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advantages, or who would work for eminence with better assurance of success.
The last on the list at the head of this article is "Quodlibet.” This is not a novel, though it abounds in characters and has some rude outline of a plot, so far as a detail of daily occurrences every where will always exhibit, but it is, undoubtedly, the ablest work that has yet proceeded from Mr. Kennedy's pen. Indeed the only regret is, that, being a political satire, and founded upon the events preceding the laie presidential election, the interest that it derives from the immediate times is daily becoming less and less, and the sound, shrewd, and pungent remarks with which the work abounds will be forgotten along with the circumstances to which at first they were applicable. We would not be understood to endorse Quodlibet in a political sense; but as a literary production, a keen satire, in a word, in a “Pickwickian sense,” it has our strong recommendation. The estimate that was at once put upon it when it appeared, the great names to which it was attributed, showed the opinion entertained of it by the public, and we do not know a similar work in America that is to be compared to it.
We deem the present time unpropitious to novel writing. The world on both sides of the Atlantic is in a state of fermentation, and the elements of society are in too great commotion to allow either writers of novels to prepare, or readers to peruse works of the imagination that require peace and freedom from anxiety to produce or appreciate. And again, even were the world drowsily quiet, the task of the novel writer of to-day is much more arduous than it would have been if he had lived thirty years ago. There are as many good critics of novels now as there were readers of them formerly. The public taste has grown nice, and the public demand regulating the profits; publishers have grown cautious, and a reputation must be established before a novel can be sold by the author at a price to compensate the mere labor of production. Where is the Children of the Abbey ? where the Scottish Chiefs? where the Three Spaniards? where the Mysteries of Udolpho, and a dozen others? Aye, where is Tom Jones? where is Peregrine Pickle? where Roderick Random even? They are to be found in circulating libraries, provided the libraries are old, but the public taste has left them. Some were too coarse, some too silly, some too extravagant, some too ridiculous — all have been left high and dry as the current of popular opinion has swept on. This opinion, which is the arbiter of the novelist's immediate fate, at all events, has become confined with the narrower limits of a more accurate judgment; and when the novelist sees that he must not only work harder to make head against the times, but must also produce spirit of a higher proof, he may well despond as to success. We venture to predict, however, that if, in spite of all these discouragements, Mr. Kennedy again ventures into the field of literary fiction, and with the experience that he has acquired, will carefully address himself to his task, he will achieve an honorable and enviable distinction.
ART. VI. — Pantology; or, a Systematic Survey of Human Know
ledge, proposing a Classification of all its Branches, and illustrating their History, Relations, Uses and Objects, etc. By RosWELL Park, A.M. Philadelphia : 1841. "Hogan and Thomp
8vo. pp. 587.
“ The present work is offered as a guide-book to those who are seeking to explore the vast expanse of human knowledge. It aspires to be to pantology, or knowledge in general, what a map of the world is to geography."
This passage, with which the author begins his preface to the work now before us, explains the meaning of the title, if not in abstracto, at least as that in which it is used on the present occasion.
“ It is to knowledge in general what a map of the world is to geography.” In analyzing this sentence it will be discovered that the " outline" which the author intends to give of human knowledge, either comprises much, or is very deficient, according as the word geography is interpreted. If we understand thereby a mere description of our globe, such as could be given of it with the aid of a good telescope by an inhabitant of the moon, that is to say, the relative distribution of the submerged and the visible portions of its crust; the magnitude of continents and islands; the situation and outlines of seas and lakes ; the courses and relative extents of rivers, the directions and elevations of mountains; if, in short, we understand by geography a description of the surface of the earth, independently of the
Difficulty of the Undertaking.
mineral riches it conceals, and of the living beings of the animal and the vegetable kingdoms which animate and adorn it, then will a map of the world give a most accurate, nay, a most complete idea of geography; and a work which should be to knowledge in general what a map is to geography considered in this point of view, would certainly give a most satisfactory and intelligible idea of human knowledge. But if the object of geography be to give "a general description of the earth, and especially of the nations by which it is inhabited; in reference to their position and extent ; their productions and resources - their institutions and improvements their manners and customs ;" as with our author, the map of the world then certainly becomes a very meager and almost unmeaning outline, and a pantology bearing the same relation to knowledge in general, would prove an equally feeble thread in the labyrinth of human knowledge.
But whatever meaning the author may attach to the terms employed in this comparison, his object is explicitly stated in the following passage of his preface :
“ The primary object of the following pages was to present a natural classification of human knowledge, full as to furnish a place for every topic of thought, and so ample that it might be of general and practical application. It would thus include what Sir James Mackintosh so appropriately terms an 'exhaustive analysis’ of human knowledge, in which all the fragments, even of minor importance, would find a distinct and proper place. It would also serve as a mnemonical system to aid in impressing and retaining ideas; as an index rerum, or method of arranging topics of study, and as a model for libraries, by bringing those books which relate to the same subjects in juxtaposition, whether in the catalogues or on the shelves," etc.
