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tion that they can hardly have to any other. The new times will have new soul maladies and need other soul doctors. The fashions of this world pass away fashions in thought, in style, in humor, in morals, as well as in anything else.

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As men strip for a race, so must an author strip for this race with time. All that is purely local and accidental in him will only impede him; all that is put on or assumed will impede him his affectations, his insincerities, his imitations; only what is vital and real in him, and is subdued to the proper harmony and proportion, will count. A malformed giant will not in this race keep pace with the lesser but better-built stripling. How many more learned and ponderous tomes has Gilbert White's little book left behind! Mere novelty, how short-lived is that! Every age will have its own novelties. Every age will have its own hobbies and hobbyists, its own clowns, its own follies and fashions and infatuations. What every age will not have in the same measure is sanity, proportion, health, penetration, simplicity. The strained and overwrought, the fantastic and far-fetched, are sure to drop out. Every pronounced style, like Carlyle's, is sure to suffer. The obscurities and affectations of some recent English poets and novelists are certain to drag them down. Browning, with his sudden leaps and stops, and all that Italian rubbish, is fearfully handicapped.

Things do not endure in this world without a certain singleness and continence. Trees do not

grow and stand upright without a certain balance and proportion. A man does not live out half his days without a certain simplicity of life. Excesses, irregularities, violences, kill him. It is the same with books-they, too, are under the same law; they hold the gift of life on the same terms. Only an honest book can live; only absolute sincerity can stand the test of time. Any selfish or secondary motive vitiates a work of art, as it vitiates a religious life. Indeed, I doubt if we fully appreciate the literary value of the staple, fundamental human virtues and qualities- probity, directness, simplicity, sincerity, love. There is just as much room and need for the exercise of these qualities in the making of a book as in the building of a house, or in a business career. How conspicuous they are in all the enduring books-in Bunyan, in Walton, in Defoe, in the Bible! It is they that keep alive such a book as "Two Years before the Mast," which Stevenson pronounced the best sea-story in the language, as it undoubtedly is. None of Stevenson's books have quite this probity and singleness of purpose, or show this effacement of the writer by the man. It might be said that our interest in such books is not literary at all, but purely human, like our interest in "Robinson Crusoe," or in life and things themselves. The experience itself of a sailor's life, however, would be to most of us very prosy and distasteful. Hence there is something in the record, something in the man behind the record, that colors his pages, and that is the source of our interest.

This personal element, this flavor of character, is the

salt of literature.

Without it, the page is savorless.

II

It is curious what an uncertain and seemingly capricious thing literary value is. How often it refuses to appear when diligently sought for, labored for, prayed for; and then comes without call to some simple soul that never gave it a thought. Learning cannot compass it, rhetoric cannot compass it, study cannot compass it. Mere wealth of language is entirely inadequate. It is like religion: often those who have it most have it least, and those who have it least have it most. In the works of the great composers - Gibbon, De Quincey, Macaulay it is a conscious, deliberate product. Then, in other works, the very absence of the literary motive and interest gives an æsthetic pleasure.

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One is surprised to read the remark of the "Saturday Review" on the published letters of Whitman, - letters that have no extrinsic literary value whatever, not one word of style, namely, that few books are so well calculated to " purge the soul of nonsense; " and the remark of the fastidious Henry James on the same subject, that, with all their enormities of the common, the letters are positively delightful. Here, again, the source of our interest is undoubtedly in the personal revelation,— the type of man we see through the letters, and not in any wit or wisdom lodged in the letters themselves. One reader seeks religious or moral values alone

in the works he reads; another seeks scientific or philosophical values; another, artistic and literary values; others, again, purely human values. No one, I think, would read Scott or Dickens for purely artistic values, while, on the other hand, it seems to me that one would go to Mr. James or to Mr. Howells for little else. One might read Froude with pleasure who had little confidence in him as an historian, but one could hardly read Freeman and discount him in the same way; one might have great delight in Ruskin, who repudiated much of his teaching.

I suppose one comes to like plain literature as he comes to like plain clothes, plain manners, simple living. What grows with us is the taste for the genuine, the real. The less a writer's style takes thought of itself, the better we like it. The less his dress, his equipage, his house, concern themselves about appearances, the more we are pleased with them. Let the purpose be entirely serious, and let the seriousness be pushed till it suggests the heroic; that is what we crave as we grow older and tire of the vanities and shams of the world.

To have literary value is not necessarily to suggest books or literature; it is to possess a certain genuineness and seriousness that is like the validity of real things. See how much better literature Lincoln's speech at Gettysburg is than the more elaborate and scholarly address of Everett on the same occasion. General Grant's "Memoirs" have a higher literary value than those of any other gen

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eral in our Civil War, mainly because of the greater simplicity, seriousness, and directness of the personality they reveal. There is no more vanity and make-believe in the book than there was in the man. Any touch of the elemental, of the veracity and singleness of the natural forces, gives value to a man's utterances, and Lincoln and Grant were undoubtedly the two most elemental men brought out by the war. The literary value of the Bible, doubtless, arises largely from its elemental character. The utterances of simple, unlettered men — farmers, sailors, soldiers often have great force and impressiveness from the same cause; there are in them the virtue and seriousness of real things. One great danger of schools, colleges, libraries, is that they tend to kill or to overlay this elemental quality in to make the poet speak from his culture instead of from his heart. "To speak in literature with the perfect rectitude and insouciance of the movement of animals and the unimpeachableness of the sentiment of trees in the woods and grass by the roadside, is the flawless triumph of art; " and who so likely to do this as the simple, unbookish man? Hence Sainte-Beuve says the peasant always has style.

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In fiction the literary value resides in several different things, as the characterization, the action, the plot, and the style; sometimes more in one, sometimes more in another. In Scott, for instance, it is found in the characters and the action; the style is commonplace. In George Eliot, the action, the dra

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