moments and pour out reams of correspondence for the benefit of the general public. The likeness of form corresponds to a more important likeness in substance. Richardson and Rousseau are both preachers, and both preachers of a 'bourgeois' morality, adapted to the British tradesman or the citizen of a little Swiss town. Both, too, are 'realists' in the sense of producing their effects by the minute descriptions of commonplace and ugly facts, the mention of which would be incompatible with the old literary conventions. Thus, though Rousseau has an exquisite style and Richardson no style at all, both represent 'a plebeian type of art.' This, no doubt, is the truth, and points to an important observation. In fact, Richardson, and another of Rousseau's favourites, Defoe, had stumbled upon a great discovery. Defoe, a thoroughly trained journalist, had found out the secret of successful journalism; the charm of a straightforward circumstantial narrative. He could save trouble by inventing his facts, but to all appearance they must be still simply facts. Defoe had no literary dignity to prevent him from supplying what his audience really wanted. Richardson, again, began by publishing a series of edifying letters. He
Page:Studies of a Biographer 4.djvu/273
This page has been validated.