1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Switzerland/Literature

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LITERATURE[edit]

There is no such thing as a Swiss national vernacular literature properly speaking, this being explained by the diversity between the states of which it is composed, which has not favoured any common intellectual life. But there are four branches which make up a literature of Switzerland, distinguished according to the language in which the works in each are composed. As the Confederation, from its foundation in 1291 till 1798, was exclusively composed (with a partial exception in the case of Fribourg) of German-speaking districts, the real Swiss vernacular literature (if any one branch is to be dignified by that name) is in German, though in the i8th century French became the fashionable language in Bern and elsewhere, while the influence of the French- speaking " allies " and subject lands was more marked than before. Hence the German branch is by far the more important and more national, while the French branch is not really Swiss till after 1815, when these regions took full rank as cantons. Thus Geneva and Lausanne in the iSth century, with their respective brilliant societies, were only " Swiss " in so far as Geneva was an "ally" and Vaud a " subject land." The Italian and Romonsch-Ladin branches are of not sufficient importance to deserve more than a passing notice.

German Branch[edit]

It is noticeable that while the original Leagie of 1291 (like the earlier charters of liberties to the first members of the Confederation) is drawn up in Latin, all later alliances among the cantons, as well as documents concerning the whole Confederation (the Parsons Ordinance of 1370, the Sempach Ordinance of 1393,,and the Compact of Stans 1481) and all the Recesses of the Diets are compiled in German. Though such political documents are not literature, yet they show that these early pre-Reformation alliances rested on the popular consent, and so were expressed in vernacular German rather than in clerkly Latin. But this vigorous popular life found other channels in which to develop its energy. First in order of date are the Minnesingers, the number of whom in the districts that ultimately formed part of the medieval Swiss Confederation are said to have exceeded thirty. Zürich then (as now) was the chief literary centre of the Confederation. The two Manesses (father and son) collected many of their songs in a MS. that has happily come down to us and u preserved in Paris, The most prominent personage of this circle of the muses was Master John Hadlaub, who flourished in the second half of the ijth and the first quarter of the I4th centuries. Next we havea long scries of war songs, celebrating the marvellous victories of the early Swiss. One of the earliest and most famous of these was composed by Hans Halbsutcr of Lucerne to commemorate the glorious fight of Scmpach (1386), not far from his native town. There are other similar sonp for the victory of Nafels (1388) and those of Grandson and Morat (Both 1476) in the Burgundian War, while in the 14th century the Dominican friar Ulrich Boner of Bern versified many old fables. Still more important arc the historical chronicles relating to different parts of Switzerland. Thus in the I4th century we have Christian Kuchimeisicr's continuation of the annals of the famous monastery of St Gall, in the early ijth century the rhymed chronicle of the war between the Appcnzellers and the abbot of St Gall, and rather later in the same century the chronicles of Conrad Justmger of Born and Hans Friind (d. 1469) of Lucerne, besides the fantastical chronicle of Strattligen and a scarcely less fanciful poem on the supposed Scandinavian descent of the men of Schwyz and of Obcr Haslc, both by Eulogius Kiburgcr (d. 1506) of Bern. In the 15th century, too, we have the White Book of Sarncn and the first Tell song (sec TELL), which gave rise to the well-known legend, as well as the rather later play named the Umer spiel dealing with the same subject. The Burgundian War witnessed a great outburst of historical ardour in the shape of hroniclcs written by Dicbold SchillinR (d. i.jK6) of Bern, by Mefchior Brueg. In the vernacular, too, are the earliest descriptions of the Confederation, those by Albert von Bonstettcn of Einsiedcln (1479) and by Conrad Turst of Zflrich (1496), to whom also we owe the first map of the country (1495-1497). The Swiss Humanists wrote naturally in Latin, as did also, what lanuel (1484-1530), satirical poems in German against the pope, while Valerius Anshetro (tt. 1540), also of Bern, wrote one of the best Swiss chronicles extant. Giles Tschudi (q.v.) of Glarus, despite great literary activity, pub- lishcd