Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Samuel Johnson and Leigh Hunt : two views of the theatre Oldfield, Edward Leonard 1961

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1961_A8 O5 S2.pdf [ 8.42MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0106181.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0106181-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0106181-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0106181-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0106181-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0106181-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0106181-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0106181-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0106181.ris

Full Text

SAMUEL JOHNSON AND LEIGH HUNT: TWO VIEWS OF THE THEATRE by E. L. OLDFIELD B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1957  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n t h e Department of English  We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g t o t h e required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1961  In p r e s e n t i n g  t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of  the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the  University  o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make it  freely  a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and  agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may  study.  I further  c o p y i n g of t h i s  be g r a n t e d by the Head o f  Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n  Department The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, Vancouver Canada.  my  I t i s understood  that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r g a i n s h a l l not  thesis  financial  permission.  ABSTRACT Samuel Johnson and  L e i g h Hunt, as g e n e r a l l y r e p r e s e n t a -  t i v e spokesmen o f the E i g h t e e n t h C e n t u r y and the Romantic Age,  p r o v i d e some i n t e r e s t i n g comments on the t h e a t r e  t h e i r times.  of  Their i n d i v i d u a l idiosyncrasies colour t h e i r  views t o some e x t e n t .  Such i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s , as t h e y  per-  t a i n t o the t h e a t r e , are the s u b j e c t of Chapter I o f t h i s essay. P h y s i c a l c o n d i t i o n s i n the t h e a t r e of Johnson's  and  Hunt's t i m e s , which c o u l d not but i n f l u e n c e the r e c e p t i o n o f a c t e d drama, are n o t e d i n Chapter I I . Johnson, whose views towards the drama are g e n e r a l l y those o f the l i t e r a r y c r i t i c , e v a l u a t e d the p l a y s o f Shakespeare and o t h e r s m a i n l y i n terms o f t h e i r l i t e r a r y w o r t h . But he was  not unaware o f the p e c u l i a r demands of the  t h e a t r i c a l m e t i e r , and h i s well-known p r e j u d i c e a g a i n s t t h e p l a y e r s d i d not prevent  him from making a j u s t a p p r a i s a l  of the t h e a t r i c a l f a r e o f h i s t i m e , a c c o r d i n g t o J o h n s o n i a n canons of  taste.  Hunt shared  i n the g e n e r a l l y i d o l a t r o u s r e g a r d o f the  Romantics towards Shakespeare.  He wrote when the o f f e r i n g s  o f c u r r e n t p l a y w r i g h t s r e f l e c t e d , t o him, t h e age's d e a r t h of d r a m a t i c  character.  He t h o u g h t some of t h e  earlier  o f f e r i n g s , n o t a b l y those of t h e R e s t o r a t i o n p l a y w r i g h t s , were u n s u i t a b l e t o the p r e s e n t mores of t a s t e .  But i n h i s  voluminous t h e a t r e c r i t i c i s m he i s p r i n c i p a l l y concerned w i t h the stage p r e s e n t a t i o n of p l a y s , r a t h e r than t h e i r v a l u e as c l o s e t drama. As p l a y w r i g h t s , Johnson and Hunt made m a n i f e s t o f t h e i r c r i t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s ; and a study o f Irene A Legend o f F l o r e n c e  provides a concluding  some and  commentary on  the w o r t h of t h e i r c r i t i c i s m , t r a n s l a t e d i n t o  practice.  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Chapter I  Page A View o f t h e Viewers  1  II  The T h e a t r e s and t h e Concept of T h e a t r i c a l I l l u s i o n  26  III  Shakespeare on t h e Page and on t h e Stage  55  The Other P l a y w r i g h t s  80  IV V  Johnson and Hunt - P l a y w r i g h t s of two Ages  10b  F o o t n o t e s t o Chapter I  133  F o o t n o t e s t o Chapter I I  136  F o o t n o t e s t o Chapter I I I  138  F o o t n o t e s t o Chapter IV  141  F o o t n o t e s t o Chapter V  144  Bibliography  I.  A VIEW OF THE VIEWERS  I t i s i n t e n d e d i n t h i s essay t o study a p e r i o d o f change i n t h e h i s t o r y o f the t h e a t r e , as i t i s r e f l e c t e d i n t h e w r i t i n g s o f Samuel Johnson (1709-17&4) and L e i g h Hunt (1734-1359) •  A c c o r d i n g l y , i t w i l l be n e c e s s a r y a t  the o u t s e t t o compare and c o n t r a s t i n g e n e r a l terms t h e p e r s o n a l i t i e s and a t t i t u d e s o f t h e two men, so t h a t t h e i r d r a m a t i c c r i t i c i s m may be seen i n i t s p r o p e r  context.  Dr. Johnson i s n o t u n e q u i v o c a l l y a c l a s s i c i s t .  He  has been c l a i m e d f o r t h e r o m a n t i c s by H e n r i S t e n d h a l , and r e c e n t l y d i s c l a i m e d f o r t h e n e o c l a s s i c i s t s by t h e B r i t i s h critic, for  J.H.W. Atkins.-'-  Johnson's c r i t i c i s m , d i s t i n g u i s h e d  i t s common sense and d i s l i k e o f c a n t , more c h a r a c t e r i s -  t i c o f t h e man than o f t h e Age, i s more p r o p e r l y c a l l e d Johns o n i a n than n e o c l a s s i c a l .  In his delight i n the free play  o f mind and h i s i m p a t i e n c e w i t h c a n t , he a n t i c i p a t e d t h e romantics. Boswell.  " C l e a r your mind o f c a n t , " was h i s a d v i c e t o "You may t a l k as o t h e r people do;... i t i s a mode 2  o f t a l k i n g i n s o c i e t y ; b u t do n o t t h i n k f o o l i s h l y . "  He  had t h e r o m a n t i c s ' g r e a t r e s p e c t f o r t h e human mind; and t h e y shared h i s view t h a t human e x p e r i e n c e i s a l e a d i n g c r i t e r i o n of truth:  "Human e x p e r i e n c e , which i s always con3  t r a d i c t i n g theory, i s the great t e s t of t r u t h . " But t h e r e was a g r e a t area o f s e n s i b i l i t y i n Johnson w h i c h he d e l i b e r a t e l y suppressed,  and h i s c r i t i c a l w r i t i n g s  2  have a r e s e r v e about them which a l i e n a t e d t h e r o m a n t i c s . H i s s t r a i t - j a c k e t i n g o f h i s sensuous b e i n g c r i p p l e d him f o r t h e t a s k o f c r i t i c i s m , a c c o r d i n g t o them, as much as t h e 'imperf e c t i o n o f h i s organs' and h i s l a c k o f t a s t e i n music and painting.  The a u t o c r a t i c and p r e s c r i p t i v e r i n g o f h i s  pronouncements  f u r t h e r a l i e n a t e d them, and nowhere more than  i n h i s judgements upon Shakespeare.  Although the romantics  made Shakespeare a god, t h e supreme a u t h o r i t y f i g u r e , t h e y made him, as i t i s s a i d , i n t h e i r own image, f o r Shakespeare i s b i g enough t o be many t h i n g s t o many p e o p l e .  To Johnson,  Shakespeare was not a god, but a compeer i n t h e r e p u b l i c o f letters.  And t h e r o m a n t i c s r e s e n t e d t h e i m p l i c a t i o n o f  e q u a l i t y w i t h Shakespeare, from a person w i t h Johnson's cons t r i c t i o n s and d e f i c i e n c i e s . M e n t i o n must be made o f some p h y s i o l o g i c a l f a c t o r s which c o u l d n o t b u t a f f e c t Johnson's view o f t h e t h e a t r e .  An o b v i o u s  i n f l u e n c e upon h i s r e c e p t i o n o f a n y t h i n g v i s u a l o r a u d i t o r y was t h e " i m p e r f e c t i o n o f h i s o r g a n s , " w h i c h B o s w e l l makes t h e p r i m a r y cause o f "Johnson's p r e j u d i c e a g a i n s t p l a y e r s . There was " t h e i r r e p a r a b l e damage... done t o t h e a u r i c u l a r o r g a n s " by t h e k i n g ' s E v i l , "and I suppose," says Mrs. T h r a l e , " ' t i s owing t o t h a t h o r r i b l e d i s o r d e r t o o t h a t he c o u l d never make use o f b u t one eye."^  There i s e v i d e n c e t h a t Johnson,  so h a n d i c a p p e d , was no v e r y r e f i n e d judge o f t h e a t r i c a l m e r i t . ^ As t i m e went on, he a v o i d e d t h e t h e a t r e as he a v o i d e d sermons i n c h u r c h , because he c o u l d n o t hear w e l l .  The t h e a t r e became  3  to Johnson " t h e young man's whore," c a s t o f f as "we drop some o f t h e t h i n g s t h a t have p l e a s e d u s ; whether i t be t h a t we a r e f a t i g u e d and don't choose t o c a r r y so many t h i n g s any f u r t h e r , o r t h a t we f i n d o t h e r t h i n g s which we l i k e b e t t e r . " ^ One t h i n g t h a t he l i k e d b e t t e r was t a l k :  h i schief regret  a t n o t a t t e n d i n g t h e t h e a t r e was t h a t he was u n a b l e t o d i s c u s s the m e r i t s o f t h e new p r o d u c t i o n s w i t h h i s f r i e n d s .  His pre-  f e r e n c e i n t h e drama, e a r l y and l a t e , was f o r t h e w r i t t e n , r a t h e r than t h e spoken k i n d ; f o r i n t h i s , h i s s t r o n g  imagina-  t i o n c o u l d w e l l s u p p l y t h e want o f a c u i t y o f h i s o t h e r  senses.  " L e t him t h a t i s u n a c q u a i n t e d w i t h t h e powers o f Shakespeare, and who d e s i r e s t o f e e l t h e h i g h e s t p l e a s u r e t h a t t h e drama d  can g i v e , r e a d every p l a y from t h e f i r s t  scene t o t h e l a s t "  not a t t e n d i t s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n on t h e s t a g e .  -  Occasionally a  passage might n o t come through t o t h e " s o l i t a r y r e a d e r ,  though  i t may be somewhat i n v i g o r a t e d by t h e e x h i b i t i o n o f t h e s t a g e , but t o Johnson i t was n o t one o f Shakespeare's e x c e l l e n c i e s t h a t " t h i s poet i s always more c a r e f u l about t h e p r e s e n t the f u t u r e , about h i s audience than h i s  than  readers." ^ 1  L e i g h Hunt, w i t h t h e advantage o f e x c e l l e n t h e a r i n g and e y e s i g h t , always had a p r e f e r e n c e  f o r p l a y s done i n t h e t h e a t r e .  I n h i s A u t o b i o g r a p h y , he s a y s , " N e i t h e r then [ a t s c h o o l ] n o r a t any t i m e , have I been as fond o f d r a m a t i c other.""'""'"  r e a d i n g as any  But he always enjoyed a t t e n d i n g t h e t h e a t r e , where  h i s f i r s t - c l a s s f a c u l t i e s made him an acute t h e a t r i c a l and p r a c t i c e and a wide a c q u a i n t a n c e  critic,  w i t h l i t e r a t u r e made him  4  a d i s c e r n i n g and  i n f o r m e d one.  The  t h e a t r e was  a lasting  l o v e o f h i s l i f e , p r o v i d i n g s h e l t e r sometimes from m e l a n c h o l y , perhaps from d o m e s t i c i t y .  He was  not b l i n d t o the  f a u l t s , as he seems t o have been t o h i s w i f e ' s . l i b e r a l , and no  theatre's  He was  a  a r e f o r m e r , i n t h e t h e a t r e ; and here t h e r e i s  e c h o i n g concern i n Johnson, who,  a l t h o u g h he grew l e s s  t o l e r e n t of the t h e a t r e , d i d not attempt t o r e f o r m i t .  Hunt  s t r o v e t o b r i n g about " f o u r t h - w a l l r e a l i s m " i n the t h e a t r e h a l f - c e n t u r y before it.  the p u b l i c seems t o have been r e a d y f o r  "John Kemble f l o u r i s h e d l o n g a f t e r my  m a j e s t i c d r y n e s s and d e l i b e r a t e n o t h i n g s . "  a t t a c k on h i s a l t h o u g h he seemed  t o Hunt to f a d e b e f o r e Kean " l i k e a t r a g e d y g h o s t . " did  Hunt  1 2  not c a s t o f f the t h e a t r e , as Johnson d i d , a l t h o u g h  t h e a t r e , i n Hunt's t i m e , became somewhat roue. tic  a  a r d o u r , he c l u n g to an i d e a l t h a t was  the  W i t h roman-  permanent and  far  more b e a u t i f u l than Johnson's concept of the t h e a t r e as a 'young man's whore.' C e r t a i n domestic c i r c u m s t a n c e s f a v o u r e d the growth o f Hunt's c r i t i c i s m a l o n g the sophy o f l i f e , and ones.  ' b e n e v o l i s t ' l i n e s of h i s p h i l o -  Johnson's a l o n g h i s r i g o r o u s l y  austere  Domestic committedness p r o b a b l y h e l p e d to cause the  l a b e f a c t a t i o n t h a t i s apparent i n Hunt's l a t e r w r i t i n g s , and an absence of i t enabled Johnson t o m a i n t a i n  consistent  standards. One  may  propensities.  t r a c e what happened to t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e  gregarious  Johnson always remembered what the o l d man  once  5  t o l d him a t O x f o r d :  " P l y your books d i l i g e n t l y now, and  a c q u i r e a s t o c k o f knowledge; f o r when y e a r s come upon y o u , you w i l l f i n d t h a t p o r i n g upon books w i l l be b u t an irksome 13 task."  Johnson's g r e a t p e r i o d o f s t u d y was between t h e  ages o f t w e l v e and e i g h t e e n . ^ x  B o s w e l l ' s L i f e o f Johnson  c o n t a i n s many i n s t a n c e s o f h i s i m p a t i e n c e w i t h books l a t e r i n l i f e , when he became a d e s u l t o r y , a l t h o u g h always spicacious, reader:  "He had a p e c u l i a r f a c i l i t y  per-  i n seizing  at once what was v a l u a b l e i n any book, w i t h o u t s u b m i t t i n g t o t h e l a b o u r o f p e r u s i n g i t from b e g i n n i n g t o end."15 same s o r t o f f a c i l i t y in discourse.  The  enabled him t o s e i z e what was i m p o r t a n t  " I l e a r n t what I know o f l a w , c h i e f l y  Mr. B a l l o w , a v e r y a b l e man," he t o l d B o s w e l l .  from  " I learnt  some, t o o , from Chambers.... My knowledge o f p h y s i c k I l e a r n t from Dr. James, whom I h e l p e d i n w r i t i n g t h e p r o p o s a l s f o r h i s d i c t i o n a r y . . . . I a l s o l e a r n t some from Dr. Lawrence." Sometimes good c o n v e r s a t i o n came from s u r p r i s i n g s o u r c e s a l t h o u g h n o t h i n g t h a t , happened i n London r e a l l y s u r p r i s e d Johnson:  " I t i s w o n d e r f u l , S i r , what i s t o be found i n London.  The most l i t e r a r y c o n v e r s a t i o n t h a t I ever e n j o y e d , was a t t h e t a b l e o f Jack E l l i s , a money s c r i v e n e r b e h i n d t h e R o y a l Exchange, w i t h whom a t one p e r i o d I used t o dine g e n e r a l l y 17 once a week." A l t h o u g h Johnson r e t a i n e d h i s c o n v i c t i o n 18 t h a t " g e n e r a l p r i n c i p l e s must be had from books,"  he v a l u e d  most h i g h l y t h a t knowledge o f t h e w o r l d t h a t was " f r e s h  from  6  l i f e , not s t r a i n e d t h r o u g h books."- ' and took p l e a s u r e i n b e i n g 1  a b l e t o say t o B o s w e l l , on t h e i r j o u r n e y t o t h e H e b r i d e s ,  "You  20 and I do not t a l k from  books."  Johnson's own p r a c t i c e , and i t was p a r t l y as a defense from h i s " c o n s t i t u t i o n a l m e l a n c h o l y " , was  to " f l y  from  study  and m e d i t a t i o n , t o t h e d i s s i p a t i n g v a r i e t y o f l i f e . " - ' -  As  2  soon as time and means p e r m i t t e d - soon a f t e r h i s p e n s i o n had been c o n f e r r e d upon him i n 1763 C l u b " , l a t e r "The  - he i n t e r e s t e d h i m s e l f  in  "The  L i t e r a r y C l u b " , the g e r m i n a l i d e a  of  which seems t o have come from S i r Joshua R e y n o l d s .  d i s t i n c t i v e f e a t u r e of The Club's membership was fulness.  A  i t s youth-  Of t h e c h a r t e r members, a l l were younger than  Johnson, some c o n s i d e r a b l y so. c i r c l e o f a c q u a i n t a n c e was  The y o u t h f u l n e s s o f Johnson's  always c o n s p i c u o u s :  Burke and  G o l d s m i t h were about twenty y e a r s younger t h a n he; B o s w e l l , Mrs. T h r a l e , Gibbon, Langton, and B e a u c l e r k about t h i r t y years.  " S i r , I l o v e t h e a c q u a i n t a n c e o f young p e o p l e , " he  once t o l d B o s w e l l , "because, to  i n t h e f i r s t p l a c e , I don't  t h i n k of m y s e l f growing o l d .  like  I n the next p l a c e , young  a c q u a i n t a n c e s must l a s t l o n g e r , i f t h e y do l a s t ; and t h e n , Sir,  young men  have more v i r t u e than o l d men;  generous s e n t i m e n t s i n every r e s p e c t . of  t h i s age.  t h e y have more  I l o v e the young dogs  They have more w i t and humour and knowledge o f  l i f e than we had; but then t h e dogs are not so good s c h o l a r s . " These are generous s e n t i m e n t s f o r a man 'read v e r y hard' i n h i s own  youth.  of f i f t y - f o u r ,  who  Johnson's a s s o c i a t i o n s  w i t h young people were r e c i p r o c a l - he was  sought out by  such  2  7  as B o s w e l l , Langton, and B e a u c l e r k ;  and h i s a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h  them h e l p e d t o m a i n t a i n t h e s u p p l e n e s s o f h i s mind. Quite conscious  o f h i s own mental powers, Johnson d i d  not s u f f e r f o o l s g l a d l y and towered over h i s weaker a d v e r s a r i e s i n c o n v e r s a t i o n , w i t h h i s i m p r e s s i v e , sometimes t e r r i b l e , demeanour c o n t r i b u t i n g t o t h e g e n e r a l e f f e c t o f h i s mastery.  C o l l e c t i o n s o f " J o h n s o n i a n a " p r o v i d e a sub-  s t a n t i a l memorial t o h i s d i s c o u r s e .  There i s as much 'bark  and s t e e l ' f o r t h e mind i n h i s r e c o r d e d i n a Rambler essay.  t a l k as t h e r e i s  Johnson h i m s e l f had a sense o f t h e v a l u e  o f h i s d i s c o u r s e , f o r i t s i n c u l c a t i o n o f m o r a l i t y and p i e t y . I n 1 7 6 b , when he seemed t o have r e t i r e d from w r i t i n g , he defended h i s i n a c t i o n t o G o l d s m i t h :  "A p h y s i c i a n , who has  p r a c t i s e d l o n g i n a g r e a t c i t y , may be excused i f he r e t i r e s t o a s m a l l town and t a k e s l e s s p r a c t i s e .  Now, S i r , t h e  good I can do by my c o n v e r s a t i o n b e a r s t h e same p r o p o r t i o n t o t h e good I can do by my w r i t i n g s as t h e p r a c t i s e o f a p h y s i c i a n , r e t i r e d t o a s m a l l town, does t o h i s p r a c t i s e i n a great  city. ' -^  Discourse domesticity. of a c l u b man.  1  2  s u i t e d Johnson's i n c l i n a t i o n s b e t t e r t h a n He was v e r y l i t t l e d o m e s t i c a t e d ,  v e r y much  Even h i s " p r e t t y d e a r " T e t t y c o u l d n o t  keep him l o n g from t h e p l e a s u r e s o f d i s c o u r s i n g w i t h h i s f r i e n d s , when he c o u l d f i n d an o p p o r t u n i t y o f d o i n g s o . H i s s o c i a l p r o p e n s i t i e s enabled  Johnson t o remain "a man o f  the w o r l d , " who c o n t i n u e d t o t a k e " i n some degree t h e c o l o u r  8  o f t h e w o r l d as i t moves a l o n g . "  With " g e n e r a l p r i n c i p l e s "  w e l l e s t a b l i s h e d by p r o d i g i o u s e a r l y b o o k - l e a r n i n g , he cont i n u e d to p u t them t o t h e " t e s t o f r e a l l i f e . "  J  Johnson's i n t e l l e c t , compounded o f e a r l y and l a t e  theory  and p r a c t i c e , o f r e a l enjoyment o f t h e w o r l d i n t h e company o f y o u t h f u l a c q u a i n t a n c e , was p r a c t i c a l and a c u t e , and l a s t i n g .  vigorous  C u l t i v a t e d and husbanded by c o n v e r s a t i o n a l con-  t e s t , h i s mental f a c u l t i e s were never p e r m i t t e d t o l i e f a l l o w o r t o grow s o u r .  T h e i r l a t e s t p r o d u c t , The L i v e s o f t h e Poets  (1779-1781), has as much v i t a l i t y a s t h e L i f e o f Savage L e i g h Hunt had t h e same s o r t o f s t a r t i n l i f e  (1744).  as Johnson -  a good grammar-school e d u c a t i o n a t C h r i s t H o s p i t a l , t h e s c h o o l o f C o l e r i d g e and Lamb.  U n l i k e C o l e r i d g e , however, he d i d  not become a ' G r e c i a n ' and go on to C o l l e g e .  L i k e Johnson,  he was t r o u b l e d sometimes by t h e " E n g l i s h Malady," w h i c h he sought t o c o n t r o l , as Johnson d i d a t f i r s t , t i o n s and a b s t i n e n c e s .  by extreme e x e r -  But w h i l e Johnson took t h e ' e x t r o -  v e r t ' course o f f l y i n g from s t u d y and m e d i t a t i o n 'to t h e d i s sipating v a r i e t y of l i f e , '  Hunt was t h e t y p i c a l  who a v o i d e d c o n t a c t w i t h t h e w o r l d .  'introvert'  True, he a t t e n d e d t h e  theatre - but i n a s p i r i t of i s o l a t i o n .  W h i l e Johnson was  i n c l i n e d t o be a p a r t i c i p a t i n g s p e c t a t o r a t t h e t h e a t r e , o f t e n to  t h e embarrassment o f t h e a c t o r s , Hunt f a v o u r e d by n a t u r e  a l e s s a c t i v e r o l e ; and when he was melancholy, his  p a s s i v e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h a l a r g e audience  he c o u l d  enjoy  i n a theatre:  9  The s i g h t o f t h e p l e a s a n t a c t o r s and p l e a s e d . audience i n a t h e a t r e i s n e v e r d i s c o r d a n t t o u s ; even though we s h o u l d s i t i s o l a t e d i n t h e l i t t l e d a r k n e s s o f o u r own g r i e f as i n a c l o s e t , and be u n a b l e to f e e l t h e warmth and l i g h t t h a t we b e h o l d . The t e a r s on i t s windows a r e from w i t h i n , n o t from w i t h o u t . 2 6 Both Johnson and Hunt found r e l i e f from m e l a n c h o l i a i n the r i g o u r s of Journalism.  The w r i t i n g o f h i s A d v e n t u r e r  essays had a t h e r a p e u t i c e f f e c t upon Johnson, a t a p a r t i c u l a r l y t r y i n g period of h i s l i f e ; the w r i t i n g of the T a t l e r had a s i m i l a r e f f e c t upon Hunt.  The e f f o r t o f t h i s  single-  handed u n d e r t a k i n g n e a r l y wore him out p h y s i c a l l y ; y e t , he says, Such i s a h a b i t o f t h e mind, i f i t b u t be c u l t i v a t e d , t h a t my s p i r i t s never seemed b e t t e r , n o r d i d I ever w r i t e t h e a t r i c a l s so w e l l , as i n t h e pages o f t h i s most u n r e m u n e r a t i n g s p e c u l a t i o n . ' Johnson's m a r r i a g e was a p e r i p h e r a l a f f a i r , and had l i t t l e e f f e c t upon t h e " t e n o u r o f h i s ways."  Hunt's mar-  r i a g e was a t t h e c e n t e r o f h i s l i f e ; i t c o n f i r m e d him i n s e d e n t a r y h a b i t s and added domestic s e r v i t u d e .  W h i l e John-  son's m a r r i a g e was a somewhat i n c o n g r u o u s ornament, i t i s i m p o s s i b l e t o imagine Hunt's l i f e w i t h o u t some " t e n d e r h e a r t e d damsel" t o share i t ; i t i s i m p o s s i b l e n o t t o see the  i n f l u e n c e o f d o m e s t i c i t y upon h i s l i f e and w r i t i n g s .  D o m e s t i c i t y put a damper on h i s s o c i a l l i f e and h i s o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r u n i n h i b i t e d d i s c o u r s e and exchange o f i d e a s with his friends.  The untrammelled ease o f Johnson's  Club  c o u l d never be a t t a i n e d i n t h e Hunt h o u s e h o l d , where as many  10  as e i g h t c h i l d r e n were a l l o w e d to grow up i n a most p e r m i s s i v e manner.  Hunt was  too busy p r o v i d i n g f o r t h e c h i l d r e n  t o be a b l e t o l o o k a f t e r them, and Marianne Hunt, a c h r o n i c i n v a l i d , was  too i l l .  'worse t h a n Yahoos I  I n I t a l y , Byron found the c h i l d r e n S i x l i t t l e blackguards !  By  T  when the C a r l y l e s c a l l e d , the s i t u a t i o n had not  1834,  improved:  Hunt's household i n Cheyne Road, C h e l s e a . Nond e s c r i p t ! U n u t t e r a b l e I Mrs. H. a s l e e p on c u s h i o n s ; f o u r or f i v e b e a u t i f u l s t r a n g e g y p s y - l o o k i n g c h i l d r e n r u n n i n g about i n u n d r e s s , whom the l a d y o r d e r e d t o get us t e a . The e l d e s t boy, P e r c y , a s a l l o w b l a c k h a i r e d y o u t h of s i x t e e n , w i t h a k i n d of dark c o t t o n night-gown on, went w h i r l i n g about l i k e a f a m i l i a r , p r o v i d i n g e v e r y t h i n g . An i n d e s c r i b a b l e , d r e a m - l i k e household.28 Keats o b j e c t e d t o Hunt's d o m e s t i c i t y , and t o M a r i a n n e .  "What  a v e r y p l e a s a n t f e l l o w he i s , i f he would o n l y g i v e up  the  s o v e r e i g n t y of a room pro bono;what evenings we might have w i t h him,  c o u l d we have him from Mrs.  Hunt I " ^ 2  Hunt was  so  t i e d to t h e household t h a t he could not a c c e p t C a r l y l e ' s i n v i t a t i o n , i n 1833, Boswell'sl).  t o go t o S c o t l a n d  (Johnson c o u l d  accept  "There are a hundred reasons connected w i t h a  f a m i l y of e i g h t c h i l d r e n , g r e a t and s m a l l , and a l l a t home."3^ Hunt tended t o r e t r e a t from the domestic r i g o u r s , i n t o the s p i r i t w o r l d - t a k i n g h i s books w i t h him. friends contracted.  Thornton Hunt says of  H i s sphere of  him:  As l i f e advanced, as h i s f a m i l y i n c r e a s e d f a s t e r t h a n h i s means, h i s range of v i s i t i n g became more c o n t r a c t e d , h i s d e v o t i o n t o l a b o u r more c o n t i n u o u s , and h i s f r i e n d s reduced t o those who came o n l y t o s t e a l f o r c o n v e r s a t i o n t h e ^ t i m e he o t h e r w i s e would have g i v e n to h i s books. u c h f r i e n d s he welcomed h e a r t i l y , and seldom a l l o w e d them to f e e l the t a x w h i c h t h e y made him f e e l f o r t i m e t h u s consumed. s  11  His whole e x i s t e n c e , and h i s h a b i t o f mind, were literary. I f i t were p o s s i b l e t o form any comp u t a t i o n o f the number o f hours which he expended s e v e r a l l y i n l i t e r a r y l a b o u r and r e c r e a t i o n , a f t e r the manner of s t a t i s t i c a l comparisons, i t would be found t h a t the l a r g e s t p o r t i o n o f h i s hours was devoted t o hard work i n t h e s e c l u s i o n o f h i s s t u d y , and t h a t by f a r the l a r g e r p o r t i o n o f t h e a l l o t t e d r e c r e a t i o n was devoted t o r e a d i n g , e i t h e r i n the study or i n the s o c i e t y of h i s family.31 T  1  The e f f e c t of Hunt's p r o d i g i o u s program o f r e a d i n g was t o s u p p l y h i s w r i t i n g , and presumably h i s c o n v e r s a t i o n , w i t h an ever r e a d y f u n d o f l i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s .  There a r e no  r e c o r d s o f Hunt's d i s c o u r s e , no volumes o f H u n t i a n a t o commemorate i t s charm.  But t h e r e a r e accounts o f i t . I t s  f r o t h and bubble d e l i g h t e d t h e l a d i e s ; but i t sometimes i r k e d K e a t s , when he was t o o s i c k t o e n j o y i t , as i t p r o voked Haydon, who was too r e l i g i o u s , o r C a r l y l e , who too  serious.  Carlyle.  was  " H i s t a l k o n l y f a t i g u e d me m o s t l y , " s a i d  "There was much, much o f i t ; f u l l o f a i r i n e s s i n -  deed, y e t w i t h l i t t l e but s k e p t i c ! z i n g q u i b b l e s , c r o t c h e t s , f a n c i e s , and even cockney w i t , which I am a l l t o o e a r n e s t to r e l i s h . " ^  2  T h i s i s " t a l k i n g from books."  Hunt l o s t  t o u c h w i t h t h e w o r l d , became o t h e r - w o r l d l y , and b u r i e d h i m s e l f i n h i s books a t a t i m e o f l i f e when Johnson  was  t u r n i n g from books to p e o p l e and was a b l e , and d i s p o s e d , to devote a l a r g e p a r t of h i s waking hours t o d i s c o u r s e w i t h a c i r c l e of a c q u a i n t a n c e whose i n t e l l e c t and v a r i e t y were a match f o r the s a l o n s i n P a r i s and the E d i n b u r g h Poker C l u b .  12  Books c o u l d never t a k e t h e p l a c e o f London, and t h e t a l k i t p r o v i d e d , f o r Johnson.  T a l k c o u l d be had i n t h e  c o u n t r y - i t always was, w i t h Johnson, even i n remote Hebr i d e a n i s l e s ; but he would w i l l i n g l y exchange S c o t l a n d f o r t h e S t r a n d , any day.  Hunt, on t h e o t h e r hand, w i t h his p r e -  d i l e c t i o n f o r t h e peace and q u i e t t h a t g e n e r a l l y eluded him enjoyed t h e c o u n t r y . in  Had he been l e s s a s s i d u o u s l y engaged  " t h e t o i l s o m e t r a d e o f l e t t e r s , " he might have l i v e d i n  the c o u n t r y t h e k i n d o f l i f e t h a t H a z l i t t e n v i s i o n e d f o r him i n 1825: He i s t h e o n l y l i t e r a r y man we ever knew, who puts us i n mind o f S i r John S u c k l i n g , o r K i l l i g r e w , o r Carew; o r who u n i t e d r a r e i n t e l l e c t u a l a c q u i r e m e n t s w i t h outward grace and n a t u r a l g e n t i l i t y . Mr. Hunt ought t o have been a gentleman born, and t o have p a t r o n i z e d men o f l e t t e r s . He might then have p l a y e d and sung and laughed and t a l k e d h i s l i f e away; have w r i t t e n manly p r o s e , e l e g a n t verse.- >  Yet Hunt wrote w i t h v i g o u r and f l a i r  3  a t a time o f l i f e  when he was s t r u g g l i n g w i t h p o v e r t y , s i c k n e s s , i n d o l e n c e , and m e l a n c h o l y .  Had he been "a gentleman b o r n , and p a t r o n -  i z e d men o f l e t t e r s , " i t i s more l i k e l y t h a t he would have been more o f a Shenstone, p u t t e r i n g on h i s c o u n t r y than a S u c k l i n g .  Doubtless  estate,  he would have p l a y e d , and sung,  and l a u g h e d , and t a l k e d - and p r o b a b l y  read - h i s l i f e  away  but i t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t t h e r e would be any s u b s t a n t i a l r e c o of i t s p a s s i n g . The  There might have been even more young Hunt  d a i l y round f o r c e d him t o overcome t h a t West I n d i a n l a n  guor i n h i s b l o o d , which had d e b i l i t a t e d h i s f a t h e r .  It is  perhaps h a r d l y f a i r t o judge by h i s performance a f t e r h i s  13  p e n s i o n had been awarded him i n 1347  - he was  t h e n worn out  by  a l o n g l i f e a t t h e t o i l s o m e t r a d e o f l e t t e r s - but h i s b e s t w r i t i n g seems t o have been done under  duress.  F o r t u n a t e l y , Hunt's w r i t i n g s w i t h which we are  mostly  concerned are those up to and i n c l u d i n g the T a t l e r (13301332)  which c o n t a i n the b u l k o f h i s c r i t i c i s m , and of t h a t  bulk there i s very l i t t l e , out t a s t e , a c u t e n e s s ,  according to Saintsbury, "with-  and f e l i c i t y of e x p r e s s i o n . "  t e n t h s of h i s c r i t i c i s m i s a d m i r a b l e ,  and most  s u i t e d t o i n s t r u c t and encourage the average Hunt's concern f o r "the average man"  "Nine-  admirably man."  i s n o t a b l e , and  con-  t r a s t s w i t h Johnson's more l o f t y a t t i t u d e towards t h a t a b s t r a c tion.  The  d i f f e r e n c e may  w e l l be a t t r i b u t e d to c e r t a i n b a s i c  d i s p a r i t i e s between t h e i r o u t l o o k s : m a t i s t and man idealist,  Johnson's t h a t o f a p r a g -  o f the w o r l d ; Hunt's, of a " U n i v e r s a l i s t " ,  R e l i g i o n played a part i n forming t h e i r  and an e x a m i n a t i o n  an  views,  o f t h e g e n e s i s of r e l i g i o u s t h i n k i n g i n  Johnson and Hunt i s i n s t r u c t i v e . Johnson's mother had t o l d him about heaven and h e l l a t an e a r l y age, formed Mrs.  and by the t i m e he was  T h r a l e , h i s mind was  t e n y e a r s o l d , he i n -  d i s t u r b e d by s c r u p l e s of  i n f i d e l i t y , which preyed upon h i s s p i r i t s and made him  very  uneasy.  soul's  The  p a i n s of g u i l t f i r s t convinced  him of t h e  i m m o r t a l i t y , and he became a C h r i s t i a n - "one p i o u s and  of the most  zealous ones ever known," as Mrs. T h r a l e s a i d .  He  had a s t r o n g sense of s i n , and h i s s c h o o l i n g f u r t h e r imbued  14  him w i t h t h e t r a d i t i o n o f C h r i s t i a n Humanism, which  insisted  t h a t a l l t h o u g h t and a c t i o n s h o u l d be s u b j e c t e d t o a moral test. Johnson was f a r from b e i n g a U n i v e r s a l i s t .  He was  s k e p t i c a l as was Hunt about M e t h o d i s t s and t h e i r " i n n e r  as lights"  and o b s e r v a n c e s - but he f a v o u r e d a r e l i g i o n w h i c h p r o v i d e d r e g u l a r i t y a n d - o r d e r , i n which p e o p l e knew t h e i r p l a c e i n r e l a t i o n t o God.  I n f a c t , t h a t p e o p l e s h o u l d know t h e i r  p l a c e i n r e l a t i o n t o one a n o t h e r and t o God was a p r i m a r y t e n e t of t h e J o h n s o n i a n canon.  Johnson, a l t h o u g h he  was  always a v i g o r o u s advocate o f f r e e w i l l , d i d not h o l d w i t h the  h o p e f u l d o c t r i n e t h a t man  potentiality:  "We  i s a c r e a t u r e of i n f i n i t e  know our w i l l i s f r e e , and t h e r e ' s an  end on i t , " he s t a t e d u n e q u i v o c a l l y enough.^5 the  But e x p e r i e n c e ,  g r e a t t e s t of t r u t h , had shown him "the a b s u r d i t y o f t h e 36  l e v e l l i n g doctrine".  He f a v o u r e d a s t r a t i f i e d s o c i e t y , i n  w h i c h p e o p l e knew t h e i r p l a c e and s t a y e d i n i t . E m p i r i c a l o b s e r v a t i o n , t o o , p r e v e n t e d Johnson from  em-  b r a c i n g t h e r o m a n t i c i d e a l t h a t v i r t u e i s i n h e r e n t i n man. Hunt, c o n v i n c e d of t h e e v e r - l o v i n g k i n d n e s s o f God,  sincerely  b e l i e v e d t h a t man was i n h e r e n t l y v i r t u o u s , and t h a t a s t a t e of  s o c i e t y was  coming i n which v i r t u e would be more commonly  rewarded w i t h p r o s p e r i t y .  He l o n g e d , he says i n t h e Auto-  b i o g r a p h y , f o r t h e s t a t e o f s o c i e t y t h a t might have encouraged his to  t r a n q u i l , k i n d l y , g e n t l e m a n l y - and i m p r a c t i c a l - f a t h e r have been more s u c c e s s f u l , i n which t h e s p i r i t ,  r a t h e r than  15  the l e t t e r , o f C h r i s t i a n i t y , might be enthroned;  and t h e r e  were s i g n s i n "the u n i v e r s a l t a l k and minds o f men" t h a t 37 showed him such a s t a t e was near a t hand.  Johnson was  not i n t e r e s t e d i n f u t u r e p o s s i b l e c o n d i t i o n s o f s o c i e t y , and had t h e y been p r e d i c t a b l e by h i s t o r i c a l p r e c e d e n t s , he would have taken an o p p o s i t e view t o Hunt's. Karnes f o r s t a t i n g ( i n Sketches  He censured  Lord  o f t h e H i s t o r y o f Man) t h a t  v i r t u e i s n a t u r a l t o man, "and t h a t i f we s h o u l d b u t c o n s u l t our own h e a r t s , we s h o u l d be v i r t u o u s . "  H i s own view was  t h a t " a f t e r c o n s u l t i n g o u r own h e a r t s a l l we c a n , and w i t h a l l t h e h e l p s we have, we f i n d how few o f us a r e v i r t u o u s . T h i s is s a y i n g a t h i n g which a l l mankind know n o t t o be 38 true."  Lady MacLeod was shocked a t Johnson's r e p l y t o h e r  query as t o whether man's f e e l i n g s were n o t o f themselves  gener-  a l l y d i r e c t e d towards t h e good - "No, Madame, no more than a 39 wolf."  He t o l d B o s w e l l t h a t " t h e r e can be no more c o n f i d e n c e  i n a man'[who t r u s t s t o i m p r e s s i o n s ] than i n a t y g e r . Hunt l o o k e d i n t o t h e human h e a r t and saw a lamb; Johnson l o o k e d i n and saw a w o l f o r t y g e r . of t h e emotions,  The h e a r t , t h e s e a t  was no f i t d i r e c t o r o f a c t i v i t y , t o Johnson.  Reason, and r e l i g i o n , were f i t d i r e c t o r s , and n o t a r e l i g i o n l i k e L e i g h Hunt's " r e l i g i o n o f t h e h e a r t , " but o f t h e r o d and the l e t t e r o f t h e l a w . Man had n o t outgrown, i n Johnson's o p i n i o n , t h e need f o r c h a s t i s e m e n t . l a t e r , thought  Hunt, s e v e n t y - f i v e y e a r s  t h a t "mankind have become t o o i n t e l l i g e n t , t o o  16  i m p a t i e n t of b e i n g cheated, and t h r e a t e n e d , and  T  put o f f ;  too hungry and t h i r s t y f o r a b e t t e r s t a t e of t h i n g s i n the b e a u t i f u l p l a n e t i n which t h e y l i v e , " ^ t o be c h a s t i s e d by the a u t h o r i t a r i a n d i c t a t e s of a Johnson.  "What mankind  c h i e f l y wants i s a good and h o p e f u l o p i n i o n of one  another,"^-  was  h i s a d v i c e to p l a y w r i g h t s .  ted  Hunt's o u t l o o k depended upon a p e r f e c t l y b e n e v o l e n t  "No  Hell.  No u n f a t h e r l i n e s s .  assent to the i n c r e d i b l e .  2  The u n i v e r s a l i s m which dominaGod  -  No monstrous e x a c t i o n s of  No impious A t h a n a s i a n  creed.  No  creed of any k i n d but such as proves i t s d i v i n e n e s s by t h e w i s h of a l l good h e a r t s t o b e l i e v e i t i f t h e y m i g h t , and  by  the encouragement which would be g i v e n them t o b e l i e v e i t J O  by the a c c l a m a t i o n s of t h e e a r t h . " " R e l i g i o n o f the H e a r t . " Church o f England  He was  Such was  L e i g h Hunt's  the son and grandson o f  m i n i s t e r s , but by t h e time Hunt c o u l d r e -  member h i s f a t h e r , Isaac Hunt was  v e r y much p r e o c c u p i e d  w i t h forms of w o r s h i p beyond the p a l e of the Church of England.  "He  had g r e a t l y r e l a x e d i n the orthodoxy  ligious opinions.  of h i s r e -  Both he and my mother had become U n i t a r i a n s .  They were a l s o U n i v e r s a l i s t s . . . . My f a t h e r , however, was i n g to hear a l l s i d e s of the q u e s t i o n , and used t o  will-  visit  the c h a p e l s of the most p o p u l a r p r e a c h e r s o f a l l denominations."^  He was  a shopper, t h e n , f o r the p l e a s a n t e s t s o r t s  of r e l i g i o n ; and L e i g h Hunt's " r e l i g i o n of the h e a r t " must s u r e l y be the most p e r m i s s i v e and i n d u l g e n t o f a l l . "The benevolent  Uni v e r s a l i s t s . . .  are so named from h o l d i n g t h e  o p i n i o n , t h a t a l l mankind, nay even t h e demons  17  t h e m s e l v e s , w i l l be f i n a l l y r e s t o r e d t o h a p p i n e s s ,  through  t h e mercy o f A l m i g h t y God," L e i g h Hunt quotes i n t h e Autob i o g r a p h y , and adds, "What an i m p i e t y towards  'Almighty God'  t h a t anybody c o u l d ever have thought t h e r e v e r s e l " ^ Hunt's r e l i g i o n o f t h e h e a r t i s t h e r e l i g i o n o f Abou Ben Adhem, who, a l t h o u g h he d i d not " l o v e t h e L o r d , " p e r suaded t h e Angel t o w r i t e him i n t h e book o f g o l d "as one t h a t l o v e s h i s fellow-men." The It And And  Angel wrote, and came a g a i n w i t h a show'd t h e names l o i Ben Adhem's  v a n i s h ' d . The next n i g h t g r e a t wakening l i g h t , whom l o v e o f God had b l e s s ' d , name l e d a l l t h e r e s t .  Hunt had, as he o f t e n a s s e r t e d , " f a i t h and hope i n 46  f i n i t e i n t h e p r o g r e s s o f t h e t i m e s , God knows."  He  f o r e s a w a m i l l e n n i u m riot f a r o f f , and by God's g r a c e , mank i n d were ready f o r i t any t i m e .  "And t h a t such a consumma-  t i o n may come s l o w l y but s u r e l y , w i t h o u t i n t e r m i s s i o n i n i t s advance, and w i t h not an i n j u r y t o a l i v i n g s o u l , w i l l be t h e l a s t p r a y e r , as i t must needs be among t h e l a t e s t words, o f t h e a u t h o r o f t h i s book," Hunt wrote i n h i s A u t o b i o g r a p h y Some o f Hunt's c o n v i c t i o n s , as he h i m s e l f s t a t e s , were a consequence o f h i s f a t h e r ' s d i s a p p o i n t m e n t s i n t h e Church of England.  "And i f i t may be some v a n i t y i n u s , a t l e a s t  i t i s no d i s c r e d i t t o our t u r n o f mind, t h a t we [Hunt and h i s b r o t h e r s ] have been t h e means o f c i r c u l a t i n g more knowl e d g e and e n t e r t a i n m e n t i n s o c i e t y , t h a n i f he had a t t a i n e d t h e b i s h o p r i c he l o o k e d f o r , and l e f t us t i c k e t e d and l a b e l e d 48  among t h e a c q u i e s c e n t . "  The m i l l e n n i u m t h a t L e i g h Hunt  18  f o r e s a w would care f o r the i r r e g u l a r and u n b u s i n e s s l i k e k i n d l y people, l i k e h i s f a t h e r :  "How  but  o f t e n , " says Hunt,  "have I l o n g e d f o r the s t a t e of s o c i e t y t h a t might have encouraged him to be more s u c c e s s f u l . Hunt was  a t h i s most b e n e v o l e n t i n h i s T a t l e r t h e a t r e  p i e c e s , when mellow r e t r o s p e c t had tempered some o f h i s o l d e r , waspish views.  I n t h e e a r l i e r p i e c e s , t h e r e i s more  c o n s t r u c t i v e t h e a t r e c r i t i c i s m ; the T a t l e r had  s e t t l e d down  t o be t h a n k f u l f o r s m a l l m e r c i e s i n hard t i m e s . Hunt was  In  1S0S  g r a t e f u l t o Munden f o r h i s c a r i c a t u r e s of Reynolds'  and D i b d i n ' s  c h a r a c t e r s , w h i c h were a l r e a d y "out of n a t u r e "  f o r Munden's " b r i g h t e n i n g the m i s e r a b l e 50 wrights."  By 1831  i n f a c t l i k e one  daubs of our  a p l a y by Peake s a t i s f i e d him:  -  play" i tis  of our o l d f r i e n d Reynolds' p i e c e s come back  a g a i n , a f i v e - a c t f a r c e ; but l o t h s h o u l d we be t o g i v e i t the r e c e p t i o n we ignorance,' p r o v i d e us.'  should have done i n the days of our  'classical  when we were not aware o f 'the goods the gods Mr.  Peake has the a r t , i f not of w r i t i n g a good  comedy, of s p i n n i n g out a p l e a s a n t yarn of some s o r t . . . and he g i v e s you the i m p r e s s i o n j o k e s he makes h i s h e a r e r s  of being, one who relish.  r e l i s h e s the  For t h e s e t h i n g s we  are  g r a t e f u l i n hard times."51 Hunt's disparagement of h i s e a r l i e r c r i t i c a l p o s i t i o n as " c l a s s i c a l i g n o r a n c e "  provides  some e v i d e n c e o f the  shift  i n h i s c r i t i c i s m from the former s t r i c t , somewhat n e o c l a s s i c a l or J o h n s o n i a n , p o s i t i o n , t o a much l o o s e r one  t h a t was  adaptable  t o the c u r r e n t t h e a t r e f a r e r a t h e r than d e s i r o u s o f changing i t .  19  Hunt became more e a s i l y p l e a s e d - and he n o t i c e d t h a t t h e a t r e audiences  were becoming more e a s i l y p l e a s e d , t o o , and  p r e t e d t h i s as a s i g n of t h e a p p r o a c h i n g b e s t t h i n g we have observed the audiences,  inter-  millennium.  "The  about them l a t e l y , " he- says o f  " i s a g r e a t e r w i l l i n g n e s s to be p l e a s e d w i t h  what t h e y see on the s t a g e ; nay, t h a t r e s p e c t ; w h i c h we p r o g r e s s o f knowledge.  a remarkable  indulgence i n  cannot h e l p a t t r i b u t i n g to t h e g e n e r a l T h i s i s a g r e a t s t e p towards b e i n g 52  pleased w i t h the best t h i n g s . " days f o r audiences  " I t seems t h e f a s h i o n nowa-  t o f i n d as l i t t l e f a u l t as p o s s i b l e ; and  we have no q u a r r e l w i t h t h e f a s h i o n .  There i s more knowledge  i n i t , than i n t h e r e a d i n e s s t o f i n d f a u l t . " 5 3  It i s possible  to f i n d f a u l t w i t h t h e l o g i c o f t h e s e assumptions, are c o n s i s t e n t w i t h Hunt's U . n i v e r s a l i s t  but  they  persuasions.  Hunt's l a t e s t t h e a t r e c r i t i c i s m s were l a r g e l y d i r e c t e d t o "the advancement o f human good" - t h r o u g h any s a l u t a r y e f f e c t t h a t the drama might have upon t h e audience. end, he t h o u g h t , was  b e s t l i k e l y t o be a c c o m p l i s h e d  That by a  g r e a t e r c h e e r f u l n e s s on the p a r t o f t h e p l a y w r i g h t s : c o n f e s s t h a t we t h i n k t h a t t h e w o r l d have had  "We  melancholy  books more than enough; t h a t what mankind c h i e f l y want i s a good and h o p e f u l o p i n i o n o f one another; t h a t the most u n c e a s i n g and those who  finally,  r e f o r m e r s have been  have not taken the l e a s t c h e e r f u l means o f  ing t h e i r o b j e c t , " ^ t i v e one,  effective  and  The f o l l o w i n g statement  o f Hunt's l a t e s t  position:  effect-  is a defini-  20  I n the 'mingled y a r n ' of w h i c h t h e web of our l i f e i s composed, we can be c o n t e n t t h a t t h e l i g h t e r c o l o u r s s h o u l d predominate, at l e a s t i n p l a c e s d e s i g n e d f o r r e c r e a t i o n ; and i f i t be thought t h a t t h e r e are not enough o f t h e d a r k e r i n the a c t u a l s t o r y o f our e x i s t e n c e s , l e t the stage s u p p l y the d e f i c i e n c y , but l e t the a r t i s t s be men o f a h i g h e r order of p o e t r y and g e n i u s , who alone know how to temper and s o f t e n them.55 There i s not t o be found i n Hunt t h a t Olympian  detach-  ment t h a t he found i n Johnson, and noted i n h i s p r o s p e c t u s f o r a s e r i e s o f " L i t e r a r y and  P h i l o s o p h i c a l Examiners":  Johnson p a i d h i s d e v o i r s l i k e one t h a t c l a i m e s , r a t h e r than e n t r e a t e d n o t i c e , f o r he knew h i s d e s s e r t ; i t becomes me t o be more humble, and I hope i t w i l l be my good f o r t u n e t o see wisdom i n her c h e e r f u l moments a l i t t l e o f t e n e r t h a n t h e m e l a n c h o l y Rambler; a t the same time I must e a r n e s t l y c o n f e s s t h a t I have not the s l i g h e s t hope of v i e w i n g her so c l e a r l y or of v e n t u r i n g h a l f so f a r w i t h i n the sphere of her approach.5o T h i s d e f e r e n c e t o Johnson i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of t h e e a r l y Hunt, g i v i n g way  l a t e r t o a l e s s f a v o u r a b l e view.  But  John-  son's c l e a r , i f m e l a n c h o l y , v i e w of wisdom assumed r a t h e r more from h i s p u b l i c t h a n Hunt's more c h e e r f u l one; W a l t e r R a l e i g h says of Johnson: a f a i r measure of knowledge and  "He  assumed i n h i s p u b l i c  judgement; he v e n t u r e d  t a k e many t h i n g s f o r g r a n t e d , and t o d i s c u s s k n o t t y as a man and  as  to  points  might d i s c u s s them i n the s o c i e t y of h i s f r i e n d s  equals.  He was  not always s u c c e s s f u l i n h i s a s s u m p t i o n s ,  and more t h a n once had t o c o m p l a i n of the s t u p i d i t y w h i c h imagined him t o deny the t r u t h s t h a t he honoured w i t h Concern w i t h t h e m o r a l i t y of t h e stage was t e r i s t i c o f both Johnson and Hunt.  silence."5?  charac-  A l t h o u g h i t was  f o r Johnson  21  "the  f i r s t d e f e c t " o f Shakespeare t h a t "he s a c r i f i c e s  virtue  to  c o n v e n i e n c e , and i s so much more c a r e f u l t o p l e a s e than  to  i n s t r u c t , t h a t he seems t o w r i t e w i t h o u t any m o r a l pur-  pose,"  y e t so g r e a t was the p l a y w r i g h t t h a t even t h i s  f a u l t might almost be d i s m i s s e d , as Shakespeare d i s m i s s e s his  persons a t t h e  c l o s e , "without f u r t h e r care."  Great-  ness a l s o excused A d d i s o n ; "Cato was u n q u e s t i o n a b l y the  59 n o b l e s t p r o d u c t o f Addison's g e n i u s , " 60  of  t r a g e d y we had."  and "the b e s t model  "Whatever p l e a s u r e t h e r e may be i n  s e e i n g c r i m e s punished and v i r t u e rewarded, y e t , s i n c e wickedness o f t e n p r o s p e r s i n r e a l l i f e , at  the poet i s c e r t a i n l y  l i b e r t y t o g i v e i t p r o s p e r i t y on t h e s t a g e .  For i f  p o e t r y i s an i m i t a t i o n of r e a l i t y , how are i t s laws broken by e x h i b i t i n g the w o r l d i n i t s t r u e form?  The s t a g e  may  sometimes g r a t i f y our w i s h e s ; but i f i t be t r u l y the " m i r r o u r of  life,"  pect. " ^  i t ought t o show us sometimes what we a r e t o exI n f a c t , Johnson was dubious o f t h e s t a g e ' s  practical application to real l i f e ,  as the f o l l o w i n g account  of  t h e Beggar's Opera, from the " L i f e o f Gay," shows: The p l a y , l i k e many o t h e r s , was w r i t t e n o n l y t o d i v e r t , w i t h o u t any moral purpose, and i s t h e r e f o r e not l i k e l y t o do good; nor can i t be conc e i v e d , w i t h o u t more s p e c u l a t i o n t h a n l i f e r e q u i r e s or a d m i t s , t o be p r o d u c t i v e o f much e v i l . Highwaymen and h o u s e b r e a k e r s seldom f r e q u e n t t h e p l a y h o u s e , o r m i n g l e i n any e l e g a n t d i v e r s i o n ; nor i s i t p o s s i b l e f o r anyone t o imagine t h a t he may rob w i t h s a f e t y , because he sees Macheath r e p r i e v e d upon t h e s t a g e . ° 2 Hunt s h a r e d w i t h t h e r o m a n t i c s , g e n e r a l l y more r e l a x e d m o r a l views t h a n t h o s e o f Johnson.  W i t h the Shakespeare  idolaters,  22  he c o u l d not f i n d Shakespeare g u i l t y o f any g r e a t moral d e r e l i c t i o n ; b u t he c o u l d f i n d him g u i l t y o f minor m o r a l i n f r a c t i o n s and i m p r o p r i e t i e s , as a Greek god might have been.  Hunt's concern f o r t h e e f f e c t upon an audience o f  such i m p r o p r i e t i e s exceeded Johnson's, o r t h a t o f t h e o t h e r romantic  critics.  "Mr. H a z l i t t o c c a s i o n a l l y s t a r t l e s u s , "  Hunt wrote i n a r e v i e w o f L e c t u r e s on t h e L i t e r a t u r e o f t h e Age  o f E l i z a b e t h , " w i t h a c r i t i c i s m , which seems as i f i t  would r u n c o u n t e r t o h i s own z e a l f o r t h e improvement o f the s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n ; as when he v a l u e s Shakespeare f o r not i n t e r f e r i n g w i t h any o f t h e r e c e i v e d n o t i o n s o f h i s t i m e . " ^ He agreed w i t h Johnson, t h a t " i t i s always a w r i t e r ' s duty t o make t h e w o r l d b e t t e r , and j u s t i c e i s a v i r t u e dent o f t i m e . "  indepen-  6 i f  The t h e a t r e was a g r e a t e r power i n Hunt's l i f e than i n Johnson's; and Hunt l i k e d t o t h i n k t h a t t h e stage was not w i t h o u t i t s p r a c t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n s which c o u l d be a p o s i t i v e i n f l u e n c e upon t h e advancement o f human good.  -'he e a r l y  ,J  " T h e a t r i c a l E x a m i n e r s " were p r e f a c e d w i t h a passage from Addison's  S p e c t a t o r no. 370:  I t i s w i t h me a m a t t e r o f t h e h i g h e s t c o n s i d e r a t i o n what p a r t s a r e w e l l o r i l l performed, what p a s s i o n s or s e n t i m e n t s a r e i n d u l g e d o r c u l t i v a t e d , and cons e q u e n t l y what manners o r customs a r e t r a n s f u s e d from t h e stage t o t h e w o r l d , which r e c i p r o c a l l y i m i t a t e each o t h e r . Hunt c o n t i n u e d t o v a l u e t h e concept  of the r e c i p r o c i t y of  manners between t h e stage and t h e w o r l d .  But i n t h e a t r i c a l  23  "hard t i m e s " the r e c i p r o c i t y of E l i z a b e t h a n and  Restoration  manners w i t h those of t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y caused a dilemma. His e a r l y view of the r e v i v a l of R e s t o r a t i o n p l a y s was no good c o u l d come of i t ,  e i t h e r to w r i t e r s or  that  audiences:  " W i l l the managers of an E n g l i s h t h e a t r e render t h e v i c e s of the g r e a t e t e r n a l ?  W i l l t h e y a s s i s t i n s c a t t e r i n g a pes-  t i l e n c e from t h e graves of d e p a r t e d  g e n i u s ? " 65  L i k e Johnson, Hunt d i d not u n d e r v a l u e the g r e a t n e s s the "departed  g e n i u s " o f any age,  and h i s g r e a t e r concern  f o r t h e t h e a t r e audience of h i s own  age  g r a d u a l l y became r e -  c o n c i l e d t o a g r e a t e r l a x i t y , as shown i n the f o l l o w i n g account o f  of  Sheridan:  Of the m o r a l c h a r a c t e r o f h i s p l a y s , as e f f e c t i n g s o c i e t y , l e s s need be s a i d , we t h i n k , t h a t might be supposed. The e f f e c t of t h e drama upon r e a l l i f e appears t o us t o be o f a v e r y g e n e r a l c a s t , not a p a r t i c u l a r ; and t o keep a l i v e a c e r t a i n s o f t n e s s and s o c i a l i t y of s p i r i t , w i t h o u t w h i c h , among o t h e r h e l p s , a n a t i o n might r e l a p s e i n t o b r u t a l i t y . We b e l i e v e we have b e f o r e exp r e s s e d our p a r t i c u l a r a d m i r a t i o n o f t h a t phrase i n O v i d , where he speaks o f a t a s t e f o r the liberal arts: "haec s i n i t esse f e r a s " - i t w i l l not s u f f e r men t o be b a r b a r o u s . The extreme o f the s t a g e , when t h e r e i s one, i s o n l y an a n t i d o t e , we c o n c e i v e , t o t h e extreme of r e s e r v e and b i g o t r y . A man s h o u l d not be the a u t h o r o f l a x dramas, i f h i s c o n s c i e n c e i s d o u b t f u l about i t ; he c u t s up a deeper p r i n c i p l e by d o i n g so, t h a n any i n t o which he might s o p h i s t i c a t e h i m s e l f ; but t h e g e n e r a l r e s u l t o f t h i s p a r t of the stage's c h a r a c t e r we c o n c e i v e t o have done no more harm i n t h e l o n g run than the authors i n t e n d e d . We know how p r o f l i g a t e men can be, d u r i n g p e r i o d s of r e l a x e d m o r a l s ; we know how p r o f l i g a t e t h e y can be a l s o d u r i n g p e r i o d s o f t i g h t e n e d ones, and i n the w o r s t and most inhuman s p e c i e s of p r o f l i g a c y ; and we p r e f e r the excess on the k i n d s i d e , i f we  24  must have one. But there i s no need to have e i t h e r , and no age need be a f r a i d i f s u p e r s t i t i o n w i l l l e t us alone.66 T h i s l a t e Examiner essay i s an augury o f t h e m o r a l c h a r a c t e r of Hunt's l a t e r w r i t i n g s .  T h i s has been an account of the d i v e r g e n c i e s and conc u r r e n c i e s i n the t h o u g h t s of t h e two w r i t e r s under d i s cussion.  Johnson's c r i t i c a l p r a c t i c e s , f o r a l l t h a t h i s per-  s o n a l i t y was d i v i d e d between s k e p t i c i s m and s u p e r s t i t i o n , remained remarkably c o n s i s t e n t ; a l t h o u g h h i s work as  lexi-  cographer and e d i t o r made him seek t o be d e f i n i t i v e and c e r t a i n i n h i s judgements, h i s good sense never l e d him f a r a s t r a y from a p o s i t i o n where t h e w o r l d l e a r n from him. tricksy spirit,  can r e s p e c t him and  Compared w i t h Johnson, L e i g h Hunt was a more a n . A r i e l - f i g u r e , as S a i n t s b u r y c a l l e d him.  From an e a r l y p o s i t i o n c o n s i d e r a b l y b e h o l d e n t o Johnson, he assumed i n h i s c r i t i c i s m a f l e x i b i l i t y more a p p r o p r i a t e , p e r h a p s , t o the f l o w i n g c u r r e n t s o f h i s t i m e .  There i s i n  Hunt, r a t h e r t h a n a c o n s i s t e n t v i e w p o i n t , a c o n s i s t e n t movement, w h i c h a l t e r s when i t a l t e r a t i o n f i n d s , r a t h e r t h a n t h e e v e r f i x e d mark t h a t was c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Johnson's The student  criticism.  o f two such c r i t i c s as Johnson and Hunt,  who  are o f t e n not i n sympathy w i t h the r e c e i v e d n o t i o n s o f t h e i r t i m e s , i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h one a n o t h e r , and sometimes  with  t h e m s e l v e s , w i l l o f t e n be reminded o f the s h a p i n g i n f l u e n c e of those p e r s o n a l f o r c e s w h i c h have been the s u b j e c t o f the present  chapter.  I n p a r t i c u l a r , t h e systems o f m o r a l i t y  25  c e n t r a l t o t h e w r i t i n g s o f b o t h men were t h e product o f both s t r o n g and s t r o n g l y c o n t r a s t e d  religious beliefs.  John-  son's d i s c i p l i n e d r e l i g i o u s o r t h o d o x y a t t e m p t e d , not always s u c c e s s f u l l y , to conceal  from h i m s e l f p e s s i m i s t i c c o n v i c t i o n s  of whose t r u t h h i s f e e l i n g s and t h e e x t e n s i v e observations  f r e q u e n t l y a p p r i z e d him.  i n c l i n a t i o n s predisposed  view o f h i s  Hunt's b e n e v o l i s t  him t o see c h e e r f u l s i g n s about him,  when e v e n t s seen i n r e t r o s p e c t seem not t o have v i n d i c a t e d h i s views.  A c o n s i d e r a t i o n of these f a c t o r s renders p o s s i b l e  a s e p a r a t i o n o f what i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f t h e w r i t e r s , from what i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f t h e t h e a t r e , i n t h e f o l l o w i n g chapters.  II.  THE  THEATRES AND  THE  CONCEPT  OF THEATRICAL ILLUSION The t r u t h i s , t h a t the s p e c t a t o r s are always i n t h e i r senses, and know, from the f i r s t a c t t o t h e l a s t , t h a t the stage i s o n l y a s t a g e , and t h a t the p l a y e r s are o n l y p l a y e r s . They came t o hear a c e r t a i n number of l i n e s r e c i t e d w i t h j u s t g e s t u r e and e l e g a n t m o d u l a t i o n . Johnson's l i n e s , e v o k i n g a p i c t u r e of a v e r y a u s t e r e , f o r m a l , and c l a s s i c a l s t a g e , are more w i s h f u l and t i v e than r e a l i s t i c .  The  prescrip-  performance of an e i g h t e e n t h -  c e n t u r y t r a g e d y might have been a u s t e r e and f o r m a l . s p e c t a t o r s who  But t h e  came t o s i t on the h a r d benches i n Drury Lane  came t o see one another and be seen, t o watch G a r r i c k ' s l a t e s t t o u r de f o r c e or the new  afterpiece.  They s a t i n a  b r i g h t l y l i t a u d i t o r i u m , w i t h sometimes drops of c a n d l e wax  f a l l i n g on them from the c h a n d e l i e r s .  There was  no  c u r t a i n f a l l between a c t s , but a band t o e n t e r t a i n and t r a c t them.  dis-  The a c t o r s w a i t e d about i m p a t i e n t l y t o d e l i v e r  t h e i r " p o i n t s , " g e n e r a l l y , u n l e s s they happened t o be G a r r i c k or M a c k l i n o r a n o t h e r member o f the new  s c h o o l of " n a t u r a l "  a c t i n g ; and t h e y d e l i v e r e d them i n a f i n e r a n t , and elegant stance.  The  an  s u p p o r t i n g a c t o r s made no attempt  to  f o l l o w o r r e a c t t o the b u s i n e s s on s t a g e , but s t o o d about s c u f f l i n g , perhaps s p i t t i n g , s u r v e y i n g the a u d i t o r i u m . o f the audience might have been s i t t i n g on the s t a g e . l i k e l y the s t a g e - b o x e s ,  Some Very  above the proscenium d o o r s , were  f i l l e d w i t h the town's f i n e s t , i n t h e i r most e y e - c a t c h i n g array.  The  l i g h t s over the stage g l a r e d .  I t i s hard t o  27  imagine anyone w h i l e s i t t i n g i n t h e p i t and c o n t e n d i n g these v a r i o u s nuisances  with  and d i s t r a c t i o n s , b e i n g v e r y much  d i s p o s e d t o be d e c e i v e d .  But t h e s p e c t a t o r s came w i t h  live-  l i e r e x p e c t a t i o n s than t h a t o f h e a r i n g "a c e r t a i n number o f l i n e s r e c i t e d w i t h j u s t g e s t u r e and e l e g a n t  modulation."  The t h e a t r e t h a t Johnson d e f i n e d so f o r m a l l y i n t h e " P r e f a c e " t o Shakespeare b e a r s l i t t l e r e l a t i o n t o the "young man's whore" which he was w i l l i n g enough t o c a s t o f f when he found o t h e r t h i n g s he l i k e d b e t t e r .  The  f i r s t i s perhaps  t h e "beau i d e a l " ; t h e o t h e r i s the r e a l i t y which h i s a t t e n dance a t t h e t h e a t r e , and h i s a c q u a i n t a n c e green room, had for  shown him.  Johnson wrote h i s own  t h e f o r m e r a b s t r a c t i o n ; but -as i t was  r e a l i t y , i t was  with Garrick's play,  Irene,  played i n the  latter  not a very s u c c e s s f u l stage p l a y .  Although  i t r a n f o r nine n i g h t s , i t had t o be b o l s t e r e d up w i t h a f t e r p i e c e s f o r the l a s t t h r e e . has been c o n f i n e d t o t h e Johnson was  Subsequently i t s r e s u r r e c t i o n  closet.  u n w i l l i n g t o make the a l t e r a t i o n s t h a t  Gar-  r i c k thought would make I r e n e more s t a g e w o r t h y ; and when he was  asked how  he f e l t about i t s i n d i f f e r e n t s u c c e s s , he  said,  p  " L i k e t h e Monument." was  He d i d not d w e l l on h i s martyrdom:  s a t i s f i e d t h a t the people had  expressed  their w i l l ,  and  never a t t e m p t e d a n o t h e r p l a y . Yet Johnson, d e s p i t e h i s unbending c o n v i c t i o n s o f what an audience s h o u l d want i n the t h e a t r e , was  not unaware o f  the p r a c t i c a l problems o f p l a y w r i g h t s and managers o f h i s  he  28  day.  His "Prologue"  Lane i n 1747 t h e a t r e was  w r i t t e n f o r G a r r i c k ' s opening of Drury  r e v e a l s t h a t he was  aware o f the f a c t t h a t  a commercial e n t e r p r i s e , and  t h e whims o f t h e a u d i e n c e . the audience.  Johnson had  The  the  somewhat s u b j e c t  to  p r o l o g u e i s an a d m o n i t i o n t o  some hopes t h a t G a r r i c k ' s manage-  ment might produce a t h e a t r e more i n k e e p i n g w i t h h i s i d e a l but t h e onus was  not upon G a r r i c k  alone:  Hard i s h i s l o t , t h a t here by F o r t u n e p l a c ' d , Must watch the w i l d v i c i s s i t u d e s of t a s t e ; W i t h e v e r y meteor of c a p r i c e must p l a y , And chase the new-born b u b b l e s of t h e day. Ah I L e t not censure term our f a t e our c h o i c e , The stage but echoes back the p u b l i c v o i c e ; The drama's l a w s , t h e drama's p a t r o n s g i v e , For we t h a t l i v e t o p l e a s e , must p l e a s e t o l i v e . Then prompt no more the f o l l i e s you d e c r y , As t y r a n t s doom t h e i r t o o l s of g u i l t t o d i e ; 'Tis y o u r s , t h i s n i g h t , to b i d the r e i g n commence Of r e s c u e d nature and r e v i v i n g sense; To chase t h e charms of sound, the pomp of show, For u s e f u l m i r t h , and s a l u t a r y woe; B i d s c e n i c k v i r t u e form t h e r i s i n g age, And The  t r u t h d i f f u s e her r a d i a n c e from t h e  stage.  "charms of sound," "the pomp of show," were a t t r i -  b u t e s o f a p r o s p e r o u s h a r l o t ; Johnson proposed f o r t h e t h e r o l e o f a temple of v i r t u e , r a t h e r t h a n house of repute.  " U s e f u l m i r t h , " " s a l u t a r y woe,"  and  "scenick  were Johnson's reminder t o t h e a u d i e n c e t h a t t h e s h o u l d be i n s t r u c t i v e as w e l l as p l e a s i n g .  theatre illvirtue"  theatre  Yet, d e s p i t e h i s  c l a r i o n - c a l l t o v i r t u e , and the p r a c t i c a l d e m o n s t r a t i o n v i d e d by I r e n e , f o l l y ,  i f i t d i d not r e i g n , p l a y e d  p o r t a n t s u p p o r t i n g r o l e at Drury Lane, d u r i n g  an  pro-  im-  Garrick's  29  management; and  Johnson grew d i s e n c h a n t e d w i t h t h e  as a p l a c e f o r the i n c u l c a t i o n of wisdom and for  i n n o c e n t merriment, he had A p p e a l s t o the  theatre  piety.  As a p l a c e  no>time f o r i t .  senses, with t h e i r r e s u l t a n t  impairment  o r o b l i t e r a t i o n of the r e a s o n i n g f a c u l t y , were snares delusions,  i n Johnson's view.  led  f o r m a t i o n o f t h o s e " i m p r e s s i o n s " which were not  t o the  t o be t r u s t e d :  t h e man  who  E x a l t a t i o n of the  and  t r u s t e d i n them was  worthy o f c o n f i d e n c e t h a n "a t y g e r . "  feelings  no more  Johnson would have r e -  j e c t e d B o s w e l l ' s d e f i n i t i o n of the p r i n c i p a l end  of drama  as a " d e l i c a t e power of t o u c h i n g the human f e e l i n g s " - ^ i n s o f a r as human f e e l i n g s are capable o f a l i e n a t i n g p e o p l e from r a t i o n a l t h o u g h t , or d r u g g i n g them w i t h But t h e r e are two  k i n d s of f e e l i n g s - and  r e f e r r i n g to t h o s e p i o u s and  had  universalized  w i t h s a l u t a r y human i d e a l s and  sensualities. B o s w e l l been  ones  associated  i n s i g h t s , Johnson would have  espoused the playwright's aim t o make c r e d i b l e a change o f scene from A l e x a n d r i a  t o Rome, and  that  i m a g i n a t i o n which e f f e c t e d t h a t aim and  p i e t y were i n c u l c a t e d .  exercise was  a c t of the  - t o the  Johnson d i d not  end  audience's  that  deny t o o t h e r s  of t h o s e p o w e r f u l emotions of whose e x i s t e n c e  so a c u t e l y aware i n h i m s e l f ,  but  he f e l t t h a t the  c i p l i n e s he imposed upon them were s a l u t a r y f o r the o f mankind.  He f e l t t h a t  i t was  t h e w r i t e r o f f i c t i o n s , and and  morality  t o c u l l from the  he dis-  generality  the b u s i n e s s of t h e  the p l a y w r i g h t ,  the  to s e l e c t  artist, "objects,  mass of mankind those i n d i v i d u a l s upon  which the a t t e n t i o n ought most to be  employed."  Much i n l i f e  30  t h a t i s " d i s c o l o u r e d by p a s s i o n , o r deformed by wickedness,"^" was  b e t t e r l e f t unrepresented.  The s e l e c t i o n o f o b j e c t s and  i n d i v i d u a l s and t h e g e n e r a l i z e d p o r t r a y a l o f them s c r i b e d t h e poet. i t s best f u n c t i o n .  circum-  W i t h i n t h a t p a l e , t h e drama c o u l d "The b u s i n e s s  exercise  o f a p o e t . . . i s t o examine  not t h e i n d i v i d u a l , b u t t h e s p e c i e s ; . . . He does n o t number the s t r e a k s o f t h e t u l i p , o r d e s c r i b e t h e d i f f e r e n t shades i n t h e verdure of the f o r e s t . " 5 e x c e l l e n c i e s t h a t , although  I t was one o f Shakespeare's  " i n the w r i t i n g s of other  poets  a c h a r a c t e r i s t o o o f t e n an i n d i v i d u a l ; i n t h o s e o f Shakespeare i t i s commonly a s p e c i e s . Johnson chose n o t t o be d e c e i v e d  i n t h e t h e a t r e , and  advocated t h a t t h e s p e c t a t o r s s h o u l d be "always i n t h e i r senses," - i n t h e s i g n i f i c a t i o n o f having t h e i r uppermost.  Imagination,  although  intellects  i t p l a y e d i t s r o l e , might  not have dominion over r e a s o n ; and t h e t h e a t r e was t o be a p l a c e where an a u d i e n c e might come " t o hear a c e r t a i n number o f l i n e s r e c i t e d w i t h j u s t gesture tion."  and e l e g a n t  modula-  I n t h e g e n e r a l i z e d , c l a s s i c a l t h e a t r e t h a t Johnson  e n v i s i o n e d , d e l u s i o n was n o t a s t r o n g l i k e l i h o o d .  Yet  even i n t h e t h e a t r e o f Johnson's day, a p o s s i b i l i t y o f del u s i o n had t o be a d m i t t e d ,  and Johnson was a t some p a i n s  t o make c l e a r h i s views on t h a t i s s u e . I t was Johnson's a n t i - d e l u s o r y p r o p e n s i t i e s , i n f a c t , w h i c h i n f o r m e d h i s r e j e c t i o n o f t h e u n i t i e s o f t i m e and place.  The F r e n c h t h e a t r i c a l i d e a l o f d e l u s i o n , c o u p l e d  31  w i t h a s t r o n g emphasis upon t h e u n i t i e s , produced, Johnson f e l t , an a b s u r d paradox.  " D e l u s i o n , i f d e l u s i o n be  has no c e r t a i n l i m i t a t i o n . "  admitted,  T h e r e f o r e , he went on t o  t h e mind t h a t i s i n a s t a t e of d e l u s i o n , out of the  reason,  reach  of r e a s o n , might as w e l l " d e s p i s e the c i r c u m s c r i p t i o n o f t e r r e s t r i a l nature.  There i s no r e a s o n why  wandering i n e x t a s y should  a mind t h u s  count t h e c l o c k , or why  an hour  should not be a c e n t u r y i n t h a t c a l e n t u r e o f t h e b r a i n s t h a t can .make the stage a f i e l d . " '  Johnson chose t o r e j e c t  the  u n i t i e s on t h e o p p o s i t e p r e m i s e , t h a t t h e s p e c t a t o r s know, "from t h e f i r s t a c t t o t h e l a s t , t h a t t h e stage i s o n l y a s t a g e , and t h a t t h e p l a y e r s are o n l y p l a y e r s . " to  Johnson, t h a n a w i l l i n g suspension  d e l i b e r a t e suspension  Much b e t t e r ,  o f d i s b e l i e f , was  a  of b e l i e f .  A good d e a l o f t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r not d e l u d i n g audience, for  the  f o r b e i n g more c a r e f u l t o i n s t r u c t t h a n t o p l e a s e ,  c r e a t i n g " j u s t r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of g e n e r a l n a t u r e "  and  d i s t i n g u i s h i n g "those p a r t s of n a t u r e which are most p r o p e r for  i m i t a t i o n , " ^ l a y w i t h the p l a y w r i g h t , and  o p i n i o n of Shakespeare and  Johnson's  the other p l a y w r i g h t s w i l l  be  d i s c u s s e d i n t h e f o l l o w i n g c h a p t e r s , a l o n g w i t h Hunt's, i n t h e l i g h t of t h e p l a y w r i g h t ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . meantime i t i s proposed t o study  In the  conditions i n the theatre  which had b e a r i n g upon audience r e c e p t i o n o f drama, and doubt had a l a r g e p a r t i n i n f o r m i n g the o p i n i o n s and f e r e n c e s o f Johnson and  Hunt.  no  pre-  32  Many c o n v e n t i o n a l , n o n - r e a l i s t i c f e a t u r e s o f e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y t h e a t r e helped t o d i s p e l any sense o f r e a l i s m , and Johnson c o u l d n o t have f e l t t h a t " i l l u s i o n " was any g r e a t t h r e a t i n the t h e a t r e o f h i s time. to  Various devices  helped  keep t h e s p e c t a t o r s i n t h e i r senses - b e s i d e s t h e hard  benches, l i g h t s , and c a n d l e - d r i p p i n g s .  The s c e n e r y ,  which  was pushed on and o f f i n f u l l v i e w o f everybody, was n o t such t h a t a s p e c t a t o r would be i n c l i n e d t o l o s e h i m s e l f i n it.  A n t i q u a r i a n r e s e a r c h i n t o costumery had not t h e n been  thought o f . The c o n v e n t i o n a l p e r i w i g s and plumes, cont r i b u t i n g t o a " t h e a t r i c a l " atmosphere, reminded s p e c t a t o r s t h a t t h e y were w i t n e s s i n g a t r a g e d y .  C a s t - o f f gowns from  c o u r t sometimes p r o v i d e d e l e g a n t , a n a c h r o n i s t i c w e a r i n g apparel. The  Johnson might have attended  Orphan and seen n o t h i n g  a 1747 performance o f  s t r a n g e about t h e m i x t u r e o f  costumes, which Tate W i l k i n s o n remembered i n h i s 1306 Memoirs: What would our young beaux t h i n k o f young Chamont, as I have seen Quin a c t i t a t t h e age o f s i x t y ? He was equipped i n a l o n g , g r i s l y , h a l f - p o w e r e d p e r i w i g , hanging l o w down on each s i d e o f t h e b r e a s t , and down t h e back, a heavy s c a r l e t coat and w a i s t c o a t trimmed w i t h broad g o l d l a c e , b l a c k v e l v e t breeches, a black s i l k n e c k c l o t h , a p a i r of square-toed shoes, w i t h an o l d - f a s h i o n e d p a i r o f stone b u c k l e s ; - and t h e y o u t h f u l , t h e f i e r y Chamont adorned h i m s e l f w i t h a p a i r o f s t i f f , h i g h - t o p p e d w h i t e g l o v e s , w i t h a broad o l d s c a l l o p e d l a c e h a t , which when t a k e n o f f t h e head, and h a v i n g p r e s s e d t h e o l d w i g , and v i e w i n g h i s f a i r round b e l l y w i t h capon l i n e d , he l o o k e d l i k e S i r John B r u t e i n t h e drunken scene. Old Ryan was t h e s t r o n g and l u s t y P o l y d o r e , w i t h a r e d f a c e , and a v o i c e t r u l y h o r r i b l e . . . . Ryan a l s o added bad deportment, and was n o t near so w e l l d r e s s e d as Quin's Chamont, though i n much t h e same e x t r a o r d i n a r y manner; and by them stood Mr. B a r r y  33  i n C a s t a l i o , i n a neat bag-wig, t h e n o f newest f a s h i o n , i n h i s bloom and prime o f l i f e ; and was c e r t a i n l y one of t h e handsomest men e v e r seen on o r o f f t h e s t a g e , w i t h M r s . C i b b e r a l l elegance and n e a t n e s s a t h i s s i d e as Monimia. The s i g h t o f the two a n c i e n t heroes of a n t i q u i t y made such a c o n t r a s t i n t h e Q u a r t e t t o , t h a t i t s t r u c k even my f e a t u r e s a t the age o f e l e v e n with r i s i b i l i t y . 9 Another c o n v e n t i o n o f t h e stage was t h e "green c a r p e t of t r a g e d y . "  G o l d s m i t h , who was an e a r l y a g i t a t o r f o r  r e a l i s t i c e f f e c t s , o b j e c t e d t o t h e stage-hands " s p r e a d i n g a c a r p e t p u n c t u a l l y a t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f the death-scene, to  p r e v e n t our a c t o r s from s p o i l i n g t h e i r c l o t h e s ;  this  i m m e d i a t e l y a p p r i z e s us o f t h e s t r a g e d y t o f o l l o w :  for  l a y i n g t h e c l o t h i s not a more s u r e i n d i c a t i o n o f d i n n e r t h a n l a y i n g t h e c a r p e t o f b l o o d y work a t Drury Lane.""^ G o l d s m i t h complained, t o o , o f a n o t h e r f o r m a l i t y :  "Our l i t t l e  pages, t h a t bear up t h e t r a i n o f a weeping p r i n c e s s , and o u r awkward l o r d s - i n - w a i t i n g , t a k e o f f much from h e r d i s t r e s s . " H Johnson was f a m i l i a r w i t h such f e a t u r e s o f e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y t h e a t r e as t h e s e ; and d i d n o t t h i n k them  ill-fitting.  They s u i t e d t h e c l a s s i c a l concept o f t h e a t r e , and f o r Johnson,  who s a i d " t h e d e l i g h t o f t r a g e d y proceeds from o u r  consciousness of f i c t i o n , " ^ 2 they increased t h e d e l i g h t , by i n c r e a s i n g t h e c o n s c i o u s n e s s . Yet, of  a movement away from f o r m a l i s m , towards r e a l i s m i n t h e  theatre. tor  d u r i n g a l l t h i s p e r i o d , t h e r e was some e v i d e n c e  G a r r i c k , as manager o f D r u r y Lane, was an i n n o v a -  o f some o f t h e new developments.  He brought  indirect  s i d e - l i g h t i n g t o D r u r y Lane from t h e c o n t i n e n t , i n 1765, t o  34  e l i m i n a t e t h e overhead "candle-hoops"; he brought de L o u t h e r bourg, i n 1771, t o i n a u g u r a t e a- whole new e r a o f " i l l u s i o n a r y " s c e n i c and l i g h t i n g e f f e c t s i n t h e t h e a t r e - o f whose imp l i c a t i o n s f o r the drama o f t h e f u t u r e he was h a r d l y aware. G a r r i c k c o n s i d e r e d t h e new e f f e c t s t o be a commercial n o v e l ty,  and they were used at f i r s t m o s t l y t o d r e s s up  and a f t e r p i e c e s . of  spectacles  Shakespeare was p l a y e d on t h e same s o r t  s p a r s e l y f u r n i s h e d s t a g e [such as] he might have had a t  the  Globe t h e a t r e .  C o l e r i d g e would have approved:  he found  the  more e l a b o r a t e n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y p r o d u c t i o n s o f Shake-  speare i n i m i c a l t o t h e t r u e t h o u g h t and s p i r i t o f Shakespeare: for,  i n Shakespeare's  theatre,  the t h e a t r e i t s e l f had no a r t i f i c i a l inducements few s c e n e s , l i t t l e music - and a l l t h a t was t o exc i t e t h e senses i n a h i g h degree was l a c k i n g . Shakespeare h i m s e l f s a i d , "We a p p e a l t o y o u r i m a g i n a t i o n s ; by your i m a g i n a t i o n s you can c o n c e i v e t h i s round '0' t o be a mighty f i e l d o f monarchs, and i f you do n o t , a l l must seem a b s u r d . " ^ ^ Johnson, of c o u r s e , approved o f t h e f o r m a l , c o n v e n t i o n a l sets, with "nothing  t o e x c i t e t h e senses i n a h i g h degree."  In h i s i m a g i n a t i o n he was a b l e t o c o n c e i v e a m i g h t y  field  of monarchs; but he d e l i g h t e d i n h i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f the f i c t i o n , rather than i n the suspension of h i s d i s b e l i e f . But i t was as an a c t o r t h a t G a r r i c k made h i s g r e a t e s t c o n t r i b u t i o n to t h e a t r i c a l  realism.  On t h e stage he was n a t u r a l , s i m p l e , a f f e c t i n g ; T'was o n l y t h a t when he was o f f , he was a c t i n g . So runs G o l d s m i t h ' s account o f him, i n the R e t a l i a t i o n . Another account i s Mr. P a r t r i d g e ' s , i n F i e l d i n g ' s Tom  Jones:  35  "He the b e s t p l a y e r I " c r i e s P a r t r i d g e , w i t h a contemptuous sneer; "Why, I c o u l d a c t as w e l l as he m y s e l f . I am v e r y sure, i f I had seen a g h o s t , I s h o u l d have l o o k e d i n t h e v e r y same manner, and done j u s t as he d i d . And t h e n , t o be s u r e , i n t h a t scene, as you c a l l e d i t , between him and h i s mother, where you t o l d me he a c t e d so f i n e , why, L o r d h e l p me, any man, t h a t i s , any good man, t h a t had such a mother would have done e x a c t l y t h e same." A f t e r h i s unconscious t r i b u t e t o G a r r i c k ' s " n a t u r a l " a c t i n g , P a r t r i d g e goes on t o  say,  "Indeed, Madam, though I was never at a p l a y i n London, yet I have seen a c t i n g b e f o r e i n the c o u n t r y : and t h e K i n g f o r my money; he speaks a l l h i s words d i s t i n c t l y , h a l f as l o u d a g a i n as any o t h e r . - Anybody may see he i s an a c t o r . " Johnson, l i k e P a r t r i d g e , l i k e d t o see " j u s t g e s t u r e " "elegant  and  m o d u l a t i o n " i n an a c t o r t h a t anybody might see  an a c t o r .  Such an a c t o r was  v a r i a t i o n of cadence, and  Quin, who,  "with very  was  little  i n a deep, f u l l t o n e , accompanied  by a sawing k i n d of a c t i o n , . . . r o l l e d out h i s h e r o i c s  with  an a i r of d i g n i f i e d i n d i f f e r e n c e , t h a t seemed t o d i s d a i n the p l a u d i t s t h a t were bestowed upon him." ^" 1  Despite  h i s f r i e n d s h i p w i t h G a r r i c k , Johnson p r e f e r r e d  the c l a s s i c a l , formal followers.  stage deportment of Quin and  He thought G a r r i c k l e s s t o be e n v i e d  on  his the  stage t h a n a t the head o f a t a b l e - where, i n G o l d s m i t h ' s estimate,  he would have been a c t i n g .  he once t o l d Mrs. "was who  no d e c l a i m e r .  " G a r r i c k , Madame,"  Siddons i n a r e m a r k a b l y P a r t r i d g e a n There was  not one o f h i s  aside,  scene-shifters  c o u l d not have spoken 'To be, or not t o be' b e t t e r t h a n  he d i d . "  1 5  36  In keeping w i t h h i s preference f o r a " r a n t " s t y l e of a c t i n g , Johnson found i m p r o p e r the v e r i s i m i l i t u d e which some a c t o r s a t t a i n e d t h r o u g h " h i s t r i o n i c  identification."  