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Foreign Review.-No. I. 1828.
Foreign Review.-No. II. 1828.
Foreign Review.-No. III. 1828.
Edinburgh Review.-No. XCVI. 1829.
Foreign Review.-No. IV. 1828.
Foreign Review.-No. V. 1829.
Foreign Review.-No. VI. 1829.
Foreign Review.-No. VII. 1829.
Edinburgh Review.-No. XCVIII. 1829.
Foreign Review.-No. IX. 1830.
Fraser's Magazine.-Vol. II. No X. 1830.
Fraser's Magazine.-Vol. II. No. XII. 1831.
Fraser's Magazine.-Vol. III. No. XIV. 1831.
Westminster Review.-No. XXIX. 1831.
Edinburgh Review.-No. CV. 1831.
Fraser's Magazine.-Vol. IV. No. XIX. 1831.
Edinburgh Review.-No. CVIII. 1831.
Fraser's Magazine.--Vol. V. No. XXVI. 1832.
Fraser's Magazine.-Vol. V. No. XXVII. 1832.
Count CAGLIOSTRO: Flight First -
Fraser's Magazine.-Vol. VIII. No. XLIII. 1833.
Fraser's Magazine.-Vol. VIII. No. XLIV. 1833.
JEAN PAUL FRIEDRICH RICHTER.
[EDINBURGH Review, 1827.]
Dr. Johnson, it is said, when he first heard monger, whose grand enterprise, however, is of Boswell's intention to write a life of him, his Gallery of Weimar Authors ; a series of announced, with decision enough, that, if he strange little biographies, beginning with Schilthought Boswell really meant to write his life, ler, and already extending over Wieland and he would prevent it by taking Boswell's! That Herder,—now comprehending, probably by great authors should actually employ this pre- conquest, Klopstock also, and lastly, by a sort ventive against bad biographers is a thing we of droit d'aubaine, Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, would by no means recommend; but the truth neither of whom belonged to Weimar. Auis, that, rich as we are in biography, a well- thors, it must be admitted, are happier than the written life is almost as rare as a well-spent old painter with his cocks: for they write, naone; and there are certainly many more men turally and without fear of ridicule or offence, whose history deserves to be recorded than the name and description of their work on the persons willing and able to furnish the record. title-page; and thenceforth the purport and But great men, like the old Egyptian kings, tendency of each volume remains india putable. must all be tried after death, before they Doering is sometimes lucky in this privilege; can be embalmed: and what, in truth, are for his manner of composition, being so pecuthese “ Sketches,” “Anas,”, “Conversations,” liar, might now and then occasion difficulty, “Voices," and the like, but the votes and plead- but for this precaution. ! His biographies he ings of the ill-informed advocates, and jurors, works up simply enough. He first ascertains, and judges, from whose conflict, however, we from the Leipzig Conversationslexicon or Jörshall in the end have a true verdict? The worst den's Poetical Lexicon, Flögel, or Koch, or other of it is a: the first; for weak eyes are precisely such Compendium or Handbook, the date and the fondest of glittering objects. And, accord place of the proposed individual's birth, his ingly, no sooner does a great man depart, and parentage, trade, appointments, and the titles leave his character as public property, than a of his works; (the date of his death yru alcrowd of little men rushes towards it. There ready know from the newspapers ;) this surves they are gathered together, blinking up to it with as a foundation for the edifice. He then goes such vision as they have, scanning it from afar, through his writings, and all other writings hovering round it this way and that, each cun- where he or his pursuits are treated of, and ningly endeavouring, by all arts, to catch some whenever he finds a passage with his name in reflex of it in the little mirror of himself; it, he cuts it out, and carries it away. In this though, many times, this mirror is so twisted manner a mass of materials is collected, and with convexities and concavities, and, indeed, the building now proceeds apace. Stone is so extremely small in size, that to expect any laid on the top of stone, just as it comes to true image, or any image whatever from it, is hand; a trowel or two of biographic mortar, if out of the question.
