« EelmineJätka »
"No! I'll be damned in hell if I know anything about the man!
And he droops, and turns, and goes. And when Wilfrid Gibson writes an excellent poem on the evil eye, his object is not to stir us with the sense of imperishable beauty any more than is Adriaen Brouwer's when painting a drunken, brutalized boor. Let me quote again ('Neighbours', page 23: Blind Bell):
Like a wind-writhen ash
As her cruel blind eyes
Till estranged and corpse-cold
On a rime-grizzled moor. So much for the principal hole, I might almost say the one hole, in Prof. Lowes' armour. His discussion of the poets' attitude towards conventions, of poetic diction, of vers libre, of prose versus poetry, are beyond praise. Incidentally I may observe that he freely uses the expression to belong together, which makes not a few English purists 'see red', and even to belong asunder. Also that he quotes a certain proverb in this way: 'the proof of (the) pudding is the eating of it'. I remember being taken to task some years ago for likewise omitting in before the eating.
WILLEM VAN DOORN.
Walt Whitman: The Prophet of the New Era. By WILL HAYES.
London: C. W. Daniel. 1921. – 4/6 net. The appeal of this persuasively written book is not literary, it is religious. It is concerned far less with Whitman the poet than with Whitman the prophet, or would-be prophet. The cult it preaches has nothing in common with 'Rupert Brooke' worship or 'James Elroy Flecker' latreia. Walt Whitman is one of the great initiated. He is of the company of Gautama and Zarathustra, of Mohammed, and of Jesus, most especially of Jesus, and he is confidently announced as the Christ of Our Age.
The claim will be considered sacrilegious by any one who sees in Jesus of Nazareth the incarnation of divine perfection, the redeemer of mankind, the mediator between sinful humanity and God. To a level-headed observer the close parallels which the author draws between Jesus' life and Whitman's will seem strained to a degree. There have been more carpenters and more friends of publicans and sinners. The Sermon on the Mount is an altogether different thing from the ‘Song of Myself'. Is any of Whitman's parables on the same plane with the 'Good Samaritan' or the ‘Prodigal Son'? Does his exceedingly short career as a wound-dresser in the American Civil War justify us in attributing to Whitman the so-called healing touch? And suppose it does, are not the majority of mothers endowed with the same painexpelling power? Where is the merit?
Christ suffered on the cross. Whitman lived to a ripe old age, in fairly easy circumstances, coddled and made much of by admiring friends. It is true, he once lost a government job because of his poems, and he suffered ridicule likewise, but I am not prepared to call this sort of thing crucifixion. As regards his sympathetic' sufferings my position is equally negative. "Not a mutineer walks handcuffed to jail but I am handcuffed to him
and walk by his side . “Not a youngster is taken for larceny but I go up too, and am tried
and sentenced. “Not a cholera patient lies at the last gasp but I also lie at the last gasp, "My face is ash-colored, my sinews gnarl, away from me people retreat."
These are grand words, but I remember a sentence somewhere in Meredith to the effect that "sentimental people sleep well and live long; it is feeling that is the slayer.” Whitman was seventy-two years old when he died .
In his life-time he was as fond of pose as Byron himself, and as consciously picturesque as Joaquin Miller. Though disciples were easily persuaded that he was a perfect man, the son of a perfect mother, the truth is that he came of tainted stock. One of his brothers died in a lunatic asylum; the youngest (Edward) was an incurable idiot. And himself! A man who wants to lie 'with my head in your lap, camarado' will always strike the average Hollander as peculiar. Surely this is not exactly a masculine way of expressing 'the manly love of comrades'. To find this done one has to go to certain sections of A Shropshire Lad, especially XXXVII.
Whitman is, at his best, a great literary artist. Though negligible as a thinker - original ideas he has none -- and in spite of his formlessness and his eternal catalogues, he is an undoubted master as regards transferring emotion. - His Messianic mission has been dealt with, and to my mind disposed of, once for all, by the inevitable German ).
WILLEM VAN DOORN.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. By ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON. With an Introduction and Notes by J. H. SCHUTT.
Kemink & Zoon, Utrecht, 1923. Sewed f 1.75. Cloth f 2.05. This is an excellent little book. It quite comes up to the high standard of Grondhoud and Roorda's and Eykman and Voortman's annotated editions as regards the accuracy of the definitions and statements and, like the other books that have appeared in the series : Selections from English Literature, it is on a higher level than the books of the older series in that it gives an ably written literary introduction and a more scientific treatment of the text, both as regards the editing and the explanation of difficult passages. "An edition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for schools needs no defence", says Mr. Schutt in the preface. We are afraid that many teachers will not agree, unless Mr. S. means an edition for school libraries. For classreading the text is, in our opinion, too difficult. This and the scholarliness of the introduction and the notes makes the book far more suitable for students reading for the A or B examinations than for the boys and girls of an H. B. S.