T a l k i n g t o John Kemble, t h e s u c c e s s o r t o Quin's s c h o o l o f a c t i n g , he s a i d , "Are you, S i r , one of t h o s e e n t h u s i a s t s who b e l i e v e y o u r s e l f t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o the v e r y c h a r a c t e r you r e p r e s e n t ? "  Upon Kemble's answering t h a t he had n e v e r  f e l t so s t r o n g a p e r s u a s i o n i n h i m s e l f , Johnson s a i d , be sure n o t , S i r , t h e t h i n g i s i m p o s s i b l e .  "To  And i f G a r r i c k  r e a l l y b e l i e v e d h i m s e l f t o be t h a t monster, R i c h a r d I I I , 16  he d e s e r v e d t o be hanged e v e r y t i m e he performed  it."  G a r r i c k ' s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n enabled him t o p l a y a r o l e such as L e a r w i t h t h e e f f e c t s n o t e d i n t h e f o l l o w i n g newspaper account: The c u r s e a t t h e c l o s e o f t h e f i r s t a c t , h i s phrenet i c a p p e a l t o heaven at t h e end o f t h e second on Regan's i n g r a t i t u d e , were two such e n t h u s i a s t i c scenes o f human e x e r t i o n , t h a t t h e y caused a k i n d o f moment a r y p e t r i f a c t i o n t h r o u g h t h e house, which he soon d i s s o l v e d as u n i v e r s a l l y i n t o t e a r s . Even t h e unf e e l i n g Regan and G o n e r i l , f o r g e t f u l o f t h e i r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c c r u e l t y , p l a y e d t h r o u g h t h e whole o f t h e i r p a r t s w i t h a c h i n g bosoms and s t r e a m i n g eyes. I n a word, we never saw b e f o r e so e x q u i s i t e a t h e a t r i c a l performance, or one so l o u d l y and u n i v e r s a l l y applauded." Johnson would have found such a performance i n d e c o r o u s ; i t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t he would have p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h e moment a r y p e t r i f a c t i o n , or the e n s u i n g t e a r s .  At any r a t e he  would not w i l l i n g l y have s u f f e r e d h i m s e l f t o be made such a f o o l of. But G a r r i c k made t h e t h e a t r e p r o s p e r o u s and r e s p e c t a b l e ; and a f t e r h i s d e a t h i t c o n t i n u e d t o f l o u r i s h w i t h  37  Sheridan  and t h e " r o y a l f a m i l y of the t h e a t r e , " the Kembles.  The two  "patent  houses," v y i n g w i t h one  larity,  were r e b u i l t  a n o t h e r f o r popu-  and e n l a r g e d i n the l a s t decade o f the  eighteenth century.  I n Drury Lane, which Sheridan  i n 1793  people, making i t the l a r g e s t e v e r ,  t o h o l d 3611  some of L e i g h Hunt's e a r l i e s t i m p r e s s i o n s have been formed. of S h e r i d a n ' s  i t burned down i n 1809. and opened a g a i n i n 1812. w i t h Sheridan;  of the drama must  Drury Lane remained p r o s p e r o u s ,  showmanship and  rebuilt  by means  spectacular productions,  I t was  until  r e b u i l t , s l i g h t l y smaller,  But t h e o l d , palmy days had gone  even Kean c o u l d not r e s t o r e D r u r y Lane's  prosperity.  Covent Garden, w i t h t h e Kembles, f a r e d b e t t e r  for  longer.  a little  Hunt had t h e o r i e s t o account f o r the waning p o p u l a r i t y of the t h e a t r e s .  He wrote i n h i s A u t o b i o g r a p h y :  F o r t y or f i f t y y e a r s ago, people o f a l l t i m e s of l i f e were much g r e a t e r p l a y g o e r s t h a n t h e y are now. They d i n e d e a r l i e r , t h e y had not so many newspapers, c l u b s , and p i a n o f o r t e s ; the, F r e n c h R e v o l u t i o n o n l y tended at f i r s t t o endear t h e n a t i o n t o i t s own h a b i t s ; i t had not y e t opened a thousand new c h a n n e l s t o thought and i n t e r e s t ; nor had r a i l r o a d s c o n s p i r e d t o c a r r y people, b o d i l y as w e l l as m e n t a l l y , i n t o as many analogous d i r e c t i o n s . E v e r y t h i n g was more conc e n t r a t e d , and the v a r i o u s c l a s s e s o f s o c i e t y f e l t a g r e a t e r concern i n t h e same amusements. N o b i l i t y , g e n t r y , c i t i z e n s , p r i n c e s , - a l l were f r e q u e n t e r s o f t h e a t r e s , and even more or l e s s a c q u a i n t e d p e r s o n a l l y with the performers. The  Kembles, s o c i a l l y p r e s e n t a b l e , brought t o t h e t h e a t r e  a c e r t a i n aura of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y :  "Nobody who  recollects  them w i l l d i s p u t e t h a t t h e y were a remarkable r a c e , d i g n i f i e d and e l e g a n t i n manners, w i t h i n t e l l e c t u a l  tendencies,  and i n p o i n t o f aspect what might be c a l l e d 'God  Almighty's  38  Nobility.  , , , : L 9  I n a l e s s r e t r o s p e c t i v e account o f the "supposed dec l i n e o f a t a s t e f o r t h e drama," Hunt wrote i n an 1831 T a t l e r : We l a y l i t t l e s t r e s s upon t h e causes u s u a l l y a s s i g n e d f o r t h e d e c l i n e o f p l a y g o i n g , where i t has d e c l i n e d such as h i g h p r i c e s , bad p l a y s , bad a c t i n g , & c ; and l e a s t of a l l , t h e immoral s t a t e o f t h e l o b b i e s . High p r i c e s a r e not c o n s i d e r e d by people o f f a s h i o n ; t h e p l a y s and t h e a c t i n g a r e both good enough, c o n s i d e r i n g what was t o l e r a t e d , and even l i k e d , twenty y e a r s back, and as t o t h e s i g h t s i n t h e l o b b i e s , f a s h i o n a b l e eyes a r e not so squeamish as people f a n c y them. They would have t o d i f f e r t o o o f t e n w i t h t h e i r own l o o k i n g glasses. The whole s e c r e t o f t h e m a t t e r we t a k e t o be t h i s : f i r s t , t h a t t h e r i c h e r c l a s s e s , b e s i d e s t h e drawback of l a t e hours and t h e d i m i n u t i o n o f t a v e r n h a b i t s on the p a r t o f t h e g e n t r y , have so abounded o f l a t e y e a r s ' i n t h e l u x u r i e s o f new books, m u s i c , and v i s i t i n g , t h a t t h e y have outgrown a d i s p o s i t i o n t o go t o t h e t h e a t r e ; and second, t h a t t h e d i f f u s i o n o f knowledge has been b r i n g i n g up t h e uneducated c l a s s e s t o t h e p o i n t where t h e o t h e r s l e f t o f f , and g i v i n g them an increase i n a l l sorts of i n t e l l e c t u a l pleasures, prev i o u s t o t h e i r h a v i n g a n y t h i n g l i k e a c r i t i c a l knowl e d g e o f them, o r c a r e f o r c r i t i c i s m . Ten y e a r s hence, p e r h a p s , t h e t r a d e o f a t h e a t r i c a l c r i t i c w i l l be b e t t e r t h a n i t i s now, and over t h e w a t e r , i n p r e f e r e n c e t o t h e once w i t t y neighbourhood o f Covent Garden.20 The  i s s u e , t h e n , as Hunt saw i t , was not so much a d e c l i n e  i n the theatre-going "Surrey-side  h a b i t , as a t r a n s f e r e n c e  of i t t o the  o f t h e r i v e r , " where t h e i l l e g i t i m a t e  a l r e a d y had a h e a l t h y f o o t h o l d .  theatre  I t was a m a t t e r o f some  r e g r e t , t o Hunt, t h a t t h e t h e a t r e , which Dr. Johnson once a d m i t t e d t o have outgrown, had been outgrown now by a whole class of society. I n h i s excuse-making f o r t h e s t a t e o f t h e t h e a t r e , Hunt i s c o n s p i c u o u s l y theatre.  unconcerned w i t h f a c t o r s w i t h i n t h e  I t i s perhaps c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f a p e r s o n o f the  39  t h e a t r e t o be c o n s e r v a t i v e i n t h i s r e s p e c t :  the play-house  i s r i d d l e d w i t h t r a d i t i o n , and h i g h l y r e s i s t a n t t o change, and i t s devotees are o f t e n as c o n s e r v a t i v e as i t i s . C e r t a i n changes had corne about i n the p l a y - h o u s e , howe v e r , s i n c e Johnson's a t t e n d a n c e a t D r u r y Lane; some o f w h i c h , perhaps, Hunt h e l p e d t o b r i n g about; a l l of which t o some e x t e n t must have i n f o r m e d t h e p h i l o s o p h y of h i s theatre  criticism.  At the commencement of h i s c a r e e r as c r i t i c Hunt had t o c o m p l a i n of the d e v a s t a t i n g e f f e c t upon an e f f e c t of i l l u s i o n i n the t h e a t r e - an e f f e c t , w h i c h , u n l i k e  Johnson,  Hunt l o v e d and s t r o v e t o promote - o f the " a l t e r a t i o n s of scene, so b a d l y managed a t t h e t h e a t r e , where you see men  two  r u n n i n g v i o l e n t l y towards each o t h e r w i t h h a l f a c a s t l e  o r a garden i n t h e i r g r a s p . "  2 1  There was s t i l l no a c t - d r o p  t o h i d e t h i s o p e r a t i o n ; nor would t h e r e be u n t i l the i n Henry I r v i n g ' s Lyceum. better:  1870's,  The s c e n i c e f f e c t s , though, were  de Loutherbourg's i n f l u e n c e had spread t o o t h e r  s c e n e - d e s i g n e r s and p a i n t e r s , and t h e new,  r e a l i s t i c scenery  was used f o r more t h a n s p e c t a c l e s and a f t e r p i e c e s .  Leigh  Hunt e n j o y e d , t o o , t h e music i n t h e i n t e r v a l s - b o t h o f whic C o l e r i d g e would have found d i s t r a c t i o n s t o the a p p r e c i a t i o n of the p l a y .  Hunt w r o t e ,  The s c e n e r y o f t h i s p i e c e i s v e r y b e a u t i f u l . When we d i d not l i k e any a c t o r who v/as s p e a k i n g , we took a walk i n i t , and found o u r s e l v e s i n t h e m i d s t o f  40  g l a d e s and woods, "and a l l e y s l e a d i n g inwards f a r . " I n one of t h e i n t e r v a l s between the a c t s the o r c h e s t r a g r a t i f i e d us by p l a y i n g , i n a m a s t e r l y manner, t h e sweet and a p p o s i t e a i r of "Thou s o f t - f l o w i n g Avon." Upon the whole, we have not had such a t r e a t as t h i s p l a y , s i n c e we renewed our v i s i t s t o t h e t h e a t r e . 2 2 The  f a c t t h a t Hunt c o u l d take i n t o a c c o u n t an a i r p l a y e d  between the a c t s of a p l a y of Shakespeare's, as c o n t r i b u t i n g p a r t l y t o the " t r e a t , " would have i l l u s t r a t e d t o Johnson the dangers of a l l o w i n g the " s o l i c i t a t i o n s of sense" i n t o the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of a p l a y , be t h e y i n the form of music, dress, or s t a g e - s e t t i n g . Hunt found a d m i s s i b l e , even d e s i r a b l e , the i n c u r s i o n of s c e n i c t r a p p i n g s i n t o Shakespearean drama. o f Henry IV i n 1830,  In a  review  he found the t r a p p i n g s growing e s s e n t i a l :  The h i s t o r i c a l p l a y s of Shakespeare c e r t a i n l y do not t e l l as t h e y used t o - no disparagement t o h i s mighty g e n i u s . We know h i s t o r y b e t t e r now, and r e s p e c t the p e r f o r m e r s i n i t l e s s . G r e a t e r m a t t e r s engage us; but l o v e i s always i n t e r e s t i n g , and w i t , and domestic p i t y , and the s t r u g g l e r s of the w i l l w i t h the unders t a n d i n g . I n Shakespeare's t i m e , a u d i e n c e s were cont e n t e d w i t h a c u r t a i n f o r a few d r e s s e s no b e t t e r t h a n a b o o t h . . . . Now we must d r e s s up the H i s t o r i c a l p l a y w i t h plumes and d e c o r a t i o n s and r e a l costumes, i n order t o amuse the eye, because the o t h e r i n t e r e s t l a n g u i s h e s . And we d r e s s i t v e r y w e l l , y e t i t l a n I n h i s e a r l i e r c r i t i c i s m s , Hunt f r e q u e n t l y complained about i m p r o p r i e t i e s i n costume. seen so f r e q u e n t l y now, tume was  t r a g i c plumes were not  and some attempt a t r e a l i s t i c  b e i n g made, w i t h v a r y i n g a m b i t i o n and  But i n 1808, About  The  success.  Hunt wrote of Kemble's p r o d u c t i o n of Much  Nothing:  cos-  Ado  41  There i s an a s t o n i s h i n g d i s r e g a r d o f c h r o n o l o g i c a l p r o p r i e t y a t t h e t h e a t r e s , and y e t t h e y t e l l us t h a t t h e a c t i n g manager o f Covent Garden i s a man o f r e a d i n g . . . . The l a s t S i c i l i a n k i n g o f t h i s house reigned a t the beginning of the f i f t e e n t h century, when the d r e s s e s o f e v e r y p o l i t e n a t i o n i n Europe were t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r p r e s e n t mode: t h e manager o f Covent Garden t h e r e f o r e has d r e s s e d h i s S p a n i s h p r i n c e o f t h e f o u r t e e n t h o r f i f t e e n t h cent u r y l i k e a modern E n g l i s h gentleman i n a b l u e c o a t , w h i t e breeches and s t o c k i n g s , and an opera h a t ; one o f h i s S p a n i s h o f f i c e r s appears i n t h e e x a c t r e g i m e n t a l s o f our p r e s e n t i n f a n t r y , and t h e I t a l i a n o f f i c e r s e x h i b i t t h e same i d e n t i c a l c o a t s and breeches w h i c h t h e i r descendants wear a t t h i s day. I do n o t know how Mr. Kemble r e c o n c i l e s t h i s t o his studious s o u l , t o h i s o l d a f f e c t a t i o n of thoughtful propriety.24 In  1817, Hunt was s t i l l a b l e t o f i n d f a u l t w i t h c h r o n o l o g i c a l  inconsistencies of dress: Our... stage wants g r e a t amendment i n t h a t m a t t e r , f o r i t s u n u s u a l d r e s s e s a r e not o n l y u n t r u e t o t h e t i m e s , but so m i s c e l l a n e o u s and i n c o n s i s t e n t as t o defy a l l times.25 But by 1830, when d r e s s i m p r o p r i e t i e s were much l e s s p r e v a l e n t , Hunt p r a c t i c e d a g r e a t e r l i b e r a l i t y t h a n he e a r l i e r showed.  He i s even found d e f e n d i n g an " i m p r o p r i e t y " -  Mr. F a r r e n s u r e l y does r i g h t t o p l a y S i r P e t e r T e a z l e i n t h e costume o f t h e l a s t c e n t u r y . I t i s n o t so easy t o defend Lady T e a z l e f o r a p p e a r i n g i n a d r e s s f i f t y y e a r s i n advance. There i s something, however, to be s a i d f o r t h e v i o l a t i o n o f t h e s t r i c t m a t t e r o f f a c t on these p o i n t s ; f o r t h e s t a g e , i t may be s a i d , i s n o t a l i t e r a l p i c t u r e o f l i f e , b u t one which must be g i v e n us w i t h many a l l o w a n c e s and h e i g h t e n i n g s ; and i f we can have a l i v e l i e r sense t h a n o t h e r wise o f o l d age, and youth and f a s h i o n , by s e e i n g them i n d r e s s e s w i t h w h i c h we have i d e n t i f i e d them i n our i m a g i n a t i o n s , t h e a c t o r may say t h a t he does b e s t both f o r h i m s e l f and u s , i n p r e s e n t i n g them t o us a c c o r d i n g l y . 2 6 The  l i g h t i n g o f t h e t h e a t r e s became done by gas, b u t  t h e r e was l i t t l e  change i n t h e t e c h n i q u e  o f stage  illumination,  42  and the a u d i t o r i u m remained l i t d u r i n g performance.  The  h a r d , b a c k l e s s benches i n the p i t s t i l l k e p t the a u d i e n c e c r i t i c a l l y mettlesome.  But t h e r e were c e r t a i n  changes  which had t h e i r e f f e c t upon i l l u s i o n i n t h e t h e a t r e , and t h e a u d i e n c e ' s r e c e p t i o n o f t h e drama. One h a r d - d y i n g o l d t h e a t r e t r a d i t i o n had f i n a l l y gone, i n 1822.  The proscenium doors were f i n a l l y e l i m i n a t e d from  D r u r y Lane, a f t e r f r u s t r a t e d a t t e m p t s by the a r c h i t e c t s i n 1793 and 1812.  Both times the a c t o r s had i n s i s t e d upon t h e i r  r e t e n t i o n , as a time-honoured t r a d i t i o n . p a r t u r e was  F i n a l l y , t h e i r de-  c e l e b r a t e d i n a p r o l o g u e w r i t t e n by Colman f o r  the 1822 o p e n i n g : Nor blame him E l l i s t o n f o r t r a n s p o r t i n g from h i s f l o o r s , Those o l d o f f e n d e r s h e r e , the two stage d o o r s , Doors which have o f t , w i t h b u r n i s h ' s p a n e l s s t o o d , And g o l d e n k n o c k e r s g l i t t e r i n g i n a wood, Which on t h e i r p o s t s t h r o u g h e v e r y change remained, F a s t as B r a y ' s V i c a r , whosoever r e i g n ' d ; That s e r v e d f o r p a l a c e , c o t t a g e , s t r e e t , or h a l l , Used f o r each p l a c e , and out o f p l a c e i n a l l . ' The proscenium doors were an o b s t a c l e t o r e a l i s m , as were the stage-boxes which used t o surmount them.  With t h e i r  r e m o v a l , the t h e a t r e s were r e a d y f o r the p i c t u r e - f r a m e stage and the k i n d o f i l l u s i o n t h a t Hunt e n v i s i o n e d i n h i s concept of " f o u r t h - w a l l " r e a l i s m .  I n t h e t h e a t r e o f Dr.  Johnson's  t i m e , the d e c l a m a t i o n and most of the a c t i o n had t a k e n p l a c e on t h e f o r e - s t a g e , w h i c h j u t t e d i n t o the a u d i t o r i u m , and the s c e n e r y b e h i n d t h e proscenium a r c h d i d l i t t l e more than p r o v i d e "atmosphere."  W i t h s u c c e s s i v e r e d u c t i o n s i n the s i z e  o f the f o r e s t a g e , more o f the a c t i o n took p l a c e w i t h i n the p i c t u r e - f r a m e o f the proscenium a r c h , and the s c e n e r y was  43  more i n t e g r a l w i t h the a c t i o n .  Long b e f o r e the b o x - s e t  had  a p p e a r e d , i n 1805,  when r e a l i s t i c p r o p e r t i e s were hardly-  h e a r d o f , Hunt was  a b l e t o commend a performance by B a n n i s t e r ,  i n w h i c h "the stage appears t o be h i s own  room, o f w h i c h the  a u d i e n c e compose the f o u r t h w a l l . " 2 8 The  removal of the p l a y e r s t o t h e r e g i o n b e h i n d  proscenium a r c h d e s t r o y e d  the  some o f the o l d i n t i m a t e r a p p o r t  between a c t o r s and audience and made the, audience l e s s a p a r t i c i p a n t i n the a c t i o n ; but more i m p o r t a n t , t o Hunt, a h e i g h t e n i n g of i l l u s o r y e f f e c t as the p i c t u r e - f r a m e became, as i t were, a p r o j e c t i o n o f the mind's eye.  was  stage Hunt's  concept o f the audience as a f o u r t h w a l l perhaps a s s i g n s them a more p a s s i v e r o l e t h a n does C o l e r i d g e ' s " w i l l i n g pension  of d i s b e l i e f " .  The  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the c r e a t i o n  o f an i l l u s i o n i n the a u d i e n c e was of the a c t o r s and the p r o d u c e r s , t h a t o f the w r i t e r .  The  sus-  t o a greater extent t h a t  and t o a l e s s e r e x t e n t ,  audience were t h e r e t o be  pleased  and e x a l t e d . Hunt's t h e a t r e c r i t i c i s m i s m o s t l y concerned w i t h the a c t o r ' s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s and  p r o j e c t i o n o f r o l e s , and t o t h e  e x t e n t t h a t the l a r g e p a t e n t t h e a t r e s i n t e r f e r e d w i t h n a t u r a T and r e a l i s t i c  p o r t r a y a l s , Hunt o b j e c t e d to them.  been a r a c e of s u p e r - a c t o r s , the v a s t n e s s  o f the  Had  there  theatres  would not have i n t e r f e r e d w i t h the i l l u s o r y e f f e c t o f the p i c t u r e - f r a m e proscenium; but w i t h the p r e s e n t r a c e , the l a r g e p l a c e s t a x e d the powers o f the a c t o r s t o p r o j e c t ; v o i c e s and  e x p r e s s i o n s had t o be s t r a i n e d and  exaggerated,  44  t o the d e t r i m e n t of the i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y . market, where Kean p l a y e d  The  i n the summer of 1831,  small was  Hay-  "a house  o f the p r o p e r dimensions f o r the e x h i b i t i n g of a f i n e t r a 29 gedian." '  I t would be b e t t e r f o r t h e town, Hunt w r o t e , " i f  t h e r e were a dozen t h e a t r e s open a t once, i n s t e a d o f two t h r e e ; and spectacle.  i f the g r e a t houses were devoted t o music  and  People would t h e n go to the s m a l l e r t h e a t r e s  see the countenance and  or  to  persons of the a c t o r s ; v o i c e s would  not be so s t r a i n e d ; p l a y s would not be so marred and  t o r n to  pieces."-^0 The  p r e s e n t a t i o n a t Drury Lane i n 1831  of a Grand Spec-  t a c l e c a l l e d Hyder A l l , w i t h a c a s t i n c l u d i n g  elephants,  l i o n s , and s n a k e s , found Hunt i n h i s element: I t i s a charge a g a i n s t t h o s e i n t e r e s t i n g d e b u t a n t e s , the boa c o n s t r i c t o r s , e l e p h a n t s , & c , t h a t t h e y are u n f i t t o make t h e i r appearance i n the g r e a t t h e a t r e s , and t h a t t h e y d i s p l a c e t h e i r b e t t e r s ; but i n our o p i n i o n , the g r e a t e r the t h e a t r e , the more f i t t i n g the e l e p h a n t , and t h e i r b e t t e r s are b e t t e r e l s e w h e r e . . . . The g r e a t houses are so g r e a t t h a t t h e y a r e f i t f o r n o t h i n g but s p e c t a c l e . I n a t h e a t r e l i k e the Haymarket we can d i s c e r n the f i n e movements of Mr. Kean's countenance, and c a t c h , a t a l l p a r t s of t h e house, the d e l i c a t e t o n e s of Mr. Macready; but what i s the case when we are seated a t a d i s t a n c e b e f o r e a stage l i k e t h a t o f D r u r y Lane or Covent Garden? Mr. Kean i s o b l i g e d t o rave h i m s e l f hoarse t h a t we may hear him; and w i t h a l l t h e sonorousness o f Mr. Macready's v o i c e , we l o s e i t s most t o u c h i n g i n f l e c t i o n s and are as much d e p r i v e d o f t h e l i g h t o f h i s countenance as o f t h a t o f Mr. Kean.... The gods i n p a r t i c u l a r , as t h e y never use o p e r a g l a s s e s , must remain i n a s t a t e of b l i s s f u l i g n o r a n c e . Macready's f a c e and L i s t o n ' s must be p r e t t y n e a r l y the same t o them. K e e l e y may be shown t o them i n the s t r e e t s as Mr. Kean. They see w i t h e q u a l eye, as gods o f a l l , The hero t h r e a t e n , and the knave l o o k s m a l l .  45  How d i f f e r e n t w i t h the e l e p h a n t , a f i n e p o r t l y a c t o r , f i t f o r a g r e a t s t a g e . . . . Her p r o b o s c i s touches the f e e l i n g s o f t h e remotest s p e c t a t o r : and i n case of a speech from her or the l i o n , the remoteness j u s t a l l u d e d t o must be h e l d s t i l l more d e s i r a b l e . . . . The r o a r of a l i o n i s among those m u s i c a l n o t e s t h a t are mentioned by the poet as b e i n g "by d i s t a n c e made more sweet." By a l u c k y p e r f e c t i o n o f f i t n e s s , the d i a l o g u e o f the a n i m a l p i e c e a t D r u r y Lane i s , by u n i v e r s a l cons e n t , acknowledged t o be the more approved o f , the l e s s i t i s heard. I n s h o r t , the t h e a t r e s o f M e s s i e u r s A r n o l d , M o r r i s , Mathews, and Y a t e s , are the houses f o r s e e i n g human b e i n g s i n ; the g r e a t t h e a t r e s are p r o p e r l y devoted t o the l a r g e r a n i m a l s ^ , a n d t o s p e c t a c l e s becoming the deserts of A f r i c a . Hunt's w i s h t o f o s t e r i n the t h e a t r e an i l l u s i o n r e a l i t y was  behind h i s humanitarian  and a u d i e n c e .  c o n c e r n f o r the  of  actors  Only by means of r e a l i s m i n e v e r y department  o f the t h e a t r e c o u l d the former l i f t the l a t t e r out of t h e i r t h e a t r e s e a t s , out of t h e i r " s e n s e s " , and the o t h e r r e a l w o r l d  of the p l a y w r i g h t .  t r a n s p o r t them t o Hunt d i f f e r e d from  the F r e n c h " d e l u s i o n i s t s " i n t h a t the w o r l d t h e y would c r e a t e in  the t h e a t r e was  an i l l u s o r y w o r l d ; Hunt was  more concerned  w i t h b e l i e v a b l e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of a c t u a l i t y . Hunt's concept o f t r a g i c a c t i n g , a l t h o u g h  antagonistic  t o the c l a s s i c a l , d e c l a m a t o r y s t y l e , d i d a l l o w the  actor  some e l e v a t i o n o f manner, i n k e e p i n g w i t h the h e i g h t e n e d r e a l i s m of  tragedy:  The l o f t i e r persons of t r a g e d y r e q u i r e an e l e v a t i o n o f language and manner, which t h e y never use i n r e a l life. Heroes and sages speak l i k e o t h e r men, t h e y use t h e i r a c t i o n s as c a r e l e s s l y and t h e i r l o o k s as i n d i f f e r e n t l y , and are not d i s t i n g u i s h e d from t h e i r f e l l o w . m o r t a l s by t h e i r p e r s o n a l , but by t h e i r m e n t a l c h a r a c ter; but the p o p u l a r c o n c e p t i o n of a g r e a t man d e l i g h t s i n d i g n i f y i n g h i s e x t e r n a l h a b i t s , not o n l y because g r e a t men are r a r e l y seen and t h e r e f o r e a c q u i r e d i g n i t y from concealment, but because we conclude t h a t those who e x c e l us so h i g h l y i n i m p o r t a n t p o i n t s can have  46  n o t h i n g u n i m p o r t a n t about them. We can h a r d l y p e r suade o u r s e l v e s , f o r i n s t a n c e , t h a t Shakespeare e v e r d i s p u t e d i n a c l u b , o r t h a t M i l t o n was fond o f smoking: the i d e a s o f g r e a t n e s s and i n s i g n i f i c a n c e a s s o c i a t e with d i f f i c u l t y . 3 2 Hunt, i n h i s c r i t i c i s m , was concerned w i t h a w i d e r publ i c t h a n , f o r i n s t a n c e , C o l e r i d g e , who "sowed a few v a l u a b l e t h o u g h t s i n minds worthy t o r e c e i v e them."  Hunt always t r i e d  t o i n f o r m t h e whole t h e a t r e - g o i n g p u b l i c , i n t h e hope t h a t he c o u l d c r e a t e a b e t t e r informed H i s c r i t i c a l essays were p o p u l a r popular  conceptions.  public f o r the theatre. i n t o n e , and concerned w i t h  S i n c e i t was t h e p o p u l a r  conception of  a g r e a t man t h a t he s h o u l d be g r e a t i n a l l t h i n g s , Hunt a l l o w e d t h a t h i s e x t e r n a l h a b i t s on stage might be d i g n i f i e d .  Certain  c o n v e n t i o n a l d e v i c e s and p l o y s o f t h e t r a g i c a c t o r , however, he d i d not countenance inasmuch as t h e y were t o o e l e v a t e d , too f a r removed from r e a l i t y . t h i s very  He complained o f E l l i s t o n f o r  reason:  He cannot r e t i r e i n t o h i m s e l f w i t h t h a t complacent s t u d i o u s n e s s , which f e e l s easy i n t h e absence o f b u s t l e and i n t h e s o l i t a r y enjoyment o f i t s own powers: i n s o l i l o q u y , t h e r e f o r e , w h i c h i s n o t h i n g but t h i n k i n g l o u d l y , he i s t o o a p t t o " d e c l a i m " ; and i n t h i s r e s p e c t he i s l i k e t h o s e common a c t o r s who t h i n k o f n o t h i n g b u t t h e i r p r o f e s s i o n , and f o r get t h a t d e c l a m a t i o n i s o f a l l s t y l e s o f s p e a k i n g , the most u n f i t f o r s o l i l o q u y s , because t h e y ought never t o have t h e a i r o f b e i n g made f o r e f f e c t . 3 3 In the i n t e r e s t s o f r e a l i s m , w i t h the declamatory r a n t s h o u l d go any sense o f the a c t o r a d d r e s s i n g and  h i s audience;  an o f f e n d e r a g a i n s t t h i s p r i n c i p l e was Pope, whose  b r a z e n p l a y i n g t o t h e g a l l e r i e s Hunt d i s t i n g u i s h e d by t h e name o f " c l a p - t r a p p i n g " :  47  There i s , however, an i n f a l l i b l e method o f o b t a i n i n g p r a i s e from t h e g a l l e r i e s , and t h e r e i s an a r t known a t the t h e a t r e by the name of c l a p - t r a p p i n g , w h i c h Mr. Pope has shown g r e a t xcLsdom a t s t u d y i n g . I t c o n s i s t s i n n o t h i n g more, t h a n i n g r a d u a l l y r a i s i n g the v o i c e as the speech draws t o a c o n c l u s i o n , making an a l a r m i n g o u t c r y on the l a s t f o u r or f i v e l i n e s , or s u d d e n l y d r o p p i n g them i n t o a t r e m u l o u s but e n e r g e t i c u n d e r t o n e , and w i t h a v i g o r o u s j e r k of the r i g h t arm r u s h i n g o f f the s t a g e . A l l t h i s a s t o n i s h e s the g a l l e r i e s ; t h e y are persuaded i t must be something v e r y f i n e , because i t i s so i m p o r t a n t and u n i n t e l l i g i b l e , and t h e y c l a p f o r t h e sake of t h e i r own r e p u t a t i o n . 3 4 I n a more s e r i o u s v e i n i s the f o l l o w i n g g e n e r a l to  exhortation  tragic actors: One o f the f i r s t s t u d i e s o f an a c t o r s h o u l d be t o d i v e s t h i m s e l f o f h i s audience, t o be o c c u p i e d not w i t h the persons he i s amusing, but w i t h the persons he i s a s s i s t i n g i n the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . But o f a l l s i m p l e r e q u i s i t e s t o the mimetic a r t , t h i s p u b l i c a b s t r a c t i o n seems t o be the l e a s t a t t a i n e d . . . . [ i n f e r i o r a c t o r s ] never speak t o one a n o t h e r , but t o the p i t and t o the boxes; they are t h i n k i n g , not what the p e r s o n spoken to w i l l r e p l y , but what the a u d i e n c e t h i n k of t h e i r own speeches: t h e y never speak a s o l i l o q u y , because s o l i l o q u y s a r e a d d r e s s e d t o one's s e l f , and t h e y always a d d r e s s t h e i r s o l i t a r y m e d i t a t i o n s t o the house: they a d j u s t t h e i r n e c k c l o t h s ; t h e y d i s p l a y t h e i r pocketh a n d k e r c h i e f s and t h e i r a t t i t u d e s . . . . But l e t us imagine the scene, i n which t h i s e x t r a v a g e n c e i s p e r formed, t o be a r e a l room e n c l o s e d i n f o u r w a l l s , f o r such a room the a c t o r h i m s e l f ought t o imagine i t . What t h e n i s he l o o k i n g a t a l l t h i s t i m e ? He i s c a s t i n g s i d e - g l a n c e s a t a w a i n s c o t , or o g l i n g a c o r n e r cupboard.-^ 5  T h i s a d v i c e , a c c o r d i n g w i t h Hunt's " f o u r t h - w a l l " r e a l i s m , r e v e a l s , t o o , t h a t the t h e a t r e i n 1805 peopled w i t h a c t o r s who " p o i n t s " - and  was  s t i l l t o some e x t e n t  made as much as t h e y c o u l d of t h e i r  spent the r e s t of t h e i r time on stage out  c h a r a c t e r , s t r o l l i n g about or g a z i n g out i n t o the I n t h i s way  of  auditorium.  a c t o r s managed t o "upstage" one a n o t h e r ,  and made  the p l a y a s e r i e s o f " s p o t s " r a t h e r t h a n a u n i f i e d whole.  In  48  Johnson's t i m e , i t had been thought one  of G a r r i c k ' s  c e l l e n c i e s , e a r l y i n h i s c a r e e r , " t h a t he ter  when not s p e a k i n g ,  stayed  in  charac-  l i s t e n i n g t o o t h e r s a t t e n t i v e l y , not  l o o k i n g w i t h contempt a t an i n f e r i o r , not s p i t t i n g or g a z i n g round 'the whole c i r c l e of the The  ex-  v a r i o u s refinements  unnecessarily  spectators.'"3°  o f s c e n e r y and  d r e s s w h i c h Hunt's  i d e a l of r e a l i s m demanded, r e q u i r e d the s u p p o r t of  refinements  o f t h e a c t o r ' s a r t - i n c l u d i n g the a c t o r ' s d i v e s t i n g h i m s e l f of h i s a u d i e n c e , and role.  c o n s i s t e n t l y i d e n t i f y i n g himself with h i s  I n the m a t t e r of h i s t r i o n i c i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , Hunt's views  are q u i t e a t odds w i t h Johnson's, as the f o l l o w i n g account shows: On o c c a s i o n s o f g r e a t f e e l i n g , i t i s the p a s s i o n s should i n f l u e n c e the a c t i o n s : f e e l the p a s s i o n , and the a c t i o n w i l l f o l l o w . I know i t has been d e n i e d , t h a t a c t o r s sympathize w i t h the f e e l i n g s t h e y r e p r e s e n t , and among o t h e r c r i t i c s , Dr. Johnson i s supposed t o have d e n i e d i t . The D o c t o r was accustomed t o t a l k v e r y l o u d l y at the p l a y upon d i v e r s s u b j e c t s , even when h i s f r i e n d G a r r i c k was e l e c t r i f y i n g the house w i t h h i s most w o n d e r f u l s c e n e s , and the w o r s t o f i t was t h a t he u s u a l l y s a t i n one o f the s t a g e boxes: the a c t o r r e m o n s t r a t e d w i t h him once a f t e r the p e r f o r m a n c e , and complained t h a t the t a l k i n g " d i s t u r b e d h i s f e e l i n g s . " "Pshaw, D a v i d , " r e p l i e d t h e c r i t i c , "Punch has no f e e l i n g s . " But the d o c t o r was fond of s a y i n g h i s good t h i n g s , as w e l l as l e s s e r g e n i u s e s , and t o say a good t h i n g i s not always t o say a t r u e one, or one t h a t i s i n t e n d e d t o be t r u e . To c a l l h i s f r i e n d a puppet, t o g i v e so contemptuous an a p p e l l a t i o n t o a man whose powers he was a t o t h e r t i m e s happy t o r e s p e c t , and whose d e a t h he lamented as h a v i n g " e c l i p s e d the g a i e t y o f n a t i o n s , " must be c o n s i d e r e d as a f a m i l i a r p l e a s a n t r y r a t h e r t h a n a b e t r a y e d o p i n i o n . The b e s t way t o s o l v e the d i f f i c u l t y i s t o a p p l y t o an a c t o r h i m s e l f , but as I am not i n the way of such an a p p l i c a t i o n , I t h i n k the c o m p l a i n t made by G a r r i c k w i l l do as w e l l , s i n c e he t a l k s of the f e e l i n g s , as the means n e c e s s a r y t o the performance. I t appears t o me, t h a t the countenance  49  cannot express a s i n g l e p a s s i o n p e r f e c t l y , u n l e s s the p a s s i o n i s f i r s t f e l t : i t i s easy t o g r i n r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s o f j o y , and t o p u l l down t h e muscles o f the countenance as an i m i t a t i o n o f sorrow, but a keen o b s e r v e r of human nature and i t s e f f e c t s w i l l e a s i l y d e t e c t the c h e a t ; t h e r e a r e n e r v e s and muscles r e q u i s i t e t o e x p r e s s i o n , t h a t w i l l not answer the w i l l on common o c c a s i o n s ; but t o r e p r e s e n t a p a s s i o n w i t h t r u t h , e v e r y nerve and muscle s h o u l d be i n i t s p r o p e r a c t i o n , or the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n becomes weak and c o n f u s e d , m e l a n c h o l y i s m i s t a k e n f o r g r i e f , and p l e a s u r e f o r d e l i g h t : i t i s from t h i s f e e b l e n e s s o f emotion so many d u l l a c t o r s endeavour t o s u p p l y p a s s i o n w i t h vehemence o f a c t i o n and v o i c e , as j u g g l e r s a r e t a l k a t i v e and b u s t l i n g t o b e g u i l e scrutiny. I have heard somewhere, t h a t Mrs. S i d d o n s has t a l k e d o f the r e a l a g i t a t i o n w h i c h the performance of some o f the c h a r a c t e r s has made her f e e l . Mrs. Siddons has the a i r o f never b e i n g the a c t r e s s ; she seems u n c o n s c i o u s t h a t t h e r e i s a m o t l e y croud c a l l e d a p i t w a i t i n g t o applaud h e r , o r t h a t t h e r e a r e a dozen f i d d l e r s w a i t i n g f o r her e x i t . 3 7 I d e n t i f i c a t i o n such as G a r r i c k ' s , w i t h a r o l e such as  Lear's,  c o u l d not have r e s u l t e d i n a p o r t r a y a l t o o r i g o r o u s f o r Hunt: An a c t o r who p e r f o r m s Lear t r u l y , s h o u l d so t e r r i f y and shake the town, as t o be r e q u e s t e d never t o p e r form the p a r t a g a i n . I f he does n o t , he does not do i t a t a l l . There i s no medium, i n a scene w h i c h we a r e t o w i t n e s s w i t h our eyes, between an unbeara b l e Lear and no L e a r . I n Shakespeare's t i m e , the s c e n e r y , d r e s s e s , & c , were so u n l i k e a n y t h i n g r e a l , and t h e p u b l i c came so much more t o h e a r the w r i t i n g o f the t h i n g than t o see the a c t i n g o f i t , t h a t i t was c o m p a r a t i v e l y a n o t h e r m a t t e r ; but now t h a t t h e r e a l man i s b e f o r e u s , w i t h h i s w h i t e beard and the storm h o w l i n g about him, we ought not t o be a b l e t o endure the s i g h t , any more than t h a t o f a mad o l d f a t h e r i n the p u b l i c s t r e e t . 3 8 The  t h e a t r e c r i t i c i s m of L e i g h Hunt d i f f e r s from t h a t  o f Dr. Johnson i n t h a t they have somewhat d i f f e r e n t ends. "The  end of w r i t i n g , " Dr. Johnson s a i d , " i s t o i n s t r u c t ;  end o f p o e t r y i s t o i n s t r u c t by p l e a s i n g . " 3 9 at  the  Hunt a r r i v e d  the v i e w , i n I m a g i n a t i o n and Fancy, t h a t p o e t r y ' s ends  50  s h o u l d be p l e a s u r e  and e x a l t a t i o n - w i t h a s t r o n g e r  p h a s i s on t h e f e e l i n g s , and e m o t i o n a l i n v o l v e m e n t .  emHis  e a r l i e s t p o s i t i o n was c l o s e r t o Johnson's: The end o f d r a m a t i c e x h i b i t i o n s has g e n e r a l l y been, and s h o u l d always be, t o i n s t r u c t t h e s p e c t a t o r s , e i t h e r by l a u g h i n g a t t h e v i c i o u s , o r weeping f o r the u n f o r t u n a t e ; e i t h e r by awakening us t o m i r t h or t o t e r r o r , t o p i t y o r i n d i g n a t i o n , i n p r o p o r t i o n as we see v i r t u e o r v i c e t r i u m p h a n t . 4 0 The  m o r a l emphasis h e r e , l i k e t h e b a l a n c e d s t r u c t u r e o f  the s e n t e n c e s , i s beholden t o Johnson; and Hunt always r e mained a moral c r i t i c .  But the m o r a l i t y w h i c h was engendered  by h i s U n i v e r s a l i s t p e r s u a s i o n s and g e n e r a l l y l i b e r a l t h o u g h t , was a v e r y d i f f e r e n t p r o d u c t from t h a t o f Johnson, t h e cons e r v a t i v e and High Churchman.  The i n s t r u c t i o n t h a t Hunt  z e a l o u s l y espoused a t e v e r y stage o f h i s c r i t i c i s m was i n c l i n e d t o be p l e a s u r a b l e :  he l o o k e d  t o t h e t h e a t r e s t o ex-  tend the joyous s p i r i t of C h r i s t i a n i t y which m a t e r i a l i s t i c e x p e d i e n c y o r " f a l s e r e l i g i o n " o f t e n obscured i n t h e r e a l world: Of t r a g e d i e s t h e r e a r e q u i t e s u f f i c i e n t i n t h e r e a l w o r l d ; and p l e n t y o f g r a v i t y i s t o be found o r a c q u i r e d ,. wherever t h e r e i s c a r e , o r bad h e a l t h , o r r e s e n t m e n t , o r s u l k i n e s s , o r a f f e c t a t i o n , o r moneys c r a p i n g , o r any o t h e r s o r r o w , s e l f i s h n e s s , o r s t u p i d i t y . . . . W i t h o u t t h e humane wisdom o f Shakesp e a r e , t h e humbler p l e a s a n t r i e s and p h i l o s o p h i e s o f the f a r c e w r i t e r s , and t h e f i d d l e s and p i a n o f o r t e s about town, we cannot t e l l what poor humanity would do, now t h a t some c l a s s e s a r e so e a t e n up w i t h t h e m e t h o d i s t i c a l , and o t h e r s w i t h t h e mercenary and moneyg e t t i n g ; f o r t h e t a s t e which t h e w o r l d has g o t o f l a t e y e a r s f o r t h e p r u d e n t i a l , o r what i t c o n c e i v e s t o be s u c h , i s founded i n saving-knowledges o f such meanness, and has t u r n e d c i t i e s i n t o such mere overgrown heaps o f s e l f i s h n e s s , t h a t i f t h e i n h a b i t a n t s were n o t r e minded now and t h e n , and reminded p l e a s a n t l y t o o , o f the e x i s t e n c e and t h e v i r t u e s o f people d i f f e r i n g w i t h  51  t h e m s e l v e s , t h e y would e i t h e r s t a n d a chance of f o r g e t t i n g everyone out of the p a l e o f t h e i r own houses and i n t e r e s t s , or grow, as i s u s u a l w i t h f o l l y , more d u l l and o b s t i n a t e a t h a v i n g t h e i r v a n i t y m o r t i f i e d . We l o o k upon t h e p l a y h o u s e s , i n s h o r t , as the f i n e s t a n t i d o t e s t o s u l l e n and s e l f i s h o p i n i o n s t o a l l s o r t s . They h e l p v i r t u e and v i c e both from d e g e n e r a t i n g i n t o mere want o f f e e l i n g . They s c a t t e r egotism and c o l l e c t s o c i a l i t y . They assemble people t o g e t h e r s m i l i n g l y and i n c o n t a c t not c u t o f f from each o t h e r by hard pews and h a r d e r a b s t r a c t i o n s . . . . They w i n , not f r i g h t e n ; are u n i v e r s a l , not e x c l u s i v e ; i n a word, one goodtempered l i t t l e f a r c e a t t h e Haymarket i s worth a l l the M e t h o d i s t sermons preached t h e r e s t of the week aye, and a l l t h e o t h e r grave m i s t a k e s of s e l f i s h n e s s , not m e t h o d i s t i c a l . ^ - 1 F u r t h e r d i f f e r e n c e s between the m o r a l i t y o f Dr. Johnson and t h a t o f L e i g h Hunt w i l l appear i n l a t e r c h a p t e r s .  