perfectly convenient, being perhaps spread in Richter was much better-natured than John- here and there, by way of cement; and so the son; and took many provoking things with the strangest pile suddenly arises; amorphous, spirit of a humorist and philosopher; nor can pointing every way but to the zenith,-here a we think that so good a man, even had he fore- block of granite, there a mass of pipe-clay; seen this work of Doering's, would have gone till the whole finishes, when the materials are the length of assassinating him for it. Doer- finished, and you leave it standing to posteing is a person we have known for several rity, like some miniature Stonehenge, a perfect years, as a compiler, and translator, and ballad- architectural enigma.
To speak without figure, this mode of life* Jean Paul Friedrich Richter's Leben, nebst Charac- writing has its disadvantages. For one thing, teristik seiner Werke ; von Heinrich Doering: Jean Paul the composition cannot well be what the critics Friedrich Richter's Life, with a Sketch of his Works; call harmonious; and, indeed, Herr Doering's by Heinrich Doering.) Gotha. Hennings, 1826. 12mo.
transitions are often abrupt enough. His hero changes his object and occupation from page rating (decidedly in bombast) over the grave. to page, often from sentence to sentence, in the Then, it seems, there were meetings held in most unaccountable way; a pleasure journey, various parts of Germany, to solemnize the and a sickness of fifteen years, are despatched memory of Richter; among the rest, one in the with equal brevity; in a moment you find him Museum of Frankfort on the Maine; where a married, and the father of three fine children. Doctor Börne speaks another long speech, ir He dies no less suddenly ;-he is studying as possible in still more decided bombast. Next usual, writing poetry, receiving visits, full of come threnodies from all the four winds, mostly life and business, when instantly some para- on very splay-footed metre. Thewhole of which graph opens under him, like one of the trap- is here snatched from the kind oblivion of the doors in the Vision of Mirza, and he drops, newspapers, and "lives in Settle's numbers one without note of preparation, into the shades day more." below. Perhaps, indeed, not for ever: we have We have too much reverence for the name instances of his rising after the funeral, and of Richter to think of laughing over these unwinding up his affairs. The time has been, happy threnodies and panegyrists; some of that when the brains were out the man would whom far exceed any thing we English can ex. die; but Doering orders these matters dif- hibit in the epicedial style. They rather tesferently.
tisy, however maladroitly, that the Germans We beg leave to say, however, that we really have felt their loss,—which, indeed, is one to have no private pique against Doering: on the Europe at large; they even affect us with a contrary, we are regular purchasers of his certain melancholy feeling, when we consider ware; and it gives us true pleasure to see his how a heavenly voice must become mute, and spirits so much improved since we first met nothing be heard in its stead but the whoop of him. In the Life of Schiller, his state did seem quite earthly voices, lamenting, or pretending rather un prosperous: he wore a timorous, sub- to lament. Far from us be all remenibrance missive, and downcast aspect, as if like Sterne's of Doering and Company, while we speak of Ass, he were saying, “ Don't thrash me ;-but Richter! But his own works give us some if you will, you may !” Now, however, com- glimpses into his singular and noble nature ; forted by considerable sale, and praise from and to our readers a few words on this man, this and the other Literaturblatt, which has certainly one of the most remarkable of his commended his diligence, his fidelity, and, age, will not seem thrown away. strange to say, his method, he advances with Except by name, Jean Paul Friedrich Richerect countenance and firm hoof, and even re- ter is little known out of Germany. The only calcitrates contemptuously against such as do thing connected with him, we think, that has him offence. Glück auf dem Weg ! is the worst rcached this country, is his saying, imported we wish him.