but a single German work in his lifetime — the Vrall ivarhafftif Alpisch RJiaetia sampt dcm Tract der anderen Alpfcbir^en (1538) — besides his map of Switzerland (same date). Sebastian Munster (q.v.), who was a Swiss by adoption, published (1544) his Cosmo- eraphia in German, the work being translated into Latin in >559> But the many-sided Conrad Gesner (q.v.), a born Swiss, wrote all his works in Latin, German translations appearing only at a later date. Thus the first important original product in German was the very remarkable and elaborate history and description of Switzerland, issued in 1548 at Zurich by Johannes Stumpf (-/..,) of that town. But Josias Simler (q.v.), who was in a way his continuator, wrote all his works, theological and geographical, in Latin. Matthew Mcrian (q.v.) engraved many plates, which were issued in a scries of volumes (1642-1688) under the general title of Topographta, the earliest volume describing Switzerland, while all had a text in German by an Austrian, Martin Zciller. Very characteristic of the age are the autobiography of the Valais scholar Thomas Platter (1499-1582) and the diary of his still more distinguished son Felix (1536-1614). both written in German, though not published till long after. But gradually Swiss historical writers gave up the use of Latin for their native tongue, so Michael Stettler (1580-1642) of Bern, Fran* HafTner (1609-1671) of Soleure. and quite a number of Grisons authors (though the earliest in date, Ulrich Campcll of Sus, c. 1509- c. 1582, still clung to Latin), such ad Bartholomew Anhorn (1566- 1640) and his son of the same name (1616-1670) and Johannes Gulcr (1562-1637). Yet FortunatusSprecher (1585-1647) preferred to write his Pallas raetica in Latin, as did Fortunatus Juvalta (1567-1654) in the case of his autobiography. But we have some compensation in the delightful autobiography of Hans Arduscr of Davos (1557-post 1614) and the amusing dialogue between the Niescn and the S tockhorn by Hans Rudolf Rebmann (1566-1605), both composed in naive German. I. B. Plant in (1625-1697) wrote h is description of Switzerland in Latin, Helvetia nova ct antigva (1656), but J. J. Wagner's (1641-1695) guide to Switzerland is in German, despite its titles Index memorabilivm Helvetiac (1684) and Afereurius kelveticus (1688), though he issued his scientific description of his native land in Latin, Uistoria naiuralis Helveliae curiosa (1680). In the i8th century the intellectual movement in Switzerland greatly developed, though it was naturally strongly influenced by local characteristics. Basel, Bern and especially Zurich were the chief literary centres. Basel was particularly distinguished for its mathematicians, such as Leonhard Euler (1707-1/83. q.v.) and three members of the Bernoulli family (q.v.) refugees from Antwerp, the brothers Jakob (1654-1705) and Johannes (1667-1748), and the latter's son Daniel (1700-1782). But its chief literary $'°ry *a» Isaac Iselin (1728-1783), one of the founders of the Helvetic Society (1760) and of the Economical Society (1777), and author of a treatise on the philosophy of history entitled Geschichte dee Menschheit (1764), and of another on ideal politics, Philosophische und patriotische Trume eines Menschenfreundes (1755), while many of his economical tracts appeared (1776-I782) under the general title of Ephemeriden der Menschheit. At Bern Albrecht von Haller, though especially distinguished as a scientific writer, yet by his poem Die Alpen (1732) and his travels in his native country did much to excite and stimulate the love of mountain scenery. Another Bernese, Charles Victor de Bonstetten, is a type of the gallicized Liberal Bernese patrician, while Beat Ludwig von Muralt (1665-1749) analysed the racial characteristics of other nations for the instruction of his fellow-countrymen, his Lettres sur les anglais et les francais (1725) being his principal work. Samuel Wyttenbach (1748-1830) devoted himself to making known the beauties of his country to its natives, travelling much and writing much about his travels. Gottlieb Sigmund Gruner wrote the Eisgebirge des Schweizerlandes (1760), a work describing the ice-clad mountains of Switzerland, though it is rather a useftil compilation than an original contribution to knowledge, but a decided advance on his fellow Bernese, Johann Georg Altmanns (1697-1758) Versuch einer historischen und physischen Beschreibung dee helvetischen Eisgebirge (1751). In another department of knowledge a son of Albrecht von Haller, Gottlieb Emmantiel von Haller (1735-1786), compiled a most useful bibliography of writings relating to Swiss history, the Bibliothek dee Schweizergeschichte (6 vols, 1784-1787), that is still indispensable to the historical student.

