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Jupiter's head, the actor should come, finished and full-sized out of his own.
But it is time to close our sketch. We will take the theatres in succession, and mention, briefly and rapidly as we may, their chief histrionic ornaments. And first for the Imperial Theatre of Vienna. Its present conductor, Franz von Holbein, called lately from Hanover to assume the post, is certainly the best existing theatrical manager. He has around him the first talent of Germany, and has already, in the face of all the disadvantages of the modern system, given promise of an apparently zealous wish to recall the days of Schrejvogel and Deinhardstein. His best gentleman-actor in comedy is Korn, who has never had a rival in the Iffland characters, and has lately increased his repute by a masterly performance of Bolingbroke in the translation of Scribe's Verre d'Eau.' Next may be named a celebrated stage lover, M. Fichtner; his wife, as famous a stage coquette; and with these, Louisa Newmann, an excellent natural actress. In tragedy, Madame Rettich, the pupil of Tieck, is not only first in Vienna, but has admitted tragic supremacy through the whole of Germany. Her first performance was Gretchen in Göthe's "Faust.' Her great successes since have been Iphigenia, Mary Stuart, Joan of Arc, Juliet (Shakspeare's), and of late years more especially, Halm's Griseldis and Parthenia. She has a majestic figure and an admirable voice, and is a woman of unquestionable genius. In the serious sentimental parts Madame Peche (whom A. W. Schlegel found at Bonn on the Rhine in the caravan of a juggler, disguised as a wild girl and showing boa-constrictors) is now the best actress, and may occupy the step immediately beneath Madame Rettich. Of the tragic actors the first to be named is Ludwig Löwe, member of the famous family of artists who have made that name eminent in the history of the German theatre ; himself son and brother of great actors, husband of a great actress, father to a most promising actress, and cousin to one of the most celebrated of Berlin singers. Löwe is, beyond question, the most versatile of all the living artists. He began his career with comic performances at Prague; at Cassel he played lovers and heroes; and since 1826 has taken first rank at Vienna. His most eminent performances here have been Hamlet, Romeo, the Fool in Lear,' Percival in “Griseldis,' Ottokar (Grillparzir’s), and Roderick in Calderon's “Life a Dream.” He is supported by Anschütz, a pupil of Iffland, Wolff, and Esslair ; in the old times himself a Lear and a Wallenstein whom Tieck pronounced incomparable; but now, on score of great age, exclusively devoted to the performance of heroic fathers, and parts of venerable age.
this name we have summed up the strength of the Imperial Theatre. The lower houses are chiefly strong in Carl their director, in Nestroy their writer, and in Scholz their comic person. It is at least impossible to see them, and keep your countenance !
The recent loss of Seydelmann to Berlin, is but feebly supplied by the enormous voice and amazing physical force of Rott. Since this death and those of Wolff, Lemm, and Devriert, the only support of the classic drama in Berlin has been Madame Crelinger. She is the Maid of Orleans; the Emilia Galotti; the Thekla of Wallenstein;' the Juliet and Ophelia.
She is Mary Stuart; Sappho; Countess Terzka in Wallenstein; and Olga. Lastly, she is the Lady Macbeth; the Lady Milford of Schiller's Kabale und Liebe;' and the Lady Macclesfield of Gutskow's Richard Savage. Of the Berlin comedians, it seems only necessary to single out Charlotte Von Hagn: a Dejazet without the coarseness.
After Vienna and Berlin, for the merit of their actors, come the theatres of Dresden, Stuttgart, Munich, Carlsruhe, and Frankfort. In Dresden, Emil Devrient, the nephew of Louis, is the best sentimental actor; and Miss Bauer is supreme in comedy. In Stuttgard, Döring is one of the few who are masters of a genial and natural force of humour. He excels in characters of common life, and his Jews, in particular, have gone with a wonderful reputation throughout the whole of Germany. Here, too, is the excellent stage-manager, Moritz. Munich has a very fair imitator of Seydelmann. In Carlsruhe, Madame Haitzinger Neumann, wife of the celebrated tenor; in Frankfort, Miss Lindner, and Auguste Frühauf with her pretty French manner; have great merit. And with the deserving name of Julius Weidner, also at the latter theatre, we close this rapid survey, the most complete that has yet been given to an English reader, of the actual condition of the modern German stage.
VOL. XXXII. NO. LXIII.
ART. XII.-Le Bananier, par FRÉDÉRIC SOULIÉ. Paris. 1843. It is hard to follow the progress of French novelists nowadays. Their fecundity is so prodigious, that it is almost impossible to take any count of the number of their progeny; and a review which professes to keep its readers au courant of French light literature, should be published, not once a quarter, but more than once a day. The parliamentary debates with us are said to be a great and growing evil; and a man during the session, and with private business of his own, has no small difficulty in keeping up with his age, and in reading his newspaper from end to end. Public speakers in France are
not so verbose generally; or, at any rate, French parliamentary reporters are not so desperately accurate. But, on the other hand, the French reader must undergo a course of study infinitely more various, and more severe too in the end, though in the easy department of fiction. Thus with us, when you are once at the conclusion of the debates in the Times,' you are not called
the same orations in the · Post or the · Advertiser:' which each luckily contains precisely the same matter. But since the invention of the Feuilleton in France, every journal has its six columns of particular and especial report. M. Eugene Sue is still guillotining and murdering and intriguing in the · Débats’ (for the · Mystères de Paris,' of which we noticed five volumes six months since, have swollen into ten by this time); M. Dumas has his tale in the Siècle;' Madame Gay is pouring out her eloquence daily in the · Presse;' M. Reybaud is endeavouring, with the adventures of Jean Mouton in the National,' to equal the popularity which he obtained with • Jérome Paturot: in a word, every newspaper has its different tale, and besides, the libraries do not seem more slack than usual with their private ventures. M. de Balzac has happily subsided for the moment, and is at St. Petersburg; Madame Sand is, however, at her twelfth volume of Consuelo;' and the indefatigable M. Soulié is everywhere. He publishes circulating libraries at once.
