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took what one might call the necessary steps to place him among the writers worthy of study and respect”. And, furthermore, “Lord Byron is more talked about than really known in our country, where there are few indeed who have read his works in the original English and in their primitive form, some version in French prose having been substituted ”. Even Espronceda — a poet so profoundly influenced by the great Britisher as to have been called “The Spanish Byron ” — is not thought by this critic to have possessed a really deep appreciation of his model. Now this opinion is of profound importance, because the man who expressed it was one who knew England from direct contact, and whose life (1789-1865) was properly timed for a firsthand knowledge of the romantic movement. Blanco García, the literary historian, speaks of him as follows : “ A place of distinction, from the point of view both of time and of importance, is occupied by Antonio Alcalá Galiano, the violent politician, companion in exile of Espronceda and the Duque de Rivas, and who was requested by the latter to write a preface (which was at the same time a revolutionary manifesto) for the first edition of El Moro Expósito. His study of English literature and his intimacy with foreigners of learning and letters had in 1834 converted the former rival of Böhl de Faber into a fervent champion of the crusade against French classicism and into an admirer of the great poets whom he had formerly disdained as breakers of the rhetorical precepts " ”. Galiano has also been characterized as follows by the immortal man of letters and vender of Bibles, George Borrow : “ By far the most clever member of this government was Galiano, whose acquaintance I had formed shortly after my arrival in Madrid). He was a man of considerable literature, and particularly well versed in that of his own country.... He spoke and wrote English) nearly as well as his own tongue, having, indeed, during his sojourn in England, chiefly supported himself by writing for reviews and journals ! ". These two independent testimonies to the character and attainments of Galiano are here given at length because we need to be on our guard against unreliable evidence in dealing with modern Spanish literature. We have still other testimony regarding the beginnings of Byronism that is practically contemporaneous with the phenomena in question ; for, twenty years before Galiano, Vedia had declared, in his translation of Parisina *, that Byron was extremely little known at that date ; and at about the same time appeared the following by Tomás Aguiló in the Revista de Madrid 3 : * Generally speaking Byron's poetry is unknown in Spain, in spite of the fact that every one with any liking for belles lettres is aware that this name — so noised about among the people — is written large on the banner of Romanticism. Most of the disciples of this school believe their full duty to have been accomplished when they give him an enthusiastic salute as to one of their masters ; and, instead of a careful and conscientious study of his productions, they are content to possess vague and superficial ideas of his characteristics ". The discovery of these statements by Galiano and the rest, in the midst of my recent investigation of these matters, brought with it no small amount of confirmation and consolation ; for my previous searchings through the periodical literature of the twenties and thirties had resulted in some disappointment at not finding a more intelligent and independent appreciation of the great Britisher. Much loose talk there is, to be sure, about the * distinguished author of Childe Harold and Lara ", but that was no more difficult at that time than it is in our day to