by Madame de Staël, and thankfully pocketed Of his Life of Richter, these preliminary ob- by most newspaper critics: “Providence has servations may be our excuse for saying but given to the French the empire of the land, lo little. He brags much, in his preface, that it the English that of the sea, to the Germans that is all true and genuine ; for Richter's widow, of-the air!” Of this last element, indeed, his it seems, had, by public advertisement, cau- own genius might easily seem to have been a tioned the world against it; another biography, denizen: so fantastic, many-coloured, far-grasppartly by the illustrious deceased himself, part- ing, every way perplexed and extraordinary in ly by Otto, his oldest friend and the appointed his mode of writing, that 10 translate him is next editor of his works, being actually in prepara- to impossible; nay, a dictionary of his works tion. This rouses the indignant spirit of Doer has actually been in part published for the use ing, and he stoutly asseverates, that, his docu- of German readers! These things have rements being altogether authentic, this biogra- stricted his sphere of action, and may long rephy is no pseudo-biography. With greater truth strict it to his own couniry: but there, in rehe might have asseverated that it was no bio- turn, he is a favourite of the first class; studied graphy at all. Well are he and Hennings of through all his intricacies with trustful admiGotha aware that this thing of shreds and ration, and a love which tolerates much. Durpatches has been vamped together for sale ing the last forty years, he has been continually only. Except a few letters to Kunz, the Bam- before the public, in various capacities, and berg bookseller, which turn mainly on the pur- growing generally in esteem with all ranks of chase of spectacles, and the journeyings and critics; till, at length, his gain sayers have freightage of two boxes that used to pass and been either silenced or convinced; and Jean repass between Richter and Kunz's circulating Paul, at first reckoned half-mad, has long ago library; with three or four notes of similar im- vindicated his singularities to nearly universal portance, and chiefly to other booksellers, there satisfaction, and now combines popularity with are no biographical documents here, which real depth of endowment, in perhaps a greater were not open to all Europe as well as to Hein- degree than any other writer; being second in rich Doering. Indeed, very nearly one-half of the latter point to scarcely more than one of the Life is occupied with a description of the his contemporaries, and in the former second funeral and its appendages,-how the “sixty to none. lorches, with a number of lanterns and pitch- The biography of so distinguished a person pans," were arranged; how this patrician or pro- could scarcely fail to be interesting, especial. fessor followed that, through Friedrich-street, ly his autobiography; which, accordingly, we Chancery-street, and other streets of Bayreuth; wait for, and may in time submit to our readers, and how at last the torches all went out, as if it seem worthy: meanwhile, the history of Doctor Gabler and Doctor Spatzier were pero- I his life, so far as outward events characterize it, may be stated in fi w words. He was born the streets of Bayreuth, we have heard, he was at Wunsiedel in Bayreuth, in March, 1763. seldom seen without a flower in his breast. A His father was a subaltern teacher in the Gym- man of quiet tastes, and warm, compassionate nasium of the place, and was afterwards pro- affections! His friends he must have loved moted to be clergyman at Schwarzbach on the as few do. Of his poor and humble mother Saale. Richter's early education was of the he often speaks by allusion, and never without scantiest sort; but his fine faculties and un- reverence and overflowing tenderness. “Unwearied diligence supplied every defect. Un- happy is the man,” says he, “ for whom his own able to purchase books, he borrowed what he mother has not made all other mothers venercould come at, and transcribed from them, often able !” and elsewhere:-“O thou who hast great part of their contents,-a habit of ex- still a father and a mother, thank God for it in cerpting, which continued with him through the day when thy soul is full of joyful tears, life, and influenced, in more than one way, his and needs a bosom wherein to shed them !"mode of writing and study. To the last, he we quote the following sentences from Doerwas an insatiable and universal reader; so ing, almost the only memorable thing he has that his extracts accumulated on his hands, written in this volume :“till they filled whole chests.” In 1780, he “ Richter's studying or sitting apartment of went to the University of Leipzig; with the fered, about this