But in the 18th century Zürich was undoubtedly the intellectual and literary capital of German-speaking Switzerland, and gained the title of Athens on the Limmat. One of its earliest and most famous celebrities was JJ Scheuchzer, who travelled much in Switzerland, and wrote much (his travels are described in Latin) as to its natural curiosities, being himself an FRS, and closely associated with Newton and the other English scientific men of the day. But in the purely literary domain the names of JJ Bodmer and of his friend Johann Jakob Breitinger (1701-1776), are the most prominent. By their united exertions the antiquated traditions of German literature were broken down to a large extent, while great praise was bestowed on English poets, Shakespeare, Milton and others. Their views were violently opposed by Gottsched, the leader of the Saxon school, and the controversy that arose forms part of the history of German literature. In 1721-1723 they published jointly the Discourse der Mater, a periodical which spread their views, while more elaborate and systematic expositions of their critical doctrine as to poetry are Bodmer's Kritische Abhandlung von dem Wunderbaren in der Poesie (1740), and Breitinger's Critische Dichtkunst (also in 1740). Their untiring efforts helped to prepare the way for the later outburst of German literature begun by Klopstock, Wieland and Lessing. Another famous Zürich writer was Solomon Gesner, the pastoral poet, and yet another was JK Lavater, now best remembered as a supporter of the view that the face presents a perfect indication of character and that physiognomy may therefore he treated as a science. Other well-known Zürich names are those of JH Pestalozzi (1746-1827), the educationalist, of Johann Caspar Hirzel (1725-1803), another of the founders of the Helvetic Society, and author of Die Wirthschaft eines philosophischen Bauers (1761), and of Johann Georg Sulzer (1720-1779), whose chief work is one on the laws of art or aesthetics, entitled Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Kunste (1771-1774).

Outside the three towns named above there were several writers of German-speaking Switzerland who must be mentioned. One of the best known even now is Johann Georg Zimmermann (1728-1795), whose Betrachtungen fiber die Einsamkeit (1756-1784/1785) profoundly impressed his contemporaries. He, like the fabulist AE Erhlich, was born at Brugg. Johannes von Muller of Schaffhausen, was the first who attempted to write (1780) a detailed history of Switzerland, which, though inspired rather by his love of freedom than by any deep research, was very characteristic of his times. JG Ebel was a Swiss by adoption only, but deserves mention as the author of the first detailed guidebook to the country (1793), which held its ground till the days of Murray and Baedeker. A later writer, Heinrich Zschokke (1771-1848), also a Swiss by adoption only, produced (1822) a history of Switzerland written for the people, which had a great vogue.

In the later literary history of German-speaking Switzerland three names stand out above all others--Albrecht Bitzius, known as eremias Gotthelf from the first of his numerous tales of peasant life in the Emmenthal, Gottfried Keller, perhaps the most genuinely Swiss poet and novelist of the century, and Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, also a poet and novelist, but of more cosmopolitan leanings and tastes. Jakob Burckhardt was a famous writer on Italian art, while Jakob Frey (1824-1875) continued the work of Bitzius by his tales of Swiss peasant life. Ulrich Hegner (1759-1840) of Winterthur wrote novels full of local color, as is also the case with David Hess (1770I 843) in his description of a cure at Baden in Aargau and various tales. Johann Martin Usteri (1763-1828) of Zürich was one of the earliest to write poems in his native dialect. Later we have a number of Zürich poets or versifiers, some of whose writings have become very well known. Such were Heinrich Leuthold (1827-1879), August Corrodi (1826-1885) and Leonhard Widmer (1808-1868), the author of Trittst im Morgenrot daher (1842), which, set to music by the Cistercian monk Alberic Zwyssig (1808-1854), is now known as the Swiss Psalm, of Es lebt in jeder Schweizerbrusl (1842), and Wo Berge sich erheben (1844). To the Bernese poet, Johann Rudolf Wyss (1781-183o), whose father, JD Wyss (1743-1818), was the author of the Swiss Family Robinson, we owe the Swiss national anthem, Rufst du mein Vaterland? and the song, Herz, myn Herz, warum so trurig?--while Johann Georg Krauer (1792-1845), of Lucerne, wrote the Rüilied, Von ferne sei herzlich gegrsset, and Gottfried Keller himself was responsible for O mein Heimatland. Gottlieb Jakob Kuhn (1715-1845) wrote many poems in the Bernese dialect as to the Alps and their inhabitants. Less national in sentiment and more metaphysical are the lyrics of Oranmor, the pen-name of the Bernese Ferdinand Schmid (1823-1888).

