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successfully applied to the science which he CHAP.
• Dr Campbell, in his preface, observes, “ It is his pur. pose
in this work, on the one hand, to exhibit, he does not say a correct map, but a tolerable sketch of the human “ mind; and aided by the lights which the poet and the “ orator so amply furnish, to disclose its secret movements, " tracing its principal channels of perception and action, as
near as possible to their source: And, on the other hand, “ from the science of human nature, to ascertain with greater “ precision, the radical principles of that art, whose object it “ is, by the use of language, to operate on the soul of the “ hearer, in the way of informing, pleasing, moving, or per. so suading."- Philosophy of Rhetoric, Pref. p. 7.
BOOK IL retical principles by the most copious ex
amples drawn from the works of genius; and in the fitness and beauty of those illustrations, lies, perhaps the most certain, as well as the most general utility, of their several labours. “ No criticism,” (says David Hume), “ can be instructive which descends “ not to particulars, and is not full of ex“ amples and illustrations * ;” and it may be added, that none can be devoid of instruction which is so illustrated.
I have formerly alluded, in a note, to a work which bears a high character among those which treat of philosophical criticism; I mean Mr Alison's Essay on the Nature and Principles of Taste. In this truly classical performance, the author has the merit of devising a new theory of the origin of our feelings of the sublime and beautiful. It is his opinion, that the emotions of sublimity and beauty depend altogether on the association of material with mental qualities : that no material objects are truly in them
Mr Alison's Essay on Taste.
* Hume's Essays, vol. i. Essay 20. On Simplicity and Refinement.
selves either sublime or beautiful; but that
BOOK II. dissolved, or when the material qualities
cease to produce them, there is an end to the emotions of sublimity or beauty. On this theory, which rests upon one beautiful philosophic thought, and which is not only supported by great acuteness of reasoning, but by a surprising variety of ingenious and apposite illustrations, I shall only remark, that if there should still remain a doubt, whether the principle of association be, as the author supposes, absolutely exclusive of all others in the excitement of the emotions of beauty and sublimity, he has at least brought the most convincing evidence, that it has a very universal and powerful influence, both in the production, and in the improvement of those emotions.
Other works It were tedious to enter into a particular in philosophic criti- account of all the works of merit in the decism.
partment of criticism which have proceeded from the same school; as, the Essays of Dr Beattie on Poetry and Music, and his Nlus*trations on Sublimity; Dr Blair's Lectures on
Rhetoric and the Belles Lettres; the Observations on Modern Gardening by Mr Whately; Mr Brown's Remarks on the Poetry and
Music of the Italian Opera ; the ingenious CHAP. Essays of Professor Richardson on Shakespeare's Dramatic Characters; or the excellent specimens of similar disquisition by Mr Mackenzie, and other writers, in the Mirror and Lounger * From these and other recent works of taste, it will be seen, that criticism has of late years assumed a new character, and is now as generally associated with philosophy, as formerly it was limited to mechanical rules, or didactic precepts, resting on the sole foundation of authority, and the practice of the ancient writers.
• To these I add two works lately published, An Analytical Inquiry into the Principles of Taste, by Mr Payne Knight, printed in 1807; and Essays on the Sources of the Pleasure received from Literary Compositions, printed in 1809, both of them acute and ingenious productions, and entering deeply into the principles of Philosophical Criticism.
END OF VOLUME FIRST.