This shows at once how difficult and arduous is the author's undertaking, and how extensive his knowledge, if the task is performed with but a moderate degree of success.
As may be supposed, the difficulty does not lie only in the acquisition of the materials out of which such a work is to be composed, but also in their proper arrangement, and to discover and bring together the materials is a comparatively mechanical labor, which, as such, may be extremely toilsome without requiring superior intellectual powers; but to prepare them, and to draw the plan according to which they NO. XIX.-VOL. X.
are to be placed with respect to each other, so as to produce the best possible effect, is a task than which none is more difficult, or requires a more philosophical mind. In inspecting libraries we have occasion to be astonished at the extent of knowledge attained by some men in the course of a life, and to convince ourselves that it is not a rare thing to find individuals who have been perfectly familiar with most departments of human knowledge. Entire Cyclopædias were written upon alınost all possible subjects, by single men, in those centuries which succeeded the revival of classical literature, and up to the time when students became sensible of the advantages of the division of labor. There are the ten huge folios of Cardan, comprising original works upon almost all subjects, and discoveries in several sciences - the latter
a remarkable circumstance in the case of a polygraph; the writings of the Jesuit, Athanasius Kircher, forming a collection of very elaborate treatises upon all the branches of natural science in its largest acceptation ; upon the Egyptian obelisk, upon China, upon mathematics, and other topics of a less scientific character, each subject filling one or two folio volumes. To these may be added the works of Bishop Caramuel, who wrote seventy-seven sizable volumes on grammar, poetry, oratory, mathematics, astronomy, natural philosophy, music, political science, canon law, logic, metaphysics, theology, and military art; and, at the time that he showed this literary productiveness, led a most active and exciting life ; now in Spain, now in the Netherlands; then in Bohemia, afterwards in Italy ; serving as an engineer in the Spanish army in the United Provinces, and in the Imperial, as a captain of the regiment of monks collected and drilled by himself at Prague. Among the great celebrités of the most imposing period in the history of modern science, Leibnitz distinguished himself by the universality of his knowledge. In this philosopher the versatility of his genius is so far from being disputed, that it would be difficult to designate the class of modern erudites with whom he might best be compared. Historians, jurisconsults, mental and natural philosophers, and mathematicians, claim him with equal right as one of their greatest masters. As a man of letters and a poet he displayed extraordinary abilities, for which he was greatly admired in his day. But in more recent times this universality has become much rarer, from the circumstance that sciences being no longer treated à 1842.]
Great Advances in Science.
priori, as they formerly were, the greatest genius must pass, in more or less detail, through the study of all phenomena, before he can consider himself as understanding the corresponding sciences. And in this preparation it usually happens, that instead of becoming a general philosopher, he finds his attention arrested by some one branch of knowledge congenial to his taste. Nor are we acquainted with any author of superior merit, who, in the present scientific age, has treated of all subjects, at least to any considerable extent. The last who distinguished himself for the generality of his knowledge was the learned Lambert, in the eighteenth century. When Frederic the Great asked him : “ What do you know ?” he gave the laconic answer, “Every thing. " The answer did not please the monarch, and yet it was true; for he was at the same time one of the best of experimental and mental philosophers of his day. His works on light, acoustics, and meteorology, are not yet antiquated. As a mathematician he was not unworthy to take his seat beside Lagrange in the academy of Berlin ; and by his work on comets he raised himself, as an astronomer, as high as any of his contemporaries. On metaphysics he corresponded with Kant, and whilst his mind was thus constantly occupied, he constructed, with his own hands, most of the apparatus he needed for his physical researches ; still the field embraced by his far-reaching intellect was but a portion of that which comprises all human science, with its many ramifications and their applications, for he was not a mere traveller, but a scientific explorer.
These men had not only accumulated all this knowledge, but had so perfectly mastered it, and so identified it with themselves, as to be able again to impart it freely and methodically to others, and greatly increase the general stock. But the sciences on which they wrote were very different from what they have since become. Natural philosophy was as yet but little advanced, and chemistry had scarcely begun to be cultivated, whilst mineralogy and geology, as well as botany and zoology, consisted chiefly of catalogues of minerals, fossils, plants, and animals. So widely has the field of knowledge been extended within a century, that it has become almost impossible for any one man to arrive at an idea of the whole. In modern times an individual is either devoted to some special branch of knowledge, which he may thus pursue in all its details, and contribute to enrich, or he