1) Der Yankee-Heiland. Ein Beitrag zur modernen Religionsgeschichte. Von Eduard Bertz. Dresden 1906.
For his introduction Mr. Schutt has made use of the best works bearing on his subject and made a careful study of many other important works by Stevenson. The titles of these works and of his authorities are given in footnotes. He successively deals with the author's life, his character, Stevenson as a writer, his style, Stevenson as a writer of short stories and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
In his short essay Mr. Schutt has accomplished what, according to Sir Sidney Lee, Principles of Biography, (Cambridge : at the University, 1911) ought to be the aim of all biography: he has described graphically both the personality and the achievement of his subject and he has shown, so far as it is possible to do so, that Stevenson's career satisfies the conditions, which according to the same great authority a "fit theme of biography" ought to satisfy, viz. that it is : “serious, complete and of a certain magnitude”.
The introduction proves that Mr. Schutt has very ably availed himself of "the unrestricted opportunities of literary skill.... which biography gives". He has moreover shown how The Strange Case originated and grew under the influence of its author's experience and personality, and has added a very skilful criticism of the story.
In the notes Mr. Schutt has “also drawn the pupil's or the teacher's attention to questions of syntax and style, or more rarely, of literary art". The notes have been compiled with minute, some of them perhaps with over-minute care and they are both clever and suggestive. The notes also give the deviations from the original text, the text printed being that of the edition revised by Sidney Colvin.
A key to the phonetic symbols and an alphabetical list of the words dealt with in the notes will be very welcome in the next edition for which there will be very little to correct or alter.
P. XI, 1. 20. of ? from ? p. 40, 8 haggard, when used of persons, generally expresses much more
than wild-looking, and in a haggard shaft of daylight the word does not suggest that "the beam of light had no business to be there”, but that it was pale, thin and cheerless.
but for, 'except for might also have been given. p. 45, 2 ['læbərætəri] should be ]'læbərətəri). p. 46, 7 ['kæbinet]
['kæbinit). p. 46, 11 Is the predicative use of sick in the sense of 'very ill', really
so rare in literary English ? p. 49, 6 hoarse, explained p. 25, 3. p. 50, 9 Attention might have been drawn to the peculiar use of on the
wing, which usually means : "flying, travelling, in motion". p. 83, 11 The progressive form does not serve to indicate that this
happened very often. It serves to express emotion on the part of the speaker. See v. d. Laan's Dissertation on the Progressive
Form, Duym, Gorinchem, 1922, p. 40. p. 89, 3 might ? should ?
p. 43, 1
the stamping efficacy the power of shaping the body and
impressing it with a character ? p.115, 2 trimming the midnight lamp, evidently modelled on the more
familiar: burning the midnight oil. It is, of course, impossible to draw the attention to every instance of Stevenson's avoidance of the commonplace.
J. v. D.
Oor die Ontstaan van Afrikaans. Door Dr. D. B. BOSMAN.
Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam. 1923. f 3.25. The development of Afrikaans has attracted a great deal of attention in the last twenty years. It is naturally the Africanders themselves who have taken a large and honourable part in these discussions. But the Dutch scholars who have treated the question are chiefly such as devote their main energies in other fields than the history of Dutch. This is natural, for the history of Afrikaans is valuable for its bearing on the development of language in general. And it is this peculiarity which explains why we think it right to draw the attention of our readers to the book of Dr. Bosman.
When we consider the structure of Afrikaans we find a language that has lost a great deal of the appearance of an Indogermanic language. It shares this peculiarity with English, and it is therefore natural that scholars should have looked for the same causes in explanation of the development of both: the influence of the mixture of languages. When, in 1899, Dr. Hesseling published a book (Het Afrikaans, Ě. J. Brill, Leiden) in which he attempted to show that the foreign language responsible for the difference between Afrikaans and Dutch was the Malay Portuguese that used to be spoken there, he found most scholars ready to accept his conclusion. As late as 1906 Professor Muller in the Museum declared that the discovery was like the egg of Columbus: „ja, achteraf beschouwd, verbazen wij ons thans bijna, dat men niet eer aan dezen, immers eenig mogelijken, oorsprong van het Afrikaansch heeft gedacht”. In the same year I published an article in Taal & Letteren (Vol. 16, p. 417-439) in which I examined the linguistic and historical arguments of Dr. Hesseling. My conclusion was that the linguistic evidence was absolutely insufficient to bear the superstructure of Hesseling's theory, and that the historical arguments for the early date of most changes were equally unsatisfactory. Dr. Hesseling answered in the following number of Taal & Letteren, declaring himself unconvinced by my arguments. Since that date the question has been treated in some doctors' dissertations; the most important is perhaps the one by Dr. Bosman. This dissertation met with so much success that it ran out of print, which induced the author to publish a new edition. The book before us is, however, much more than a reprint or a revised edition, and the author was therefore justified in offering it as a new book.