Among the chief contemporary Swiss writers in the department of belles-lettres, novelists, poets, etc., may be mentioned Ernst Zahn, Meinrad Lienert, Arnold Ott, Carl Spitteler, Fritz Marti, Walther Siegfried, Adolf Frey, Hermann Hesse, JC Herr, JV Widmann, and Gottfried Strasser.

Isabella Kaiser, by her poems and stories, upholds the honour of the fair sex, while the fame won by Johanna Spyri (d. 1891) for her children's stories is still fresh. Of historical writers in different departments of their subject in the course of the 19th century some of the principal were (in alphabetical order): Ildefons von Arx (1755-1833), the historian of St Gall, of which he had been a monk, E Blsch (1838-1900), the historian of the Protestant churches in German-speaking Switzerland, JJ Blumer (1819f 875), and JC Bluntschli (1808-1881), who both devoted their energies to Swiss constitutional matters, JJ Hottinger (1783-1860), the continuator of J von Muller's Swiss history, JE Kopp (1793-1866), who rewrote early Swiss history on the basis of atithentic documents, R Maag (1866-1899), who began the publication of the invaluable Flabsburg terrier of the early 14th century, but had to leave the completion of the work to other competent hands, PC von Planta (1815-1902) and JA Pupikofer (1797-1882), the historians respectively of the Grisons and of the Thurgau, AP von Segesser (1817-1888), the historian and statesman of Lucerne, AF Stettler (1796-1849), A von Tillier (1792-1854), E von Wattenwyl (1815 1890), and JL Wurstemberger (1783-1862) who all four wrote on Bernese history, G von Wyss (1816-1893), to whom we owe, among many excellent works, an admirable account of all Swiss historians and their works, his step-brother F von Wyss (1818-1907), a great authority on the legal and constitutional history of Switzerland, and JC Zellweger (1768-1855), the historian of Appenzell. Among contemporary historical writers of German-speaking Switzerland we may mention (in alphabetical order), A Bahi, JL Brandstetter, W Bürckhardt, K Dandliker, J Dierauer, R Durrer, H Escher, A Heusler, R Hoppeler, T von Liebenau, W Merz, G Meyer von Knonau, WF von Münen, W Oechsli, JR Rahn, LR von Salis, P Schweizer, J Schollenberger, J. Strickler, R Thommen, and H Wartmann.


French Branch[edit]

The knight Othon of Grandson is the earliest figure in the literature of the Suisse romande. He was killed in a judicial duel in 1397, the last scion of his ancient house, and left some amatory poems behind him, while one is extant only in a translation by Chaucer, who makes flattering mention of him. In the 15th and 16th centuries many miracle plays in the local Romance dialect were known. The Chronique des chanoines de Neuchâtel was formerly supposed to date from the 15th century, but is now considered by many to be a forgery. More individual and characteristic are the romance about Charlemagne, entitled Fierabras le Giant (1478), by Jean Bagnyon, and the poem named Congi pris du siècle siculier (1480), by Jacques de Bugnin. But the first really prominent personage in this department of literature is François Bonivard (d. 1570) who wrote the Chroniques de Geuve that extend down to 1530 and were continued to 1562 by Michel Roset (d. 1613). The first Protestant French translation of the Bible was issued at Neuchâtel in 1535, its principal authors being Pierre Robert (nicknamed Olivbtan) and Pierre de Vingle. As a sort of pendant to the Protestant Bonivard, we have the nun Jeanne de Jussie who in her Levain du Calvinisme (c. 1545) recounts the establishment of Calvinism at Geneva, while the noble Pierre de Pierrefleur in his Mémoires does the same in a lighter and less lachrymose style for Orbe, his native district. Naturally the Reformers of the Suisse Romande used French much in their theological and polemical works. Of more general interest are the writings of two Frenchmen who were driven by religious persecutions to end their lives at Geneva--the memoirs and poems of Theodore Agrippa d'Aubigné (1552-1630), and the historical writings and poems of Simon Goulart (1543-1628). The great deliverance of Geneva from the duke of Savoy, known as the Escalade (1602), was described in prose by David Piaget (1580 1644) in his Histoire de l'escalade and celebrated in verse by Samuel Chappuzeau (1625-1701)--in his Genève dilivre, though the narratives of Goulart and that (published officially by the government) attributed to Jean Sarasin (1574-1632), the author of the Citadin de Genève (1606), are more laconic and more striking. JB Plantin (1625-1697), of Vaud, wrote his topography of Switzerland, Helvetia antiqua et nova (1656), in Latin, but his Abrégé de l'histoire générale de la Suisse (1666) in French, while Georges de Montmollin (1628-1703) of Neuchâtel wrote, besides various works as to local history, Mémoires of his times which have a certain historical value.

