of metaphysics in Germany. . . . To Elisha Ticknor. Gottingen, June 20, 1816. . . . . .We have always been accustomed to hear and to talk ofnd conjecture many of its coming effects. . . . . Always your affectionate, Geo. T. To Elisha Ticknor. Gottingen, July 6, 1816. . . . . I know not, dear father, that I can say anything morthe people are now decidedly at variance, and time must determine which will prevail. To Mrs. E. Ticknor. Gottingen, July 21, 1816. . . . . In my own situation I know not that any change has tmains to him, that I can see, but a very few years of cold and unsatisfied retirement. To Elisha Ticknor. Gottingen, November 9, 1816. Once more, dear father and mother, I date to you from Gott
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