Dr. Bosman discusses with great fullness the two theories that had been brought forward: the Malay-Portuguese of Professor Hesseling, and the spontaneous development by myself. Both are found wanting. But the result is by no means purely destructive: the author gives his own explanation on p. 101 in these words: “In so ver as Afrikaans nie die spontane ontwikkeling van Hollands is nie, is dit 'n ontwikkeling van Hollands hoofsaaklik onder invloed van die Nederlands van vreemdelinge”. The conclusion is not very different from what the author had said in his dissertation, but it is supported by a fuller and more convincing array of arguments, chiefly of an historical character.
The result seems likely to be generally accepted. As for myself, I am willing to take leave of my own theory: I am satisfied if my article has done its work of clearing the ground by showing the unsatisfactory character of the linguistic arguments adduced by Dr. Hesseling. It seems that Dr. Hesseling is more attached to his own discovery, ?) but I am pretty certain that he is fighting for a lost cause. In this repect I think it a significant fact that Professor Van Ginneken, who in his Handboek der Nederlandsche Taal fully accepted Hesseling's theory, expressed himself as follows in 1917 (i.e. a year after Bosman's dissertation) on p. 196 of the Regenboogkleuren van Nederlands Taal: „Op de taal dezer kolonisten was van zekeren invloed het Maleisch-Portugeesch, dat uit Indië werd overgebracht door koelies, baboes en ander Indisch dienstpersoneel. Ook de uit Indië aangevoerde slaven en de uit Indië naar de Kaap verbannen rebelsche vorsten met hun hofstoet hielpen misschien mede aan de verbreiding van genoemde taal. Toch is de invloed dezer taal niet zeer groot geweest, en zeker niet te vergelijken met de rol die het Maleisch-Portugeesch in Oost-Indië heeft gespeeld . De Creoliseering van het Afrikaansch is misschien voor een klein gedeelte ook een gevolg van den invloed van het MaleischPortugeesch. Maar de overal werkende oorzaak: de taaldooreenhaspeling van allerlei Europeanen, Indiërs en Afrikanen was hiervan zeker de voornaamste drijfkracht.”
A conclusion similar to this may prove to be the means of settling the long quarrel among students of English with regard to the influence of French.
The Place Names of Lancashire. By E. EKWALL. Manchester, 1922. Publications of the University of Manchester, no. CXLIX.
(English Ser., no. XI). XV + 280 Ss. gr. 80. Unter den zahlreichen arbeiten, die im laufe der letzten jahrzehnte den englischen ortsnamen gewidmet worden sind, nimmt das vorliegende buch des professors der englischen philologie zu Lund jedenfalls nach umfang und inhalt einen hervorragenden platz ein. Wie der verfasser im vorwort berichtet, hatte er schon vor zwölf jahren mit der ausarbeitung begonnen und sein werk war bereits in einem vorgeschrittenen stadium, als das gleichnamige von Wyld und Hirst erschein (London 1911), dem bald darauf Sephton's Handbook of Lancashire Place-names (Liverpool 1913) folgte. Ich kenne diese beiden bücher nicht, aber nach dem was E. in der einleitung S. 1 ff. über dieselben sagt ?), können wir uns nur_freuen, dasz er seinen plan trotz dieser veröffentlichungen ausgeführt hat. Der weltkrieg hat das erscheinen verzögert und erst in den Jahren 1920 u. 1921 war es dem verfasser möglich, einige monate im lande selbst zuzubringen und die betreffenden örtlichkeiten in augenschein zu nehmen. Die lage eines ortes konnte nicht selten über die erklärung eines zweifelhaften namens entscheiden.
Die einleitung beginnt mit einer umfassenden bibliographie in der vielleicht noch die bücher von Gröhler, (Ursprung u. Bedeutung der franz. Ortsnamen, Samml. roman. Elementar- u. Handbücher, V, 2), Solmsen (Indogermanische Eigennamen, Heidelberg 1922), Ritter (Vermischte Beiträge zur engl. Sprachgeschichte, Halle 1922) und Sandbach (Die Schönhengster Ortsnamen,
) Museum, November 1923.
) Vgl. auch seine anzeige von Wyld-Hirst im Beiblatt zur Anglia 23, 177 ff., sowie diejenige Björkman's in den Engl. Stud. 44, 249 ff.