The  d i f f e r e n c e which i s the p r e s e n t concern o f t h i s e s s a y i s the i m p o r t a n t one between Johnson's " i n s t r u c t i o n " and t h e " e x a l t a t i o n " t h a t has r e p l a c e d i t i n Hunt's f o r m u l a of c r i t i c i s m . T h i s d i f f e r e n c e l a r g e l y a c c o u n t s f o r t h e c o n t r a r y views o f Johnson and Hunt on some  aspects of  the playhouse which have  been the concern o f t h e p r e s e n t c h a p t e r .  The ends o f " i n s t r u c -  t i o n " and " e x a l t a t i o n " were s e r v e d by q u i t e d i f f e r e n t means. The means which b e s t s e r v e d Johnson's d i d a c t i c aims f o r the t h e a t r e were l a r g e l y those t h a t he found a t Drury Lane. There t h e audience might be "always i n t h e i r s e n s e s , " knowing from f i r s t t o l a s t t h a t "the stage i s o n l y a s t a g e , and p l a y e r s are o n l y p l a y e r s . " :and s a l u t a r y woe,"  The  the  instruction, "useful mirth,  came through unencumbered by v e r y many  i l l u s i o n a r y t r a p p i n g s - "the charms o f sound, the pomp o f show." Johnson was a g a i n s t i l l u s i o n , i n the t h e a t r e and out o f i t ; a g a i n s t the s o l i c i t a t i o n s of sense, as he was a g a i n s t cant  52  and any forms o f s e l f - d e c e p t i o n , and any o t h e r o b s t a c l e s t o c l e a r v i s i o n and t h e apprehension- o f t r u t h . Johnson thought t h a t t r u t h was b e s t s e r v e d by t h e s p e c t a t o r s ' remaining  i n t h e i r senses.  Hunt f a v o u r e d  illusion i n  the p l a y h o u s e , by means o f w h i c h t h e s p e c t a t o r s , d e p r i v e d o f s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s , might b e t t e r absorb t h e s p i r i t and p r i n c i p l e of the playwright.  With a l l the resources  o f the t h e a t r e  d i r e c t e d towards t h e accomplishment o f t h i s a i m , t h e drama could l i f t  t h e s p e c t a t o r s out o f t h e i r " s e n s e s "  immediate s u r r o u n d i n g s , main.  and t h e i r  l i f t them i n t o t h e p l a y w r i g h t ' s do-  Hunt's v i s i o n o f t h e t h e a t r e was somewhat p r o p h e t i c  and t h e t h e a t r e o f h i s time o n l y saw the r u d i m e n t a r y  begin-  n i n g s o f some o f h i s o b j e c t i v e s , w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f some v e r y o u t s t a n d i n g a c t i n g which a c c o r d e d w i t h h i s p r i n c i p l e s . But Henry I r v i n g ' s p r o d u c t i o n s  i n t h e Lyceum, i n t h e 1880's,  were a v e r i t a b l e apogee o f i l l u s i o n a r y s t a g e c r a f t , w i t h t h e i r darkened a u d i t o r i u m , l i m e l i g h t , and t h e heightened realism of Irving's a c t i n g . for  them.  Johnson would not have c a r e d  " S i r , " he might have s a i d , had he been put down  l i k e a Chinese v i s i t o r i n t o I r v i n g ' s t h e a t r e , "your t h e a t r e a t t e m p t s t o convey me, upon t h e i n s e c u r e wings o f f a n c y , from t h e S c y l l a o f my own f o l l y , t o t h e C h a r y b d i s  o f some-  one e l s e ' s . " I n t h e meantime, Hunt c o u l d make t h e f o l l o w i n g s t a t e ment o f h i s v i e w s , and t h e s t a t e o f i l l u s i o n i n the t h e a t r e which p r e v a i l e d i n 1805:  53  The m a j o r i t y of an audience were c e r t a i n l y n e v e r deluded i n t o a b e l i e f , t h a t events r e p r e s e n t e d on t h e stage were r e a l i t i e s . The b e s t a c t o r s , who a r e t h e most l i k e l y t o produce such a d e l u s i o n , a r e always t h e most applauded; but i t i s e v i d e n t they would g a i n no a p p l a u s e , were t h e i r assumed c h a r a c t e r f o r g o t t e n ; f o r i n common l i f e , we do not c l a p any i n c i d e n t t h a t p l e a s e s us i n t h e s t r e e t , nor c r y out "bravo I" a t a p a t h e t i c c i r c u m s t a n c e i n a room. A r u s t i c , perhaps, who knew n o t h i n g o f t h e machinery and t r i c k o f the s t a g e , might be momentarily d e c e i v e d ; but the dream would soon be removed by t h e f r e q u e n t c e s s a t i o n s o f the e n t e r t a i n m e n t , and p a r t i c u l a r l y the a l t e r a t i o n s o f scene, so b a d l y managed a t the t h e a t r e , where you see two men r u n n i n g v i o l e n t l y towards each o t h e r , w i t h h a l f a c a s t l e o r a garden i n t h e i r g r a s p . Though i t i s i m p o s s i b l e , howe v e r , and indeed g e n e r a l l y c o n s i d e r e d i t would be und e s i r a b l e , to maintain t h i s impression of r e a l i t y , the i m i t a t i o n o f l i f e and manners s h o u l d be as e x a c t as p o s s i b l e , f o r t h e same cause t h a t we are p l e a s e d w i t h our j u s t resemblance i n a g l a s s , though we a r e conv i n c e d t h a t i t i s a mere resemblance. But t h e most consummate a c t o r g a i n s but h a l f h i s e f f e c t , i f h i s eloquent i m i t a t i o n i s not a s s i s t e d by t h e mute i m i t a t i o n s o f d r e s s and o f scenery.4-2 An upshot o f t h e new concern w i t h r e a l i s m was h i s t o r i c a l r e s e a r c h i n t o t h e s e t t i n g s , and p s y c h o l o g i c a l r e s e a r c h the c h a r a c t e r s , o f Shakespeare's p l a y s .  into  Elaborate productions  by C h a r l e s Macready and C h a r l e s Kean implemented t h e former, and the l a t t e r became t h e s p e c i a l concern o f the romantic c r i t i c s , w i t h t h e i r a f f i n i t y f o r the s u b j e c t i v e , C o l e r i d g e , H a z l i t t , Lamb, and Hunt.  But Johnson made i m p o r t a n t c o n t r i b u -  t i o n s t o b o t h , p r e s a g i n g t h e r o m a n t i c s ' concern w i t h h i s own acute and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c  comments.  "The stream o f t i m e , " Johnson s a i d , "which i s c o n t i n u a l l y washing t h e d i s s o l u b l e f a b r i c k s o f o t h e r p o e t s , passes w i t h o u t i n j u r y by t h e adamant o f S h a k e s p e a r e . " ^  Shakespeare was  commonly t h e c r i t e r i o n , the measure o f e x c e l l e n c e a g a i n s t  54  which o t h e r p l a y w r i g h t s were measured and found wanting.  variously  I n the next c h a p t e r Johnson and Hunt measure Shake-  speare by t h e s t a n d a r d s o f t h e i r age and o f t h e m s e l v e s , i n terms of what t h e r e a d e r or t h e p l a y g o e r s h o u l d get from a Shakespeare  play.  III.  SHAKESPEARE ON THE PAGE AND ON THE STAGE  "The  end o f w r i t i n g i s t o i n s t r u c t , and t h e end o f  p o e t r y i s t o i n s t r u c t by p l e a s i n g , " wrote Dr. Johnson, i n the P r e f a c e t o Shakespeare. a l a r g e r domain:  Hunt's d e f i n i t i o n gave p o e t r y  " I t s means a r e whatever t h e u n i v e r s e  c o n t a i n s ; and i t s ends, p l e a s u r e and e x a l t a t i o n . " much Johnson would have u n d e r s t o o d , approved.  This  though perhaps not  The u n i v e r s e c o n t a i n e d a g r e a t d e a l t h a t p o e t r y  s h o u l d not c o n t a i n , i n Johnson's v i e w , i f h i s s t r i c t u r e s t o t h e w r i t e r s o f romances might be extended t o p o e t s : I t i s j u s t l y c o n s i d e r e d as t h e g r e a t e s t e x c e l l e n c y o f a r t , t o i m i t a t e n a t u r e ; but i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o d i s t i n g u i s h t h o s e p a r t s o f n a t u r e which a r e most proper f o r i m i t a t i o n : g r e a t e r care i s s t i l l r e q u i r e d i n r e p r e s e n t i n g l i f e , which i s so o f t e n d i s c o l o u r e d by p a s s i o n o r deformed by w i c k e d n e s s . I f the w o r l d be p r o m i s c u o u s l y d e s c r i b e d , I cannot see o f what use i t can be t o r e a d t h e account: o r why i t may n o t be as s a f e t o t u r n t h e eye i m m e d i a t e l y upon mankind, as upon a m i r r o u r w h i c h shows a l l t h a t p r e s e n t s i t s e l f w i t h o u t d i s c r i m i n a tion.! L e i g h Hunt's d e f i n i t i o n o f p o e t r y was t o a g r e a t e x t e n t founded on the p r a c t i c e and t h e o r y o f t h e romantic  poets,  who had e n l a r g e d t h e compass o f p o e t r y ; who i n d i c t i o n t h a t Johnson would not always have found p o e t i c , had d e s c r i b e d p a r t s o f n a t u r e t h a t Johnson would have thought for imitation:  not proper  Byron, S h e l l e y , and Hunt h i m s e l f had de-  s c r i b e d human n a t u r e " d i s c o l o u r e d by p a s s i o n , o r deformed by  wickedness."  56  " I n s t r u c t i o n " had q u i t e gone from Hunt's d e f i n i t i o n , b e i n g r e p l a c e d by " e x a l t a t i o n , " a phantasm ambiguous and unt r u s t w o r t h y enough, i n Johnson's e s t i m a t i o n .  In this  concept  o f t h e f u n c t i o n o f p o e t r y , t h e r o m a n t i c s a r e f a r beyond t h e Johnsonian  pale.  I t i s t r u e t h a t Wordsworth had s t a t e d i n  the p r e f a c e t o L y r i c a l B a l l a d s , a s i g n i f i c a n t r o m a n t i c ment, t h a t p o e t r y must e n l a r g e t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g the emotions.  docu-  and p u r i f y  The r o m a n t i c s ' aims f o r l i t e r a t u r e were not  v e r y d i f f e r e n t from Johnson's; b u t i n t h e degree o f those aims, and i n t h e s u b j e c t matter and t e c h n i q u e s o f l i t e r a t u r e , they d i f f e r e d g r e a t l y .  I n subject matter, they d e a l t w i t h  a l l a s p e c t s o f l i f e - w i t h "whatever t h e u n i v e r s e c o n t a i n s " i n c l u d i n g those areas w h i c h Johnson f e l t were n e i t h e r s a f e nor u s e f u l .  I n t e c h n i q u e , t h e y a v o i d e d " s e r m o n i z i n g " and  c o n t r i v i n g t h e m a t e r i a l i n an obvious way, f e e l i n g t h a t t h e human mind was capable o f f i n d i n g a moral l e s s o n i n a s i m p l e , powerfully told  tale.  I n h i s v i e w o f the means o f p o e t r y , Hunt i s not a t v a r i a n c e w i t h t h e commonly h e l d r o m a n t i c the ends o f p o e t r y i s h i s own.  one.  H i s view o f  He h e l d t h a t p o e t r y ' s  chief  end i s t h a t o f s e r v i c e t o the r e a d e r , r a t h e r t h a n t h e w r i t e r , of poetry.  Here he d i f f e r s , f o r i n s t a n c e , from John S t u a r t  Mill: " A l l p o e t r y i s i n t h e n a t u r e o f s o l i l o q u y . When the poet's a c t o f u t t e r a n c e i s n o t i t s e l f t h e end, but a means t o an end, - v i z . , by t h e f e e l i n g s he e x p r e s s e s , t o work upon t h e f e e l i n g s , o r upon t h e b e l i e f , o r t h e w i l l , o f a n o t h e r - when t h e e x p r e s s i o n 'of h i s emotions... i s t i n g e d by t h a t purpose, by t h a t purpose o f making an i m p r e s s i o n on a n o t h e r mind, then i t ceases t o be p o e t r y , and becomes e l o q u e n c e . " 2  57  C o l e r i d g e c o u l d say, i n the p r e f a c e t o t h e second e d i t i o n o f h i s poems  (1797):  " I expect n e i t h e r p r o f i t nor  fame by my w r i t i n g s , and  I c o n s i d e r m y s e l f as h a v i n g been  amply r e p a i d w i t h o u t e i t h e r . own  exceeding  general  P o e t r y has been t o me ' i t s  g r e a t reward'; i t has soothed my  i t has m u l t i p l i e d and r e f i n e d my  afflictions;  enjoyments; i t has  endeared  s o l i t u d e ; and i t has g i v e n me the h a b i t of w i s h i n g t o d i s cover t h e good and the b e a u t i f u l i n a l l t h a t meets and rounds  sur-  me."  Hunt's l i t t l e  t r e a t i s e , "What i s P o e t r y ? " , 3 makes c l e a r  t h a t he r e c o g n i z e d t h e d i s s i m i l a r i t y between t h e aims of i n s t r u c t i o n and e x a l t a t i o n , b u t a t the same t i m e found them not irreconcilable.  A f t e r q u o t i n g from C o l e r i d g e ' s " P r e f a c e " and  S h e l l e y ' s Defense o f P o e t r y , he  says:  I would not w i l l i n g l y say a n y t h i n g a f t e r p e r o r a t i o n s l i k e t h e s e ; but as t r e a t i s e s on p o e t r y may chance t o have a u d i t o r s who t h i n k t h e m s e l v e s c a l l e d upon t o v i n d i c a t e the s u p e r i o r i t y of what i s termed u s e f u l knowledge, i t may be as w e l l t o add, t h a t i f the poet may be a l l o w e d t o pique h i m s e l f on any one t h i n g more t h a n a n o t h e r , compared w i t h t h o s e who u n d e r v a l u e him, i t i s on t h a t power o f u n d e r v a l u i n g nobod}*", and no a t t a i n m e n t s d i f f e r e n t from h i s own, w h i c h i s g i v e n him by the v e r y f a c u l t y o f i m a g i n a t i o n t h e y d e s p i s e . . . . No man r e c o g n i z e s the w o r t h o f u t i l i t y more t h a n the p o e t : he o n l y d e s i r e s that the meaning of the term may not come s h o r t o f i t s g r e a t n e s s , and e x c l u d e t h e n o b l e s t n e c e s s i t i e s of h i s fellow-creatures .4I t i s c l e a r t h a t Dr. Johnson c o u l d not have been one those a u d i t o r s "who  of  t h i n k t h e m s e l v e s c a l l e d upon t o v i n -  d i c a t e the s u p e r i o r i t y o f what i s termed u s e f u l knowledge"; a t l e a s t not i n the f l e s h ; but i n s p i r i t , he i s the  man  Hunt meant.  poetry  Johnson's i n t e l l e c t u a l p o e t r y , and t h e  58  o f o t h e r s w h i c h he f a v o u r e d , was  to the r o m a n t i c s l i k e  an  abridgement o f the k i n d o f p o e t r y t h a t Wordsworth c a l l e d "the spontaneous o v e r f l o w of p o w e r f u l f e e l i n g s " w i t h deep thought moved.  The  informed  - w i t h most o f the p o w e r f u l f e e l i n g s r e -  spontaneous o v e r f l o w o f Johnson's f e e l i n g s ,  i m p r e s s i o n s , i m a g i n a t i o n , was t i n y , r e s t r a i n e d and reduced  subjected to a searching scru t o a manageable stream,  before  i t was a l l o w e d out i n t o the p u b l i c channels o f p r i n t .  In  Hunt's view, t h e r e l e a s e o f the p r e s s u r e of t h a t p o w e r f u l i m a g i n a t i o n which Johnson d e s p i s e d was  not o n l y a d e f i n i t e  u t i l i t y t o the poet, but the d e n i a l of i t e x c l u d e d  "the  noblest n e c e s s i t i e s of h i s f e l l o w - c r e a t u r e s . " L i k e h i s p o e t r y , Johnson's c r i t i c i s m was  constricted,  the r o m a n t i c s f e l t , by the s u b o r d i n a t i o n o f a v e r y r e a l a r e a of e x p e r i e n c e , t h a t o f the i m a g i n a t i o n , t o t h a t o f r a t i o n a l thought.  Johnson b e l i e v e d t h a t "when f a n c y  [ima-  g i n a t i o n ] , the parent of p a s s i o n , usurps t h e dominion o f the mind, n o t h i n g ensues but t h e n a t u r a l e f f e c t o f u n l a w f u l government, p e r t u r b a t i o n , and c o n f u s i o n . " poets who ley,  his  Consequently,  were under the sway of f a n c y , f o r i n s t a n c e Cow-  were lowered i n h i s e s t i m a t i o n . Now  to  5  Johnson's c r i t i c i s m o f Shakespeare, i n the " P r e f a c  Shakespeare, i s more i n c l i n e d t o p a n e g y r i c t h a n most o f c r i t i c a l writings.  Johnson wanting  N e v e r t h e l e s s , the r o m a n t i c s  as Shakespearean c r i t i c , because he  found was  unable t o a p p r e c i a t e p r o p e r l y those u n i n h i b i t e d q u a l i t i e s of i m a g i n a t i o n which were t o them the essence of the p o e t r y  59  W i t h h i s c r i t i c a l b l i n d - s p o t s he c o u l d not c r i t i c i z e , f e l t , t h e poet who,  they  i n Dryden's words, " o f a l l modern and  perhaps a n c i e n t p o e t s , had t h e l a r g e s t and most comprehens i v e mind."  The revenge o f Dr. Johnson, who  c o u l d not r e -  t a l i a t e a g a i n s t the r o m a n t i c s , was amply t a k e n , t h e y f e l t , i n h i s c r i t i c i s m o f t h e i r p a t r o n s a i n t , Shakespeare. The " P r e f a c e " which Adam Smith s t y l e d " t h e most manly p i e c e o f c r i t i c i s m t h a t was ever p u b l i s h e d i n any c o u n t r y " was not p l e a s i n g to i d o l a t e r s of Shakespeare i n the next age.  The a p p r o a c h , t o b e g i n w i t h , was not e n t h u s i a s t i c  enough.  H a z l i t t s a i d , "An o v e r s t r a i n e d e n t h u s i a s m i s more  pardonable w i t h r e s p e c t t o Shakespeare than t h e want of i t ; for  our i m a g i n a t i o n cannot e a s i l y s u r p a s s h i s g e n i u s . " 6  O v e r s t r a i n e d enthusiasm was not n a t i v e t o Dr. Johnson.  With  a c l e a r head and a not s u f f i c i e n t l y humble v o i c e , he p r o ceeded t o f i n d f a u l t s w i t h Shakespeare, f o r , as he s a i d ,  "We  must c o n f e s s t h e f a u l t s o f our f a v o r i t e s , i n o r d e r t o c l a i m c r e d i t t o our p r a i s e o f h i s e x c e l l e n c i e s .  He t h a t c l a i m s  e i t h e r i n h i m s e l f o r o t h e r s , t h e honours of p e r f e c t i o n ,  will  s u r e l y i n j u r e the r e p u t a t i o n which he d e s i g n s t o a s s i s t . " 7 The p a r t i c u l a r source o f the r o m a n t i c s ' r a n c o r towards Johnson was t h a t , i n enumerating Shakespeare's f a u l t s , he spoke o f Shakespeare as one man may c i t i z e n i n the r e p u b l i c o f l e t t e r s . can,  speak o f a f e l l o w Johnson was a r e p u b l i -  r a t h e r than a r o y a l i s t , i n l e t t e r s .  He d i d not r e -  c o g n i z e the d i v i n e r i g h t s of Shakespeare, and so the Shakespeare  60  i d o l a t e r s c o u l d not admit him t o t h e i r s e r v i c e s o f w o r s h i p . Yet Johnson's " P r e f a c e " pays c o u r t t o "the and unbounded g e n i u s of Shakespeare"  transcendent  i n handsome terms.  The  opening acknowledges the f a c t of h i s l a s t i n g fame, a f t e r "the e f f e c t s of f a v o u r and c o m p e t i t i o n a r e a t an end;  the  t r a d i t i o n o f h i s f r i e n d s h i p s and e n m i t i e s has p e r i s h e d ; h i s works support no o p i n i o n w i t h arguments, nor s u p p l y any  fac-  t i o n w i t h i n v e c t i v e s ; they can n e i t h e r i n d u l g e v a n i t y nor g r a t i f y m a l i g n i t y ; . . . y e t , thus u n a s s i s t e d by i n t e r e s t o r p a s s i o n , t h e y have past t h r o u g h v a r i a t i o n s o f t a s t e and of  changes  manners, and, as t h e y d e v o l v e d from one g e n e r a t i o n t o  a n o t h e r , have r e c e i v e d new honours a t e v e r y t r a n s m i s s i o n . " ^ Aware of t h e g e n e r a l and c o n t i n u e d a p p r o b a t i o n o f Shakes p e a r e , Johnson reasoned  i n t h e P r e f a c e t o the source  of  Shakespeare's e x c e l l e n c e - i n o r d e r t o a s s u r e h i m s e l f and his  r e a d e r s t h a t t h e a p p r o b a t i o n was  j u d i c e or f a s h i o n .  The  not t h e product o f p r e -  c r i t e r i o n of t h a t e x c e l l e n c e i s a  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y Johnsonian one.  " N o t h i n g can p l e a s e many  and p l e a s e l o n g but j u s t r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of g e n e r a l n a t u r e . " Shakespeare i s above a l l modern w r i t e r s "the poet o f n a t u r e , the poet t h a t h o l d s up t o h i s r e a d e r s a f a i t h f u l m i r r o u r o f manners and of l i f e . "  9  " H i s persons a c t and speak by the  i n f l u e n c e of those g e n e r a l p a s s i o n s and p r i n c i p l e s by a l l minds are a g i t a t e d , and the whole system o f l i f e t i n u e d i n motion. ter  which i s con-  In the w r i t i n g s of other poets, a charac-  i s t o o o f t e n an i n d i v i d u a l ; i n those of Shakespeare i t  61  i s commonly a s p e c i e s .  , , J  -  U  His characters are "the general  progeny o f common humanity, such as t h e w o r l d w i l l always s u p p l y , and o b s e r v a t i o n w i l l always  find."  1 ±  The j u s t n e s s and g e n e r a l i t y o f Shakespeare's c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s , not o n l y f o r an age but f o r a l l t i m e , was t h e source o f t h e l a s t i n g g r e a t n e s s o f Shakespeare, who e x c e l l e d " i n accommodating h i s s e n t i m e n t s t o r e a l l i f e . "  "The t h e a t r e ,  when i t i s under any o t h e r d i r e c t i o n , i s peopled by such  charac-  t e r s as were never seen, c o n v e r s i n g i n a language which was never h e a r d , upon t o p i c k s w h i c h w i l l never a r i s e i n t h e commerce o f mankind."^2 "Upon e v e r y o t h e r stage t h e u n i v e r s a l agent i s l o v e , by whose power a l l good and e v i l i s d i s t r i b u t e d , and e v e r y a c t i o n quickened  or r e t a r d e d . "  But Shakespeare knew t h a t " l o v e i s  o n l y one o f many p a s s i o n s ; . . . He knew, t h a t any o t h e r p a s s i o n , as i t was r e g u l a r o r e x o r b i t a n t , was a cause o f happiness calamity."13  or  Shakespeare, who caught h i s i d e a s from t h e l i v i n g  w o r l d w h i c h he saw b e f o r e him, was exonerated c i a l r u l e s o f c l a s s i c a l drama.  from t h e a r t i f i -  I f h i s s e n a t o r s were b u f f o o n s ,  and h i s k i n g s n o t c o m p l e t e l y r o y a l , they were o n l y demonstrating  t h e i r r e a l selves i n the " r e a l state of sublunary  And h i s m i n g l i n g o f " t r a g i c k and comick scenes" was  nature." exonerated  by t h e o c c u r r e n c e o f events i n t h a t same s t a t e o f n a t u r e where good and e v i l ,  j o y and sorrow, a r e "mingled w i t h e n d l e s s  v a r i e t y o f p r o p o r t i o n and innumerable  modes o f c o m b i n a t i o n " ,  i n a w o r l d " i n which t h e l o s s o f one i s t h e g a i n o f a n o t h e r ; i n w h i c h , a t t h e same t i m e , t h e r e v e l l e r i s h a s t i n g t o h i s  62  w i n e , and t h e mourner b u r y i n g h i s f r i e n d . T h e  mingled  drama managed t o convey " a l l t h e i n s t r u c t i o n o f t r a g e d y o r comedy... because i t i n c l u d e s b o t h i n i t s a l t e r n a t i o n s o f e x h i b i t i o n , and approaches n e a r e r t h a n e i t h e r t o the appearance of  life."  1 5  The f a c t t h a t Shakespeare wrote about r e a l men, i n r e a l s i t u a t i o n s , j u s t i f i e d h i s o c c a s i o n a l roughness o f language: Shakespear's f a m i l i a r d i a l o g u e i s a f f i r m e d t o be smooth and c l e a r , y e t n o t w h o l l y w i t h o u t ruggedness or d i f f i c u l t y ; as a c o u n t r y may be e m i n e n t l y f r u i t f u l , though i t has s p o t s u n f i t f o r c u l t i v a t i o n : H i s c h a r a c t e r s a r e p r a i s e d as n a t u r a l , though t h e i r sent i m e n t s a r e sometimes f o r c e d , and t h e i r a c t i o n s imp r o b a b l e ; as t h e e a r t h upon t h e whole i s s p h e r i c a l , though i t s s u r f a c e i s v a r i e d w i t h p r o t r u b e r a n c e s and cavities.16 I f i t was Johnson's p r a i s e of Shakespeare t h a t h i s drama was " t h e m i r r o u r o f l i f e , "  Johnson's r e p r o o f o f t h e poet was  e q u a l l y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of t h e c r i t i c .  The f a u l t s t h a t he  f o u n d , l i k e t h e e x c e l l e n c i e s , r e v e a l much about h i s c r i t i c a l processes.  The g r e a t e s t f a u l t was t h a t Shakespeare d i d n o t  always s e l e c t c h a r a c t e r s and e v e n t s w o r t h y t o be m i r r o r e d : He s a c r i f i c e s v i r t u e t o c o n v e n i e n c e , and i s so much more c a r e f u l t o p l e a s e t h a n t o i n s t r u c t , t h a t he seems t o w r i t e w i t h o u t any m o r a l purpose.... T h i s f a u l t t h e b a r b a r i t y o f h i s age cannot e x t e n u a t e ; f o r i t i s always a w r i t e r ' s d u t y t o make t h e w o r l d b e t t e r , and j u s t i c e i s a v i r t u e independant on time or p l a c e . 17 F a u l t number two a r i s e s from t h e l o o s e n e s s o f t h e p l o t s . F a u l t number t h r e e concerns t h e a n a c h r o n i s m s , which perhaps a want o f l e a r n i n g s u p p l i e d .  F a u l t number f o u r i s t h e com-  mon l i c e n t i o u s n e s s and l a c k o f r e f i n e m e n t i n some o f t h e comic scenes; which f a u l t , l i k e number one, t h e b a r b a r i t y o f  63  the t i m e s cannot e x t e n u a t e .  "There must... have been always  some modes o f g a y e t y p r e f e r a b l e t o o t h e r s and a w r i t e r t o chuse t h e b e s t . " ^ 1  ought  The next f a u l t i s t h e "tumour, mean-  n e s s , t e d i o u s n e s s , and obscurity"-*-  9 Q  f t h o s e passages of  t r a g i c p a s s i o n , n a r r a t i o n , or d e c l a m a t i o n , when he  "solicits  20  h i s i n v e n t i o n , or s t r a i n s h i s f a c u l t i e s " , was the power o f n a t u r e .  f o r h i s power  F a u l t number s i x i s Shakespeare's -  f a i l u r e t o e x t r i c a t e h i m s e l f from an o c c a s i o n a l " u n w i e l d y s e n t i m e n t " , l e a v i n g i t t o be d i s e n t a n g l e d and e v o l v e d by 21 those who have more l e i s u r e t o bestow upon i t . "  Fault  number seven i s the n e g l e c t o f e q u a l i t y o f words t o t h i n g s : " T r i v i a l s e n t i m e n t s and v u l g a r i d e a s d i s a p p o i n t the a t t e n t i o n , t o which t h e y a r e recommended by sonorous e p i t h e t s and ing f i g u r e s . "  &  swell-  The l a s t i s t h a t f a u l t o f s t y l e which com-  p e l s Shakespeare t o pursue a c o n c e i t l i k e a w i l l - o ' - t h e - w i s p a c r o s s the marsh:  "He i s not l o n g s o f t and p a t h e t i c k w i t h -  out some i d l e c o n c e i t , or c o n t e m p t i b l e e q u i v o c a t i o n . " - * 2  "A  quibble, poor and b a r r e n as i t i s , gave him such d e l i g h t , t h a t he was c o n t e n t t o purchase i t , by the s a c r i f i c e o f r e a s o n , p r o p r i e t y and t r u t h .  A q u i b b l e was f o r him the f a t a l C l e o -  p a t r a f o r w h i c h he l o s t the w o r l d , and was c o n t e n t t o l o s e it. W h i l e Johnson's c r i t i c i s m s o f Shakespeare's language are not " p e t t y c a v i l s , " the f a u l t s o f language are subord i n a t e t o t h a t " f i r s t d e f e c t . . . t h a t t o w h i c h may be imputed most of t h e e v i l i n books and men"25 - t h e want o f m o r a l decorum, and the f a u l t s of language were breaches o f  64  a l e s s i m p o r t a n t decorum. In t h e r o m a n t i c s ' view, i t was one o f Shakespeare's e x c e l l e n c i e s t h a t he r e v e a l e d those areas o f human experience t h a t a r e g e n e r a l l y r e p r e s s e d ; t h a t , w h i l e t h e y a r e sometimes i r r a t i o n a l and unwholesome, y e t a r e u n i v e r s a l and v e r y r e a l , and t h e r e f o r e i m p o r t a n t t o be r e c o g n i z e d i n t h e t o t a l i t y o f man's c h a r a c t e r .  Such areas were t o be s u p p r e s s e d , i n John-  son's t h e o r y , as t h e y were s u p p r e s s e d i n h i s p r a c t i c e ; i n t h e t h e o r y , o f t e n i n t h e p r a c t i c e , o f t h e r o m a n t i c s , t h e y were exposed  and t a k e n i n t o a c c o u n t .  I t was, t h e y f e l t , t h e poet's  r o l e t o expose e v e r y f a c e t o f the human drama t h a t does n o t show i t s e l f on t h e s u r f a c e o f l i f e , t h a t i s not p l a y e d out i n t h e v i s i b l e w o r l d , b u t i n t h e h e a r t s o f men. In t h e i r e s t i m a t e o f t h e n a t u r e o f t h e knowledge t h a t i s s c a t t e r e d over Shakespeare's  works, t h e r o m a n t i c s and  Johnson a r e agreed t h a t " i t i s o f t e n such knowledge as books w i l l not s u p p l y . " ^  "He t h a t w i l l u n d e r s t a n d  Shakespeare,"  s a i d Johnson, "must n o t be c o n t e n t t o s t u d y him i n t h e closet', he must l o o k f o r h i s meaning sometimes among t h e s p o r t s o f the f i e l d , and sometimes among t h e manufactures  o f t h e shop." 7 2  The p r i n t e d t a l e s , w i t h which t h e i n f a n c y o f l e a r n i n g was s a t i s f i e d , " e x h i b i t e d o n l y t h e s u p e r f i c i a l appearances  of  a c t i o n , r e l a t e d t h e e v e n t s b u t o m i t t e d t h e c a u s e s . . . . He t h a t would know t h e w o r l d , was under t h e n e c e s s i t y o f g l e a n i n g his  own remarks, by m i n g l i n g as he c o u l d i n i t s b u s i n e s s and 2 ft  amusements." Shakespeare"  The " t r a n s c e n d e n t and unbounded genius o f p r o v i d e d him w i t h t h a t s t o c k o f l i f e - l i k e  allusions  65  whose u n i v e r s a l i t y was romantics. wit, ing  the wonder a l i k e of Johnson and  "Shakespeare," s a i d Hunt, "had a n i m a l  f a n c y , judgment, prudence i n money m a t t e r s ,  the  spirits, understand-  l i k e Bacon, f e e l i n g l i k e Chaucer, m i r t h l i k e R a b e l a i s ,  dignity like Milton. and understand  What a man I" 9  Those who  2  w i s h t o study  Shakespeare "must s t u d y where Shakespeare  s t u d i e d - i n the f i e l d s , i n the heavens - i n the h e a r t  and  f o r t u n e s o f man."^^ Johnson, i n the o p i n i o n of Hunt and the r o m a n t i c s g e n e r a l l y , was  not e q u a l t o the t a s k o f c r i t i c i z i n g Shakespeare, be-  cause h i s w o r l d "was  not the u n i v e r s a l and s t i l l eager w o r l d  o f t h e poet, but was made up e x c l u s i v e l y o f the S t r a n d , hypoc h o n d r i a , c h a r i t y , b i g o t r y , w i t , argument, and a good d i n n e r ; a p r e t t y r e g i o n , but not the green as w e l l as smoky w o r l d o f n a t u r e and Shakespeare."-^  Hunt was  generally inclined to  f i n d l e s s f a u l t w i t h Johnson than the o t h e r s .  He once  applauded i n an a c t o r the s o r t o f r e s e a r c h i n t o the ter  charac-  o f a Shakespearean r o l e "which t h i n k s i t more a d v i s a b l e  to read a note o f Dr. Johnson t h a n one o f George Steevens i n a r r i v i n g a t a g e n e r a l e s t i m a t e o f the c h a r a c t e r o f a l l time."3  2  And  in his criticism  o f H a z l i t t ' s C h a r a c t e r s of  Shakespeare's P l a y s , Hunt v e n t u r e d the o p i n i o n t h a t Johnson had been the f i r s t t o do j u s t i c e i n an essay t o a Shakespearean c h a r a c t e r - t h a t o f F a l s t a f f , "who  won  Dr. Johnson's h e a r t  w i t h h i s t a s t e i n j o k e s and good d i s h e s , as W i l k e s d i d a t the b o o k s e l l e r ' s t a b l e i n the P o u l t r y . . . Mr. H a z l i t t ' s p r a i s e might have been r e l i s h e d by F a l s t a f f h i m s e l f ; but w i t h a l l  66  due r e g a r d to the Doctor  (whom we  l i k e and r e s p e c t v e r y s i n -  c e r e l y , n e v e r t h e l e s s , a l l s o r t s of d i f f e r e n c e s of o p i n i o n not e x c e p t e d ) , S i r Hugh Evans, we s u s p e c t , would have been most t a k e n w i t h h i s . At a n o t h e r time Hunt t a k e s a s t a n d more l i k e t h a t o f H a z l i t t , i n e v a l u a t i n g Johnson's c r i t i c a l a b i l i t i e s .  In  r e f e r r i n g to Johnson's e s t i m a t e o f J u l i u s Caesar, he  says:  W i t h a l l due r e s p e c t t o the powers o f Dr. Johnson, t h i s i s a s o r r y p i e c e of c r i t i c i s m : i t i s , at best, l i k e most o f h i s c r i t i c i s m s , o n l y so much g r a t u i t o u s o p i n i o n w i t h o u t a n a l y s i s , w i t h o u t argument; but a t bottom, I am a f r a i d , i t i s an a d d i t i o n a l b e t r a y a l of h i s absolute unfitness f o r p o e t i c a l c r i t i c i s m , at l e a s t w i t h r e g a r d t o works of a h i g h e r o r d e r . A w r i t e r , who by h i s own c o n f e s s i o n was i n s e n s i b l e t o p a i n t i n g and m u s i c , has a t l e a s t v e r y s u s p i c i o u s c l a i m s t o become a c r i t i c ; but when we see h i s t a s t e so ready on a l l o c c a s i o n s t o p o l l u t e i t s e l f w i t h p o l i t i c a l p r e j u d i c e s , when we f i n d him r e a l l y i n s e n s i b l e t o the i n f i n i t e and g l o r i o u s v a r i e t y o f M i l t o n ' s numbers, and when he acknowledges, i n the i n s t a n c e b e f o r e us, t h a t he f e e l s no s t r e n g t h o f emotion i n w i t n e s s i n g the w o r k i n g o f g r e a t minds i n a w f u l s i t u a t i o n s , i n b e h o l d i n g the sudden d o w n f a l l of g u i l t y g r e a t n e s s , and i n s i t t i n g w i t h the p a t r i o t i n h i s t e n t , i n the w a k e f u l n e s s o f a noble a f f l i c t i o n , and on the eve o f the l a s t s t r u g g l e f o r l i b e r t y , t h e n he s i g n s h i s own condemnation, and l e a v e s us s t i l l i n want, as we c e r t a i n l y a r e t o t h i s day, o f a t r u e c r i t i c a l a u t h o r i t y w i t h r e s p e c t to our g r e a t poets.34 Hunt, i n I m a g i n a t i o n and Fancy, r i s e s t o g r e a t h e i g h t s of e u l o g y i n the d i s c u s s i o n o f Shakespeare. w i t h Johnson, t h a t Shakespeare  Yet he  agrees  " ( t o judge from Venus and  A d o n i s , and the Rape o f Lucrece) does not appear to have had a c a l l t o w r i t e n a r r a t i v e poetry."-^  5  Johnson s a i d ,  " I n s t e a d o f l i g h t e n i n g i t by b r e v i t y , [he] endeavoured t o recommend i t by d i g n i t y and s p l e n d o u r . " - ^ over-informed  i t with r e f l e c t i o n . «37  Hunt s a y s ,  "He  67  " I n f a c t , i f Shakespeare's goes on, " i t  i s that  of being t o o learned; too overinformed  w i t h thought and i l l u s i o n . and Bach.  p o e t r y has any f a u l t , " Hunt  H i s wood-notes w i l d s u r p a s s Haydn  H i s w i l d r o s e s a r e a l l twenty t i m e s d o u b l e .  He  t h i n k s t w e n t y t i m e s t o a n o t h e r man's once, and makes a l l h i s s e r i o u s c h a r a c t e r s t a l k as w e l l as he c o u l d h i m s e l f - w i t h a superabundance  o f w i t and i n t e l l i g e n c e . " - ^  Hunt speaks here as t h e a t r e c r i t i c . he found t h a t Shakespeare's  superabundance  In this  capacity  o f w i t and i n -  t e l l i g e n c e was n o t w e l l s u i t e d t o t h e a t r i c a l ends; here h i s c r i t i c i s m d i f f e r s from Dr. Johnson's  literary  criticism.  Johnson was more concerned w i t h a c l o s e t r e a d i n g o f Shakespeare, than w i t h theatre r e n d e r i n g s .  I t was r e g r e t t a b l e  t o Johnson t h a t Shakespeare, c a r e l e s s o f f u t u r e fame, had s o l d h i s works, n o t t o be p r i n t e d , b u t t o be p l a y e d , f o r t h i s p r a c t i c e had o c c a s i o n e d t h e many e r r o r s i n t h e t e x t s . And, t o Johnson, a d r a m a t i c k e x h i b i t i o n i s a book r e c i t e d w i t h conc o m i t a n t s t h a t encrease o r d i m i n i s h i t s e f f e c t . F a m i l i a r comedy i s o f t e n more p o w e r f u l i n t h e t h e a t r e , t h a n on t h e page; i m p e r i a l t r a g e d y i s always l e s s . The humour o f P e t r u c h i o may be h e i g h t e n e d by grimace; but what v o i c e o r what g e s t u r e can hope t o add d i g n i t y or force to the s o l i l o q u y of Cato.3 q  T h e a t r i c a l c o n c o m i t a n t s o n l y d e t r a c t e d from Johnson's ment o f t h e drama.  He was f r i g h t e n e d by Hamlet's  enjoy-  ghost,  shocked by t h e death o f C o r d e l i a , n o t a t t h e p l a y , b u t i n the c l o s e t .  The r e a d e r o f t h e " P r e f a c e " t o Shakespeare  "that  i s y e t u n a c q u a i n t e d w i t h t h e powers o f Shakespeare, and who  68  d e s i r e s t o f e e l the h i g h e s t p l e a s u r e t h a t the drama can g i v e " was to  not t o l d t o a t t e n d the t h e a t r e ; r a t h e r , he was " r e a d every p l a y from the f i r s t scene t o the  advised  last."^  Hunt, i n h i s c o n c e r n w i t h the impact o f p r o d u c t i o n s  of  Shakespeare upon a u d i e n c e s i n t h e t h e a t r e , d i f f e r e d not  only  from Dr. Johnson, but from most of t h e Shakespeare i d o l a t e r s of the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , who  thought t h a t the p l a y s were  u n s u i t a b l e f o r t h e a t r e performance.  C o l e r i d g e never saw  any  of them a c t e d "but w i t h a degree of d i s g u s t , p a i n , and i n dignation."  He had  seen the Macbeths of the Kembles, but  were not the Macbeths of Shakespeare; and he was  they  therefore  not  g r i e v e d " a t the enormous s i z e of t h e t h e a t r e s , which n a t u r a l l y produced many bad but few good a c t o r s ; and which drove Shakespeare from the s t a g e , t o f i n d h i s p r o p e r p l a c e i n the and  heart  i n the c l o s e t , where he s i t s w i t h M i l t o n , enthroned  a double-headed Parnassus; p r a i s e w o r t h y , was  and w i t h whom e v e r y t h i n g t h a t  t o be f o u n d . " 4  Lamb c o u l d not h e l p  1  of t h e o p i n i o n t h a t t h e p l a y s of Shakespeare are l e s s c u l a t e d f o r performance t h a n those t i s t whatever.  "being cal-  of almost any o t h e r drama-  There i s so much i n them, t h a t comes  not under the p r o v i n c e of a c t i n g , w i t h which eye, and and g e s t u r e , have n o t h i n g t o d o . " ^ "We  was  Their d i s t i n g u i s h e d excellence i s a reason  t h a t t h e y should be so.  opinion:  on  2  H a z l i t t was  are not i n the number of those who  tone,  o f the same are  anxious  i n recommending the g e t t i n g - u p of Shakespeare's p l a y s i n g e n e r a l as a d u t y which our stage managers owe  e q u a l l y t o the  69  a u t h o r and t h e r e a d e r o f t h e s e w o n d e r f u l c o m p o s i t i o n s . representing  of the very f i n e s t  by the b e s t a c t o r s , of the poet;  o f t h e m on t h e  stage,  even  i s , we a p p r e h e n d , an a b u s e  of the  genius  and even i n t h o s e  of a second-rate  class,  q u a n t i t y of sentiment and imagery g r e a t l y outweighs immediate i m p r e s s i o n of the  with the theatre  the  the  s i t u a t i o n and s t o r y . " 4 - 3  C o l e r i d g e never f o r g o t players,  The  t h a t Shakespeare wrote f o r  at h e a r t ;  but decided t h a t  the  the  con-  comitants of the nineteenth-century theatre  did disservice  to the  Shakespeare  plays.  Lamb a t t e m p t e d t o  not r e a l l y w r i t e f o r t h e a t r e was a f a u t  a t h e a t r i c a l a u d i e n c e and t h a t  de m i e u x d i s o w n e d a s  the p r o f e s s i o n of p l a y e r . performance  did  the  soon as p o s s i b l e  They doubted t h a t a  of a Shakespeare  or d e s i r a b l e .  prove t h a t  like  satisfactory  p l a y was p o s s i b l e o f a t t a i n m e n t ,  They w e r e a l l good d i s c i p l e s o f  Shakespeare,  r e g u l a r l y professing t h e i r f a i t h i n l i t e r a r y essays;  Coleridge  f u r t h e r managed t o " s o w a few v a l u a b l e t h o u g h t s i n m i n d s worthy t o receive  them"^  b y t h e medium o f h i s l e c t u r e s  on  Shakespeare. Hunt d i f f e r e d f r o m t h e o t h e r s i n h i s concern f o r the t h e a t r e  as  i n h i s love critic,  humanitarian concern for a l a r g e r public the  essayists.  