1. Blanco García : La Literatura española en el siglo XIX; segunda edición (1899), I, 418. - -
I. George Borrow : The Bible in Spain, London, 19o7, pp. 181-2.
chatter glibly of Ibsen and Shaw without having read a line of their productions. Spain, we should remember, is an isolated country, and she can not be said to have kept in close touch with the intellectual movements of Europe during recent centuries. Moreover, from the death of Calderón and the end of the Golden Age of national literary endeavor, — growing more pronounced with the accession of Philip V and the lugging across the Pyrenees of the ideals of Versailles — we encounter the all-pervading French neo-classical influence, which not only deadened the native genius, but also made Spain the belated follower of France in all intellectual matters. There are, too, certain specific reasons why Byron may have been a person not especially pleasing to the Spanish public : for, though Spanish subjects appear pleasantly in many parts of his verse, the poem which gave the first impulse to his fame was Childe Harold, and the first canto of this Pilgrimage contains some statements not likely to tickle Castilian pride. But I believe that it is ignorance, rather than resentment, which accounts for the tardy entrance of Byronism into Spain. It may be noticed incidentally that in France the interest in Byron's verse was almost contemporaneous with the appearance of the productions themselves, and that for this reason the Byron of Childe Harold, say, or of The Giaour, was not welcomed in the same way as was later the author of Don Juan '. But a delay of ten or fifteen years in the entrance of his different productions into Spain and all will be different ; the chronology of their appearance ceases to be significant. The obvious sources of information regarding the beginnings of a foreign literary influence in a given country are periodicals and translations *. Of these I have examined all to be found in the British Museum, the national libraries of Paris and Madrid, the private library of Señor Menéndez y Pelayo ", and the Ticknor collection of Boston. Two extremely important reviews have thus far escaped me, — the Diario Mercantil de Cádiz, conducted by the famous German littérateur, Böhl de Faber (of which I have seen a few numbers), and the Europeo, published at Barcelona by an international board of editors (of which I have a little second-hand information). In the collection of this material, progress has been slow and results are uncertain, for one has absolutely no guides to follow ; Spanish romanticism has never been treated in a thorough, detailed fashion by anyone ; nothing can be taken for granted. Mention of Byron in Spanish periodicals published between 182o and 184o may be roughly classified as follows : first, interest in the poet's dramatic personality as affording bits of gossip for the hawker of news (which class of items appears for the most part in the earlier years of the period we are studying); and, secondly, the gradual and faint appreciation of the poetry that had long since stirred the rest of Europe. Incidentally we may note that Scott and the French romantics are much more talked about, lack of interest in Byron being, on the whole, more noticeable in the conservative journals. Before turning to the specific Spanish problem, we may allow ourselves to mention an irrelevant Portuguese item. Childe Harold, it may be recalled, appeared in March, 1812 ; in September of the same year Lord Byron wrote to his publisher, John Murray, asking to have a certain Portuguese criticism sent to him *,
1. Estève, op. cit., 7o and 72. 2. For a list of periodicals consulted see Appendix B. A complete bibliography os Spanish translations of Byron is to be found in Appendix A.
I. A merely formal acknowledgement of the courtesy with which I have so often been received into that delightful Mecca for students of things Spanish at Santander is but a feeble means of expressing my gratitude to Señor Don Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo. So great are my obligations to his generous assistance that, in writing more than one page of this study, I have felt myself to be rather his amanuensis than an independent investigator.
2. Letters and Journals, 1898-19o1, vol. II, letter 245, dated Sept. 14, 1812 :
and unless two such appeared in this brief interval of six months, it has been my good fortune to hit upon the critique which the poet had in mind. The British Museum owns 23 volumes of a periodical called O Investigador Portuguez em Inglaterra ou Jornal Literario Politico, &c., published from 1811-1819 by H. Bryer, Bridge Street, Blackfriars. The third volume of this journal contains an unsigned letter, dated April 6, 1812, calling attention to a poem just published, the first edition of which was already exhausted, namely Byron's Childe Harold. The writer protests against the publication of such attacks by traveling dandies ", and wishes the editor to take the poet to task. He then translates several stanzas from the poem, omitting some of those most offensive to Portuguese pride, and bringing the poet to book for several inaccuracies. No further notice was taken of this early presentation of Byron to Peninsular readers ; but the Portuguese Annaes, published in Paris 1818-1822, frequently mentions French translations of the poet's works ; and in 182o this journal referred to Childe Harold with vigorous protest against the insults therein contained. We may be permitted to note incidentally that the Annaes published a long list of subscribers living in Lisbon, thus showing that this exile journal could easily have been a channel for the entrance of Byronism into the Peninsula, and establishing a strong presumption for all the others. The very earliest trace of Byronism in Spain is a prose translation of The Siege of Corinth, which was published, says Blanco Garcia *, in La Minerva ó el Revisor general. This period
« I want all the Reviews, at least the Critiques, quarterly, monthly, etc., Portuguese and English, extracted and bound up in one volume for my old age ».
I. In his Detached Thoughts (Letters and Journals, V, 4o8), Byron says: « I have seen myself compared... to a petit maître », probably alluding to this article.
2. Op. cit., I, 4o6-7.