Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, December 01, 1879, Page 218, Image 2

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    II i i iAM
TltK N0VIC1..
' "-" ---. -
The work 'of a trim novel is, to -present
Ufo to us as it is. to dolinimle character
truly, and to duplet customs and manners
as it llnds them. In this il lias a vast ad
vantage over History, though-perhaps not
so much as was claimed by Fielding.who
said "History has nothing hut Tacts, the
novel has everything hut fads." Ms
great advantage is that it sees all the in
ner workings of life, knows all the causes
of cll'ccts, and stands within tlte sanctum
sanctorum of man's soul. The novel is
the confidential letter that comes to us of
the voyage on tlio ocean "of years; histo
ry is tlie log.b:ok that chronicles each
day's events, the storms and calms, ami
all the data of the voyage.
The aim of the novel is to "plaaso and
delight the mliui'lu the contemplation of
life in all its varied phages, and its aim is
the most easily accomplished since it has
for its sphere the whole of the world and
oi human life, while its universal char
acter makes it the literature of all Since
its chief aim is to please, a novelist who
makes all his work subservient to some
moral or didactic end, fails to reach per.
fection in his art. Though you may
cite a Dickons to the contrary yet
we have only one Dickens as
wo have only one Shakespeare.
So many authors, as Hawthorne most
happily expresses it, relentlessly impale
their stories with a moral, as by sticking
a pin through' a butterlly, thus at once de
priving it of life, and causing it to Milieu
in an ungainly and unnatural attitude.
The first novel was founded upon the
passion of love, and its influence seems
to have boon for all time. Vet one must
protest against. the orthodox novel that
persists in reducing man's whole life to
the limits of an exciting courtship. No
one, especially a woman, will deny to the
novel this great and important feature,
yet wo argue, that since Eros does not en
tirely and absolutely rule man's life, ho
should not bo represented as so doing. It
is when Vesta presides over his destiny
that ho approaches the truest end of hia
being, and'reaulies .tliu'most complete de.
velopmuut; so wo find the novel has at.
turned the highest perfection among a
truly domestic people. Yet hooks are
written to express." man's vast range of ex
porience and subtleties of 'thought; they
have stolen the copyright of the true
novel and wc 'have metaphysical, politi.
cal, and religious novels perpetrated upon
us with 'personifications ol truths ami
passions, usurping the place of real char
acters with human hearts and feelings.
Madame Oo.Sltul says, "Without a lit
tle conventional rouge no human com
plexion can stand the stage lights of fic
tion ,' and an author, who fails to, idealize
his characters is false to. the first princi
ples of liis art, yol an unrestrained pas
sion for the ideal often produces a mor
bid sentimentality tand draws tlio writer
and reader from the common interests
and pursuits of life.
The many worthless novels that Hood
this age testify to the common belief that
to write a novel is but pastime for a sum
mer afternoon. As Fielding says, they
think the only requisites are a pen, paper
and the manual power of using them.
Hut to write a good novel requires the
most varied qualifications and the rarest
talenls. One must have wide sympathies
witli humanity, a deep and intrinsic
knowledge of the human heart with
great koouobs of observation, to be able to
penetrate into tlio mysteries of life and the
soul. The true novelist must have a pow
er of mind that is capable of ponotratinu
into all the essential differences of things.
He must poscss great imagination and
creative power, while, with all these qual
ities, learning must step in and show
him how be.? I to use them.
Since imagination is the master faculty
of the novelist thero must bo u complete
surrendering of the mind and will to all
its impulses; hut in all ita creation he
must never depart so far from the range of
probability that his character will he re
moved from the pale of human interest
and sympathy.