of Shakespeare's possible.  He was v i t a l l y  and perhaps i n h i s than that reached  "good t h i n g s " t o as l a r g e an a u d i e n c e  before  the  theatre,  by  i n t e r e s t e d i n the d i s s e m i n a t i o n  He seems t o h a v e b e e n t h e  keep Shakespeare  of the  public  as  o n l y one who w i s h e d  on t h e  stage:  to  70  I f Mr. Kemble has not succeeded G a r r i c k i n a l l t r a g i c e x c e l l e n c e , as some o f h i s a d m i r e r s p r e t e n d , he has w o r t h i l y succeeded him i n one import a n t r e s p e c t , t h a t of l o v i n g Shakespeare and k e e p i n g him b e f o r e the p u b l i c . The o t h e r managers o f the p r e s e n t day have so l i t t l e t a s t e . . . t h a t were i t not f o r Mr. Kemble's e x e r t i o n s the t r a g e d i e s of our g l o r i o u s bard would almost be i n danger of d i s m i s s a l from the s t a g e ; and i t does him i n f i n i t e c r e d i t t o have p e r s e v e r e d i n s p i t e o f c o m p a r a t i v e l y t h i n houses; t o have added t o the seasonable as w e l l - d e s e r v e d ; and t o have e v i n c e d so noble an attachment, and h e l p e d t o keep up so noble a t a s t e , i n an age of mawkishness and buffoonery.45 Hunt was  a t some pains t o defend t h e " h i s t r i o n i c  genius",  as a worthy conveyance o f Shakespeare, i n a well-known passage i n the P r e f a c e t o C r i t i c a l E s s a y s : As t o the contempt t h a t has been c a s t upon h i s t r i o n i c g e n i u s , i t i s not worthy an argument. I f the knowledge of o u r s e l v e s be the h e i g h t o f wisdom, i s t h a t a r t c o n t e m p t i b l e w h i c h conveys t h i s knowledge t o us i n the most p l e a s i n g manner? I f the a c t o r i s g r e a t l y i n f e r i o r t o the t r u e d r a m a t i s t , i f he m e r e l y t e l l s o t h e r s what he has been t o l d h i m s e l f , does the o f f i c e r deserve no p r a i s e who i s s u e s the i n s t r u c t i o n s of h i s g e n e r a l w i t h a c c u r a c y , w i t h s p i r i t , w i t h an a r d o u r t h a t shews he f e e l s them?4o I n one  o f the C r i t i c a l E s s a y s he makes what i s p r o b a b l y  d e f i n i t i v e statement of " h i s t r i o n i c g e n i u s " , i t i s a compound of C o n c e p t i o n and  implying  Imagination,  his that  although  the  p r o p o r t i o n s and method o f b l e n d i n g the i n g r e d i e n t s are lament a b l y l a c k i n g i n the d e s c r i p t i o n : C o n c e p t i o n i s a dependent and p a s s i v e c a p a c i t y , t h a t r e c e i v e s i d e a s suggested by o t h e r s , and t h e r e f o r e b e l o n g s p r i n c i p a l l y t o the a c t o r , who d i s p l a y s the i d e a s o f the poet. I m a g i n a t i o n i s an o r i g i n a l and a c t i v e power, t h a t forms i t s own images and impresses them upon the minds of o t h e r s ; i t belongs t h e r e f o r e m o s t l y t o t h e poet. But a c t o r s sometimes have t o imagine as w e l l as c o n c e i v e , f o r i f the s u g g e s t i o n s o f the poet are few and f e e b l e , t h e y must be i n v i g o r a t e d by the a d d i t i o n a l i d e a s of the a c t o r , who i n t h i s i n s t a n c e imagines as w e l l as c o n c e i v e s . . . .  71  Imagination I s the great t e s t of genius; that which i s done by i m a g i n a t i o n i s more d i f f i c u l t t h a n t h a t which i s performed by discernment o r e x p e r i e n c e . I t i s f o r t h i s r e a s o n t h a t t h e a c t o r i s t o be e s t i m a t e d l i k e t h e p a i n t e r and t h e p o e t , not f o r h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e common o c c u r r e n c e s o f t h e w o r l d , n o t f o r h i s discernment o f t h e f a m i l i a r i t i e s of l i f e , b u t f o r h i s i d e a o f images never s u b m i t t e d to t h e o b s e r v a t i o n o f t h e s e n s e s . . . i m a g i n a t i o n s u r p r i s e s , w i n s , and e l e v a t e s t o o ; i t c a r r i e s us o f f from our e a r t h l y l e v e l w i t h o r d i n a r y c a r e s , i t bears the mind t o i t s h i g h e s t p i t c h o f a s c e n t , t r a n s p o r t s us through e v e r y r e g i o n o f t h o u g h t and f e e l i n g , and t e a c h e s us t h a t we have something w i t h i n us more than m o r t a l . A t r a g i c a c t o r , as he d i s p l a y s more i m a g i n a t i o n , d i s p l a y s a more p o e t i c a l g e n i u s t h a n a comedian.47 It  i s d i f f i c u l t t o t e l l where c o n c e p t i o n s t o p s , and i m a g i n a -  t i o n t a k e s o v e r , or whether they a r e c o n c u r r e n t . of  a c t o r s o f Shakespeare,  "few and f e e b l e " ?  And what  whose s u g g e s t i o n s a r e s u r e l y n o t  S h a l l they be c a l l e d l e s s e r g e n i u s e s  than  those who i n v i g o r a t e t h e s u g g e s t i o n s o f t h e f e e b l e poets? The f o l l o w i n g passage from t h e same essay does l i t t l e t o c l a r i f y these  issues:  I t i s more d i f f i c u l t t o c o n c e i v e p a s s i o n s t h a n h a b i t s , • p r i n c i p a l l y because t h e former a r e l e s s s u b j e c t t o common o b s e r v a t i o n : i n common c h a r a c t e r s we g e n e r a l l y r e c o g n i z e t h e manners o r p e c u l i a r i t i e s o f some person w i t h whom we a r e a c q u a i n t e d , or who i s a t l e a s t known i n t h e w o r l d ; b u t o f t h e deeper t r a g i c p a s s i o n s we have o n l y r e a d , o r heard; we never see i n s o c i e t y an impassioned c h a r a c t e r l i k e Macbeth, o r K i n g L e a r , o r Hamlet; such c h a r a c t e r s e x h i b i t themselves o n l y on great occasions, t h e i r very nature prevents t h e i r appearance i n common l i f e ; but h a b i t s appear no where e l s e : t h e i d e a o f p a s s i o n r e q u i r e s more i m a g i n a t i o n than t h a t o f habit.^° Johnson, had he been a b l e t o f o l l o w Hunt's r e a s o n i n g t h r o u g h i t s v a r i o u s r a m i f i c a t i o n s , would n o t have c a r e d f o r t h e i d e a o f " h i s t r i o n i c g e n i u s " ; n o t would he have c a r e d for  Hunt's s p e c i e s o f i m a g i n a t i o n , "which c a r r i e s us o f f from  72  our e a r t h l y l e v e l . . . b e a r s t h e mind t o i t s h i g h e s t of a s c e n t , and  pitch  t r a n s p o r t s us t h r o u g h e v e r y r e g i o n o f thought  f e e l i n g , and t e a c h e s us t h a t we have something w i t h i n  us more t h a n m o r t a l . " of i m a g i n a t i o n , ideas  I t was t o o a k i n t o t h a t o t h e r  species  " t h a t power o f t h e mind w h i c h c o n t e m p l a t e s  ( t h a t i s , t h o u g h t s o r n o t i o n s ) w i t h o u t r e f e r r i n g them  t o r e a l e x i s t e n c e , o r t o past e x p e r i e n c e , "  which Johnson  thought t o o t e r r i b l e t o go under t h e name o f i m a g i n a t i o n i n his  D i c t i o n a r y , and i n c l u d e d i n s t e a d under " f a n t a s t i c k a l " ,  with other a t t r i b u t e s : the f a n c y ;  "irrational:  s u b s i s t i n g only i n  c a p r i c i o u s , humourous, unsteady;  irregular;  apparent o n l y ; h a v i n g t h e n a t u r e o f phantoms."  That "some-  t h i n g w i t h i n u s " which i s "more t h a n m o r t a l " Johnson found h i g h l y suspect.  When he went t o t h e t h e a t r e , he d i d n o t  go t o a t t e n d a seance. Hunt s e t up an i d e a l f o r t h e a c t i n g p r o f e s s i o n , w h i c h was  p r a c t i c a l l y impossible  he a l l o w e d  ad hominem c o n s i d e r a t i o n s t o i n f l u e n c e h i s judgment  of an a c t o r : excellence off  o f achievement, p a r t i c u l a r l y as  "We can never h e l p b e i n g s k e p t i c a l about G a r r i c k  i n characters  o f deep and s e r i o u s i n t e r e s t ; s i n c e ,  t h e s t a g e , he was l i t t l e b e t t e r t h a n a q u i c k - e y e d  f u l l o f phrases and g a b b l i n g He c o n t i n u e d  trifler,  j a r g o n , and coarse-minded w i t h a l .  t o b e l i e v e , however, t h a t a f u l f i l l m e n t o f h i s  i d e a l was p o s s i b l e i n an a c t o r , a l t h o u g h he wrote i n 1805, of E l l i s t o n ' s a c t i n g o f Hamlet:  "The c h a r a c t e r . . . o f Hamlet  seems beyond t h e g e n i u s o f t h e p r e s e n t s t a g e , and I do not see t h a t a p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n w i l l  be e a s i l y a t t a i n e d by f u t u r e  73  s t a g e s ; f o r i t s a c t o r must u n i t e t h e most c o n t r a r y as w e l l as t h e most a s s i m i l a t i n g powers o f comedy and t r a g e d y ,  and  t o u n i t e these powers i n t h e i r h i g h e s t degree belongs the h i g h e s t g e n i u s o n l y . " 5 0  to  Years l a t e r , the p e r f e c t a c t o r  had s t i l l not m a t e r i a l i z e d : We a r e e x c e e d i n g l y s k e p t i c a l as t o t h e power of any a c t o r t o r e p r e s e n t such a mind as L e a r ' s , j u s t as we are i n the case of Hamlet. The a c t i n g f a c u l t y i s a t h i n g not i n t e l l e c t u a l enough o r s e n s i t i v e enough; and i f i t were, i t would d e f e a t i t s e l f ; i t would s i n k under such a \*;ear and t e a r of the u n i o n o f thought and p a s s i o n w i t h the p h y s i c a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of i t . 5  1  Hunt c o u l d o n l y s p e c u l a t e t h a t a composite of Kean and Macready might be a b l e t o p e r f o r m spearean r o l e s  some of the h e a v i e r Shake-  adequately:  When d i d the w o r l d e v e r see a p e r f e c t performance o f a c h a r a c t e r o f Shakespeare's? When d i d i t e v e r see t h e same Macbeth's good and e v i l n a t u r e worn t r u l y t o g e t h e r , the same K i n g John l o o k i n g mean w i t h h i s a i r s o f r o y a l t y , t h e same Hamlet the model o f a c o u r t and the v i c t i m o f m e l a n c h o l y ? Mr. Kean's O t h e l l o i s perhaps the most p e r f e c t performance on the modern s t a g e , but i t i s not a p e r f e c t O t h e l l o n e v e r t h e l e s s . The u n i o n o f such a v a r i e t y of tones o f f e e l i n g as p r e v a i l s i n the g r e a t humanites of Shakespeare seems as i m p o s s i b l e t o be found i n any a c t o r , as t h e f i n e s t m u s i c a l i n s t r u m e n t i s i n s u f f i c i e n t t o s u p p l y a l l t h e e f f e c t s of a g r e a t w r i t e r f o r a band.-^ Dr. Johnson, who  p r e f e r r e d t o t h i n k of the a c t o r s as  p u p p e t s , d i s l i k e d G a r r i c k ' s a c t i n g when i t seemed more c a r e f u l to please than to i n s t r u c t .  The  exigencies of a  l a r g e and i m p r e s s i o n a b l e t h e a t r e audience  called for  new  assessments o f the p l a y s , tempered by moral c o n s i d e r a t i o n s ; i n t h e c l o s e t an u n s e q u e s t e r e d  audience  had the notes  commentaries o f t h e v a r i o u s e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y  and  commentators  74  t o calm t h e i r s e n s i b i l i t i e s .  Johnson condoned  i n the p u b l i c  s a n c t i o n o f T a t e ' s a l t e r e d v e r s i o n o f L e a r , w h i c h was b o t h more i n s t r u c t i v e and p l e a s a n t t h a n Shakespeare's. A p l a y i n which the w i c k e d p r o s p e r , and t h e v i r t u o u s m i s c a r r y , may d o u b t l e s s be good, because i t i s a j u s t r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f the common events o f human l i f e ; but since a l l reasonable beings n a t u r a l l y love j u s t i c e , I cannot e a s i l y be persuaded, t h a t the o b s e r v a t i o n o f j u s t i c e makes a p l a y worse; o r , t h a t i f o t h e r e x c e l l e n c i e s a r e e q u a l , the a u d i e n c e w i l l not always r i s e b e t t e r p l e a s e d from the f i n a l t r i u m p h of p e r s e c u t e d virtue. I n the p r e s e n t case the p u b l i c k has d e c i d e d . Cord e l i a , from t h e time o f T a t e , has always r e t i r e d w i t h v i c t o r y and f e l i c i t y . And, i f my s e n s a t i o n s might add a n y t h i n g t o t h e g e n e r a l s u f f r a g e , I might r e l a t e , t h a t I was many y e a r s ago so shocked by C o r d e l i a ' s d e a t h , t h a t I know not whether I ever endured t o r e a d a g a i n the l a s t scenes o f the g l a y , t i l l I undertook t o r e v i s e them as an e d i t o r . 5 3 Hunt, and the r o m a n t i c s g e n e r a l l y , c o u l d not s a n c t i o n any m u t i l a t i o n of Shakespeare f o r any purpose; Hunt's  account  o f the " a c t i n g v e r s i o n " o f Lear i n 1808 p r o v i d e s an  interest-  i n g c o n t r a s t of o u t l o o k t o Johnson's: The t r a g e d y of K i n g L e a r was performed on Wednesday l a s t as i t was a l t e r e d by T a t e , who was a l t e r e d by Coleman, who was a l t e r e d by G a r r i c k . Our g r e a t b a r d , whom everybody c a l l s "the d i v i n e and t h e matchl e s s , " i s indeed so i n i m i t a b l e t h a t everybody t h i n k s h i m s e l f capable o f mending him; the d i f f e r e n t e d i t i o n s are sure t o succeed, because the g r e a t e r p a r t i s s t i l l o r i g i n a l ; the c r i t i c grows v a i n , and t h i n k s he has done f o r Shakespeare what Shakespeare e v i d e n t l y does f o r him. I f Tate had been c o n t e n t t o expunge a few a n a c h r o n i s m s , t o omit the f o o l which i s now out of d a t e , and t o send G l o s t e r b e h i n d t h e scenes w h i l s t he i s b l i n d e d , he might have been w e l l excused; but t h a t a mere rhymer, whose d u l n e s s has. become p r o v e r b i a l , s h o u l d c r e a t e whole scenes o f h i s own and adorn them w i t h a few e x t r a c t s from Shakespeare, t h a t he s h o u l d t u r n the c u r r e n t of our poet's f e e l i n g i n t o s c a n t y s p r i n k l i n g s over h i s own b a r r e n f a n c y and t h e n c r y out "How f e r t i l e I am I" i s r e a l l y a v i o l a t i o n o f a man's l i t e r a r y p r o p e r t y . . . .  75  The o r i g i n a l King Lear i s a deep t r a g e d y ; i t i s e n t i r e l y occupied w i t h the d i s t r e s s a r i s i n g from v i o l e n t p a s s i o n s , and w i t h a w f u l l e s s o n s on p a r e n t a l p a r t i a l i t y ; but Tate (amorous s o u l ) must d i v i d e t h i s i n t e r e s t , and a c c o r d i n g l y he has i n t r o d u c e d a l o v e scene i n which the a d m i r a b l e C o r d e l i a , the p a t t e r n o f f i l i a l p i e t y , i s made t o f o r g e t her o l d , housel e s s , d i s t r a c t e d f a t h e r , whom she i s w i l d l y s e e k i n g , and not o n l y t o f i n d time f o r l i s t e n i n g t o a l o v e r , but t o r e t i r e w i t h him i n t o a cave i n o r d e r t o dry her c l o t h e s b e f o r e she goes any f u r t h e r . C o r d e l i a , i n t h i s i n s t a n c e , t h e r e f o r e , becomes a l o v e r who s a c r i f i c e s her f i l i a l t o her amatory t e n d e r n e s s , and i s a d i f f e r e n t c h a r a c t e r from the o r i g i n a l C o r d e l i a , whose whole i m a g i n a t i o n i s f i l l e d w i t h one g r e a t , p a t h e t i c , and d i s i n t e r e s t e d i d e a . Shakespeare made h i s p l a y end u n h a p p i l y , because he knew t h a t r e a l nature r e q u i r e d such a c a t a s t r o p h e ; but Tate (impass i o n e d s o u l ) must have a m a r r i a g e between the l o v e r s at the end. and the o l d f a t h e r must g i v e them h i s blessing.54 Hunt r e f u s e d t o excuse the emender of K i n g Lear on grounds of "poetic j u s t i c e " to C o r d e l i a ; that c o n s i d e r a t i o n t r a n s c e n d e d by j u s t i c e t o Shakespeare. speare was  F i d e l i t y t o Shake-  of f i r s t importance t o Hunt; f i d e l i t y t o  n a t u r a l l y f o l l o w e d , i n t h a t Shakespeare was and dramatic  was  decorum demanded Shakespeare's  life  true to l i f e , catastrophe:  As t o the D o c t o r ' s [Johnson's] o l d argument t h a t p o e t i c j u s t i c e d i d not a l l o w the innocent t o s u f f e r w i t h t h e g u i l t y , I t h i n k i t i s c o m p l e t e l y r e f u t e d , not so much by the common i l l - f o r t u n e of v i r t u e , which he seems t o c o n s i d e r as the o n l y argument a g a i n s t him, but by the e v i d e n t maxim t h a t e r r o r i s never so exemplary i n i t s e f f e c t s as when t h e y i n v o l v e t h e i n n o c e n t w i t h the g u i l t y ; nay, the v e r y death of a v i r t u o u s person seems t o be a s o r t of t r i u m p h over p e r s e c u t i o n ; the calm repose w h i c h we see i n a dead body, and the l i v e l y enjoyment which we f a n c y the s o u l has j u s t f l e d t o p a r t a k e , form a s t r o n g c o n t r a s t w i t h the a n t i c i p a t e d end of t h e g u i l t y , and w i t h t h e i r t u r b u l e n t p l e a s u r e s on e a r t h . I t appears t o me, a l s o , t h a t the o l d age of Lear has been too much s h a t t e r e d by h i s repeated madness t o s u r v i v e a second change of f o r t u n e , and t h a t the e x h a u s t i o n of which he d i e s i n Shakespeare i s i n e v e r y r e s p e c t n a t u r a l and unavoidable.55  76  The  r o m a n t i c s found some i m p r o p r i e t y i n the  stage  r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of O t h e l l o , the " c o a l - b l a c k Moor" - except f o r Hunt, who,  whether because of h i s m o r a l l i b e r a l i t y  h i s Barbados b l o o d , found n o t h i n g s a i d " O t h e l l o must be c o n c e i v e d h i g h and  the mind's eye. has  Coleridge  not as a negro, but as a  c h i v a l r o u s M o o r i s h chief."56  b l a c k O t h e l l o was  one who  indecorous.  or  Lamb thought t h a t a  a l l r i g h t - p r o v i d e d he was  perceived  But upon the stage - " I a p p e a l t o  in  every-  seen O t h e l l o p l a y e d , whether he d i d n o t . . .  sink  O t h e l l o ' s mind i n h i s c o l o u r ; whether he d i d not f i n d somet h i n g exgremely r e v o l t i n g i n the c o u r t s h i p and wedded caresses  of O t h e l l o and Desdemona.  nJ  But Hunt found  noth-  i n g repugnant i n the stage v e r s i o n of O t h e l l o : T h i s c h a r a c t e r of Desdemona i s one o f the l o v e l i e s t ever c o n c e i v e d . She has the h e a r t of a c h i l d , w i t h a l l the f e e l i n g s of a woman. She i s generous, p a i n s t a k i n g , p a t i e n t , p l e a s u r a b l e , unweeting of i l l . Her r u i n comes by her goodness. Some gross commentators have d e l i g h t e d , by the h e l p of I a g o , t o d i s c o v e r t h a t she was more s e n s i t i v e t h a n she need be, or a t l e a s t not l e s s so t h a n the l i v e l i e s t of her sex. Why should she be, i f she was good and warm-hearted? She f e l l i n l o v e w i t h O t h e l l o f o r h i s mind and s o u l f i r s t , and f o r a l l which he had gone t h r o u g h . True sympathy was the ground of her p a s s i o n . I f upon t h i s , a l l the r e s t o f her b e i n g f o l l o w e d , and we are t o suppose t h a t her l o v e was a w o r l d of p l e a s u r e as w e l l as p r i d e t o h e r , i t o n l y shews t h a t i n e v e r y r e s p e c t she was the woman t h a t she ought t o have been - as p e r f e c t i n body as i n h e a r t . Grossness i s when t h e r e i s no h e a r t a t a l l , and no j u s t p a s s i o n . ? 8  I t i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Dr. Johnson t h a t he found  no  f a u l t w i t h the r a c i a l t i n c t u r e o f O t h e l l o ; but w i t h h i s g e n e r a l i z i n g p r o p e n s i t i e s managed t o make a g e n e r a l i s s u e out of O t h e l l o ' s m a r r i a g e t o Desdemona:  moral  77  Act I I I . Scene V. She d i d d e c e i v e her f a t h e r , m a r r y i n g  you.  T h i s and the f o l l o w i n g argument o f Iago ought t o be d e e p l y impressed on e v e r y r e a d e r . D e c e i t and f a l s e h o o d , whatever conveniences t h e y may f o r a time promise or produce, a r e , i n the sum o f l i f e , o b s t a c l e s to happiness. Those who p r o f i t by the c h e a t , d i s t r u s t the d e c e i v e r , and the a c t bv w h i c h k i n d n e s s was sought, puts an end t o confidence. ° 5  Johnson d i d not agree w i t h Maurice Morgann, t h a t the c h a r a c t e r o f F a l s t a f f s u f f e r e d a p e j o r a t i v e change i n the theatre.  "The  l e s s we  see, the b e t t e r we  conceive," s a i d  Morgann, s t a t i n g the case f o r c l o s e t study of Shakespeare. Johnson's s k e t c h , however, d e p i c t s the common stage v e r s i o n of F a l s t a f f : But F a l s t a f f , u n i m i t a t e d , u n i m i t a b l e F a l s t a f f , how s h a l l I d e s c r i b e thee? Thou-compound of sense and v i c e which may be admired but not esteemed, o f v i c e which may be d e s p i s e d but h a r d l y d e t e s t e d . F a l s t a f f i s a c h a r a c t e r loaded w i t h f a u l t s , and w i t h those f a u l t s which n a t u r a l l y produce contempt. He i s a t h i e f and a g l u t t o n , a coward, and a b o a s t e r , always ready t o cheat t h e weak, and prey upon the poor; t o t e r r i f y the t i m o r o u s and i n s u l t the d e f e n s e l e s s . At once obsequious and m a l i g n a n t , he s a t i r i s e s i n t h e i r absence those whom he l i v e s by f l a t t e r i n g . He i s f a m i l i a r w i t h the p r i n c e o n l y as an agent of v i c e , but' of t h i s f a m i l i a r i t y he i s as proud as not o n l y t o be s u p e r c i l i o u s and naughty w i t h common men, but t o t h i n k h i s i n t e r e s t of importance t o t h e Duke of L a n c a s t e r . Yet the man t h u s c o r r u p t , t h u s des p i c a b l e , makes h i m s e l f n e c e s s a r y t o t h e p r i n c e t h a t d e s p i s e s him by the most p l e a s i n g of a l l q u a l i t i e s , p e r p e t u a l g a i e t y , by an u n f a i l i n g power of e x c i t i n g l a u g h t e r , which i s the more f r e e l y i n d u l g e d , as h i s w i t i s not the s p l e n d i d or a m b i t i o u s k i n d , but c o n s i s t s i n easy escapes and s a l l i e s of l e v i t y , which make s p o r t but arouse no envy. I t must be observed t h a t he i s s t a i n e d w i t h no enormous or s a n g u i n a r y c r i m e s , so t h a t h i s l i c e n t i o u s n e s s i s not so o f f e n s i v e t h a t i t may be borne f o r h i s m i r t h . The m o r a l t o be drawn from t h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i s , t h a t no man i s more dangerous t h a n he t h a t w i t h a w i l l t o c o r r u p t , hath the power t o p l e a s e ; and t h a t n e i t h e r w i t nor h o n e s t y ought t o t h i n k themselves s a f e w i t h such a companion, when t h e y see Henry seduced by F a l s t a f f .  78  W h i l e Morgann contended t h a t the common stage  representation  of F a l s t a f f d i d not do j u s t i c e t o h i s c h a r a c t e r , w h i c h  was  not dominated by c o w a r d i c e but something f i n e r , Johnson f e l t t h a t any e l e v a t i o n o f the c h a r a c t e r would have r e i n f o r c e d a moral weakness of t h e p l a y . t o B o s w e l l when he had the man  "Why,  S i r , " he remarked  read Morgann's e s s a y , "we  s h a l l have  come f o r t h a g a i n , and as he has proved F a l s t a f f  be no coward, he may  to  prove Iago t o be a v e r y good c h a r a c t e r . "  On a n o t h e r o c c a s i o n he e x p r e s s e d h i m s e l f even more s t r o n g l y : " I f F a l s t a f f was his  art."  not a coward, Shakespeare knew n o t h i n g  of  6 2  Hunt agreed w i t h the common stage r e p r e s e n t a t i o n  of  F a l s t a f f , a l t h o u g h w i t h l e s s m o r a l i m p l i c a t i o n than Johnson: F a l s t a f f ' s s i z e , which i s thought t o be the g r e a t e s t p a r t of him, i s the l e a s t . I t i s o n l y a gross h e l p t o wards the comprehension of him by the v u l g a r . I t bel o n g s t o him, we a l l o w . He cannot do w i t h o u t i t , seei n g the q u a n t i t y o f sack he d r i n k s ; but h i s r e a l superabundance i s i n h i s a n i m a l s p i r i t s : t h e f e s t i v i t y of h i s s o u l i s h i s most unctuous p l e n i t u d e : he has an enormous c a p a c i t y f o r making the most of l i f e , and s w a l l o w i n g e v e r y s a t i s f a c t i o n t h a t comes i n h i s way: and t h i s i s the r e a s o n why we l i k e him: we cannot be m e l a n c h o l y i n h i s company. Of any grave or o r d i n a r y c o n t r a d i c t i o n t o h i s m i r t h he i s i n c a p a b l e : h i s anger h i s cups of c a l a m i t y , l i k e h i s o t h e r cups, have sugar a t the bottom.... The o r d i n a r y stage c o n c e p t i o n i s the r i g h t one, i f a c t o r s c o u l d but a c t up t o i t . I t i s p r o b a b l y handed down from Shakespeare's own t i m e . I t p u r p o r t s t o r e p r e s e n t a p u f f i n g and a b l o w i n g , swaggering, c h u c k l i n g , l u x u r i o u s , f a t - v o i c e d " t u n of a man", g a t h e r i n g c o r p u l e n c y from e v e r y d i s h and g o b l e t as he r o l l s , f o r e v e r m i r t h f u l and shameless, making a j e s t o f danger i n the a p p r e h e n s i o n , and a n x i o u s l y g e t t i n g out of i t when i t comes, but above a l l t h i n g s w i t t y and f e s t i v e , u n a b l e t o admit care or g i v e i t , making h i s m o r a l e n o r m i t i e s appear as n a t u r a l and j o v i a l as h i s f a t ; i n s h o r t , a p e r p e t u a l f e a s t t o hims e l f and h i s b e h o l d e r s . ^  1  79  A s t r i k i n g t h i n g i n a comparison o f Hunt's account w i t h Johnson's i s the a m o r a l i t y of Hunt's.  He s i m p l y i s  not concerned about t h e m o r a l p u r p o r t o f a h e r o i c F a l s t a f f ; . he o n l y applauds Shakespeare's p o r t r a y a l of what he f e e l s t o be n a t u r a l , j o v i a l , m o r a l e n o r m i t i e s .  W h i l e Johnson  sighs  over the f a u l t s of t h e c h a r a c t e r , and draws a m o r a l from them, Hunt e x u l t s over them, and applauds t h e p o r t r a y a l of them per s e . The d i f f e r e n c e between Johnson and the  Shakespeare  i d o l a t e r s , w i t h r e g a r d to the g e n e r a l d i s s e m i n a t i o n o f Shakespeare's w o r k s , i s t h a t t h e y sometimes thought the people were not f i t f o r them; Johnson sometimes found the works not f i t f o r t h e p e o p l e .  And the d i f f e r e n c e between  Hunt and b o t h i s t h a t Hunt found them p e r f e c t l y f i t f o r one a n o t h e r , and wished them t o be t o g e t h e r as much as possible.  And w i t h perhaps more hope t h a n r e a l i s m , Hunt  l o o k e d t o a s t a t e o f the t h e a t r e i n which t h i s d e s i r a b l e u n i o n might be s t r e n g t h e n e d , and t h e wonders o f Shakespeare brought i n t o g r e a t e r n o t i c e .  IV.  THE OTHER PLAYWRIGHTS  The r o m a n t i c w r i t e r s who were a n t a g o n i z e d by J o h n s o n s 1  u n w o r s h i p f u l approach t o Shakespeare were i n sympathy w i t h his  d e f e n s e o f Shakespeare a g a i n s t the c a n t o f n e o c l a s s i c  criticism.  They b r i d l e d a t t h e tone o f h i s remarks and d i s -  agreed w i t h h i s f a u l t - f i n d i n g .  They f e l t a s o r t of f i l i a l  k i n s h i p w i t h S h a k e s p e a r e - t h e - r o m a n t i c , w h i c h was o f f e n d e d by Johnson s T  pragmatism.  Hunt d i f f e r e d f r o m Johnson i n t h i s b a s i c v i e w p o i n t ; and as p r a c t i c i n g t h e a t r e c r i t i c , he d i f f e r e d from b o t h h i s cont e m p o r a r i e s and Johnson. his.  T h e i r concerns were n o t p r i m a r i l y  The r o m a n t i c s were concerned w i t h t h e b e s t o f a l l  pos-  s i b l e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s o f Shakespeare - those most t r u e t o Shakespeare; Johnson was concerned w i t h t h o s e most s a l u t a r y to  the audience.  Hunt was p r i m a r i l y concerned w i t h t h e b e s t  p o s s i b l e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of Shakespeare  i n the t h e a t r e , w i t h  Shakespeare and t h e audience e q u a l l y i n v i e w . Johnson*s c r i t i c i s m of t h e o t h e r d r a m a t i s t s  1  works was  s i m i l a r l y n o t much o r i e n t e d t o t h e t h e a t r e , and Hunt's was c o l o u r e d somewhat by i m p r e s s i o n s t h a t came t o him a c r o s s the footlights. tists,  P r o c e e d i n g from Shakespeare t o t h e o t h e r drama-  t h e p r e s e n t c h a p t e r w i l l attempt t o d i s c o v e r what  Johnson and Hunt sought, and what t h e y found, i n t h e works o f the  other playwrights.  81  Johnson p r e f e r r e d Shakespeare*s p r a c t i c e t o t h e r u l e s and t h e u n i t i e s ; p r e f e r r e d h i s " j u s t r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s o f g e n e r a l n a t u r e , " which f i l l e d the p l a y s w i t h " p r a c t i c a l axioms" and "domestick wisdom," t o t h o s e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of  o t h e r a u t h o r s , " p e o p l e d by such c h a r a c t e r s as were never  seen, c o n v e r s i n g i n a language t h a t was never heard, upon t o p i c k s w h i c h w i l l never a r i s e i n the commerce of mankind." Johnson has much t o say o f " o t h e r a u t h o u r s " i n t h e " P r e f a c e " t o Shake speare.  "Other d r a m a t i s t s can only g a i n  a t t e n t i o n by h y p e r b o l i c a l or a g g r a v a t e d c h a r a c t e r s , by f a b u l o u s and unexampled e x c e l l e n c e o r d e p r a v i t y , as t h e w r i t e r s of barbarous romances i n v i g o r a t e d the r e a d e r by a g i a n t and a dwarf.  Other w r i t e r s d i s g u i s e t h e most n a t u r a l p a s s i o n s  and most f r e q u e n t i n c i d e n t s ; so t h a t he who c o n t e m p l a t e s them i n the book w i l l not know them i n t h e w o r l d .  n l  Shakespeare, f o r a l l h i s e x c e l l e n c i e s , has f a u l t s , and Johnson mentions them " w i t h o u t e n v i o u s m a l i g n i t y o r s u p e r s t i t i o u s veneration."  These a r e t h e f a u l t s t r a n s c e n d e d by a  Shakespeare, but w h i c h doomed l e s s e r a u t h o r s t o e a r l y  obscurity  Johnson's anathema i n c l u d e d : w r i t i n g w i t h o u t moral purpose; loose formation of p l o t s ; v i o l a t i o n s of c h r o n o l o g y ; licentiousness; tumid e f f u s i o n s , p r o l i x n a r r a t i v e , c o l d d e c l a m a t i o n ; f a i l u r e t o develop "unwieldy sentiments" f u l l y ;  82  n e g l e c t o f e q u a l i t y o f words t o t h i n g s ; and contemplate e q u i v o c a t i o n s ,  quibbles.  Johnson c o u l d make a l l o w a n c e s  for historical factors,  beyond t h e c o n t r o l of the p l a y w r i g h t :  f o r the b a r b a r o u s  c o n d i t i o n o f t h e n a t i o n i n Shakespeare's t i m e , f o r t h e f a s h i o n a b l e - l i c e n t i o u s n e s s i n Dryden's; b u t they d i d n o t j u s t i f y i m m o r a l i t y , " f o r i t i s always a w r i t e r ' s duty t o make the w o r l d b e t t e r , and j u s t i c e i s a v i r t u e independent on time or p l a c e . " The  m o r a l i t y t h a t was Johnson's primary  g e n e r a l one, w i t h r e l i g i o u s o v e r t o n e s ,  concern was a  informed  by h i s r e a d -  i n g o f t h e s t o i c w r i t e r s and A n g l i c a n d i v i n e s , and o f Bacon, Locke, and B u t l e r .  I t assumed t h e " j u s t d i s t r i b u t i o n o f  good and e v i l " and " d i s a p p r o b a t i o n  of t h e w i c k e d " of t h e  social contract. P r o v i d i n g t h e r e was a s u f f i c i e n t compensatory  greatness  i n t h e p l a y w r i g h t , Johnson c o u l d excuse some i n a t t e n t i o n t o t h i s important  f a c t o r of m o r a l i t y .  He even managed t o t o l e r -  ate Dryden's p o r t r a y a l of Almanzor i n t h e Conquest of Granada: A l l t h e rays o f romantick heat, whether amorous o r w a r l i k e , glow i n Almanzor by a kind o f c o n c e n t r a t i o n . He i s above a l l l a w s ; he i s exempt from a l l r e s t r a i n t s ; he r a n g e s t h e w o r l d a t w i l l , and governs wherever he a p p e a r s . He f i g h t s w i t h o u t e n q u i r i n g t h e cause, and l o v e s i n s p i t e of t h e o b l i g a t i o n s o f j u s t i c e , of r e j e c t i o n by h i s m i s t r e s s , and o f p r o h i b i t i o n from t h e dead. l e t t h e scenes a r e , f o r t h e most p a r t , d e l i g h t f u l ; they e x h i b i t a k i n d of i l l u s t r i o u s d e p r a v i t y , and m a j e s t i c k a l madness, s u c h a s , i f i t i s sometimes d e s . p i s e d , i s o f t e n r e v e r e n c e d , and i n w h i c h the r i d i c u lous i s mingled w i t h the a s t o n i s h i n g . 2  83  Johnson, f o r whom "the d e l i g h t of t r a g e d y proceeds f r o m consciousness  of f i c t i o n , " 3  d e l i g h t f u l , because i t was When Johnson was a good way  was  able t o f i n d t h i s  such a p a l p a b l e  our  tragedy  fiction.  confronted w i t h a p l a y which looked i n  t o o u t l i v e i t s c e n t u r y , " t h e term commonly f i x e d  as t h e t e s t o f l i t e r a r y m e r i t , " he c o u l d r e f e r t o the l i c k , " the a u t h o r s , a f t e r a l l , o f t h e p l a y ' s s u r v i v a l . V e n i c e P r e s e r v e d he s a i d , "The  "pubOf  p u b l i c k seems t o judge r i g h t l y  of t h i s p l a y , t h a t i t i s the work of a man  not a t t e n t i v e t o  decency, nor z e a l o u s f o r v i r t u e ; but o f one who  conceived  f o r c i b l y , and drew o r i g i n a l l y , by c o n s u l t i n g n a t u r e i n h i s breast."^  There was  own  always an a p p e a l open from c r i t i c i s m t o  n a t u r e , and on t h e s t r e n g t h of t h i s a p p e a l , Johnson c o u l d  ex-  cuse A d d i s o n ' s t r a g e d y Gato, whose a u t h o r , i n a d d i t i o n , had  the  recommendation of h a v i n g " p u r i f i e d i n t e l l e c t u a l p l e a s u r e ,  separ-  a t e d m i r t h from i n d e c e n c y ,  n  and wjt from l i c e n t i o u s n e s s " ^ i  his  e s s a y s , and redeemed humanity from t h e l i c e n t i o u s n e s s of t h e Restoration wits.  S u r e l y such a w r i t e r c o u l d be excused t h e  moral i m p r o p r i e t y of t h e p l o t o f Cato, the p l a y w h i c h Johnson c a l l e d "unquestionably genius."  6  the n o b l e s t p r o d u c t i o n o f A d d i s o n ' s  H i s defense of A d d i s o n  i s unique i n Johnson's  works: Whatever p l e a s u r e t h e r e may be i n s e e i n g c r i m e s puni s h e d and v i r t u e rewarded, y e t , s i n c e wickedness o f t e n p r o s p e r s i n r e a l l i f e , t h e poet i s c e r t a i n l y at l i b e r t y t o g i v e i t p r o s p e r i t y on t h e s t a g e . For i f p o e t r y i s an i m i t a t i o n of l i f e , how are i t s laws b r o k e n by e x h i b i t i n g the w o r l d i n i t s t r u e form?  The stage may sometimes g r a t i f y our w i s h e s ; but i f i t be t r u l y t h e " m i r r o u r of l i f e " i t ought t o shew us sometimes what we a r e t o e x p e c t . ' Thus Johnson managed t o j u s t i f y the endurance o f t h e d u r a b l e works, o f t e n i n the f a c e o f one or more o f t h e " f a u l t s " p r e v i o u s l y mentioned. i n g s w i t h Shakespeare,  The r o m a n t i c s , i n t h e i r d e a l -  had no such comprehensive  list  of  f a u l t s as Johnson, t o a p p l y t o t h e i r f a v o r i t e , a l t h o u g h they had enumerations  enough of h i s v i r t u e s , a g a i n s t w h i c h the  m e r i t s of o t h e r w r i t e r s might be measured.  If  Shakespeare  and the o t h e r g r e a t ones had f a u l t s , t h e y were t o be  excused  by making t h e same s o r t of a l l o w a n c e s Dr. Johnson made. Shakespeare's i t , was  l i c e n t i o u s n e s s , o r i n d e l i c a c y , as Hunt c a l l e d  i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l : "Grossnesses may  be a t t r i b u t e d i n  p a r t t o the age w h i c h a l l o w s them.... Our g r e a t b a r d , as he was the g r e a t e s t , so he was  one of the most d e l i c a t e of a l l  the d r a m a t i c w r i t e r s of his t i m e .  The i n s t i n c t i v e sweetness  and g r a c e f u l n e s s of h i s n a t u r e threw o f f i m p u r i t i e s w h i c h  Ben  Jonson, and M a s s i n g e r , and even Beaumont and F l e t c h e r a l l o w e d themselves a b s o l u t e l y t o wallow  i n ; and i t i s o b s e r v a b l e ,  t h a t what l i c e n s e he a l l o w e d h i m s e l f , i s almost i n v a r i a b l y  on  the s i d e o f p l e a s u r a b l e a s s o c i a t i o n s , and not of d e g r a d i n g ones. "^ The d e g r a d i n g l i c e n t i o u s n e s s of a M a s s i n g e r , o r a F a r q u h a r , was  i n a p p r o p r i a t e t o the s t a n d a r d s o f decorum t h a t p r e v a i l e d  i n the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y . for  i n s t a n c e , was  Farquhar's R e c r u i t i n g O f f i c e r ,  " a l t o g e t h e r t o o broad f o r t h e p r e s e n t s t a t e  85  of manners and t a s t e , the v i c e s of w h i c h l e a n towards t h e o  s o r d i d and i t should  h y p o c r i t i c a l , r a t h e r t h a n the d e b a u c h e d . "  appear from the above t h a t Hunt thought o f the  v i c e s of humanity as a s h i f t i n g , n o n e r a d i c a b l e i t must be and  if  7  s t a t e d t h a t he was  always h o p e f u l  even thought he c o u l d d e t e c t  time i n the t h e a t r e a u d i e n c e s .  phenomenon, of improvement,  improvement f r o m time t o His own  p r a c t i c e was c e r t a i n l y  t o f o s t e r a b e t t e r s t a t e of t h i n g s .  " I f he had not t a k e n a t  i t s word a w o r l d w h i c h he d e s p i s e d , "  he s a i d o f F a r q u h a r ,  "and  grown h o p e l e s s as w e l l as h i s i n f e r i o r s , h i s l o v e  of  sympathy, w h i c h he degraded i n h i s dramas i n t o mere d i s s i p a t i o n , might have opened h i s eyes t o d i s c o v e r t h e goodness* i n t h i n g s w h i c h he found e v i l , and Hunt was  'soul of  left  so."^  i n c l i n e d t o l o o k f o r the " s o u l of goodness" i n  many t h i n g s where Johnson, i n the name of m o r a l i t y , would have found i t w a n t i n g .  Even h i s c o l l e a g u e s were sometimes  hard put t o defend some of Hunt's n o t i o n s e q u a l i t y of the  sexes.*  The  c o n c e r n i n g the  m o r a l i t y w h i c h Hunt saw  f i t to  promote upon the s t a g e d i f f e r e d from t h a t of Johnson. informed by t h e r e v o l u t i o n a r y s p i r i t i n the a i r , by a t i o n s of Godwin's P o l i t i c a l  Justice.  It  was  consider-  I t a n t i c i p a t e d the  end  Lamb wrote i n the London Magazine, Oct. 1823: "L.H. i s u n f o r t u n a t e i n h o l d i n g some l o o s e and not v e r y d e f i n i t e s p e c u l a t i o n s ( f o r at t i m e s I t h i n k he h a r d l y knows w h i t h e r h i s premises would c a r r y him) on marriage - the t e n e t s , 1 b e l i e v e , of t h e P o l i t i c a l J u s t i c e , c a r r i e d a l i t t l e f u r t h e r . For a n y t h i n g I c o u l d d i s c o v e r i n h i s p r a c t i c e , they have r e f e r e n c e , l i k e t h o s e , t o some f u t u r e p o s s i b l e c o n d i t i o n of s o c i e t y , and not t o the p r e s e n t t i m e s . "  86  o f s u p e r s t i t i o n , a g r e a t e r e q u a l i t y between man between man  and woman, and  and man,  and  a s o c i e t y when the rewards of  U n i v e r s a l i s m would be more commensurate w i t h i t s aims. was  i n some ways a v i s i o n a r y m o r a l i t y , f o r a whole age  " V i c t o r i a n m o r a l i t y " was f i f t y years.  