time, (1793,) a true and beauhighest character, in spite of the impediments tiful emblem of his simple and noble way of which he had struggled with, for talent and ac- thought, which comprehended at once the high quirement. Like his father, he was destined and the low. Whilst his mother, who then for Theology; from which, however, his va- lived with him, busily pursued her household grant genius soon diverged into Poetry and Phi- work, occupying herself about stove and dreslosophy, to the neglect, and, ere long, to the ser, Jean Paul was sitting in a corner of the final abandonment, of his appointed profession. same room, at a simple writing-desk, with few Not well knowing what to do, he now accepted or no books about him, but merely with one a tutorship in some family of rank; then he or two drawers containing excerpts and manuhad pupils in his own house,—which, how- scripts. The jingle of the household operations ever, like his way of life, he often changed; for seerned not at all to disturb him, any more than by this time he had become an author, and, in did the cooing of the pigeons, which fluttered his wanderings over Germany, was putting to and fro in the chamber,-a place, indeed, of forth,-now here, now there,—the strangest considerable size.”—P. 8. books, with the strangest titles: For instance, Our venerable Hooker, we remember, also Greenland Lawsuits ;-—Biographical Recreations enjoyed “ the jingle of household operations," under the Cranium of a Giantess ;-Selection from and the more questionable jingle of shrewd the Papers of the Devil;—and the like. In these tongues to boot, while he wrote ; but the good indescribable performances, the splendid fa- thristy mother, and the cooing pigeons, were culties of the writer, luxuriating as they seemed wanting. Richter came afterwards to live in in utter riot, could not be disputed ; nor, with finer mansions, and had the great and learned all its extravagance, the fundamental strength, for associates; but the gentle feelings of those honesty, and tenderness of his nature. Genius days abode with him: through life he was the will reconcile men to much. By degrees, Jean same substantial, determinate, yet meek and Paul began to be considered not a strange, tolerating man. It is seldom that so much crackbrained mixture of enthusiast and buf- rugged energy can be so blandly attempered; foon, but a man of infinite humour, sensibility, -that so much vehemence and so much softforce, and penetration. His writings procured ness will go together. him friends and fame; and at length a wife The expected edition of Richter's works is and a settled provision. With Caroline Mayer, to be in sixty volumes: and they are no less his good spouse, and a pension (in 1802) from multifarious than extensive; embracing subthe King of Bavaria, he settled in Bayreuth, jects of all sorts, from the highest problems the capital of his native province; where he of transcendental philosophy, and the most lived thenceforth, diligent and celebrated in passionate poetical delineations, to Golden Rules many new departments of literature; and died for the Weather-Prophet, and instructions in the on the 14th of November, 1825, loved as well | Art of Falling Asleep. His chief productions as admired by all his countrymen, and most by are novels: the Unsichtbare Loge (Invisible those who had known him most intimately. Lodge); Flegeljahre (Wild-Oats); Life of Fix
A huge, irregular man, both in mind and lein; the Jubelsenior (Parson in Jubilee); person, (for his portrait is quite a physiogno- Schmelzle's Journey to Flütz; Katzenberger's mical study,) full of fire, strength, and impe- Journey to the Bath; Life of Fibel ; with many tuosity, Richter seems, at the same time, to lighter pieces; and two works of a higher have been, in the highest degree, mild, simple- order, Hesperus and Titan, the largest and the hearted, humane. He was fond of conversation, best of his novels. It was the former that first and might well shine in it: he talked, as he (in 1795) introduced him into decisive and wrote, in a style of his own, full of wild strength universal estimation with his countrymen: the and charms, to which his natural Bayreuth ac- latter he himself, with the most judicious of cent often gave additional effect. Yet he loved his critics, regarded as his master-piece. But retirement, the country, and all natural things; the name Novelist, as we in England must from his youth upwards, he himself tells us, understand it, would ill describe su vast and be may almost be said to have lived in the discursive a genius: for, with all his grotesque, open air; it was among groves and meadows tumultuous pleasantry, Richter is a man of a that he studied,—often that he wrote. Even in truly earnest, nay, high and solemn character