But the 17th century in the Suisse Romande pales before the glories of the 18th century, which forms its golden age, and was, in a large degree due to the influence of French refugees who, with their families, flocked thither after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) and settled down there for the rest of their lives. Such was Louis Bourguet (1678-1743), who, besides his geological works, founded two periodicals which in different ways did much to stimulate the intellectual life of the Suisse Romande; these were the Bibliothèque italique (1729-1734), which aimed at making more widely known the results of Italian research, and the Mercure suisse which, first issued in 1732, lasted till 1784, under different names (rom 1738 onwards the literary section bore the name of Journé helvetique), and secured contributions from most of the leading writers of the Suisse Romande of the day, such as Firmin Abauzit (1679-1767), Abraham Ruchat (1678-1750), and others. Ruchat is now best remembered as the author (under the pen-name of Gottlieb Kypselcr) of an excellent guide-book to Switzerland, the Deuces de Ia Suisse, which first appeared in 1714 and passed through many editions, the latest being issued in 1778; but his Histoire de Ia Reformation de Ia Suisse (1727-1728) was much esteemed in his day. Another Vaudois historian and antiquary was Charles Guillaume Loys de Bochat (1695-1754) whose Mémoires critiques sur divers points de l'ancienne histoire de la Suisse (1747-1749) still form a treasure-house for archaeologists. Yet a third Lausanne man was JP de Crousaz (1663-1750), who introduced there the philosophy of Descartes, and was, by his books, the master of Gibbon in logic. A French refugee at Lausanne, Jean Barbeyrac (1674-1744), published in 1712 the Droit de la nature et des gens, a translation of Puffendorf's treatise, with a striking preface of his own. A precursor of Montesquieu and of Rousseau was Jean Jacques Burlamaqui (1694-1750) in his Principes du droit naturel et politique (1747 and 1751, issued together in 1763), while the celebrated international lawyer, Emeric de Vattel (1714 1767), was a native of Neuchâtel by birth and descent, and, though he spent most of his life at foreign courts, died at Neuchâtel, not so very long after the publication of his famous Droit des gens (1758).

The year 1754 is a great date in the literary history of the Suisse Romande, for in that year Rousseau came back for good to Geneva, and Voltaire established himself at Ferney, while in 1753 Gibbon had begun his first residence (which lasted till 1758) in Lausanne. The earlier writers mentioned above had then nearly all disappeared, and a more brilliant set took their place. But Rousseau, though a Genevese, belongs rather to European than to Swiss literature, as do later Jacques Necker and his daughter, Madame de Staël, Benjamin Constant and Sismondi. Madame de Charrière (1740-1805) was Dutch by birth, but married to a native of Neuchâtel. Among her earlier works were two novels, Le Man sentimental (1783), and the Lettres de Mistress Henley (1784), both of which had a great vogue in their day and paint, from her own experience, the sad results of an unsuitable marriage. More celebrated by reason of the liveliness and acuteness with which the manners of a little provincial town are described are her Lettres de Lausanne (1871), and her Lettres neuchâteloises (1784), particularly the second part of a story of the former, entitled Caliste, and published in 1788, for, according to Sainte-Beuve, it was a sort of foreshadowing of the more famous Coninne (1807) of Madame de Staël.