The  t h e a t r e , t o o , was  l i t e r a r y fashion. o f f and  of  t o put t h e c l o c k back f o r a n o t h e r a conservative  t i o n , shot t h r o u g h w i t h t r a d i t i o n , and  way  It  The age  institu-  always b e h i n d  of experimental  drama was  a long  Hunt h i m s e l f r e a l i z e d t h a t the t h e a t r e was  f r o m b e i n g the i d e a l p l a c e f o r avant-garde i d e a s , as shows i n h i s r e v i e w  of B a r r y C o r n w a l l ' s  far he  Mirandola:  We know not what t o say always of h i s m o r a l i t y ; but t h i s perhaps i s owing t o some l a w l e s s n o t i o n s of our own; and does him no i n j u r y w i t h the common o p i n i o n s on such p o i n t s . The stage i s no easy p l a c e f o r p r o m u l g a t i n g o t h e r o p i n i o n s ; even i f he agreed w i t h us, w h i c h he does n o t ; so h i s women a r e the same i l l - u s e d as w e l l as g e n t l e c r e a t u r e s as f o r m e r l y , o n l y he makes t h e i r t e n d e r n e s s and p a t i e n c e so l o v e l y t h a t we f a l l i n f o r t h e moment w i t h what we t h i n k the m i s t a k e n sent i m e n t s of s o c i e t y , and b l i n k the q u e s t i o n of improvement f o r t h e sake of i n d u l g i n g o u r s e l v e s i n l o r d l y pity.. „ We would make as many t h i n g s innocent i n the w o r l d as we c o u l d ; but i n the meantime, we abhor the d e c e i t and misery-making of s e d u c t i o n . We abhor i t by the same p r i n c i p l e s , o l d or new, t h a t we abhor i n j u s t i c e and f o u l 'play of a l l s o r t s , and the s a c r i f i c e of any one person's r i g h t s , man or woman, to a n o t h e r . H Hunt b e l i e v e d i n , and  was  provement of the human l o t . i n the p r o g r e s s  r a t h e r j e a l o u s f o r , the  "We  of the t i m e s , God  have f a i t h and  im-  hope i n f i n i t e  knows," he once wrote;  "but meanwhile t h e h o r r i b l e want of c h a r i t y i n t h o s e  who  ought t o o v e r f l o w w i t h i t out of the excess of t h e i r l u c k ,  $7  shows a want of i m a g i n a t i o n and f r i g h t f u l to think o f . "  1 2  common f o r e s i g h t t r u l y -  He c o u l d excuse the R e s t o r a t i o n  p o e t s t h e i r l a c k of sympathy w i t h a w o r l d they  despised;  but i n the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y a w r i t e r ' s c a l l o u s n e s s was so e x c u s a b l e .  Theodore Hook was  u n s u i t a b l e f o r the  not  one w r i t e r whom Hunt thought  age:  There i s a v e i n of something i n t h i s p l a y jJThe Diamond R i n g ] from w h i c h we i n s t i n c t i v e l y r e c o i l . We laughed h e a r t i l y a t some of the t h i n g s i n i t , and admired the p e r f o r m e r s ; but t o say n o t h i n g of an o c c a s i o n a l ' c o a r s e n e s s o f the l o w e s t k i n d , we c o u l d not see two such t h i n g s brought t o g e t h e r as a vagabond w i t h o u t one p a r t i c l e of f i l i a l f e e l i n g , and an o l d man c o n t i n u a l l y g r o a n i n g f o r disappointment i n the b i t t e r n e s s o f h i s h e a r t , w i t h o u t d i s l i k i n g the t a s t e t h a t c o u l d s t r i k e i t s d r o l l e r i e s out of such a c o n t r a s t . The s i t u a t i o n , t o o , of the moral (which i t a f f e c t s to be) of the o l d husband, the w i f e , and the g a l l a n t , i s managed i n the most b u n g l i n g and o f f e n s i v e manner... We should suspect some i r o n y , were not the r e s t of t h e sentiment i n a v e r y commonplace s t y l e . The e f f e c t seems i n t e n d e d f o r s e r i o u s , and t h e r e f o r e we are bound t o t h i n k the a u t h o r s e r i o u s i n i n t e n d i n g i t , o r he i s s t i l l l e s s exc u s a b l e than we supposed him. 3 x  Hook, whose p l a y s smacked of R e s t o r a t i o n r a k i s h n e s s , seems t o have been an anachronism i n an age  i n which perfec-  t i b i l i t y appeared t o many t o be a r e a l i z a b l e p r o s p e c t . a n o t h e r account of him, Hunt s a y s : Sentiment, i n a c e r t a i n p o i n t of v i e w , i s not t o be l o o k e d f o r i n a w r i t e r of f a r c e s ; but t h e t o t a l absence of i t i s apt t o b e t r a y i t s e l f i n a way t h a t d e p r i v e s h i s humorous v e i n o f i t s p l e a s a n t e s t powers, by showing i t d e s t i t u t e of c o r d i a l i t y . He i s q u i c k ; he i s f e r t i l e ; he has a r e a l n o t i o n o f p l e a s a n t r y , as f a r as mere p l e a s a n t r y goes, and o f t e n makes us laugh h e a r t i l y , but t h e r e i s something we miss a f t e r a l l . N o t h i n g seems done t o e n l i s t merriment on the s i d e of r e a l good humour or the  In  88  a f f e c t i o n s . P i e c e a f t e r p i e c e comes o u t , and l a u g h t e r i s t o be r a i s e d at the expense of f a t h e r s , l o v e r s , and women. At l a s t he e n t e r s upon the s u b j e c t of Cockneys, and i n t h i s "Refuge f o r t h e D e s t i t u t e of W i t " he seems f a i r l y t o be g e t t i n g d e s p e r a t e and p o v e r t y s t r i c k e n .14 W i t h h i s emphasis on c o r d i a l i t y , and h i s p r o f e s s e d preference  f o r comic r a t h e r than t r a g i c drama, Hunt  s i o n a l l y had t o answer charges t h a t he d i s c o u r a g e d  occathe r e -  p r e s e n t a t i o n of r e a l i s t i c , p a i n f u l i s s u e s on t h e s t a g e s , and avoided  the e x h i b i t i o n of "the world  i n i t s t r u e form."  such a charge he r e p l i e d i n t h e f o l l o w i n g statement: As f o r t h e i n c l i n a t i o n , w i t h w h i c h t h e w r i t e r charges us, f o r making l i t e r a t u r e and drama a s e r i e s of f a i r y - t a l e s , and f o r s h r i n k i n g from p o w e r f u l and wholesome d e l i n e a t i o n s o f oppressed v i r t u e and t r i u m p h a n t v i c e , we must d i s c l a i m i t . We have o f t e n e x p r e s s l y s a i d t h a t we had no q u a r r e l w i t h any w r i t i n g s , however p a i n f u l , w h i c h r e a l l y tend t o a s a l u t a r y e f f e c t , and t o the advancement of human good; though we have o f t e n s a i d a l s o , p e r haps o f t e n e r ( f o r we do c o n f e s s some tendency t o be p l e a s u r a b l e ) , t h a t we l i k e t o see f a i r p l a y between men's c h e e r f u l n e s s and t h e i r s p l e e n ; o t h e r w i s e , from an e x c e s s o f the l a t t e r , t h e y a r e apt, t o n e u t r a l i z e the wholesomeness o f i t , and g i v e up t h e i r e f f o r t s i n d e s p a i r . . . . We c o n f e s s , t h a t we t h i n k t h e w o r l d have had melancholy books, more t h a n enough; and t h a t what mankind c h i e f l y want i s a good and hopef u l o p i n i o n of one a n o t h e r ; and f i n a l l y , t h a t t h e most u n c e a s i n g and e f f e c t i v e r e f o r m e r s have not been among t h o s e who have t a k e n the l e a s t c h e e r f u l means of effecting their object. 1 5  Hunt c o n f i r m s t h i s v i e w i n a n o t h e r a r t i c l e : I n the m i n g l e d y a r n of w h i c h " t h e web of our l i f e " i s composed, we can be content t h a t t h e l i g h t e r c o l o u r s s h o u l d predominate, a t l e a s t i n p l a c e s des i g n e d f o r r e c r e a t i o n ; and i f i t be thought t h a t t h e r e a r e not enough of t h e d a r k e r i n the a c t u a l  To  39  s t o r i e s of our e x i s t e n c e s , l e t the s t a g e supply the d e f i c i e n c y , but l e t the a r t i s t s be men of a higher order of p o e t r y and g e n i u s , who a l o n e know how t o temper and s o f t e n t h e m . " 1  There i s a note i n the above r e m i n i s c e n t  of Johnson,  c o u l d excuse a p l a y i n w h i c h "the wicked p r o s p e r , v i r t u o u s m i s c a r r y " when i t was writer,  such as he c o n s i d e r e d  who  and  t h e product o f a v e r y  the great  A d d i s o n or Shakespeare t o  be,  because " i t i s a j u s t r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of t h e common e v e n t s of human l i f e . " The  run of the p l a y w r i g h t s , i n Hunt's time and  Johnson's, were not men g e n i u s , who  of a h i g h e r order o f p o e t r y  were f i t t e d t o temper and  s i d e of a c t u a l i t y .  s o f t e n the  in and  darker  P a r t i c u l a r l y i n Hunt's t i m e , when many  g r e a t l i t e r a r y f i g u r e s found t h e i r c a l l t o w r i t e f o r the c l o s e t , r a t h e r t h a n the t h e a t r e , a l a c k o f "good t a s t e " apparent i n the t h e a t r i c a l o f f e r i n g s .  was  This d e f i c i e n c y f i n -  a l l y d r o v e Hunt t o condone the i m m o r a l i t i e s of the comic p l a y s of the R e s t o r a t i o n , whose w r i t e r s had the  saving  grace of g e n i u s , and t h e j u s t i f i c a t i o n of their l i c e n t i o u s age. Hunt's l a t e s t p r a c t i c e was i n f l u e n c e s upon d r a m a t i s t s  t o emphasize the  such as those of the  historical Restoration,  and t o j u s t i f y the s h o r t c o m i n g s of h i s c o n t e m p o r a r i e s by reference to t h e i r m i l i e u . "other-woddly" determination  Combined w i t h h i s i n c r e a s i n g l y t o l o o k f o r t h e " s o u l of good-  n e s s " i n t h i n g s , t h i s produced such t h i n g s as h i s  90  d e n u n c i a t i o n of Jeremy C o l l i e r , who had denounced t h e comic poets of t h e R e s t o r a t i o n : C o l l i e r assumed t h a t t h e w r i t e r s were so many knaves and f i e n d s , who had p o s i t i v e l y m a l i g n a n t i n t e n t i o n s ; and i n so d o i n g he was n o t aware t h a t he d i s p l a y e d a v i c e i n h i s own s p i r i t , w h i c h i f they had thought as i l l of as he d i d of t h e i r l i c e n s e , would have w a r r a n t e d them i n denouncing him as t h e f a r g r e a t e r d e v i l of t h e two. F o r t o b e l i e v e i n such u n m i t i g a t e d wickedness a t a l l , i s i t s e l f t h e w o r s t p a r t o f t h e r e s u l t of v i c e ; namely a moral m e l a n c h o l y , and an a t t r i b u t i o n t o t h e C r e a t o r o f h a v i n g made what he never d i d . 17 Hunt excused t h e c u r r e n t b a t c h o f p l a y w r i g h t s from a t t e m p t i n g t o promote upon t h e stage any of h i s advanced i d e a s of m o r a l i t y .  The stage was no easy p l a c e f o r promul-  g a t i n g uncommon o p i n i o n s ; Hunt would have commended Ibsen's a t t e m p t s , w h i c h much l a t e r s t i l l found d i f f i c u l t y l a n d and elsewhere i n b e i n g a c c e p t e d .  i n Eng-  I n t h e meantime,  he was a v e r s e t o " i n j u s t i c e and f o u l p l a y o f a l l s o r t s " ; and he f e l t t h a t " p l e a s a n t p l a y s " and good humour would do the ills  most " i n p l a c e s of r e c r e a t i o n " t o r e c t i f y some o f t h e of a c t u a l l i f e .  When he encountered a p l a y w r i g h t who  had t h e a r t , " i f not o f w r i t i n g a good comedy, o f s p i n n i n g out a p l e a s a n t y a r n of some s o r t " he was s a t i s f i e d . t h e s e t h i n g s we a r e g r a t e f u l i n hard t i m e s . " ° the  "For  The i d e a o f  stage compensating f o r any d e f i c i e n c y o f dark o r l i g h t  c o l o u r s " i n t h e a c t u a l s t o r i e s o f our e x i s t e n c e s " i s a new one w i t h Hunt, founded, s e e m i n g l y , upon i d e a l r a t h e r than real practice.  The " d e a r t h o f d r a m a t i c c h a r a c t e r " of Hunt's  own age o n l y brought a d e a r t h o f new drama; and t h e tendency  91  of an age had g e n e r a l l y been t o r e v e a l i t s e l f , r a t h e r t h a n compensate f o r i t s e l f ,  i n i t s drama.  W i t h t h e coming o f  Ibsen and t h e r e a l i s t i c p l a y w r i g h t s i n t h e age o f V i c t o r i a n m o r a l i t y , d r a m a t i s t s began t o p o r t r a y t h e a l t e r - e g o of an age's p e r s o n a l i t y :  b u t t h a t i s t h e s u b j e c t of another  thesis. Four o f t h e f a u l t s which Johnson found i n Shakespeare were those of language; t h e o t h e r t h r e e were exonerated by the b a r b a r i t y of the t i m e s , and t h e e x i g e n c i e s of w r i t i n g for  the playhouse.  But Shakespeare p r o v i d e d a t t h e same time  a c r i t e r i o n o f d r a m a t i c d i a l o g u e f o r Johnson, whose account i n t h e " P r e f a c e " t o Shakespeare p r o v i d e s g e n e r a l a d v i c e f o r the p l a y w r i g h t s o f any age: I f t h e r e be, what I b e l i e v e t h e r e i s , i n every n a t i o n , a s t i l e w h i c h never becomes o b s o l e t e , a c e r t a i n mode o f phraseology so consonant and cong e n i a l t o t h e analogy and p r i n c i p l e s o f i t s r e s p e c t i v e language as t o remain s e t t l e d and u n a l t e r e d ; t h i s t i l e i s p r o b a b l y to be sought i n t h e common i n t e r c o u r s e of l i f e , among those who speak o n l y t o be understood, w i t h o u t a m b i t i o n o r e l e g a n c e . The p o l i t e a r e always c a t c h i n g modish i n n o v a t i o n s , and the l e a r n e d d e p a r t from e s t a b l i s h e d forms o f speech, i n t h e hope o f f i n d i n g o r making b e t t e r ; those who w i s h f o r d i s t i n c t i o n f o r s a k e t h e v u l g a r , when t h e v u l g a r i s r i g h t ; but t h e r e i s a c o n v e r s a t i o n above g r o s s n e s s and below r e f i n e m e n t , where p r o p r i e t y r e s i d e s , and where t h i s poet seems t o have gathered h i s comick d i a l o g u e . He... among h i s o t h e r e x c e l l e n c i e s d e s e r v e s t o be s t u d i e d as one o f t h e o r i g i n a l masters o f t h e l a n g u a g e . 1 9  In  Johnson's v i e w , t h e n , t h e most d e s i r a b l e p r a c t i c e f o r  "comick" w r i t i n g was a mean between g r o s s n e s s and r e f i n e m e n t ,  92  t h e common c o n v e r s a t i o n  of l i f e , w h i c h i s l e a s t l i k e l y  of any t o be a l t e r e d by time.  The o c c a s i o n a l  aberrations  of Shakespeare from t h i s p r a c t i c e d i d n o t d e t r a c t from the " n a t u r a l " q u a l i t i e s o f h i s comic c h a r a c t e r s , or from h i s e x c e l l e n c i e s as a p o r t r a y e r o f them; a s " t h e e a r t h upon t h e whole i s s p h e r i c a l , though i t s s u r f a c e i s v a r i e d w i t h p r o 20 t r u b e r a n c e s and c a v i t i e s . " I t i s more d i f f i c u l t t o e s t a b l i s h Johnson's i d e a l for tragic writing.  criteria  "The e f f u s i o n s o f p a s s i o n " i n Shakespeare  "which e x i g e n c e f o r c e s out a r e f o r t h e most p a r t s t r i k i n g and e n e r g e t i c k " ; y e t "whenever  he s o l i c i t s h i s i n v e n t i o n or  s t r a i n s h i s f a c u l t i e s , t h e o f f s p r i n g o f h i s t h r o e s i s tumour, meanness, t e d i o u s n e s s ,  and o b s c u r i t y . "  The i m p l i c a t i o n i s  t h a t Shakespeare's b e s t d i a l o g u e , whether comic or t r a g i c , was t h a t w h i c h was c o l l o q u i a l , extemporaneous, under the p r e s s u r e  of e x i g e n c i e s .  or w r i t t e n  In the n a r r a t i v e p a r t s ,  w h i c h a r e " n a t u r a l l y t e d i o u s , " which he "endeavoured t o recommend... by d i g n i t y and s p l e n d o u r , "  and i n t h e d e c l a m a t o r y  speeches, i n w h i c h he t r i e d t o show how much h i s s t o r e s of knowledge c o u l d s u p p l y ,  i n s t e a d of i n q u i r i n g what the  occasion  demanded, he commonly was t h e i n f e r i o r of " o t h e r t r a g i c k writers." Of the o t h e r t r a g i c w r i t e r s , A d d i s o n p r o v i d e d ,  i n Cato,  "the b e s t model of t r a g e d y we had," a c c o r d i n g t o J o h n s o n .  2 1  Yet, he used t o say, " o f a l l t h i n g s , the most r i d i c u l o u s would be, t o see a g i r l c r y a t t h e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of  it."  2 2  93  I t was one o f the e x c e l l e n c i e s of t h e p l a y t h a t "Cato i s a b e i n g above our s o l i c i t u d e , a man o f whom t h e gods t a k e  care,  and whom we l e a v e t o t h e i r care w i t h h e e d l e s s i n d i f f e r e n c e . " 3 2  Such a man was a f i t s u b j e c t f o r c l a s s i c a l t r a g e d y , and t h e language of Cato was s i m i l a r l y a p p o s i t e : v a t e d , but " s t r i k i n g and e n e r g e t i c k . "  considerably e l e -  Such a c r i t e r i o n of  language seems t o have p r e v a i l e d i n Johnson's s e l e c t i o n o f excellent."imperial  tragedy."  Johnson's o b j e c t i o n s t o Dryden's A l l F o r Love were more moral than l i n g u i s t i c .  F o r an e x o r b i t a n c y o f l o v e i n a p l a y ,  "probability i s violated, l i f e guage i s d e p r a v e d . " 2 z t -  i s misrepresented,  But Dryden's r e f i n e m e n t  and l a n -  of t h e language  compensated f o r h i s i n c l i n a t i o n t o f o l l o w p r e v a i l i n g modes of t h o u g h t .  "Words t o o f a m i l i a r o r t o o remote d e f e a t t h e  purpose of t h e poet," and Dryden's was one o f a few minds "the f a v o r i t e s o f n a t u r e " - w h i c h c o u l d d i s c r i m i n a t e "those happy c o m b i n a t i o n s  o f words w h i c h d i s t i n g u i s h p o e t r y from  prose." Johnson's own p r a c t i c e i n h i s w r i t i n g of I r e n e was t o combine a h i g h t r a g i c theme w i t h an e l e v a t e d d i c t i o n - t h e p r a c t i c e of Addison i n Cato.  Verse was t h e proper v e h i c l e  f o r such a t r a g e d y , but b l a n k v e r s e , f o r rhyming v e r s e was, i n Johnson's o p i n i o n , an unnecessary c o n c e s s i o n t o p u b l i c pleasure.  Dryden's rhymihg p l a y s , Johnson s t a t e d , "were  w r i t t e n i n compliance w i t h t h e o p i n i o n o f C h a r l e s I I , who  94  formed h i s t a s t e by t h e French t h e a t r e ; and Dryden, w r o t e , and made no d i f f i c u l t y only t o p l e a s e , and who  who  of d e c l a r i n g t h a t he wrote  perhaps knew t h a t by h i s d e x t e r i t y  o f v e r s i f i c a t i o n he was more l i k e l y t o e x c e l o t h e r s i n rhyme than w i t h o u t preference.  i t , v e r y r e a d i l y adopted h i s master's  He t h e r e f o r e made rhyming t r a g e d i e s u n t i l ,  the prevalence  of m a n i f e s t p r o p r i e t y , he seems t o have  grown ashamed of making them any l o n g e r . " ° t h a t of M i l t o n ' s P a r a d i s e L o s t , was  Blank  g r e a t e r p a r t t h a n the s e n s u a l  verse,  a p p r o p r i a t e t o Johnson's  concept of h i g h t r a g e d y , i n w h i c h t h e i n t e l l e c t  The  played a  passions.  more n a t u r a l t o n e s , a p p r o a c h i n g  t h o s e o f comedy,  c o u l d be a d m i t t e d t o domestic t r a g e d y , such as Otway's whose "whole power i s upon t h e a f f e c t i o n s " ; w h i l e i t was w r i t t e n w i t h much "elegance  not be m i s s e d . "  and  2 7  And  Orphan, not  of e x p r e s s i o n , " y e t " i f the  h e a r t be i n t e r e s t e d , many o t h e r b e a u t i e s may  another  by  be m i s s i n g , y e t  the d i c t i o n of Rowe's F a i r P e n i t e n t ,  "sentimental tragedy,"  " i s e x q u i s i t e l y harmonious,  s o f t or s p r i g h t l y as the o c c a s i o n demands."  " I t i s one  o f t h e most p l e a s i n g t r a g e d i e s on the s t a g e , where i t s t i l l keeps i t s t u r n s o f a p p e a r i n g , and p r o b a b l y w i l l long c o n t i n u e to  keep them, f o r t h e r e i s s c a r c e l y any work of any poet a t  once so i n t e r e s t i n g by t h e f a b l e , and so d e l i g h t f u l by language." ^ 2  the  95 The w r i t e r s of t h e s e i n f o r m a l t r a g e d i e s might be not a f r a i d t o p l e a s e , and y e t not o f f e n d p r o p r i e t y .  But  few c o u l d a t t a i n t o the s t a t u r e of a Dryden, a l t h o u g h  they  c o u l d keep Johnson's c o u n s e l i n mind: That book i s good i n v a i n w h i c h t h e r e a d e r throws away. He o n l y i s the master, who keeps the mind i n p l e a s i n g c a p t i v i t y ; whose pages are perused w i t h e a g e r n e s s , and i n hope of new p l e a s u r e are perused a g a i n ; and whose c o n c l u s i o n i s p e r c e i v e d w i t h an eye o f sorrow, such as the t r a v e l l e r c a s t s upon d e p a r t i n g day. By h i s p r o p o r t i o n of t h i s p r e d o m i n a t i o n I w i l l consent t h a t Dryden should be t r i e d ; of t h i s , w h i c h i n o p p o s i t i o n t o r e a s o n , makes A r i o s t o the d a r l i n g and the p r i d e of I t a l y ; of t h i s , w h i c h i n d e f i a n c e of c r i t i c i s m , c o n t i n u e s Shakespeare the s o v e r e i g n of t h e drama. 29 The  "charms of sound" had t h e i r p l a c e i n domestic  tragedy,  where the w r i t e r c o u l d not be a l o o f t o p o p u l a r r e c e p t i o n of his play.  The w r i t e r of c l a s s i c a l t r a g e d y  c o u l d be above  such s o l i c i t u d e s ; Johnson's model f o r c l a s s i c a l t r a g e d y the Greek one;  was  t o t h e one, as t o the o t h e r , the p u b l i c  should r e p a i r , as a p u b l i c duty, as i t were t o a s e r v i c e of worship,  f o r the good of t h e i r s o u l s .  I n dramatic language as one  "hard t i m e s , " Hunt regarded  Shakespeare's  o f the number of h i s e x c e l l e n c i e s , t o w h i c h  other w r i t e r s c o u l d h a r d l y more than a s p i r e . l e n c e owed t o the f a c t t h a t i t was  Its excel-  n a t u r a l , possessing  a  s o r t of i n t u i t i v e a u t h e n t i c i t y t h a t no amount of a r t i f i c e c o u l d hope t o c a p t u r e .  Jane Shore, f o r i n s t a n c e , which  Rowe s t a t e d had been w r i t t e n i n i m i t a t i o n of Shakespeare's s t y l e , f e l l as f a r s h o r t o f i t s model i n Hunt's e s t i m a t i o n  96  as i t d i d i n t h a t o f Johnson, who s a i d " i n what he thought h i m s e l f an i m i t a t o r o f Shakespeare i t i s n o t easy t o conc e i v e . "30  Hunt took Rowe t o t a s k i n t h e f o l l o w i n g a c c o u n t :  I have heard of a p l a y i n i m i t a t i o n of our g r e a t poet, i n which t h e whole s i m i l a r i t y c o n s i s t e d of one l i n e : And  so good morrow t o you,  good M a s t e r L i e u t e n a n t .  Upon t h i s p r i n c i p l e Rowe seems t o have imagined t h a t , w i t h an E n g l i s h s t o r y f o r h i s p l o t , and w i t h one o r two f a m i l i a r e x p r e s s i o n s borrowed from Shakespeare, he has caught t h i s m a s t e r l y genius w h i c h r e l i e s upon no a r t i f i c e whatever.... Shakespeare i n g e n e r a l seems t o have w r i t t e n e x a c t l y as he f e l t ; but o n l y h a l f of Rowe seems t o have been w r i t t e n from f e e l i n g ; t h e other was o c c u p i e d i n g i v i n g h i s f e e l i n g s t h e i r d r a m a t i c dignity.31 The  r o m a n t i c s w e l l and t r u l y guarded Shakespeare's magic  circle;  i n t e r l o p e r s were not t o l e r a t e d : W i t h i n t h a t c i r c l e none d u r s t t r e a d but he. Jane Shore was a domestic t r a g e d y , whose language, howe v e r , was e l e v a t e d out o f k e e p i n g w i t h i t s s u b j e c t . was  Hunt  p a r t i a l t o n a t u r a l d i c t i o n , a s t o every a i d t o t h e i l l u -  s i o n o f r e a l i t y i n t h e t h e a t r e - even i n t r a g e d i e s of a more e x a l t e d order.  He had s t r o n g p r a i s e f o r B a r r y  Cornwall's  " n a t u r a l s t y l e " i n t h e t r a g e d i e s V i r g i n i u s and M i r a n d o l a ; The a u t h o r o f M i r a n d o l a has f a i t h i n n a t u r e ; and i t i s a s a v i n g one; he has helped t h e p u b l i c t a s t e , and i t i s g r a t e f u l . V i r g i n i u s and M i r a n d o l a a r e the o n l y t r a g e d i e s w r i t t e n i n a n a t u r a l s t y l e , t h a t have appeared on t h e stage i n our t i m e : and they a r e eminent encouragements t o a l l who may f o l l o w i n t h e same p a t h , w i t h t h e same t r u s t i n g and u n a f f e c t e d  step.32  97  Hunt's views on n a t u r a l d i c t i o n have t h e i r d e f i n i t i v e  state-  ment i n the f o l l o w i n g Examiner r e v i e w : The c r i t i c i n the Times proceeds t o observe t h a t the " d e s i g n o f the a u t h o r seems t o have been t o t r y the e f f e c t of n a t u r a l d i a l o g u e on the s t a g e , and t o b r i n g down the s e r i o u s drama from i t s u s u a l e l e v a t i o n , w i t h o u t endangering i t s d i g n i t y . In t h i s he has been s u c c e s s f u l ; nor has he e s s e n t i a l l y lowered the d i a l o g u e , by the c o l l o q u i a l ease he has i n t r o duced i n t o i t . " The s p i r i t of t h i s remark i s j u s t ; but r e a d e r s must be c a u t i o n e d how they mistake the word " e l e v a t i o n " used on t h e s e o c c a s i o n s . I t i s i m p o s s i b l e to lower t h e d i a l o g u e e r r o n e o u s l y , when l o f t y or n a t u r a l emotions, proper t o t h e scene, are s p e a k i n g . There i s n o t h i n g h i g h e r t h a n n a t u r e . The l o f t i e s t a r t i f i c i a l language i s but an i n f e r i o r s u b s t i t u t e f o r i t , and i s t o o apt t o become a v u l g a r commodity w h i c h any i n g e n i o u s person can b u i l d up. I t i s the s c h o o l i n which grown t r a g e d i a n s l e a r n t o t r e a d measures. Some of t h e v e r y g r a v e s t and h i g h e s t t h i n g s i n Shakespeare, at which we f e e l our h e a r t s t h r i l l and our humanity grow g o d l i k e , u t t e r the v e r y commonest words. Some o f them u t t e r a l s o v e r y uncommon and l o f t y words; but then the n a t u r e of the moment demands them, or they would become as e s s e n t i a l l y l u d i c r o u s as m i s p l a c e d familiarity. At one time i t was a n o t i o n t h a t l a n guage e l e v a t e d e v e r y t h i n g . W r i t e r s marked a cheap and v u l g a r sentiment w i t h huge words, as d r a p e r s do grogram gowns i n t h e i r windows w i t h huge numerals, and the c r i t i c s were taken i n l i k e the m a i d - s e r v a n t s . Even f o r e i g n a u t h o r s , whose p r a i s e they undertook t o echo f o r t h e i r n a i v e t e , must be e l e v a t e d , t h e y t h o u g h t , or i t was a l l over w i t h t h e i r charmingness. They e l e v a t e d them a c c o r d i n g l y ; t h a t i s , l e t them down t o the most r e c e i v e d s t a n d a r d of f i n e w r i t i n g ; and t h e charm, b e i n g of n a t u r e , was gone.33 But few came t o Hunt's c a l l , t o " f o l l o w i n the same p a t h , w i t h the same t r u s t i n g and u n a f f e c t e d s t e p . "  Most w r i t e r s  of Hunt's p e r i o d were, l i k e P r i o r , s i g n a l l y u n f i t t e d f o r the r o l e of d r a m a t i c  poet:  9$  Now and a g a i n you r e c o g n i z e something l i k e an o r i g i n a l image, - something w h i c h shows t h a t h i s mind has been a t l e a s t e n d e a v o u r i n g t o c r e a t e ; but what i s n a t u r a l power t o a t r u e poet i s v a i n and b r i e f t o i l t o him; he s u b s i d e s immediately i n t o commonp l a c e ; and e x h i b i t s page a f t e r page t h a t i n f a l l i b l e c r i t e r i o n of an u n i n s p i r e d t a s t e - the b e i n g cont e n t e d t o pursue a t r a i n of o b s e r v a t i o n i n worn-out e p i t h e t s and p h r a s e s w h i c h show t h a t he cannot draw upon h i s own exchequer. Such w r i t e r s do not speak because t h e y are f u l l of something t o be spoken; s t i l l l e s s do they borrow i n o r d e r t o repay w i t h i n t e r e s t , as the E n g l i s h poets have done from the I t a l i a n . They have no abundance i n d e t a i l , - and t h e r e f o r e want s o l i d magnitude i n the g r o s s . They u n c o n s c i o u s l y r e g a r d p o e t r y as a k i n d of c l a s s i c a l language; and speak i t as t h e y would speak l a t i n i n centos from a u t h o r i t y . 3 4 Hunt s a n c t i o n e d  " f o r e i g n borrowings"  p r o v i d i n g they  w i t h i n t e r e s t t h e i r o r i g i n a l s , and t h a t t h e borrower had t h i n g of o r i g i n a l i t y t o impart t o them.  But i n an  to  genius.  some-  improver-  i s h e d t i m e , Hunt grew i n c r e a s i n g l y a p p r e c i a t i v e of the "unremembered a c t s " of modest p l a y w r i g h t s of no  repaid  little  pretensions  Of a t r a g e d y whose g r e a t e s t v i r t u e seems t o have  been i t s l a c k of o s t e n t a t i o n , he  said:  The t r a g e d y i s not remarkable f o r genius i n the w r i t i n g . There i s o c c a s i o n a l l y a metaphor, or a s i m i l e , above o r d i n a r y d r a m a t i s t s ; but from t h e g e n e r a l c a s t of the language, we should not suppose t h a t he [Horace Twiss, i n C a r i b C h i e f ] was a m b i t i o u s of d o i n g more t h a n p u t t i n g t o g e t h e r a s t r i k i n g set of i n c i d e n t s . And they do honour not only t o h i s s k i l l , but h i s f e e l i n g s . N o t h i n g i s e i t h e r t i m i d l y a v o i d e d , or c a l l o u s l y d w e l t upon. They f o l l o w each o t h e r n a t u r a l l y , e x c i t i n g our i n t e r e s t , never d i s a p p o i n t i n g us, and always i n v o l v i n g something of the a g i t a t i n g w i t h o u t u s e l e s s n e s s , and t h e humane w i t h out a f f e c t a t i o n . 5  99  Modesty, and d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , and " u n s u p e r f l u o u s n e s s , " and n a t u r a l n e s s , were t h e i n t e r i m s u p p l i e r s of a g r e a t e r want, t h a t of genius:  and Hunt c h e e r f u l l y put up w i t h t h e s u b -  s t i t u t i on. Another approach t o t h e drama, a p a r t from t h o s e of m o r a l i t y and language,  and y e t l i n k e d t o them, i s t h a t o f  b i o g r a p h i c a l r e s e a r c h , w h i c h t a k e s t h e man and h i s t i m e s the c o n s i d e r a t i o n of h i s works.  into  Johnson's s c h o l a r l y r e s e a r c h  i n t o the l i v e s o f t h e poets a n t i c i p a t e d t h e r o m a n t i c s ' cern w i t h b i o g r a p h i c a l c r i t i c i s m .  The approach,  con-  t o o , was  a n t i c i p a t e d t o some e x t e n t i n Johnson's P r e f a c e t o Shakespeare : That much knowledge i s s c a t t e r d over h i s works i s v e r y j u s t l y observed by Pope, b u t i t i s o f t e n such knowledge as books w i l l n o t s u p p l y . He t h a t w i l l understand Shakespeare must not be c o n t e n t t o s t u d y him i n t h e c l o s e t , he must l o o k f o r h i s meaning sometimes among t h e s p o r t s of t h e f i e l d , and among the manufactures of t h e shop. There i s however p r o o f enough t h a t he was a v e r y d i l i g e n t reader...36 S u b s t a n t i a l amounts of t h e i n f o r m a t i o n p r o v i d e d by r e a l e x p e r i e n c e and b o o k - l e a r n i n g Johnson c o n s i d e r e d t o be t h e i n d i s p e n s a b l e s t o c k - i n - t r a d e of t h e p l a y w r i g h t ; i f they were l a c k i n g , n o t h i n g e l s e c o u l d s u p p l y t h e want.  Johnson  seems t o s e t a h i g h e r v a l u a t i o n upon r e a l e x p e r i e n c e , t h a t of books.  I n h i s account  of Savage, he says:  an i n t e r v a l o f p r o s p e r i t y f u r n i s h e d him w i t h o p p o r t u n i t i e s o f e n l a r g i n g h i s knowledge o f human n a t u r e , by c o n t e m p l a t i n g l i f e from i t s h i g h e s t g r a d a t i o n s t o t h e l o w e s t ; and had he a f t e r w a r d s  than  100  a p p l i e d t o d r a m a t i c k p o e t r y , he would perhaps not have had many s u p e r i o r s . 3 7 And of M i l t o n , whose t r a g e d y , Samson A g o n i s t e s , was  good i n  v a i n , Johnson says: M i l t o n would not have e x c e l l e d i n d r a m a t i c k w r i t i n g ; he knew human nature o n l y i n the g r o s s , and had never s t u d i e d t h e shades o f c h a r a c t e r , nor the comb i n a t i o n s o f c o n c u r r i n g , nor the p e r p l e x i t y of cont e n d i n g p a s s i o n s . He had read much, and knew what books c o u l d t e a c h ; but had mingled l i t t l e i n the w o r l d , and was d e f i c i e n t i n the knowledge which e x p e r i e n c e must confer.3° Johnson, then, demanded an i n f o r m e d p l a y w r i g h t - i n f o r m e d p r i n c i p a l l y by commerce and converse w i t h t h e w o r l d of and  men;  i n t h i s c o n s i d e r a t i o n he d i d not f i n d Shakespeare want-  ing. The  romantics, w i t h t h e i r greater propensity f o r  " p s y c h o l o g i z i n g , " were even more p a r t i c u l a r about the p l a y w r i g h t ' s q u a l i f i c a t i o n s - and the c r i t i c ' s . a g a i n , was  t h e i r "mould o f form."  "We  Shakespeare,  must s t u d y , " Hunt s a i d ,  "where Shakespeare s t u d i e d - i n the f i e l d s , i n t h e heavens i n the h e a r t and f o r t u n e s of man;  and he and t h e o t h e r g r e a t  poets should be our r e a d i n g out o f s c h o o l hours."39  "School"  was  impor-  the s c h o o l o f l i f e ,  t a n t , was  secondary  t o Hunt; and r e a d i n g , though  to i t .  He p r e f e r r e d M i l t o n ' s s m a l l e r  poems t o Paradise L o s t , w i t h i t s " o p p r e s s i v e n e s s of a m b i t i o n and c o n s c i o u s power"40  _  b  e  c  a  u  s  e  t n e  s  m  a  i i r e  poems were i l l u m i -  nated by t h a t l y r i c a l impulse which i s the product o f r e a l e x p e r i e n c e i n t h e w o r l d of men,  r a t h e r than v i c a r i o u s  p e r i e n c e i n the w o r l d of l e t t e r s :  ex-  101  I n t h e A l l e g r o and P e n s e r o s o , & c , he i s i n b e t t e r s p i r i t s w i t h a l l about him; h i s eyes had not grown dim, n o r h i s s o u l been f o r c e d inward by d i s a p p o i n t m e n t i n t o a proud s e l f - e s t e e m , w h i c h he n a r r o w l y escaped e r e c t i n g i n t o s e l f worship. He l o v e s n a t u r e , not f o r t h e power he can get out o f i t , but f o r t h e p l e a s u r e i t a f f o r d s him; he i s a t peace w i t h town as w i t h c o u n t r y , w i t h c o u r t s and c a t h e d r a l - w i n d o w s ; goes t o t h e p l a y and l a u g h s ; t o the v i l l a g e - g r e e n and dances; and h i s study i s p l a c e d , not i n t h e o l d Jewry, but i n an a i r y tower, f r o m w h i c h he g o o d - n a t u r e d l y hopes t h a t h i s c a n d l e - I beg pardon, h i s "lamp" ( f o r he was a s c h o l a r from t h e f i r s t , though n o t a P u r i t a n ) may be seen by o t h e r s . 4 1 I t i s perhaps an i d e a l i z e d p o r t r a i t o f M i l t o n ' s y o u t h ; but i t i n d i c a t e s Hunt's v i e w t h a t t h e proper study  of t h e poet - and  presumably of t h e p l a y w r i g h t , f o r i t was Shakespeare's - was "Nature h e r s e l f , t h e g r e a t and p e r f e c t i n g m i s t r e s s whom we become e i t h e r e c c e n t r i c p r e t e n d e r s  without  or d a n g l e r s  after  i n f e r i o r b e a u t y , o r r e p e a t e r s , a t b e s t , o f her language, a t second h a n d . " ^  2  P s y c h o l o g i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of an a u t h o r damn h i s p l a y .  could help t o  Hunt found Dr. Young w a n t i n g as a p l a y w r i g h t .  Johnson t o l e r a t e d The Revenge, because t h e " r e f l e c t i o n s , t h e i n c i d e n t s , and t h e d i c t i o n , a r e o r i g i n a l .  The moral  observa-  t i o n s a r e so i n t r o d u c e d as t o have a l l t h e n o v e l t y t h a t can be desired."43  Hunt's c r i t i c i s m o f the p l a y i s n o t h i n g b u t  an a c r i m o n i o u s d e n u n c i a t i o n produced " N i g h t  of Young and t h e s p i r i t  that  Thoughts":  He was a man o f t h e w o r l d , o f t h e v e r y w o r l d l i e s t d e s c r i p t i o n , and under t h e most d i s a g r e e a b l e d i s g u i s e he t o o k o r d e r s , when advanced i n l i f e , f o r the purpose o f g e t t i n g p r e f e r m e n t , and because he  102  did not g e t as much a s he w i s h e d , he l e f t p o s t e r i t y t h e charming l e g a c y of a l o n g , gloomy book i n b l a n k v e r s e , f u l l o f f a l s e p o e t r y , f a l s e e t h i c s , and f a l s e r e l i g i o n , and t e n d i n g t o d i s h o n o u r , under t h e mask of p i e t y , t h e p r o v i d e n c e which had not thought f i t t o make him a B i s h o p . We do n o t w i s h t o cant even a g a i n s t c a n t e r s , n o t t o a l l o w them f a i r p l a y , cons i d e r i n g t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s t h a t mould them as w e l l as o t h e r s ; b u t i f we hate a n y t h i n g , i t i s t h a t v a i n and s p l e n e t i c s p i r i t of s e l f - r e f e r e n c e , w h i c h measures e v e r y t h i n g i n the w o r l d by i t s own crabbed meanness, and would f a i n p o l l u t e t h e good and beauty of i t i n t h e a p p r e h e n s i o n of a l l t h e r e s t o f mankind, because a c c i d e n t has put its own g r o s s mouth out o f t a s t e . But enough o f t h e famous poem o f t h e "Night Thoughts," which so many good, u n t h i n k i n g people t a k e f o r the e f f u s i o n of a k i n d of s a i n t , but w h i c h r e a l l y emanated from a d i s a p p o i n t e d c o u r t i e r , who c o u l d n o t s l e e p f o r t h i n k i n g he had l o s t a m i t r e ! I t i s s a i d , t h a t he wrote w i t h a lamp and s k u l l b e f o r e him, g i v e n him by t h e p r o f l i g a t e Duke of Wharton: a worthy accompaniment, and l i k e l y enough. But be t h a t as i t may, i t i s c e r t a i n t h a t he d e d i c a t e d h i s Revenge t o the Duke, though he knew what s o r t of a man he was, and knew t h a t h i s p r o f l i g a c y was n o t o f any common and pardonable s o r t . But he expected p l a c e s from him!... As f o r the t r a g e d y , i t has c l e v e r t h i n g s i n i t , b u t i s d i s f i g u r e d w i t h m i s p l a c e d w i t and a r t i f i c i a l f e e l i n g s . We c o u l d endure b u t l i t t l e o f i t , and came away.44 T h i s c l a s s i c example o f Hunt's p e r s o n a l a t t a c k s puts t o some q u e s t i o n h i s detachment and o b j e c t i v i t y i n t h e o f f i c e o f critic.  But t o Hunt t h e o f f i c e of c r i t i c was a m o r a l one,  whose ends were t h e d i s s e m i n a t i o n o f goodness and l i g h t , and t h e c u l t i v a t i o n o f an a u d i e n c e w o r t h y t o r e c e i v e them. i s more than p e r s o n a l a s p e r i t y i n t h i s account o f Young; i s r a i l i n g a t t h e whole system o f t h i n k i n g t h a t  There Hunt  underlay  Young's p o e t r y ; a dangerous and malignant system o f t h i n k i n g i n t h e s t a t e o f u n i v e r s a l benevolence w h i c h Hunt was t r y i n g to  b r i n g i n t o being.  103  B e s i d e s t h e l e a r n i n g t h a t comes from books and f r o m life,  t h e n , a c e r t a i n k i n d of m e n t a l s e t was e s s e n t i a l t o  the p l a y w r i g h t ,  according  t o Hunt - a p r o d u c t of t h e d i s -  p o s i t i o n and the c i r c u m s t a n c e s of t h a t l e a r n i n g : of r e a d i n g , and t h e k i n d o f l i v i n g . g e t f u l of the m i l l e n n i u m  the kind  For Hunt was never f o r -  t h a t had t o come, t h a t mankind were  hungry, and t h i r s t y , and i m p a t i e n t  f o r . He was t i r e d o f  s u p e r s t i t i o n and c h a s t i s e m e n t , and b e l i e v e d t h a t r e f o r m would be most q u i c k l y brought about by those who d i d not choose the l e a s t c h e e r f u l ways o f e f f e c t i n g t h e i r A l l Hunt's moral c r i t e r i a have i n v i e w t h i s f u t u r e  object. possible  c o n d i t i o n o f s o c i e t y , t h i s f u l f i l m e n t of t h e t e n e t s of the Political Justice.