Page images


The works mentioned under the head of Belles Lettres, are necessarily of a miscellaneous character, since many have found a place in this branch, to which it was difficult, and sometimes impossible, to appropriate one in any other department. On the study of the Belles Lettres, the excellent work of ROLLIN still maintains the high character which it has acquired, from the learning, the taste, and the piety of its estimable author. Next to this, the book likely to be perused with greatest advantage, is, perhaps, FLEURY'S “ Choix des Etudes.” On the history of early French literature, especially of the Troubadours, the work of SAINT-PALAYE, as edited by MILLOT, and the collection of RAYNOUARD are well deserving of attention. The “ Cours de Littérature” of LA HARPE, though faulty, in many respects, ought to be read by every one who wishes to become acquainted with the subject it treats of; and if to this be added the more modern compositions of BARANTE and of CHÉNIER, on the same subject, a consi

derable knowledge may be obtained of French literature. The high reputation enjoyed by the works of Madame de STAEL, especially by those entitled “ De l'Allemagne” and “De la Littérature," renders it necessary merely to mention her name, in order to suggest the

propriety of their forming a part of every library. M. SIMONDE DE SISMONDI's work on the Literature of the South of Europe, being as much esteemed in England as it is on the Continent, it were unnecessary to recommend it to the reader. Of the different Literatures of Europe, short histories have lately been published, in Paris, under the title of “ Résumés,” and the subjects, although briefly, are in general, ably treated in them. In the branch of literature, denominated Bibliography, the French are particularly rich, and the works of DE BURE,BRUNET, BARBIER, and PEIGNOT, so frequently quoted in the course of the present work, do great credit to their taste and their industry, and are equal if not superior, to the productions of the authors of any country, who have written on the same subject.



Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française. Paris,

1798, 2 vols. 4to. “ This is one of our most celebrated works of this class. It is, however, remarkable for the absence of all method, of etymological order, and for the want of clear definitions, and correct deductions. We may here observe, for the satisfaction of those who are fond of the minor details of literary history, that the first edition of this Dictionary, published in 1694, is principally the work of the Abbé Regnier des Marais ; the Epistle Dedicatory to the King, and the Preface are due to François Charpentier. Mirabeau had a considerable share in the Third Edition, which appeared in 1740; and Duclos in the fourth, which appeared in 1762. M. D. Garat is the author of the Discours Préliminaire."-Barbier's Bibl, vol 3, p. 162.


Contes et Opuscules, en vers et en prose,

suivis de poésies fugitives. Paris, 1800,

Į vol. 8vo. “ This small collection ought to obtain for their author the title of Conservateur of French gaiety and grace. Few productions better merit the description which Madame de Sévigné gave of the Fables of La Fontaine : “ They are a pottle

of strawberries, of which we begin by selecting the finest, and finish by eating the whole.”—Pougens' Bibliothèque Française, No. 3, p. 66.

BAILLY (J. S.) Discours et Mémoires. Paris, 1790, 2 vols. .

8vo. “ We have perused this collection with pleasure, as the pieces contained in it display the same philosophical turn of sentiment, and elegant style of composition, which we have admired in M. Bailly's larger works. The first volume chiefly consists of what the French call Eloges, a species of composition to which we are not very partial, and which requires great merit in the subject, and great judgment in the orator. We cannot, however, refuse our approbation to the discourses before us, which confirm our esteem for the philosophic and literary abilities of their ingenious author.”-Monthly Review, vol. 4, p. 531.


Nouvelle Bibliothèque d'un Homme de Goût.

Paris, 1817, 5 vols. 8vo. This is one of the best Bibliographical works in any language. The criticisms are ably compiled, and couched in elegant and comprehensive terms. It is á sure authority for all the best works in the French language. The reader will easily judge of the estimation in which we hold this work, by the frequent extracts we have made from its valuable pages. - Dictionnaire des Ouvrages anonymes et

pseudonymes, &c. seconde édition. Paris, 1822-27, 4 vols. 8vo.

« PreviousContinue »