PH Mallet, a Genevese, who held a chair at Copenhagen, devoted himself to making known to the educated world the history and antiquities of Scandinavia. But more characteristic of Geneva were the efforts of a group of men to spread the cause of natural science by personal investigations in the higher Alps, then but little known. Possibly their interest in such matters had been stimulated by the scientific and psychological speculations of Charles Bonnet. The chief of this school was HB de Saussure one of the founders of geology and meteorology, while his Alpine ascents (undertaken in the cause of science) opened a new world even to non-scientific travellers. The brothers De Luc devoted themselves mainly to questions of physics in the Alps, while Sénebier, the biographer of Saussure, was more known as a physiologist than as a physicist, though he wrote on many branches of natural science, which in those days was not yet highly specialized. On the other hand Marc Théodore Bourrit, the contemporary of these three men, was rather a curious and inquisitive traveller than a scientific investigator, and charms us even now by his genial simplicity as contrasted with the austerity and gravity of the three writers we have mentioned. Philippe Cyriaque Bridel (1757-1845), best known as the doyen Bridel, was the earliest of the Vaudois poets by virtue of his Poèsies helvtiennes (1782). But he is better known as the painter of the scenery and people among whom he worked as pastor at Basel, at Château d'Oex, and at Montreux successively. His Course de Bdle a Bienne par les valles du Jura appeared in 1802, while descriptions of his travels, as well as of the manners of the natives, local history, and in short everything that could stimulate national sentiment, were issued in a series of periodicals from 1783 to 1831 under the successive titles of Etrennes helvtiennes and of Conservateur suisse. His patriotic aim met with great success, while his impressions of his mountain wanderings are fresh and unspoilt by any straining after effect. He was the first writer of the Suisse Romande to undertake such wanderings, so that, with obvious differences, he may be regarded not merely as the forerunner, but as the inspirer and model of later Vaudois travellers and climbers in the Alps, such as Rodolphe Topffer, of Eugène Rambert, and of the last-nameds most brilliant pupil, Emile Javelle (1844-1883), whose articles were collected in 1886 by the pious care of his friends under the title of Souvenirs d'un alpiniste.

As a poet Juste Olivier surpassed Bridel. Nor can we wonder that with the advance of knowledge Bridel's history is found to be more picturesque than scientific. Two Vaudois, Charles Monnard (1790-1865) and Louis Vulliemin (1797-1879) carried out their great scheme of translating (1837 1840) J von Muller's Swiss history with its continuation by Hottinger, and then completed it (1841-1851) down to 1815. This gigantic task did not, however, hinder the two friends from making many solid contributions to Swiss historical learning. Later in date were Alexandre Daguet (1816-1894) who wrote an excellent history of Switzerland, while Jean Joseph Hisely (1800-1866), Albert Rilliet (1809-1883), and Pierre Vaucher (1833-1898), all devoted much labour to studying the many problems offered by the early authentic history (from 1291 onwards) of the Swiss Confederation. A different type of history is the work of an honest but partisan writer, the Genevese Jules Henri Merle d'Aubign (1794-1872), entitled Histoire de la reformation au temps de Calvin (1835-1878). The Vaudois noble Frédéric Gingins-la-Sarra (1790-1863) represents yet another type of historian, devoting himself mainly to the medieval history of Vaud, but occasionally going beyond the numberless authentic documents brought to light by him, and trying to make them prove more than they can fairly be expected to tell us. Jean Antoine Petit-Senn (1792-1870) was a thorough Genevese and a biting satirist, a pensive poet, the Genevese La Bruyère, as he liked to be called, but was not fully appreciated till after his death, when his widely scattered writings were brought together. Alexandre Vinet, the theologian, and HF Amiel, the philosopher, in a fashion balance each other, and need only be mentioned here. Jean Jacques Porchat (1800-1864) was one of the most prominent among the minor poets of the region, very French owing to his long residence in Paris, and best remembered probably by his fables, first published in 1837 under the title of Glanures d'Esope (reissued in 1854 as Fables et paraboles), though in his day his stories for the young were much appreciated. Urbain Olivier (1810-1888), a younger brother of the poet, wrote many tales of rural life in Vaud, while the Genevese novelist Victor Cherbuliez (1829-1899) was perhaps the most brilliant of a brilliant family. Fribourg has produced the local novelist Pierre Sciobret (1833-1876) and the Bohemian poet Etienne Eggis (1830-1867), and Neuchâtel Auguste Bachelin (1830-1890) whose best novel was Jean Louis, a tale of which the scene is laid in the old-fashioned little village of St Blaise. Another Neuchâtel writer, Alice de Chambrier, the poetess, died young, as did the Genevese poet Louis Duchosal, both showing in their short lives more promise than performance. Madame de Gasparins (1813 1894) best tale is Horizons prochains (1857), a very vivid story of rural life in the Vaudois jura, remarkable for the virile imagination of its descriptions.