* Hunt's i d e a l was t i n g e d w i t h t h e thought of Rousseau, w i t h i t s v i s i o n o f f r e e i n g man  from the c h a i n s o f c h u r c h and  s t a t e - s u p e r s t i t i o n and t h e v e n e r a t i o n  of a u t h o r i t y .  John-  son, never an advocate of Rousseau, b e l i e v e d i n the r e t e n t i o n of most of t h e s h a c k l e s w h i c h the p r e s e n t s t a t e o f s o c i e t y  * C f . L o u i s Landre, L e i g h Hunt: L'Oeuvre ( P a r i s , 1936), p. 63: " L e i g h Hunt connut p e r s o n e l l e m e n t Godwin. A u s s i n ' e s t - o n pas s u r p r i s s ' i l s expriment des i d e e s analogues sur p l u s d'un p o i n t : 1 ' i n f l u e n c e de l a l i t t e r a t u r e comme f a c t e u r de reforme m o r a l e , l ' i n e g a l i t e s o c i a l e , l e s grandes p r i n c i p e s d ' o r g a n i s a t i o n de l a s o c i e t e , e t , dans un o r d r e d i f f e r e n t , l e mariage. On ne s a u r a i t p r o u v e r q u ' i l y eut i n f l u e n c e , mais, l a encore, i l y eut c o n t a c t . Les oeuvres des grands r e f o r m i s t e s c r e e r e n t une ambiance q u i encouragea Hunt, et p e u t - ^ t r e l ' i n s p i r a dans une c e r t a i n e mesure." C f . , t o o , " T h e a t r i c a l Examiners" f o r J u l y 20, 1817, and T a t l e r #279.  104  imposed, as b e i n g i h the i n t e r e s t Johnson's m o r a l i t y was  of t h e  individual.  founded upon r e a s o n ; Hunt's  founded upon b e n e v o l e n t i n t u i t i o n .  Johnson c o u l d f i n d  a system of s o c i a l duty i n Shakespeare, because "he t h i n k s r e a s o n a b l y must t h i n k m o r a l l y ; but p r e c e p t s and  that  Shakespeare's  axioms drop c a s u a l l y from him."45  very unthinking q u a l i t y  was  g  u t  this  e x a l t e d him i n Hunt's eyes:  Shake-  speare, w r i t i n g " i n g e n e r a l . . . e n t i r e l y as he f e l t " , was  so  unerringly right. I t was  one of Shakespeare's e x c e l l e n c i e s , t o b o t h John-  son and Hunt, t h a t when he wrote " e n t i r e l y as he f e l t " language was  perfectly  i n k e e p i n g w i t h the demands of the  s i t u a t i o n , whatever t h e l e v e l and Hunt l o o k e d t o the new of p r o p r i e t y .  level out,  f o r "there i s nothing higher than  nature."  a p l a c e for f o r m a l e x h o r t a t i o n  i n c l a s s i c a l tragedy.  The  l i n g u i s t i c views of  were a l l i e d t o t h e i r views of d r a m a t i c  Johnson's p l e a s u r e and tation.  situation.  playwrights to f i n d a similar  Johnson s t i l l thought there was  both men  import o f t h e  E l e v a t e d d i c t i o n , i n the o l d sense, was  a c c o r d i n g t o Hunt:  and d e c l a m a t i o n  his  function:  i n s t r u c t i o n , Hunt's p l e a s u r e and  And those views were l i n k e d w i t h t h e i r s o c i a l  Hunt, as t h e a t r e c r i t i c , was whose t a s t e he s t r o v e t o e l e v a t e .  i n sympathy w i t h ' t h e And  he was  not out  exalideals. audience  of  sympathy w i t h the managers, whose problems he acknowledged. l e a s t t h e y were w i l l i n g t o produce any new chance w i t h the p u b l i c .  t h i n g t h a t had  On the o c c a s i o n of one new  At  a  production,  105  Hunt w r o t e : The eagerness w i t h w h i c h t h e managers o f t h e t h e a t r e s pounce upon a new work o f any p o p u l a r i t y , i n order t o t u r n i t t o a c c o u n t , i s a s t r i k i n g i n stance of t h e d e a r t h of d r a m a t i c t a l e n t . However, i t i s a t l e a s t a p r o o f t h a t t h e y a r e aware o f t h e d e f i c i e n c y , and w i l l i n g t o mend i t . But w i l l none of a l l t h e l i t e r a r y men o f t h e day h e l p t o g e t s o c i e t y and manners out of t h e i r monotony and r e v i v e the drama? To w r i t e a p l a y nowadays - t o s e t t h e comic o r t r a g i c muse f a i r l y up a g a i n - i s a t a s k so t e m p t i n g , we s h o u l d t h i n k , t o anyone's a m b i t i o n , ' t h a t one i s almost provoked t o e x c l a i m , l i k e o l d A b s o l u t e i n t h e p l a y , " I ' l l marry t h e g i r l m y s e l f ! " 4 6 But t h e t h e a t r e lagged b e h i n d t h e i m p o r t a n t l i t e r a r y  develop-  ments i n t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , and t h e l i t e r a r y men o f t h e day were g e n e r a l l y c o n t e n t t o e x e r c i s e t h e i r t a l e n t s e l s e where.  Hunt, though, many y e a r s l a t e r , d i d "marry up w i t h  the muse" i n h i s own p l a y , A Legend o f F l o r e n c e .  His l o v e -  a f f a i r o f t h e t h e a t r e was o f l i f e - l o n g d u r a t i o n .  The o f f -  s p r i n g o f i t w i l l be t h e s u b j e c t of t h e next c h a p t e r , a l o n g w i t h I r e n e , t h e p r o d u c t o f Johnson's  flirtation.  V.  JOHNSON AND HUNT - PLAYWRIGHTS OF TWO AGES  "A gentleman known as Pot, or some such name" has been d i s c r e d i t e d f o r two c e n t u r i e s - as he was d i s c r e d i t e d by Johnson - f o r h i s e s t i m a t e of I r e n e as " t h e f i n e s t t r a g e d y i n modern t i m e s . "  1  " I f Pot says s o , P o t l i e s ! "  Johnson i s supposed t o have commented; and P o t and I r e n e have remained d i s c r e d i t e d t o t h i s day. S c h o l a r s have remained c o n t e n t w i t h Johnson's e s t i m a t e , and t h a t of some o f h i s c o n t e m p o r a r i e s .  But r e p o r t s o f t h a t  e s t i m a t e a r e s c a r c e , and n o t u n e q u i v o c a l . to  Johnson had l i t t l e  say about I r e n e , and was content t h a t he s h o u l d n o t be  reminded of t h a t p a r t o f h i s l i f e when h i s attachment f o r the t h e a t r e had been formed.  There i s the P o t i n c i d e n t ,  and a n o t h e r , much l a t e r , account "to  o f a r e a d i n g of t h e p l a y  a company a t a house i n t h e c o u n t r y . "  son l e f t t h e room, and when someone asked  A f t e r a time  John-  him why he had done 2  so, he r e p l i e d , " S i r , I thought  i t had been b e t t e r . "  But  the r e a d e r s , or t h e o c c a s i o n , might have been u n s u i t a b l e . Once Mrs. T h r a l e managed t o get Johnson t o read some passages from t h e p l a y - i n September, 1778: "He read s e v e r a l speeches, and t o l d us he had never read so much of i t b e f o r e s i n c e i t was f i r s t p r i n t e d . " ^ B o s w e l l s a y s , i n t h e L i f e o f Johnson: as a poem, i s i n t i t l e d Analysed  "Irene, considered  to the praise of superiour excellence.  i n t o p a r t s , i t w i l l f u r n i s h a r i c h s t o r e of h b b l e  107  s e n t i m e n t s , f i n e imagery, and b e a u t i f u l language; b u t i t i s d e f i c i e n t i n p a t h o s , i n t h a t d e l i c a t e power of t o u c h i n g the  human f e e l i n g s , which i s the p r i n c i p a l end o f t h e  drama."4  G a r r i c k , who a c t e d i n t h e p l a y , s a i d , "When John-  son w r i t e s t r a g e d y , d e c l a m a t i o n r o a r s , and p a s s i o n s l e e p s . " 5 Aaron H i l l ,  h a v i n g a t t e n d e d t h e p l a y , found I r e n e Johnson's  "proper r e p r e s e n t a t i v e : or  decorum."  0  s t r o n g sense ungraced by sweetness  But Tom D a v i e s s a i d :  " S i n c e t h e days of Cato,  no t r a g e d y has been a c t e d w h i c h was so j u s t l y admired f o r beauty o f d i c t i o n , energy o f s e n t i m e n t , harmony o f v e r s i f i c a t i o n , and p u r i t y of m o r a l .  ...Notwithstanding t h e appro-  b a t i o n o f Irene was not so g e n e r a l a s might have been e x p e c t e d , i t was g r e a t l y admired by a number o f j u d i c i o u s s p e c t a t o r s , who supported i t i n a r u n of n i n e n i g h t s . " 7 The o p i n i o n o f t w e n t i e t h - c e n t u r y t h e a t r e  historian  A l l a r d y c e N i c o l l i s a l l i e d t o t h a t o f G a r r i c k and H i l l : " I r e n e i s s t r i c t l y r e g u l a r ; t h e scene i s unchanged from  first  scene t o l a s t , the time i s o n l y a few hours, the a c t i o n i s one and e n t i r e .  Everything i s a c c o r d i n g t o the t r u e  pseudo-  c l a s s i c a l p a t t e r n ; a l l t h a t i s l a c k i n g i s t r a g i c s p i r i t and fire.  D e c l a m a t i o n dominates I r e n e , sometimes d e c l a m a t i o n  w h i c h r i s e s t o t h e h e i g h t o f a grand r h e t o r i c , b u t declamat i o n w i l l not make a p l a y , so t h a t we remain c o l d a l i k e a t the of  p a t r i o t i s m o f Demetrius, t h e v i l l a i n y o f C a l i , t h e agony Irene.  A f r i g i d c h i l l enwraps t h e whole  work."  0  108  The  i s s u e s t r e a t e d i n t h e p l a y , and the method o f  treatment  o f them, a r e s u f f i c i e n t l y Johnsonian.  Love i s  o n l y one o f t h e p a s s i o n s , w h i c h , a s t h e y a r e r e g u l a r o r e x o r b i t a n t , cause h a p p i n e s s o r c a l a m i t y .  The other  "general  p a s s i o n s and p r i n c i p l e s by w h i c h a l l minds a r e a g i t a t e d , " 9 are those o f p a t r i o t i s m , a m b i t i o n , greed, envy, and j e a l o u s y ; and  t h e c h a r a c t e r s o f Johnson's p l a y are a g i t a t e d by them,  perhaps, i n a way s u f f i c i e n t l y g e n e r a l and f o r m a l t h a t remain b e i n g s  "above o u r s o l i c i t u d e . . . o f whom the gods t a k e  c a r e , and whom we l e a v e t o t h e i r care w i t h h e e d l e s s ference."  they  indif-  1 0  Y e t , d e s p i t e t h e elements of c h i l l grandeur, e l e v a t e d declamation,  and c l a s s i c r e g u l a r i t y noted i n t h e  various  c r i t i c a l a p p r a i s a l s o f Johnson's p l a y , t h e r e i s a c o n s i d e r a b l e amount o f t e n s i o n generated by t h e p l a y ' s f a b l e .  De-  c e p t i o n s and i n t r i g u e s p r o v i d e ample d r a m a t i c  Cali,  irony:  the T u r k i s h Emperor's c h i e f v i z i e r , p l o t s a g a i n s t t h e emperor, and t h e Emperor p l o t s a g a i n s t him; A b d a l l a and Demetrius a r e comrades i n arms, and r i v a l s i n l o v e f o r A s p a s i a ; and I r e n e t o t t e r s on the b r i n k o f d e c i s i o n , as t h e f o r c e s o f p a s s i o n and  i n t e l l e c t contend w i t h i n her. The war between emotion and reason was a l i f e l o n g  occupation  pre-  of Johnson's, and h i s avowals o f t h e p a s s i o n s a s  g o v e r n o r s o f a c t i o n are n o t f r e q u e n t .  Although  he l i k e d t o  109  t h i n k t h a t most i s s u e s c o u l d be s e t t l e d by i n t e l l e c t u a l i z a t i o n , Johnson d i d not deny t h e s t r o n g r o l e o f t h e p a s s i o n s i n t h e a c t u a l conduct o f human l i f e .  There i s t h e s t r o n g  i n s t a n c e i n Chapter X V I I I o f R a s s e l a s , o f t h e p h i l o s o p h e r who c o u l d n o t l i v e up t o t h e d i c t a t e s o f h i s " t r u t h and r e a s o n " when h i s daughter had d i e d o f a f e v e r ; h i s p o l i s h e d p e r i o d s and s t u d i e d sentences cal  became so much empty r h e t o r i -  sound. R a s s e l a s i s supposed t o have been w r i t t e n by Johnson  to d e f r a y t h e expenses of h i s mother's f u n e r a l , a t a time when h i s emotions might r e a s o n a b l y have been o m n i p r e s e n t . Irene was w r i t t e n a t a time o f Johnson's l i f e when t h e d i c t a t e s of t h e p a s s i o n of l o v e were n o t t o be d e n i e d .  When  he came up t o London t o complete h i s t r a g e d y , he had t o l e a v e behind  h i s w i f e o f l e s s than two y e a r s , f o r whom h i s  l o v e , i f not r e a l i s t i c , was v e r y r e a l by a l l a c c o u n t s .  At  t w e n t y - e i g h t , Johnson may have had t h e same immoderacy i n h i s m a r i t a l demands as he i s known t o have had i n e a t i n g and drinking.  At any r a t e , i n Irene i s c o n t a i n e d t h e s t r o n g e s t  statement o f t h e supremacy of p a s s i o n i n t h e o r d e r i n g of men's a f f a i r s ,  t h a t i s t o be found i n Johnson.  I f there i s  any q u o t a t i o n i n t h e p l a y , worthy o f i n c l u s i o n i n compendiums o f q u o t a t i o n s , i t i s : lover."  "To c a n t . . . o f r e a s o n t o a  A b d a l l a ' s speech t o C a l i c o n t a i n s a s t u r d y Johnson-  i a n r e j e c t i o n o f cant - cant i n t h e name o f r e a s o n , to  t h e hot, p r e c i p i t a t e z e a l of a l o v e r :  opposed  110  Hast t h o u grown o l d amidst the crowd o f c o u r t s , And t u r n ' d t h i n s t r u c t i v e page of human l i f e , To c a n t , a t l a s t , of r e a s o n t o a l o v e r ? Such i l l - t i m ' d g r a v i t y , such s e r i o u s f o l l y , Might w e l l b e f i t the s o l i t a r y s t u d e n t , T h u n p r a c t i s d d e r v i s e , or s e q u e s t e r ' d f a q u i r . Know'st thou not y e t , when Love i n v a d e s the s o u l , That a l l her f a c u l t i e s r e c e i v e her c h a i n s ? That Reason g i v e s her s c e p t r e t o h i s hand, Or o n l y s t r u g g l e s t o be more e n s l a v ' d ? A s p a s i a , who can l o o k upon t h y b e a u t i e s , Who hear thee speak, and not abandon reason? Reason! the hoary d o t a r d ' s d u l l d i r e c t r e s s , That l o s e s a l l because she hazards n o t h i n g ! Reason, the t i n i ' r o u s p i l o t , t h a t t o shun The r o c k s of l i f e , f o r ever f l i e s the p o r t ! T  T  T  n i  C a l i i s s i m i l a r l y set upon by  Demetrius:  Tomorrow's a c t i o n ! Can t h a t hoary wisdom, Borne down w i t h y e a r s , s t i l l dote upon tomorrow? That f a t a l m i s t r e s s of the young, the l a z y , The coward, and the f o o l , condemn'd t o l o s e An u s e l e s s l i f e i n w a i t i n g f o r tomorrow, To gaze w i t h l o n g i n g eyes upon tomorrow? T i l l i n t e r p o s i n g death d e s t r o y s the p r o s p e c t ! S t r a n g e ! t h a t t h i s g e n ' r a l f r a u d from day t o day Should f i l l the w o r l d w i t h w r e t c h e s u n d e t e c t e d , The s o l d i e r , l a b ' r i n g through a w i n t e r ' s march, S t i l l sees tomorrow d r e s s ' d i n robes of t r i u m p h ; S t i l l t o the l o v e r ' s l o n g e x p e c t i n g arms Tomorrow b r i n g s the v i s i o n a r y b r i d e . But t h o u , t o o o l d t o b e a r a n o t h e r c h e a t , L e a r n , t h a t the p r e s e n t hour a l o n e i s man's.- 1  2  The p r e c i p i t a t e r a s h n e s s of t h e a c t i o n i s v i n d i c a t e d a t the c a t a s t r o p h e , when f u r t h e r d e l a y would have caused f u r t h e r disaster.  Moreover, I r e n e i s d e s t r o y e d by f o l l o w i n g the  d i c t a t e s of her r e a s o n ; i n g i v i n g h e r s e l f t o Mahomet, she d e f i e s her emotions,  and i n so d o i n g she makes her  reason  her t r a g i c f l a w , f o r Mahomet cannot b e l i e v e t h a t she  has  r e a l l y g i v e n h e r s e l f t o him, t h a t her c o n v e r s i o n i s r e a l l y complete.  Ill  The  truth to life  e x p r e s s i o n , and  of the l o v e passages, the v i g o u r  of  the v a r i o u s c o m p l i c a t i o n s of the p l o t , r e -  ward the s c h o l a r l y and a n t i q u a r i a n p e r u s a l of t h e p l a y t h a t was  Johnson's f i r s t f l i n g at fame, and l a s t attempt to  t i n g u i s h himself i n the theatre.  One  would expect t h i s  p r o d u c t of Johnson's y o u t h t o be v i n o u s , sensuous, v i o l e n t ; and his  and  i t i s these t h i n g s t o a greater extent  later writings.  t h a n i t i s , i s due  dis-  than  That i t i s not so t o a g r e a t e r degree  t o v a r i o u s compensatory f a c t o r s .  Johnson, u n d e r s t a n d a b l y  f o r an a p p r e n t i c e w r i t e r , was  beholden t o c e r t a i n models, and m o s t l y t o one model, Cato, w h i c h he thought "the b e s t model of t r a g e d y we p r a c t i c a l f a m i l a r i t y w i t h t h e t h e a t r e was L i c h f i e l d had  l i t t l e i n the way  had."  not v e r y  His great;  of a c t e d drama, and  in  London Johnson had t o l i v e t o o f r u g a l l y t o be a b l e t o a t t e n d the t h e a t r e . t h e a t r e was  H i s somewhat i d e a l i z e d c o n c e p t i o n  of the  formed t h r o u g h an e x t e n s i v e s c h o l a r l y knowledge  of t h e c l a s s i c a l and modern d r a m a t i s t s , and e x a l t e d by  pros-  p e c t s of w e a l t h and  won  for  Gay,  fame, such as r e c e n t successes  S t e e l e , and A d d i s o n .  had  W i t h I r e n e , Johnson " f i r s t  thought of t r y i n g h i s f o r t u n e i n London, the g r e a t of g e n i u s and e x e r t i o n , where t a l e n t s of every  field  k i n d have  the f u l l e s t scope, and t h e h i g h e s t e n c o u r a g e m e n t . 3 n±  t a l e n t , he f e l t , was  fjis  of such a k i n d t h a t i t s u i t e d b e t t e r  the needs of c l a s s i c a l t r a g e d y ,  such as t h a t o f A d d i s o n , than  112  those  of comedy or domestic  tragedy.  S i m i l a r i t i e s between I r e n e and Cato are apparent, b o t h i n s t r u c t u r e and c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . The  e x p o s i t o r y p a r t s of  the two p l a y s a r e a l i k e d i a l o g u e s w h i c h d e s c r i b e events.  B o t h p l a y s have a female case of two  recent  - one  c o n f i d a n t e s and c o u n s e l l o r s , but w i t h one dominant: i n Cato, and A s p a s i a , the r e a l , a l t h o u g h h e r o i n e of I r e n e .  Had  A s p a s i a and  another's Marcia,  impossibly virtuous,  Cato been amalgamated i n  one p l a y , one imagines t h a t the f u s i o n of so much p u r i t y l i g h t would have i g n i t e d them spontaneously white  w i t h an  ahd  intense  flame. Irene and  Cato are a l i k e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of t h a t  t e r i s t i c a l l y eighteenth-century tragedy,  charac-  genre, p s e u d o - c l a s s i c a l  i n the l a r g e amount o f a c t i o n t h a t i s r e p o r t e d ,  r a t h e r t h a n seen on the s t a g e .  There i s b r i e f promise, i n  Johnson's p l a y , of a d u e l between Demetrius and  Abdalla,  but A b d a l l a reasons h i m s e l f out of p a r t i c i p a t i n g - and r e a s o n i n g p r o p e n s i t i e s d e s t r o y him i n the  his  end:  W e l l mayst thou c a l l t h y master t o t h e combat, And t r y the hazard, t h a t has naught t o s t a k e ; A l i k e my death or t h i n e i s g a i n t o t h e e . 1 4 The  " a c t - t a g s " , by means of which t h e audience knew t h a t  the a c t was  f i n i s h e d , t h e r e b e i n g no c u r t a i n drop t o announce  t h e f a c t , would e s t a b l i s h Johnson's p l a y as o f century or e a r l i e r o r i g i n .  The  the a c t s of Irene are s u g g e s t i v e  eighteenth-  rhymed p a r t s a t the ends of of those  of Cato; t h e  fol-  l o w i n g i s Mahomet's e x h o r t a t i o n of I r e n e , a t the end of Act  113  II,  t o renounce her r a c e and r e l i g i o n and e n j o y t h e  g l i t t e r i n g w o r l d l y t r e a s u r e s t h a t he can o f f e r h e r : I f g r e a t n e s s p l e a s e t h e e , mount t h i m p e r i a l s e a t ; I f p l e a s u r e charm t h e e , v i e w t h i s s o f t r e t r e a t . Here e v ' r y w a r b l e r of t h e s k y s h a l l s i n g ; Here e v ' r y f r a g r a n c e b r e a t h e o f e v ' r y s p r i n g ; To deck t h e s e bow'rs, each r e g i o n s h a l l combine, And e'en our prophets gardens envy t h i n e : Empire and l o v e s h a l l share t h e b l i s s f u l day, And v a r i e d l i f e s t e a l u n p e r c e i v ' d away.15 T  But I r e n e ' s c o n v e r s i o n t o Mohammedanism would i n c u r h e r acceptance  of a s o u l o f i n f e r i o r c a s t e t o t h a t o f a man;  and i n h e r v e r y a b l e arguments f o r " e q u a l r i g h t s f o r women" some of Johnson's e a r l y and l a t e e s p o u s a l of f e m i n i s t causes i s r e f l e c t e d .  And elsewhere  the play provides  s e t t i n g f o r some g e n e r a l l y Johnsonian h o m i l i e s , such as t h a t on t h e v a n i t y of human w i s h e s : How heav'n, i n s c o r n o f human a r r o g a n c e , Commits t o t r i v i a l chance t h e f a t e of n a t i o n s ! While w i t h i n c e s s a n t thought l a b o r i o u s man Extends h i s mighty schemes of w e a l t h and pow'r, And tow'rs and t r i u m p h s i n i d e a l g r e a t n e s s ; Some a c c i d e n t a l gust of o p p o s i t i o n B l a s t s a l l t h e b e a u t i e s of h i s new c r e a t i o n , O'erturns t h e f a b r i c k o f presumptuous r e a s o n , And whelms t h e s w e l l i n g a r c h i t e c t beneath i t . " The  c o n c l u s i o n i s s u r e l y Johnson's " p r o p e r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e " : So sure the f a l l o f g r e a t n e s s r a i s ' d on c r i m e s ! So f i x ' d t h e j u s t i c e of a l l - c o n s c i o u s heav'n! Where haughty g u i l t e x u l t s w i t h impious j o y , Mistake s h a l l b l a s t , or a c c i d e n t destroy; Weak man w i t h e r r i n g rage may throw the d a r t , But heav'n s h a l l guide i t t o t h e g u i l t y h e a r t .  1 7  But a l t h o u g h t h e c o n c l u s i o n r e v e a l s Johnson's p a l p a b l e i n t e n t " t o reward v i r t u e and p u n i s h v i c e , " i t i s a c r i t i c i s m  IH  of t h e p l a y t h a t the c o n c l u s i o n i s g r e a t e r than the warrant.  premises  The b r u n t of m i s f o r t u n e has f a l l e n upon I r e n e ,  who  has been e s t a b l i s h e d as t o o weak and v a c i l l a t i n g a c h a r a c t e r to  s u s t a i n the r o l e of t r a g i c h e r o i n e s a t i s f a c t o r i l y .  Irene,  i n c a p i t u l a t i n g t o Mahomet, has h e r s e l f h a l f - p e r s u a d e d ,  and  the reader i s h a l f - p e r s u a d e d , t h a t her motives a r e tic.  altruis-  She then attempts t o demonstrate h e r l o y a l t y t o her  new l o r d , and i s put t o d e a t h f o r her p a i n s . are so m i n g l e d  Good and i l l  i n her c h a r a c t e r t h a t her f a t e i s o f ques-  t i o n a b l e v a l u e t o s u p p l y a moral w h i c h Johnson f e l t had some p r e t e n s i o n s to u n i v e r s a l i t y . Johnson's p l a y , perhaps, never d i d reward him f o r h i s p e r p l e x i t i e s i n the w r i t i n g of i t .  He wrote i t a t a t i m e  when he had h i g h i d e a l s f o r , and l i t t l e the t h e a t r e .  As a r e l i c  familiarity with,  o f t h e e a r l y s t a t e of h i s mind -  i n a time of m a r i t a l p r e p l e x i t i e s , p o v e r t y , and h i s f i r s t e x p e r i e n c e of London - Irene shows through i t s d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o be c l a s s i c a l a s p e c i a l v i t a l i t y , and i t s v e r y s h o r t comings g i v e i t a s p e c i a l n i c h e i n the s h r i n e o f  Johnsoniana.  R a t h e r than endeavour t o improve h i s performance i n a medium w i t h w h i c h by t h e time of the p r o d u c t i o n of h i s p l a y Johnson was  a l r e a d y d i s e n c h a n t e d , he p a r t e d company w i t h t h e t h e a t r e  and found fame and g r e a t n e s s i n o t h e r t h i n g s w h i c h he better.  liked  115  Johnson's p l a y a l l o w e d i t s a u d i e n c e t o w i l l , would, t h e s u s p e n s i o n  i f they  o f t h e i r d i s b e l i e f , but a t t h e e x -  pense o f c o n s i d e r a b l e e f f o r t . a r y e f f e c t were m i n i m a l .  C o n c e s s i o n s t o any i l l u s i o n -  Johnson t o l e r a t e d " t h e charm o f  sound, t h e pomp of show" i n s o f a r as they were c o n c o m i t a n t s to dramatic  effect.  But i n " i m p e r i a l t r a g e d y "  was  always m i t i g a t e d by t h e presence o f such  and  Johnson wrote a p l a y o f an a u s t e r e  the e f f e c t concomitants;  k i n d , which placed  foremost emphasis on t h e moral l e s s o n t o be l e a r n e d and t h e r h e t o r i c t h a t would b e s t convey i t . The case was q u i t e d i f f e r e n t i n Hunt's t i m e .  The  p u b l i c , f o r one t h i n g , had no l o n g e r any t a s t e f o r t r a g e d i e s such as Cato;  t h e y p r e f e r r e d something l e s s e x a l t e d and  p r e t e n t i o u s - and more r e a l i s t i c . was  The theme o f Hunt's p l a y  n o t an e l e v a t e d one, and t h e language, i n g e n e r a l ,  s u i t e d t h e needs o f domestic t r a g e d y .  P r o g r e s s was b e i n g  made i n the t h e a t r e towards a g r e a t e r s c e n i c r e a l i s m , and perhaps a g r e a t e r h i s t r i o n i c r e a l i s m . The  progress  o f the t h e a t r e towards r e a l i s m was h a r d l y  matched, i n t h e f i r s t h a l f of t h e c e n t u r y , by a commensurate a t t e n t i o n t o r e a l i s m on t h e p a r t o f w r i t e r s f o r t h e s t a g e . These were d r a m a t i c  "hard t i m e s " - when t h e monopoly had  made t h e i l l e g i t i m a t e drama worse, and t h e l e g i t i m a t e drama had t o f o l l o w s u i t i n order t o compete  withlit.  116  I t would be p l e a s a n t t o r e p o r t t h a t L e i g h Hunt's playwas  an o a s i s i n a grey waste.  The w r i t i n g o f i t was  come of h i s l i f e t i m e of e x p e r i e n c e and Hunt was  by custom, and  At the same t i m e h i s e x p e r i e n c e  w i t h t h e t h e a t r e as  critic,  rooted i n t r a d i t i o n . "  had shown him t h a t the  not the i d e a l p l a c e f o r the p r o m u l g a t i o n  uncommon i d e a s . who  out-  n e v e r unaware of those t h e a t r i c a l s h o r t c o m i n g s  t h a t were " h a l l o w e d  t h e a t r e was  an  A Legend of F l o r e n c e d i s a p p o i n t s the  of critic  e x p e c t s t o f i n d i n t h e p l a y an e x p r e s s i o n of L e i g h Hunt's  e a r l i e r l i b e r a l outlook.  A l l a r d y c e N i c o l l , however, has  k i n d words f o r i t : Hunt's p l a y i s . . . f r e e of r e m i n i s c e n c e s of e a r l i e r drama, and shows a power of c o n s t r u c t i o n and an ease of d i a l o g u e w h i c h makes us w i s h t h a t i t s a u t h o r had devoted more time t o the s t a g e . . . . Such a p l a y as t h i s shows how the o t h e r poets f a i l e d . The s t o r y i s o n l y a "legend of F l o r e n c e , " y e t Hunt has been a b l e to give i t true l i f e . We may condemn the work because of the u n r e a l i t y of i t s theme - f o r here he f o l l o w e d the o t h e r s - but h i s product has a s t r e n g t h which i s w a n t i n g e l s e w h e r e . Had the l e g i t i m a t e poets been as L o v e l l and Hunt, the s t o r y of our n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y drama might have been v a s t l y d i f f e r e n t . The Milmans the M a t u r i n s , the T a l f o u r d s - even the Byrons and the Brownings - merely l e d i t a s t r a y . 1 8 The  p l a y ' s c h i e f s t r e n g t h i s i t s "ease o f d i a l o g u e , "  and even t h a t s t r e n g t h i s m i t i g a t e d sometimes by "tumour and t e d i o u s n e s s "  out o f k e e p i n g w i t h what Hunt's e a r l i e r  concept of t r a g i c d i a l o g u e p r e s c r i b e d .  Hunt's treatment  of  an u n r e a l i s t i c theme i s i n s i p i d ; i t i s only a f a i n t echo of t h a t l i b e r a l i t y o f s p i r i t w h i c h c h a r a c t e r i s e d h i s e a r l i e r writings.  One  may  perhaps w i s h t h a t Hunt c o u l d have been  117  spared from h i s d a i l y j o u r n a l i s t i c concerns, The theme i s as f o l l o w s : wealthy  i n h i s prime.  G i n e v r a has m a r r i e d A g o l a n t i , a  and noble F l o r e n t i n e ; she i s l o v e d by  Rondinelli.  Not l o v i n g her husband, she i s p i n i n g away,  but the p a s s i o n o f t h e two l o v e r s remains pure. to  Antonio  She seems  d i e , but r e v i v e s i n the tomb and i s r e s c u e d by A n t o n i o .  When A g o l a n t i comes t o c l a i m her from A n t o n i o , she f i n a l l y r e b e l s and r e f u s e s t o go w i t h him, and i n t h e r e s u l t a n t melee A g o l a n t i i s k i l l e d . Of t h e p l a y ' s success a t Covent Garden i n 1#40, Hunt wrote; Most k i n d have been my o l d r e a d e r s t o me; f o r s u r e l y the a u d i e n c e on t h e f i r s t n i g h t must have been h a l f made up o f them, t o be so w i l l i n g t o be p l e a s e d . Most -kind, a l s o , has been t h e p r e s s , of a l l p a r t i e s , d o u b t l e s s moved by a l i k e r e a d i n e s s t o t h i n k the b e s t of a not i l l - n a t u r e d w r i t e r ; and e s p e c i a l l y am I bound t o v a l u e t h i s g e n e r a l s p i r i t o f good w i l l , and, above a l l , t h e l o u d and i n s t a n t a n e o u s sympathy of t h e audience w i t h t h e p o e t i c a l j u s t i c e of t h e c a t a s t r o p h e , when I c o n s i d e r how t h e t r e a t m e n t of domestic t y r a n n y a p p e a r s t o have p u z z l e d t h e e t h i c s of some o f my l i t e r a r y b r e t h r e n ; and how q u e s t i o n s , w h i c h had been accustomed t o beg a l l t h e d e l i c a c i e s on one s i d e , suddenly and p r o v o k i n g l y b e h e l d t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f a t l e a s t a n e q u a l i t y of c l a i m s h i f t e d to t h e o t h e r . 19 The p l a y , and i t s r e c e p t i o n , p r o v i d e an i n t e r e s t i n g commentary on V i c t o r i a n m o r a l i t y . treatment  We f e e l t h a t here, i n Hunt's  o f "domestic t y r a n n y , " we should have t h e e x p l i -  c a t i o n o f t h o s e " l o o s e and n o t v e r y d e f i n i t e s p e c u l a t i o n s " on marriage  t h a t Lamb was a t p a i n s t o exonerate  p r a c t i c e from i n 1823.  Hunt's  But t h e s i t u a t i o n i s not much  118  improved by A Legend of F l o r e n c e .  Although  the s t a t e of  m a r r i a g e i s not e x a l t e d i n t h e p l a y , i t i s j u s t i f i e d ; there  i s no l i b e r a l s o l u t i o n , as one  and  might have e x p e c t e d  from Hunt, f o r i t s i n j u s t i c e s ; n o t h i n g , a t l e a s t , a p p r o a c h ing  pantisocracy.  The  s o l u t i o n t o A g o l a n t i and  problem has no u n i v e r s a l a p p l i c a t i o n s . i s Hunt's New  Ginevra's  What does emerge,  D e a l f o r Women - but i t has no v e r y  militant  statement. The v i e w of m a r r i a g e i n t h e f o l l o w i n g passages i n the p l a y i s not a f a v o u r a b l e  one.  R o n d i n e l l i ' s f r i e n d , i n the  f i r s t a c t , i s a t t e m p t i n g t o persuade him t h a t G i n e v r a  will  not r e a l l y l a n g u i s h away - t h a t her l o v e f o r him w i l l  pre-  serve her:  She  " B e t h i n k t h e e what a l i f e w i t h i n a l i f e /  has t o r e t i r e i n t o , sweet and f u r t h e r seeks t o r e a s s u r e Colonna.  Why  secret."  2 0  Another f r i e n d  Rondinelli:  t h e n , s i r , l o o k ; t h e r e are a hundred m a r r i a g e s I n F l o r e n c e , and a hundred more t o t h o s e , And hundreds t o those hundreds, bad as t h i s ; As i l l - a s s o r t e d , and as l o v e r - h a t e d ; (Always a l l o w i n g f o r t h e n o b l e r d i f f e r e n c e , And t h e r e f o r e g r e a t e r power t o b e a r ) ; and y e t They do not k i l l ; p a r t l y , because of l o v e r s ; P a r t l y , of p r i d e ; p a r t l y , i n d i f f e r e n c e ; P a r t l y , of hate (a good, s t a n c h , l o n g - l i v e d p a s s i o n ) ; P a r t l y , because a l l know t h e common case, And custom's custom. T h e r e ' l l be a hundred c o u p l e s T o n i g h t , ' t w i x t P o r t a P i n t i and San G a l l o , C u t t i n g each o t h e r s * h e a r t s out w i t h m i l d l o o k s , Upon the q u e s t i o n , whether t h e Pope's mule W i l l be i n p u r p l e or s c a r l e t ; - y e t not one W i l l d i e of i t ; no, f a i t h ; nor were a d e a t h To happen, would t h e s u r v i v o r ' s eyes r e f u s e A t e a r t o t h e i r o l d d i s p u t a n t and p a r t n e r , That kept l i f e moving somehow.  119  Rondinelli. By which l o g i c You would i n f e r , t o comfort me, t h a t a l l M a r r i a g e s a r e unhappy. Colonna. Though not v e r y happy.  Not unhappy,  H a l f f a c e t i o u s l y , Da R i v a h y p o t h e s i z e s "some f u t u r e  pos-  s i b l e c o n d i t i o n o f s o c i e t y " when a b e t t e r s t a t e o f t h i n g s w i l l be r e a l i z e d : Da R i v a . A time w i l l come -  And d o u b t l e s s  Colonna. 0, ay; a t i m e w i l l come Poet and prophet - Redunt S a t u r n i a regna, Now hear him on h i s f a v o r i t e golden theme, "A time w i l l come"; a t i m e , eh? when a l l m a r r i a g e s S h a l l be l i k e some few dozen; e x c e p t i o n s , r u l e s ; Every day, Sunday; and each man's p a i n i n the head A crowning s a t i s f a c t i o n ! No, b u t s t i l l Da R i v a . A time when sense and r e a s o n s h a l l have grown As much more r i f e t h a n now, and f o o l i s h t h o r n s As much l e s s i n r e q u e s t , as we, now l i v i n g , Surpass rude t i m e s and savage a n c e s t o r s . Improvement stopped not a t t h e muddy cave, Why a t t h e r u s h - s t r e w n chamber? The w i l d man's dream, Or what he might have dreamt, when a t h i s w i l d e s t , I s , t o t h e c i v i l i z e d man, h i s commonplace. And what should t i m e so r e v e r e n c e i n o u r s e l v e s , As i n h i s due good c o u r s e , not s t i l l t o a l t e r ? The t i m e of t h a t f u t u r e happy c o n d i t i o n i s t h e n suggested: Colonna.  Till  c h a r i o t s r u n some twenty m i l e s an hour?  Da R i v a .  Ay, t h i r t y or f o r t y .  Colonna.  Oh! oh! Without  Da R i v a .  W e l l , t o o b l i g e you, y e s .  Colonna.  And s a i l i n g b o a t s w i t h o u t a s a i l !  horses?  Say, w i t h o u t horses?  Ah, ha! 21  Well  g l o r y be t o p o e t r y and t o p o e t s !  120  I f t h i s prophesy had been f u l f i l l e d , L e i g h Hunt i n the n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y  might have known o f a happy s o l u -  t i o n t o the problem of "not v e r y happy" m a r r i a g e s .  But  A Legend of F l o r e n c e throws no l i g h t on any such s o l u t i o n , although  a v e r y V i c t o r i a n one  within a l i f e "  i s found.  "life  - her l o v e f o r R o n d i n e l l i - keeps her i n  a s t a t e of l a n g u i s h i n g e x i s t e n c e i n her marriage,  Ginevra's  "lover-hated"  and keeps her somewhat r a n c o r o u s towards  Ago-  l a n t i ; but her i m p o s s i b l e v i r t u o u s n e s s a l l o w s her t o g i v e no c o m f o r t t o her l o v e r .  The  s i t u a t i o n i s not much eased  by t h e e f f o r t s on R o n d i n e l l i ' s b e h a l f of Da R i v a , and  Colonna, member of t h e Pope's guard.  " f o o l i s h t h o r n s " but f o r t of them.  The  poet,  They speak o f  seem unable t o r e l i e v e the d i s c o m -  twentieth-century  reader r e c o i l s from  the t a c t i c s of a p a i r of such p a l p a b l e "do-gooders" and to  s i d e w i t h A g o l a n t i , who,  and who  tends  a t any r a t e , does l o v e h i s w i f e ,  defends h i s marriage on the grounds t h a t i t i s no  worse t h a n a hundred o t h e r s i n F l o r e n c e : Agolanti. My house i s not q u i t e happy. You see i t . Whose i s ? But l o o k , s i r , - why should F l o r e n c e f a l l on me? Why s e l e c t me, as the scape-goat of a common And s e l f - r e s e n t e d m i s e r y ? 'Tis a l i e , A boy's l i e , a t u r n ' d o f f s e r v a n t ' s l i e , That mine i s a worse misery t h a n t h e i r own, Of more d e s e r v e d . You know the S t r o z z i f a m i l y , You know the B a l d i , R o s s i , B r u n e l l e s c h i , You do, S i g n o r da R i v a , - the G u i d i a l s o , And A r r e g u c c i : - w e l l , - are they a l l s m i l e s ? A l l comfort? I s t h e r e , on t h e husbands' s i d e s , No roughness? no p l a i n - s p e a k i n g ? o r , on t h e w i v e s ' ,  121  No a n s w e r i n g , t a r t o r o t h e r w i s e ? no b l a c k l o o k s ? No s o f t e s t s p i t e ; nor meekness, pale w i t h m a l i c e ? No s m i l e w i t h the t e e t h s e t , s h i v e r i n g f o r t h a sneer? Take any dozen c o u p l e s , the f i r s t you t h i n k o f , Those you know b e s t ; and see, i f matrimony Has been a success w i t h them, o r a d u l l f a i l u r e ; D u l l a t t h e b e s t ; p r o b a b l y , damn'd w i t h d i s c o r d ; A h e l l , the worse f o r b e i n g c a r r i e d about W i t h q u i e t l o o k s ; o r , h o r r i b l e s t of a l l , Between h a b i t u a l hate and fulsome h o l i d a y . Da R i v a . Oh, S i r , you wrong poor mix'd humanity, And t h i n k not how much n o b l e n e s s r e l i e v e s i t , Nor what a heap of good o l d l o v e t h e r e l i e s Sometimes i n seeming q u a r r e l . I thought you, s i r , I must c o n f e s s , a more e n d u r i n g C h r i s t i a n . Colonna. And churchman, s i r . I own I have been astonish'd Pardon one somewhat nearer than y o u r s e l f Unto the church's p r i n c e - t o hear you speak Thus s t r a n g e l y of a h o l y o r d i n a n c e . 2 2  Colonna's sanctimonious  cant i n the p l a y appears t o have been  meant t o be taken s e r i o u s l y . The and  a r r a n t h y p o c r i s y of Colonna  da R i v a i s p a i n t e d i n a magic p a i n t t h a t was  to the nineteenth-century  audience.  invisible  Yet the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n  of A g o l a n t i , even i n t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , seems t o have been a f l a w i n t h e p l a y . have rendered villain.  Hunt's h u m a n i t a r i a n  bent seems t o  him i n c a p a b l e of p a i n t i n g a t h o r o u g h - g o i n g  Even da R i v a says of A g o l a n t i :  Nay, I won't swear he does not l o v e h i s w i f e , As w e l l as a man of no s o r t of a f f e c t i o n Nor any t e n d e r n e s s can do so. 3 The  man  who  has "no  s o r t o f a f f e c t i o n , nor any domestic  tender-  n e s s " seems more t o be p i t i e d t h a n chastened, f o r h i s l o t ; and  one i s i n c l i n e d t o a t t a c h some of the blame t o some de-  f e c t i n the w i f e - as d i d t h e c r i t i c  on t h e Examiner,  who  122  remarked of G i n e v r a : I t does not appear i f she e v e r had, a t any t i m e , shown him even t h a t semblance o f fondness w h i c h a man's s e l f - i n d u l g e n c e would n a t u r a l l y c l a i m ; or how much t h e u t t e r want of t h i s has had i t s i n f l u e n c e on t h e m i s e r y o f t h e i r home. The u n c e r t a i n t y i n which t h i s i s l e f t , i s perhaps an e v i d e n c e o f t h e w r i t e r ' s g e n i u s ; a means s c a r c e l y r e c o g n i z e d by h i m s e l f , o f s e e i n g f a i r p l a y done on b o t h s i d e s , even between o p p r e s s o r and oppressed. She has a l o v e r whom i t i s e v i d e n t she most s t r o n g l y l o v e s , w h i l e she most s t r o n g l y d i s c o u r a g e s . We s h r i n k from t h i s , and a r e h a l f i n c l i n e d t o t a k e p a r t w i t h t h e husband. She i s p a t i e n t under a l l t h e t o r t u r e s o f a v i l l a i n o u s temper, b u t i t i s a p a t i e n c e w i t h o u t a touch o f a f f e c t i o n i n i t , t h e c o l d and s h r i n k i n g s u f f e r i n g of t h e g r a v e . We s h r i n k from t h i s , t o o , and a r e l o a t h t o condemn t h e husband u t t e r l y . 