Literary Bypaths of the Renaissance

Literary Bypaths of the Renaissance

Literary Bypaths of the Renaissance

Literary Bypaths of the Renaissance

Excerpt

In the summer of 1921 two short sketches, one of the business man, the other of the actress, appeared in Life. Very cleverly the author fitted together the details that make up his portraits. The tired business man, we are told, "is invariably slightly bald. He believes that an actress' beauty is only knee deep. At serious dramas, he promptly falls into audible slumber." So, whether the author realized it or not, the count goes on, exactly after the fashion of the character sketches of the seventeenth century. Just as the magazine appeared, I was laboring to prove, by the painstaking methods of modern scholarship, that the character sketch no longer exists as an independent literary form. On the day in question, as Life was replaced on the table, some disquieting thoughts ran through my mind.

Is it true that these other literary bypaths of an olden time are still occasionally trodden, that these other old favorites are simply awaiting resuscitation? A treatise on the courtier would now be out of the question; but plenty of advice on conduct can still be had for, or even without, the asking. A letter, also, exactly in the style of King James' days would provoke much comment. Yet some rare correspondents still are able to catch that touch of intimacy so much prized by the familiar letter writers of the Stuart court. Pictures in our modern world are used, though with new mechanical devices, for purposes of instruction; and two recently published books seemingly recall the title of an old volume of emblems, The Mirrour of Maiestie. It may therefore be true, as Walter Pater observed, that whatever has once been of genuine interest to the human race never loses its appeal.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.