Edouard Rod the novelist, and Marc Monnier, critic, poet, dramatist and novelist, are the most prominent figures in the recent literature of the Suisse Romande. Amongst lesser stars we may mention in the department of belles-lettres (novelists, poets or critics) Charles Du Bois-Melly, T Combe (the pen name of Mile Adele Huguenin), Samuel Cornut, Louis Favre, Philippe Godet, Oscar Huguenin, Philippe Monnier, Nolle Roger, Virgile Rossel, Paul Seippel and Gaspard Vallette. The chief literary organ of the Suisse Romande is the Bibliothèque universelle, which in 1816 took that title in lieu of Bibliothèque britannique (founded in 1796), and in 1861 added that of Revue suisse, which it then absorbed. Amongst historians the first place is due to one of the most learned men whom Switzerland has ever produced, and whose services to the history of the Valais were very great, and abb Jean Gremaud (1823-1897) of Fribourg. The principal contemporary historians are Victor van Berchem, Francis de Crue, Camille Favre, Henri Fazy, B de Mandrot, Berthold van Muyden and Edouard Rott.


Italian Branch[edit]

Italian Switzerland is best known by its artists, while its literature is naturally subject to strong Italian influences, and not to any of a strictly Swiss nature. Stefano Franscini (1796-1857) did much for his native land, especially in educational matters, while his chief published work (1835) was one that gave a general account of the canton. But this is not so thorough and good as a later book by Luigi Lavizzari (1814-1875), entitled Escursioni net cantone Ticino (1861), which is very complete from all points of view. Angelo Barotho (d. 1893) and Emilio Motta represent the historical sciences, the latter contributing much to the Bolletlino della Svizzera Italiana (from 1879 onwards), which, though mainly historical, devotes much space to literary and historical matters relating to the canton. The art of novel writing does not flourish in Ticino. But it has produced a great number of poets such as Pietro Pen (1794-1869), who translated the Swiss national anthem into Italian, JB Buzzi (1825-1898), Giovanni Airoldi (died before 1900) and Carlo Cioccari (1829-1891)the two former were lyric poets, and the third a dramatist. Two younger singers are F Chiesa and MA Nessi.


Romansch and Ladin Branch[edit]

In the Grisons alone still lingers a quaint Romance dialect, which is a laggard sister of French and Italian, and has therefore not much to show in the way of literary activity. Indeed it would probably have perished altogether by this time had not certain energetic men and societies more or less successfully tried to bring about a sort of artificial revival. It is distinguished into two main dialects, that of the Bündner Oberland or the valley of the Vorder Rhine being called Romansch, while that spoken in the Engadine and the neighboring valleys is known as Ladin. Both took their origin from the spoken tongue or lingua rustica Romana in the days of the later empire. The earliest known monument of this interesting survival was discovered in i907, and consists of a few lines, in an early form of the Romonsch dialect, of interlinear translation (with the original Latin text) of a sermon attributed to St Augustine. This monument is said to date from the early 12th century. The first poem in Ladin was one on the Musso War, written in 1527 by Johann von Travers (1483-1563), though it was not published till 1865. The first book printed in it (at Poschiavo in 1552) was the translation of a German catechism, and the next a translation of the New Testament, also at Poschiavo, but in 1560. Most of the works in both these dialects are translations of books of a religious or educational nature. The principal writers in the Romonsch dialect (the less literary of the two) of recent times are Theodor von Castelberg (1748-1830), a poet and translator of poetry, and PA de Latour (about 1811) also a poet, while the best of all poets in this dialect was Anton Huonder, whose lyrics are considered remarkable. Alexander Balletta (1842-1887) wrote prose romances and sketches, while JC Muoth (1844-1906), himself a most typical and characteristic figure, wrote much in prose and verse as regards his native region. In Ladin one of the chief figures was the poet Conradin von Flugi (1787-1874), who published volumes of poems in 1845 and 1861, but the poems, novels and translations of JF Caderas (1830-1891) are placed above them. Other Ladin poets are Florin Valentin, OP Juvalta and S Caratsch (d. 1892), while P Lansel represents a younger generation. Zaccaria Pallioppi (1820-1873) also wrote poems, but the excellent Ladin dictionary that he compiled was not published till 1895 by the care of his son.