2 4 The  sudden d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o f A g o l a n t i ' s c h a r a c t e r a t  the end of t h e p l a y i s a f l a w n o t i c e d by t h e Examiner critic:  " F r a n c e s c o A g o l a n t i . . . i s t h e major p o r t r a i t u r e  of the p l a y , and i n a l l r e s p e c t s , except towards t h e c l o s e , exquisitely finished." 5 2  There i s an i n c o n s i s t e n c y , t o o ,  i n Ginevra's character a t the c l o s e .  H i t h e r t o she has r e -  mained i n c h a r a c t e r , a c t i n g i n a c o n s i s t e n t l y  perverse  manner, but a t t h e f i n a l scene, when Hunt d e c i d e s t o have her not renounce t h e w o r l d and g e t t o a nunnery, b u t t o r e t u r n t o h e r p e n i t e n t husband, her d e c i s i o n n o t t o ...go back t o t h a t unsacred house, Where h e a v ' n l y t i e s r e s t r a i n not h e l l i s h  , discord? 0  suddenly makes her t h e mouthpiece f o r Hunt's l i b e r a l , n i s t , and " n o t v e r y d e f i n i t e s p e c u l a t i o n s . " Tioly ordinance"  now?  femi-  What of t h e  At t h i s l a s t s t r a w , a t A g o l a n t i s T  123  l a s t word, where he c o n v e n i e n t l y b e t r a y s h i s v i l l a i n y ,  like  a deus ex machina, Who t r i u m p h s now? who laughs? who Cowards, and shameless women?27  mocks a t  Pandars,  G i n e v r a c l a i m s "the judgment of most h o l y c h u r c h , " but i n the n e x t moment, A g o l a n t i has been k i l l e d .  There i s l i t t l e  l e f t u n s a i d a t the c l o s e ; the a c t i o n i s a l l but "one  and  e n t i r e " ; and t h e i n f e r e n c e meant t o be drawn i s t h a t , a decent  after  i n t e r v a l of g r i e f , G i n e v r a w i l l f l y t o t h e p a t i e n t ,  l o v i n g arms of R o n d i n e l l i . The p r i n c i p l e s i n c u l c a t e d by A Legend of F l o r e n c e are so c l o u d y t h a t the n e c e s s i t y f o r Hunt's p r o f e s s e d t e m e r i t y in  s t a t i n g them i s h a r d t o account f o r .  Perhaps t h e mere  r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of a home i n w h i c h d i s c o r d r e i g n e d was s i v e on t h e V i c t o r i a n s t a g e .  The Examiner c r i t i c  offen-  says:  "It  i s i n d e e d t h e i n t e r i o r of a home, whose d o o r s , i n t h e a t r e s , have h i t h e r t o been c a r e f u l l y c l o s e d . have encountered It  Perhaps few men  would  the r i s k o f f l i n g i n g them so w i d e l y open."2  i s a p i t y t h a t , h a v i n g f l u n g them open, Hunt d i d not  a l l o w a l i t t l e more a i r and  light in.  Death was  found  to  be the only s o l u t i o n t o a l i a i s o n such as t h a t of G i n e v r a and A g o l a n t i , a l t h o u g h da R i v a and Colonna d i d t r y t o make the hate of i t a l i t t l e side.  more l o v i n g , a t l e a s t on A g o l a n t i ' s  But a f t e r f i f t e e n y e a r s i n which t o contemplate  the  m a t t e r , Hunt, r e g r e t t a b l y , does not seem t o have thought i t  f  124  worthwhile  t o promulgate on t h e stage t h o s e " l a w l e s s  notions  of h i s own," whatever t h e y were, t h a t he once h e l d h i g h i n his he  Examiner c r i t i c i s m o f Barry C o r n w a l l ' s M i r a n d o l a , when said: H i s women a r e t h e same i l l - u s e d c r e a t u r e s as f o r m e r l y , o n l y he makes t h e i r t e n d e r n e s s and p a t i e n c e so l o v e l y , t h a t we f a l l i n f o r t h e moment w i t h what we t h i n k t h e m i s t a k e n s e n t i m e n t s o f s o c i e t y , and b l i n k t h e q u e s t i o n of improvement f o r t h e sake of i n d u l g i n g o u r s e l v e s i n lordly pity. 9 2  Ginevra  i s s t i l l a s u b j e c t f o r l o r d l y p i t y - combined  haps, w i t h a j u s t i f i a b l e l o r d l y i m p a t i e n c e . e f f e c t o f the p l a y i s n o t an e n n o b l i n g  per-  The o v e r a l l  one, as the c r i t i c  on t h e Examiner remarked: The e f f e c t l e f t on t h e mind i s t h a t o f a p e r p l e x e d moral sense, i n w h i c h much t h a t i s the most e n n o b l i n g and grand i n our nature i s dashed and a l l o y e d w i t h much t h a t i s the most unworthy. There i s t o o l a r g e an a d m i x t u r e o f t h i s i n l i f e i t s e l f , t o s u f f e r us t o charge i t on t h e a u t h o r a s a crime a g a i n s t the a c t u a l , however g r e a t may be i t s s i n a g a i n s t t h e ideal. The q u e s t i o n w i l l r a t h e r be, perhaps, how f a r t h e stage i s t h e t h e a t r e f o r such l e s s o n s . 3 0 A Legend of F l o r e n c e seems t o d e m o n s t r a t e a s h i f t Hunt's e a r l i e r v i e w p o i n t e f f e c t i v e reformers  from  - " t h a t t h e most u n c e a s i n g and  have not been among t h o s e who have  the l e a s t c h e e r f u l means o f e f f e c t i n g t h e i r o b j e c t , " 3 1  taken and  t h a t " t h e l i g h t e r c o l o u r s should predominate, a t l e a s t i n p l a c e s designed  f o rrecreation."32  i  n  seeking t o reform  o p i n i o n upon an i s s u e "which had been accustomed t o beg a l l the d e l i c a c i e s on one s i d e , " he c e r t a i n l y i n d u l g e d i n t h e  /  12 5  s p l e n e t i c side of the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . sudden r e f o r m a t i o n  And  Ginevra*s  c a r r i e s no g r e a t w e i g h t of c o n v i c t i o n .  Perhaps Hunt was not one of t h o s e a r t i s t s " o f a h i g h e r o r d e r of p o e t r y and g e n i u s , who a l o n e know how t o temper and  s o f t e n " the d a r k e r c o l o u r s i n t h e mingled yarn "of  w h i c h 'the web o f l i f e to  T  obscure t h e p a t t e r n .  i s composed."33  ^ i s treatment  tends  The l i b e r a l a d m i x t u r e o f good i n  A g o l a n t i , " t h e m a s t e r - p o r t r a i t u r e o f t h e p l a y , " makes him too s y m p a t h e t i c  a f i g u r e , and t h e one who i n v i t e s  identi-  f i c a t i o n more t h a n any o t h e r ; t h e a d m i x t u r e o f b a d , o r a t l e a s t negative,  i n G i n e v r a , makes t h e a u d i e n c e l o s e  w i t h her as t h e a c t i o n p r o c e e d s .  patience  To p o r t r a y one p o s i t i v e  a c t a f t e r a s u c c e s s i o n of weak and n e g a t i v e  ones i s not t o  s t r i k e any g r e a t b l o w f o r t h e e m a n c i p a t i o n o f womanhood i t i s rather t o c a l l  the issue t o question.  of t h e p l a y ' s " m o r a l "  i s l a r g e l y accountable  The d i f f u s e n e s s t o t h i s weak-  ness i n c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , w h i c h was not missed by t h e nineteenth-century  critic.  I n h i s t h e a t r e c r i t i c i s m , Hunt presaged and a b l y f o s t e r e d t h a t concept o f " f o u r t h - w a l l r e a l i s m " w h i c h was s u b s t a n t i a l l y f u l f i l l e d l a t e r i n the century;  i n h i s play  he was a remote p r e c u r s o r o f I b s e n , who showed w i t h more r e a l i s m t h e i n t e r i o r o f homes, "whose d o o r s , have been h i t h e r t o c a r e f u l l y c l o s e d . "  i n theatres,  But i n A Legend o f  F l o r e n c e Hunt commits a t e c h n i c a l r e g r e s s i o n , i n h i s  126  c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f G i n e v r a , from h i s e a r l y s t r o n g e s p o u s a l o f stage r e a l i s m :  "An a c t o r . . . who  h i m s e l f . . . i n l o o k i n g a t the a u d i e n c e ,  and  indulges acknowledging  t h e i r a p p r o b a t i o n , i s j u s t as r i d i c u l o u s as I should m y s e l f , i f I were t o l o o k e v e r y moment a t the of my own  be  reflection  s m i l e i n my l o o k i n g - g l a s s , o r make a bow  t o the  houses on the o t h e r s i d e o f t h e way."34 But i n the stage d i r e c t i o n s of A Legend o f F l o r e n c e , G i n e v r a i s i n s t r u c t e d t o l o o k at the a u d i e n c e ;  [She  clasps  her hands, and speaks w i t h c o n s t a n t vehemence, l o o k i n g t o wards the audience.}  The  speech w h i c h she d e l i v e r s i n t h i s  stance i s perhaps e d i f y i n g , f o r t h e l i g h t t h a t i t throws upon Hunt's h u m a n i t a r i a n view of womankind.  I t is instruc-  t i v e , t o o , i n r e v e a l i n g a r e g r e s s i o n from Hunt's e a r l i e r avowal of " n a t u r a l "  diction:  A l a s ! a l a s ! why was t h a t one word u t t e r ' d To b e a r down the l a s t p a t i e n c e of my s o u l , And make me c r y aloud t o heaven and m i s e r y ? I am most m i s e r a b l e . I am a c r e a t u r e That now, f o r f i f t e e n y e a r s , from c h i l d h o o d upwards, T i l l t h i s hard moment, when the heavens f o r b i d i t , Have-not known what i t was t o shed a t e a r , Which o t h e r s met w i t h t h e i r s . T h e r e f o r e mine eyes D i d l e a r n t o hush t h e m s e l v e s , and young, grow d r y . For my poor f a t h e r knew not how I l o v e d him, Nor mother n e i t h e r ; and my severe husband Demanded l o v e , not knowing l o v i n g n e s s . And now I c r y out, w i s h i n g t o be r i g h t , And b e i n g wrong; and by the s i d e o f me Weeps the b e s t h e a r t , w h i c h ought not so t o weep, And d u t y ' s s e l f seems t o t u r n round upon me, And mock me; by whose law n e v e r t h e l e s s Do I a b i d e , and w i l l ; so pray heaven To keep me i n my w i t s , and t e a c h me b e t t e r . Turn me a s i d e , sweet s a i n t s , and l e t me g o . 3 5  127  Perhaps Hunt wrote b e t t e r t h a n he knew, f o r h i s playi s i n advance o f i t s t i m e s i n i t s p r e s e n t a t i o n of a complex character. a simple  The  one;  s i t u a t i o n would have been b e t t e r served  by  the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of the o t h e r p a r t s i s  s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d and  c o n v e n t i o n a l , and  t i o n of the p l a y are or even demanded,  the p l o t and  construc-  such t h a t the commonplace i s e x p e c t e d ,  And  yet there i s A g o l a n t i .  minded of Hunt's comment upon an a c t o r who  One  is re-  "lost half his  p r o p e r e f f e c t by the v e r y s t r e n g t h of h i s powers:" S t r a n g e ! by t h e means d e f e a t e d I t i s easy, and  of t h e ends!^'  perhaps u n f a i r and  f a u l t w i t h V i c t o r i a n drama.  Some of t h e  0  unprofitable, to f i n d stage's  conventions  t h e n seem l u d i c r o u s today - G i n e v r a ' s p o s t u r i n g s , f o r i n s t a n c e . Another pre-Ibsenian  convention,  f a r from r e a l i s m , but w h i c h  Hunt f u l l y e x p l o i t e d i n h i s p l a y , i s t h a t of t h e which were t h e d r a m a t i s t ' s  "asides,"  e x p o s i t o r y deus ex machina;  and  w h i c h have s u f f e r e d a p e j o r a t i v e change u n t i l they are  now  r e g a r d e d as the t r a p p i n g s excerpt  of melodrama.  The f o l l o w i n g  i l l u s t r a t e s t h e k i n d of use t h e y were put t o i n  Hunt's play - and  i n c i d e n t a l l y t e n d s t o r e i n f o r c e one's  sympathy f o r A g o l a n t i .  The  scene i s A g o l a n t i ' s house,  where the "do-gooders" have come t o ask i f t h e y may the Pope's p r o c e s s i o n the  route:  watch  from G i n e v r a * s windows, which f r o n t  128  Lady O l i m p i a . I f e a r we have t i r e d With our l o u d t a l k , S i g n o r F r a n c e s c o .  her  Ginevra. No; ' t i s l i k e b r i g h t h e a l t h come t o t a l k w i t h us: Is i t not? (To her husband). Agolanti. ( A s i d e ) . She knows I hate i t . - Lady O l i m p i a B r i n g s e v e r a s p r i g h t l y s t i r r i n g t o the s p i r i t , And her f a i r f r i e n d a balm. ( A s i d e , t o G i n e v r a ) . What want they now, t h i s f l a u n t e r and i n s i p i d i t y ? Ginevra. ( A l o u d ) . Our neighbour and her f r i e n d s bring a petition, That i t would p l e a s e you t o convenience them With your f a i r windows f o r the coming s p e c t a c l e ; Y o u r s e l f , i f w e l l enough, d o u b l i n g the g r a c e , W i t h your good company. Agolanti. ( A s i d e ) . I thought as much. At e v e r y t u r n my w i l l i s t o be t o r n from me, And a t her s o f t s u g g e s t i o n . ( A l o u d ) . My windows Cannot be b e t t e r f i l l e d , t h a n w i t h such beauty, And w i t and modest eloquence.37 In h i s p r e f a c e t o t h e second e d i t i o n of A Legend of F l o r e n c e , Hunt comments upon t h e a c t o r s , i n the mellow, c h a r i t a b l e s p i r i t of h i s T a t l e r  criticisms:  I w i s h I c o u l d shower upon M i s s E l l e n Tree p e a r l s and gems, e q u a l to t h e s y l l a b l e s t h a t she so r e a d i l y u t t e r s , w i t h those b r i g h t eyes, and t h o s e l i p s w h i c h seem made d e l i g h t e d l y t o say " y e s . " To Mr, B a r t l e y , who  p l a y e d da R i v a ,  I am i n d e b t e d f o r t h a t h e a r t y and emphatic d e l i v e r y of e v e r y word w h i c h happened t o be of more importance t h a n i t might seem t o a r i g h t u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e s p i r i t of the p l a y . What t h e r e i s at p r e s e n t of h e a v i n e s s i n Mr. Anderson's [ R o n d i n e l l i ' s ] s t y l e i s an ore c o n t a i n i n g g o l d ; and w i l l wear o f f as the p a s s i o n i n him, of which he has a g r e a t d e a l , l e a r n s to r u n i n t o a s t a t e of f u s i o n , and t o overcome i n t e l l e c t u a l - l o o k i n g t e m p t a t i o n s t o i s o l a t e d b i t s of desc r i p t i o n and illustration.3°  129  Mr. Moore  (Agolanti),  t o o , l i k e Mr. Anderson, o c c a s i o n a l l y wants an a b s o r p t i o n o f the l e s s i n t o t h e g r e a t e r , o r t o e x p r e s s what I mean more d i s t i n c t l y , the power of p a i n t i n g i n c i d e n t a l images and f e e l i n g s as he goes, w i t h o u t seeming t o s t o p and p a i n t them. But l i k e him a l s o , he has no c a n t , no s e l f a b s o r p t i c n , and on t h e o t h e r hand, a f a i t h i n p a s s i o n , w h i c h i s c a p a b l e of e v e r y a c q u i r a b l e e x c e l l e n c e by s t u d y . 3 9 W i t h t h e s e acute and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c comments on the a c t o r s , Hunt's p r o f e s s i o n of p l a y w r i g h t has t u r n e d him c i r c l e , and he i s a g a i n - and s t i l l who,  - the t h e a t r e c r i t i c ,  i n commencing t o r e v i e w drama f o r t h e News, " d i s -  covered what e x c e l l e n t a c t o r s we possessed."40 his  full  Hunt began  c r i t i c a l c a r e e r by c r i t i c i z i n g a c t o r s ; and ever a f t e r ,  h i s t h e a t r e c r i t i c i s m emphasized  t h e r o l e of a c t o r s , more  t h a n t h a t o f a u t h o r s , p r o d u c e r s , o r managers, i n the theatre.  The p l a y was not s o much the t h i n g as the p l a y e r .  He became l e s s concerned w i t h t h e q u a l i t y of t h e p l a y s as t i m e went on, and he had more i n s i g h t i n t o t h e age's " d e a r t h of d r a m a t i c c h a r a c t e r " ; and he ended h i s t h e a t r e c r i t i c i s m s i n the T a t l e r i n a mellow s p i r i t o f r e c o n c i l e ment w i t h h i s o l d enemies, Reynolds and D i b d i n , t h e w r i t e r s of " f i v e - a c t f a r c e s . " own p l a y was  The performance  of tremendous i m p o r t a n c e t o him; more, he  avowed, t h a n t h e p l a y ' s u l t i m a t e w o r t h . prophesy  of the a c t o r s i n h i s  He v e n t u r e d t o  i n the p r e f a c e t h a t E l l e n Tree's G i n e v r a ' ' w i l l  be r e c o r d e d i n a n n a l s of t h e s t a g e , though the w r i t t e n  130  p a r t , as a whole, should not s u r v i v e i t s author."^I t i s h a r d l y reasonable  L  t o c o n j e c t u r e t h a t Hunt's  p l a y had a b e t t e r c a s t t h a n Johnson's d i d , w i t h G a r r i c k , B a r r y , Mrs. C i b b e r , and Mrs. P r i t c h a r d , f o u r l e a d i n g ornaments o f t h e e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y  stage.  Yet there i s  a rumour t h a t Johnson found f a u l t w i t h t h e way t h e l i n e s of I r e n e were d e l i v e r e d .  But Johnson, a l t h o u g h  he s h o u l d  have been t h e supreme a u t h o r i t y f o r h i s own p l a y , was by a l l a c c o u n t s not a r e f i n e d c r i t i c o f a c t i n g . he could n o t have been as w e l l - e q u i p p e d a c t o r s as was Hunt.  A t any r a t e ,  t o comment on t h e  What might have happened i s t h a t Gar-  r i c k , who was "no d e c l a i m e r , "  and who thought  Johnson's  p l a y was out o f d a t e f o r the m i d - e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y ,  might  have a t t e m p t e d t o i n f u s e i n t o i t some o f h i s n a t u r a l i s m . A comparison o f such p l a y s as Irene and A Legend o f Florence  i s a p t t o be i n v i d i o u s , e s p e c i a l l y when d i f f e r e n t  c e n t u r i e s of v e r y d i f f e r e n t thought a r e i n v o l v e d .  But b o t h  p l a y s have been found t o be t h e i r w r i t e r ' s " p r o p e r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e " and t o have shown not o n l y p e r s o n a l b u t c u l t u r a l traits,  and t o have i l l u s t r a t e d , t o some e x t e n t ,  ments i n t h e t h e a t r e .  develop-  Johnson's was the product o f an  e a r l y i n f a t u a t i o n , and Hunt's was t h e p o s t l u d e to a l i f e - l o n g love a f f a i r w i t h the t h e a t r e .  Johnson's e x e m p l i f i e d an  i d e a l w h i c h t h e t h e a t r e f a i l e d f u l l y t o l i v e up t o , and Johnson subsequent t o t h e p r o d u c t i o n estranged  from t h e t h e a t r e .  o f h i s p l a y became  I r e n e i s a doggedly J o h n s o n i a n  131  p l a y - i n i t s l o f t y , g e n e r a l i z e d t r e a t m e n t of theme, g e n e r a l v i r t u e s and g e n e r a l v i c e s are d e a l t w i t h i n a manner not c a l c u l a t e d t o sweep t h e l i s t e n e r a l o n g ; i t s e v e n t s are remembered "without  joy o r s o r r o w , " and t o  a g i r l c r y at the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of i t would  see  certainly  have been the most r i d i c u l o u s of a l l t h i n g s . Hunt's p l a y i s the a n t i t h e s i s of Johnson's i n t h a t i t e r r s - at l e a s t t o our ears - i n b e i n g  excessively  p a r t i c u l a r , r a t h e r t h a n g e n e r a l , i n i t s t r e a t m e n t of theme. The theme, perhaps, has g e n e r a l " t h e r e a r e a hundred m a r r i a g e s / r e d more t o t h o s e , / bad as A g o l a n t i ' s .  And  s i g n i f i c a n c e , in that I n F l o r e n c e , and a  hundreds t o those hundreds'.'^  But the w o r k i n g out o f a  m a r r i a g e seems t o be  nun2  as  particular  such a p a r t i c u l a r one, w i t h sword-play,  and t h e p o e t i c - j u s t i c e d e a t h of A g o l a n t i , t h a t u n i v e r s a l i t y i s greatly sacrificed. I f i t i s e a s i e r t o f i n d f a u l t w i t h Hunt's p l a y than w i t h Johnson's, i t i s because Johnson's seems "above s o l i c i t u d e , " and  s h a r e s i n the g e n e r a l l y d e f e r e n t i a l r e g a r d  of the t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y  towards the e i g h t e e n t h .  p l a y i s r e p r e s e n t i v e of a d i s c r e d i t e d p e r i o d o f which, temporally spiritually.  c l o s e r t o our own,  Hunt's literature,  i s at an o p p o s i t e  But as an i t e m of " t h e a t r a l i a , " Irene  pole  i s less  s i g n i f i c a n t t h a n A Legend of F l o r e n c e , because Johnson l e s s p r a c t i c a l l y i n v o l v e d w i t h the t h e a t r e , and wrote a  was  132  p s e u d o - c l a s s i c a l p l a y when the genre was a l r e a d y out of f a v o u r w i t h most e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y p l a y g o e r s .  Hunt's  i d e a l s f o r a c t i n g , p r o d u c t i o n , and the substance o f drama were advanced beyond p o s s i b i l i t y of achievement i n the theatre of h i s time.  A l t h o u g h h i s p l a y seems t o show a  w i t h d r a w a l from the p o s i t i o n w h i c h he h e l d as c r i t i c , when he l a i d the f o u n d a t i o n s f o r p r o d u c t i o n s of Ibsen and  Shaw  i n the t h e a t r e , Hunt foreshadowed, i n A Legend o f F l o r e n c e , another i m p o r t a n t development i n the t h e a t r e .  Without  r e a l l y abandoning h i s e a r l i e r i d e a l s , Hunt r e c o g n i z e d i n a p r a c t i c a l way  t h e two d i r e c t i o n s which V i c t o r i a n drama p u r -  sued, and wrote a p l a y t h a t augured the h e i g h t e n e d r e a l i s m o f S i r Henry I r v i n g ' s Lyceum p r o d u c t i o n s . l e d t h e way  Hunt's c r i t i c i s m  a l o n g one p a t h ; h i s p l a y w r i t i n g f o l l o w e d a l o n g o  the o t h e r .  But h i s p l a y , a commercial s u c c e s s , i s t r u l y  r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f one course of t h e development of the Victorian theatre.  133  F O O T N O T E S to  chapter I  1 J.H.W. A t k i n s : "...he i s o f course no adherent o f t h e n e o c l a s s i c a l s c h o o l . " E n g l i s h L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m of t h e S e v e n t e e n t h and E i g h t e e n t h C e n t u r i e s (London, 1956), p. 275. A l s o v i d e Rene W e l l e k , A H i s t o r y of Modern C r i t i c i s m : 17501950, I ( Y a l e , 1955), 79: "He i s o f c o u r s e no r o m a n t i c i s t . " B o s w e l l ' s L i f e o f Johnson, ed. G.B. H i l l , don, 1934) - h e r e a f t e r c i t e d as L i f e - IV, 220. 2  3 L i f e , IV, 4 L i f e , I, 5  I,  160.  6 v o l . (Lon-  221. 167.  T h r a l i a n a , ed. K.C.  6 L i f e , I I , 465;  V,  B a l d e r s t o n , 2 v o l . (London, 1952), 559.  7 L i f e , I I , 14-15. 8  J . on S., p.  61.  9 Note t o Henry V, i n Johnson on Shakespeare, ed. W a l t e r R a l e i g h (London, 1940) - h e r e a f t e r c i t e d as J . on S. - p. 130, 1° Loc. c i t .  The A u t o b i o g r a p h y o f L e i g h Hunt, ed. J.E. Morpurgo (London, 1949) - h e r e a f t e r c i t e d as A u t o b i o g r a p h y - p. 79. 1 1  1  2  A u t o b i o g r a p h y , p.  13 L i f e , I , 446. 14 L o c . c i t . 1 5  1 6  L i f e , I , 71. L i f e , I I I , 22.  17 L i f e , I I I , 21. 18 L i f e , I I , 361. 19 L i f e , I ,  105.  157.  134  2 0  2 1  2 2  L i f e , V, 378. L i f e , I , 446. L i f e , I , 445.  23 L i f e , I I , 15. 24 L i f e , I , 427. 2 5  2  6  L i f e , I I , 361. T a t l e r #86.  d  27 A u t o b i o g r a p h y , p. 4 2 1 . # Quoted i n L o u i s Landre, L e i g h Hunt, 2 v o l . ( P a r i s , I, 203. 2  2  9  L e t t e r , Sept.  1936),  1817.  ° L e i g h Hunt, I , 2 0 3 . 31 Thornton Hunt's I n t r o d u c t i o n t o L e i g h Hunt's Autob i o g r a p h y , ed. Blunden (London, 1 9 2 8 ) , pp. 2 - 3 . 32 L e i g h Hunt, I . 3  33 H a z l i t t ' s S p i r i t o f t h e Age, quoted i n Edmund Blunden, L e i g h Hunt: A B i o g r a p h y (London, 1938) p. ^ George S a i n t s b u r y , A H i s t o r y o f C r i t i c i s m (London, pp. 246, 250-251. 3 5  3  6  1904),  L i f e , I I , 82. L i f e , I , 448.  37 3 8  A u t o b i o g r a p h y , pp. 19, L i f e , I I I , 352.  452.  Quoted i n W a l t e r B a t e , From C l a s s i c t o Romantic 1 9 4 6 ) , p. 71. 3 9  4  0  4  1  4 2  L i f e , IV, 123. T a t l e r #279. A u t o b i o g r a p h y , 453.  ^"3 L o c . c i t .  (London,  13 5  48 A u t o b i o g r a p h y , p. 17. 49 A u t o b i o g r a p h y , p. 19. 50 " C r i t i c a l E s s a y s " (London, 1807), r e p r i n t e d i n Dramat E s s a y s by L e i g h Hunt ed. Auher and Lowe (London, 1894), p. 46 51 T a t l e r  #76.  52 T a t l e r #200. 53 T a t l e r #268. 54 T a t l e r #27955 T a t l e r #2895° " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", J a n . 10, 1808. 57 I n t r o d u c t i o n t o J . on S., p. x x i . 5 8  J . on S., pp.  20-21.  59 " L i f e o f A d d i s o n , " i n Johnson's Works, 12 v o l . don, 1824) - h e r e a f t e r c i t e d as Works - X, 120. 6 0  6 1  L i f e , I , 199. Works, X, 123.  62 Works, X, 2 4 6 . 6  3 Examiner, March 19, 1820.  6 4  6  5  6 6  J - on S., p. 21. " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", Feb. 21, 1808. " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", J u l y 14, 1819-  (Lon-  136  F O O T N O T E S t o Chapter I I 1 J . on S., p. 27 2  L i f e , I , 199.  3  L i f e , I , 198.  4  Rambler #4, Works, I V , 23.  5 R a s s e l a s , Works, I I I , 3296  J . on S., p. 12.  7  J . on S., pp. 26-27.  8 Rambler #4, Works, I V , 23. ^ Quoted i n O d e l l , Shakespeare from B e t t e r t o n t o I r v i n g (New Y o r k , 1 9 2 0 ) , p. 10 The Bee (Oct. 6, 1759) #1. 1 1  Loc. c i t .  1 2  J . on S., p. 28.  13 Samuel T a y l o r C o l e r i d g e : Shakespearean C r i t i c i s m , ed, T.M. R a y s o r , 2 v o l . (London, I 9 6 0 ) , I I , 56-57. 14 Memoirs o f R i c h a r d Cumberland  (London, 1806) , p. 59•  1 5  L i f e , I V , 243.  1 6  L i f e , I V , 243-244.  1 7  London C h r o n i c l e , May 23, 1776.  1^ A u t o b i o g r a p h y , p. 136. A u t o b i o g r a p h y , p. 137. 2 0  T a t l e r , J u l y 7, 1831.  21 L e i g h Hunt, C r i t i c a l E s s a y s on t h e P e r f o r m e r s o f t h e London T h e a t r e s (London, 1808) - h e r e a f t e r c i t e d as C r i t i c a l E s s a y s - "Appendix", pp. 22-23. 22 T a t l e r , Nov. 19, 1830.  137  23 T a t l e r , Nov. 20,  1830.  24 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner" #1, Jan. 3, 25 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", Oct. 5, T a t l e r , Dec. 3,  2 6  1808.  1817-  1830.  27 T h e a t r i c a l Observer, Oct. 16,  1822.  28 C r i t i c a l E s s a y s , p. 60. T a t l e r , August 3 0 ,  2 9  Tatler  3 0  1831.  #145.  31 T a t l e r , Nov.  10,  1831.  32 C r i t i c a l E s s a y s , p. 2. 33 C r i t i c a l E s s a y s , p. 3 Z f  182.  C r i t i c a l E s s a y s , p. 23.  35 C r i t i c a l E s s a y s , "Appendix", p. 10. 3 Quoted i n B e r t r a m Joseph, The T r a g i c A c t o r 1959), p. 130. Q  R.W.  37 D r a m a t i c E s s a y s by L e i g h Hunt, ed. W. Lowe (London, 1894), pp. 1 2 - 1 3 . 3 8  " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner," A p r i l 3,  3 9  J . on S., p. 16.  41  " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", J u l y 20,  A r c h e r and  1820.  40 Dramatic E s s a y s by L e i g h Hunt, p.  127.  1817.  42 C r i t i c a l E s s a y s , "Appendix", pp. 2 2 - 2 3 . 43 J . on S., p. 19.  (London,  138  F O O T N O T E S t o Chapter I I I  1 Rambler # 4 , Works, I V , 2 3 . "What i s P o e t r y ? " quoted i n M.H. Abrams, The M i r r o r and t h e Lamp (London, 1 9 5 3 ) , p. 3 2 1 . 2  21  3  I n I m a g i n a t i o n and Fancy (London,  4  L e i g h Hunt, I m a g i n a t i o n and Fancy (London,  5  "Chapter X V I I I " , R a s s e l a s , Works, I I I ,  1 8 4 4 ) . 1883),  p. 60.  351-352.  6 The Complete Works o f W i l l i a m H a z l i t t , ed. P.P. Howe, v o l . (London, 1 9 3 0 ) , I V , 7  " I n t r o d u c t i o n " , J . on  8 J . on S. , p . 9  Loc. c i t .  10  J . on S., p.  11  Loc. c i t .  12  J . on S.,  13  Loc. c i t .  pp.  14 J . on S. , p. 15  12.  12-13.  15.  J . on S., p. 16.  16 J . on S., p. 17  11.  J . on S. , pp.  18 J . on S. , p. 19  Loc. c i t .  20  Loc. c i t .  21  J . on S., P.  22  Loc. c i t .  23  Loc. c i t .  20. 20-21. 22.  23.  139  24 J . on S., p.  24.  25 J . on S., p. 20. 2 6  on S., p.  36.  27 Loc. c i t . 28 J . on S., p. 3 8 . 29 I m a g i n a t i o n and Fancy, p. 158. 30 L e i g h Hunt, F e a s t o f the Poets (London, 1811), p. 5 8 - 5 9 . 31 L e i g h Hunt, A J a r of Honey from Mount Hybla (London, 1848), p. 154. 32 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner"  #24.  33 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", Nov. 2 ,  1817.  34 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", March 29, 35 I m a g i n a t i o n and Fancy, p, 3 6  1812.  132.  J . on S., pp. 2 2 - 2 3 .  37 I m a g i n a t i o n and Fancy, p.  132.  33 I m a g i n a t i o n and Fancy, p.  133.  39 J . on S., p. 28. 40 J . on S., p.  61.  41 Samuel T a y l o r C o l e r i d g e :  Shakespearean C r i t i c i s m , I I ,  42 "On the T r a g e d i e s of Shakespeare..." Works o f C h a r l e s and Mary Lamb, ed. E.V. L u c a s , 6 v o l . (London, 1 9 0 3 ) , 1, 9 9 . 43 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", March 12,  1815.  44 I m a g i n a t i o n and Fancy, pp. 249-250. 45 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", June 3 ,  1810.  46 Dramatic E s s a y s by L e i g h Hunt, ed. W. Lowe, p. x i . 47 C r i t i c a l E s s a y s , pp. 50 f f . 48 C r i t i c a l E s s a y s , p.  51.  A r c h e r and  R.W.  HO  49 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", Oct. 4, 1818. 5° C r i t i c a l E s s a y s , p. 183. 51 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", A p r i l 30, 1820. 5 2  " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", Oct. 31, 1819-  53 J . on 5., pp. 161-162. 54 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", May 28, 1808. 55 Loc. c i t . 56 "Table T a l k " , 1822. 57 Works o f C h a r l e s and Mary Lamb, I , 108. 58 T a t l e r  #146.  59 J . on S., p. 198. 6 0  J . on S., p. 125.  b l  L i f e , I V , 192.  5 2  L i f e , I V , 515.  63 T a t l e r  #26.  HI F O O T N O T E S t o C h a p t e r IV 1  J . on S., p. 14.  2  " L i f e o f Dryden", Works, I X , 332.  3 J . on S., p. 28. 4 " L i f e o f Otway", Works, I X , 2 2 6 . 5  " L i f e o f A d d i s o n " , Works, X, 113.  6  I b i d . , p. 120.  7  I b i d . , p. 123.  * 9  T a  tler  #22.  " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", Oct. 24, 1818. Loc. c i t .  11 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", January 1 4 , 12 T a t l e r  1821.  #73.  1 3  " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", Aug. 20, 1820.  1/f  " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", Oct. 1, 1820.  1  T a t l e r #279.  5  1 6  x  ation  ? " S i r John Vanbrugh", i n The Comic Poets of t h e Restor(London, I84O), r e p r i n t e d i n Mermaid S e r i e s , p. $1.  1 8  1  T a t l e r #289.  9  20  Tatler  #76.  J . on S., p. 20. Loc. c i t .  142  2 1  L i f e , I , 199, n. 2.  22 L o c . c i t . 23 L i f e , X, 199.  24  J . on S., p. 13.  25 " L i f e 2 6  2  0  f Dryden", Works, I X , 395-396.  I b i d , , p. 320.  ? " L i f e o f Otway", Works, I X , 227.  2 8  " L i f e of Rowe", Works, X, 62.  2 9  " L i f e of Dryden", Works, I X , 4 3 1 .  3° " L i f e o f Rowe", Works, X, 64.3  1  " T h e a t r i c a l E x a m i n e r " , March 13, 1808".  32 " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", J a n u r a r y 14, 1821. 33 Loc . c i t . 34 " T h e a t r i c a l E x a m i n e r " , March 16, 1817. 35 " T h e a t r i c a l E x a m i n e r " , May 16, 1819• 3^ J . on S. , p. 36. 37 " L i f e o f Savage", Works, X, 321. 3 g  " L i f e o f M i l t o n " , Works, I X , 178.  39 F e a s t o f t h e P o e t s , pp. 58-59. 4° I m a g i n a t i o n and Fancy, p. 212. 41 I m a g i n a t i o n and Fancy, pp. 212-213.  143  4- F e a s t o f the P o e t s , p. 59. 2  ^3 " L i f e o f Young", Works, X I , 345. ^  " T h e a t r i c a l E x a m i n e r " , Dec. 14, 1817.  ^  J . on S., p. 21.  4 6  " T h e a t r i c a l E x a m i n e r " , March 15, 1818.  144  F O O T N O T E S t o Chapter V 1  L i f e , I V , 5, n. 1.  2 L i f e , IV, 5. 3  L i f e , I V , 5, n. 1.  4  L i f e , I , 198. Loc. c i t . , n. 4.  6  L i f e , 1, 198.  7  L i f e , 1, 538.  A l l a r d y c e N i c o l l , A H i s t o r y o f E a r l y E i g h t e e n t h Cent u r y Drama (London, 1955), pp. 94-95. 9  J . on S., p. 12.  1 0  "Life  o f A d d i s o n " , Works, X, 120.  1 1  I r e n e , Works, I , 69.  1 2  Ibid.,  1 3  L i f e , I , 201.  p. 72.  14 I r e n e , Works, I , 111. 1 5  1 7  Ibid.,  p. 67.  Ibid.,  p. 5 6 .  Ibid.,  p. 128.  18 A l l a r d y c e N i c o l l , A H i s t o r y o f E a r l y N i n e t e e n t h Cent u r y Drama (London, 1930), pp. 180-181.  145  19 " P r e f a c e " , A Legend o f F l o r e n c e , 2nd e d . (London, 1840) - h e r e a f t e r c i t e d as Legend - p. x i v . 2 0  Legend, p. 25.  2 1  Legend, pp.  25-27.  pp Legend, pp. 40-41. 23  Legend, p. 4.  *- " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", F e b . 9,  2Z  25 2 6  I84O.  T  Loc. c i t . Legend, p. 80.  27 Loc. c i t . pd 2 9  3 0  1  " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", F e b . 9, I 8 4 O . " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", J a n . 14, 1821. " T h e a t r i c a l Examiner", Feb. 9, I84O.  3 1  T a t l e r #279.  3 2  T a t l e r #289.  33 Loc. c i t . Dramatic E s s a y s by L e i g h Hunt, p. 30. 3 5  Legend, p. 77. Dramatic E s s a y s by L e i g h Hunt, p. 4 8 .  3 7  Legend, p. 21.  - ° Legend, p. x i v . >  146  39  Legend, p. x v .  4 ° Dramatic E s s a y s bv L e i g h Hunt, p. x x x v i i i 4 1  Legend, p. x i v .  42  Legend, p. 2 5 .  B I B L I O G R A P H Y I  P r i m a r y Sources - Johnson H i l l , George B i r k b e c k , ed. B o s w e l l ' s L i f e of Johnson. 6 v o l . O x f o r d , 1934. Johnson, Samuel.  Johnson's Works.  12 v o l . London, 1824.  R a l e i g h , W a l t e r , ed. Johnson on Shakespeare.  II  O x f o r d , 1940.  P r i m a r y Sources - Hunt Hunt, L e i g h . The A u t o b i o g r a p h y o f L e i g h Hunt, ed. J.E. Morpurgo. London, 1949. C r i t i c a l E s s a y s on t h e P e r f o r m e r s o f t h e London T h e a t r e s , i n c l u d i n g g e n e r a l o b s e r v a t i o n s on the p r a c t i s e and g e n i u s o f t h e Stage: by t h e a u t h o r of t h e T h e a t r i c a l C r i t i c i s m i n the w e e k l y paper c a l l e d the News. London, 1808. ' The E x a m i n e r , a Sunday Paper on P o l i t i c s , Domestic Economy and T h e a t r i c a l s . London, 1808-1821. The F e a s t o f t h e P o e t s .  London, 1814.  A J a r of Honey from Mount H y b l a .  London, 1848.  A Legend o f F l o r e n c e , A P l a y i n F i v e London, 1840. Men, Women, and Books.  Acts.  London, 1847.  The P o e t i c a l Works o f L e i g h Hunt and T. Hood. London, 1889. 0  ' ed. The T a t l e r , A D a i l y J o u r n a l o f L i t e r a t u r e and t h e Stage. London, 1830-1832.  Ill  Secondary Sources - Johnson and Hunt, g e n e r a l and c r i t i c a l evaluations Abrams, M.H.  The M i r r o r and t h e Lamp.  Bate, Walter Jackson. New York, 1955.  The Achievement  O x f o r d , 1953o f Samuel Johnson.  From C l a s s i c t o Romantic: Premises o f T a s t e i n E i g h t e e n t h Century^ London, 1946. B e e r s , Henry A. A H i s t o r y o f E n g l i s h Romanticism i n t h e N i n e t e e n t h C e n t u r y . London, 1901. Bernbaum, E r n e s t . New Y o r k , 1948. Blunden, Edmund.  A Guide Through t h e Romantic Movement. L e i g h Hunt:  A Biography.  L e i g h Hunt and h i s C i r c l e .  London, 1938.  London, 1930.  L e i g h Hunt's Examiner Examined.  London, 1928.  Bronson, B e r t r a n d H. Johnson A g o n i s t e s and Other E s s a y s . Cambridge (Eng.), 19l~6~. Crane, R.S., ed. C r i t i c s and C r i t i c i s m .  C h i c a g o , 1952.  H i l l i s , F r e d e r i c k W h i l e y , ed. New L i g h t on Dr. Johnson: Essays on t h e O c c a s i o n o f h i s 250th B i r t h d a y . New Haven, 1959E s c o t t , T.H.S.  Masters o f E n g l i s h J o u r n a l i s m .  London, 1911.  Fleece, Jeffrey. " L e i g h Hunt's T h e a t r i c a l C r i t i c i s m . " D i s s e r t a t i o n , S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y o f Iowa, 1952. Houtchens, L.H. and C.W., ed. The E n g l i s h Romantic Poets and E s s a y i s t s : A Review o f R e s e a r c h and C r i t i c i s m . New Y o r k , 1957. ' d • L e i g h Hunt's Dramatic C r i t i c i s m . Y o r k , 1949. e  ' ed. L e i g h Hunt's L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m . Y o r k , 1956.  New  New  K r u t c h , Joseph Wood.  Samuel Johnson.  New York, 1944.  Landre, L o u i s . L e i g h Hunt (1784-1859): Contribution a l ' h i s t o i r e du Romantisme a n g l a i s . 2 v o l . 1 - L ' a u t e u r ; I I - L'oeuvre. P a r i s , 1936. Landre, L o u i s . " L e i g h Hunt: H i s C o n t r i b u t i o n t o E n g l i s h Romanticism," K S J , V I I I , p t . 2 (Autumn, 1959), 133-149. Law, M a r i e H a m i l t o n . The E n g l i s h F a m i l i a r Essay i n t h e E a r l y N i n e t e e n t h C e n t u r y . P h i l a d e l p h i a , 1934. M a c a u l a y , Thomas B a b i n g t o n . E s s a y s . London, 1874•  C r i t i c a l and H i s t o r i c a l  Pepper, Stephen C. The B a s i s o f C r i t i c i s m i n t h e A r t s . Cambridge (Mass.), 1946. P i c k e r i n g , L e s l i e P. L o r d B y r o n , L e i g h Hunt and t h e " L i b e r a l . " London, 1925P i e r c e , F r e d e r i c k E. C u r r e n t s and E d d i e s i n t h e E n g l i s h Romantic G e n e r a t i o n . New Haven, 1918. S a i n t s b u r y , George. London, 1923.  Essays i n E n g l i s h  Literature.  S t o u t , G.D. " L e i g h Hunt's Shakespeare: a 'Romantic' Conc e p t , " i n S t u d i e s i n Memory o f Frank M a r t i n d a l e Webster. S e a t t l e , 1951. Thorpe, C l a r e n c e D. " L e i g h Hunt as Man o f L e t t e r s : An E s s a y i n E v a l u a t i o n , " i n L.H. and C.W. Houtchens, e d . , L e i g h Hunt's L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m , New Y o r k , 1956. T h r a l e , H e s t e r Lynch. T h r a l i a n a : The D i a r y o f Mrs. H e s t e r Lynch T h r a l e ( L a t e r Mrs. P i o z z i ) , ed. K.C. B a l d e r s t o n . T r e w i n , J.C. " L e i g h Hunt as a Dramatic C r i t i c , " K e a t s S h e l l e y Memorial B u l l e t i n #10, 1959, 14-19. Watson, M e l v i n R. "The S p e c t a t o r T r a d i t i o n and t h e Development o f t h e F a m i l i a r E s s a y , " ELH, 1946, 31-44. W e l l e k , Rene. A H i s t o r y o f Modern C r i t i c i s m : 2 v o l . New Haven, 1955. Willey, Basil.  1750-1950.  The E i g h t e e n t h Century Background.  Nineteenth Century Studies.  London, 1949-  London, 1949.  IV  Other F i g u r e s C o l e r i d g e , Samuel T a y l o r . Shakespearean C r i t i c i s m , ed. T.M. Raysor. 2 v o l . London, I 9 6 0 ; H a z l i t t , W i l l i a m . The Complete Works o f W i l l i a m H a z l i t t , ed. P.P. Howe. 21 v o l . London, 1930. Lamb, C h a r l e s . The Works of C h a r l e s and Mary Lamb, ed. E.V. Lucas" 6 v o l . London, 1903-  V  C r i t i c i s m of Theatre and the Drama Babcock, R o b e r t W. The G e n e s i s of Shakespeare I d o l a t r y : 1766-1799. Chapel H i l l (N. C a r o l i n a ) , 1931. Evans, B e r t r a n d . G o t h i c Drama from Walpole to S h e l l y . San F r a n c i s c o , 1947Gassner, John. Form and Idea i n Modern T h e a t r e . New Y o r k , 1956. Joseph, B e r t r a n d . L i t t l e w o o d , S.R. London, 1952.  The T r a g i c A c t o r . The A r t o f Dramatic  London, 1959. Criticism.  N i c o l l , A l l a r d y c e . A H i s t o r y of E a r l y Eighteenth Century Drama. Cambridge (Eng.) 1929.  Cambridge,  A H i s t o r y o f Late E i g h t e e n t h C e n t u r y Drama. 1927.  Cambridge,  A H i s t o r y o f E a r l y N i n e t e e n t h C e n t u r y Drama. 1930.  O d e l l , George C D . New Y o r k , 1920.  Shakespeare  from B e t t e r t o n t o I r v i n g .  R o b i n s o n , H e r b e r t Spencer. E n g l i s h Shakespearean C r i t i cism i n t h e E i g h t e e n t h C e n t u r y . New Y o r k , 1932. Smith, N i c o l .  Shakespeare  i n the E i g h t e e n t h Century.  P e d i c o r d , H a r r y W i l l i a m . The T h e a t r i c a l P u b l i c i n t h e Time o f G a r r i c k . New York, 1954. Watson, E.B. S h e r i d a n t o R o b e r t s o n : A Study o f t h e N i n e t e e n t h C e n t u r y London Stage. Cambridge ( M a s s . ) ,  

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.831.1-0106181/manifest

Comment

Related Items