A part of this astonishing luxury of composition on the part of the famous authors, is accounted for, however, in the following way. The public demand upon them is so immense, that the authors, great as their talents may be, are not able to supply it, and are compelled to take other "less famous writers into their pay. And as the famous wine merchants at Frankfort who purchased the Johannisberg, vintage of 1811, have been selling it ever since, by simply mixing a very little of the wine of that famous year with an immense quantity of more modern liquor; so
Themes for a Man of Genius.
227 do these great writers employ smaller scribes, whose works they amend and prepare for press. Soulié and Dumas can thus give the Soulié or Dumas flavour to any article of tolerable strength in itself; and so prepared, it is sent into the world with the Soulié or Dumas seal and signature, and eagerly bought and swallowed by the public as genuine. The retailers are quite aware of the mixture, of which indeed the authors make no secret; but if the public must have Johannisberg of 1811 and no other, of course the dealers will supply it, and hence the vast quantity of the article in the market. Have we not seen in the same way how, to meet the demands of devotion, the relics of the saints have multiplied themselves; how Shakspeare's mulberry-tree has been cut down in whole forests, and planed and carved by regiments of turners and upholsterers; and how, in the plains of Waterloo, crosses, eagles, and grapeshot are still endlessly growing?
We are not sufficient connoisseurs in Soulie to say whether the novel before us is of the real original produce, or whether it has simply been flavoured, like the Johannisberger achtzehnhundertelfer before mentioned. • The Bananier' may be entirely original; or, like many of Rubens's originals, a work of a pupil with a few touches of the master. The story is cleverly put together, the style is very like the real Soulié; and seeing the author's signature, of course we are bound to credit. The tale has been manufactured, we take it, not merely for a literary, but also for a political purpose. There is a colonial-slavery party in France; and the book before us is written to show the beauties of slavery in the French colonies, and the infernal intrigues of the English there and in the Spanish islands, in order to overthrow the present excellent state of things. The subjects are two fine themes for a romantic writer. To paint negro slavery as a happy condition of being; to invent fictions for the purpose of inculcating hatred and ill-will; are noble tasks for the man of genius. We heartily compliment Monsieur Soulié upon his appearance as a writer of political fictions.
The amiable plot of the piece is briefly this. A young Frenchman, with the most absurd romantic ideas of abolition and the horrors of slavery, goes to Guadaloupe, to see his father's correspondent, a planter there, and perhaps to marry his daughter. The planter has an English nephew who aspires to the hand of the lady, and likewise has a special mission from his government to procure abolition. For this end he has instruction to hesitate at no means. He has orders to poison the negroes, to burn the planters' houses, to murder the planters, and to foment a general insurrection and massacre. Let us not say a word of the author of repute who would condescend to write such a pretty fiction as this; but rather wonder at the admirable impartiality and good taste of a people to whom such a tale could be supposed to be written. Unfortunately, the fictions of the romancers are not greater than the fictions of the grave politicians of the French public press. What a noble characteristic of a nation, is this savage credulity and hatred! What a calm sense of magnanimous superiority does this mad envy indicate! What a keen, creditable appreciation of character is this, which persists in seeing guile in the noblest actions, and cannot understand generosity but as a cover for some monstrous and base design! Well
, we must hope that years will dissipate this little amiable and charitable error of the most civilized, and therefore the most humane and just, people of the world. It is in their compassionate interest for the entire human race, whom they were formed by nature to protect, that they dread us perfidious shopkeepers of England: an error of people whose love makes them only too perspicacious, soliciti plena timoris amor—an error of the heart, and on the right side. Someday or other the great nation will perhaps relent. She will say, I am the guardian of humanity, as all the world knows perfectly well. All the oppressed are looking up to me: night and day they have their eyes turned towards me, and are invoking, as that of a Providence, the sacred name of La France! I am the Good Principle of the Earth: you are the Evil. I say so. Victor Hugo says so,
M. de Lamartine, and all the French newspapers, say so.
for once: it is just possible, and I give you the benefit of the doubt. You did not emancipate your negroes out of hatred to the French colonies. It was not in order to set Guadaloupe and Bourbon by the ears that you spent twenty millions--cinq cents millions de francs! You are a nation of shopkeepers, and know the value of money better. Go. You are forgiven this time. I am the Providence of the World ! Let us look forward in calm hope to that day of rehabilitation; and meanwhile, leaving the general question, return to Monsieur Soulié and his novel.
Our author lands his hero in Guadaloupe, and the day after his arrival he proceeds, in a kind of incognito, to visit his correspondent, the rich planter. On his journey to that gentleman's house (his faithful servant Jean accompanying him), they meet a negro, who, in an argument with Jean, shows the latter that the negro slave is a thousand times happier than a free Norman servant, who, after all, is only free to chose what master he likes. They proceed to the coffee-grounds and M. Sanson's estate, and there they find the negroes in such a state of absurd happiness
, indolence, and plenty, that Jean is determined he will black and sell himself at once, and resign the privileges of an illusory and