« AnteriorContinuar »
THE volumes here submitted to the public, are the last performance of a man, whose works, though less known in this country than they deserve to be, have gained at home a greater share of applause and animadversion than those of perhaps any living writer. His Atala, or the Amours of Two Savages in the Desert, and a short extract from his great work Genie du Christianisme, are the only part of his writings that has hitherto been laid before the English reuder. Les Martyrs, ou le Triomphe de la Religion Chretienne, yet remains almost wholly unknown here; though repeated editions of each of these performances evince the celebrity which they have acquired in France.
It was the latter that furnished occasion for the present Tour. When we behold an author, for the sake of a close adherence to truth and nature, quitting his native land, und exposing himself in once classic, but now barbarous countries, to every species of fatigue, hardship, and danger, at the expence of his fortune and his health, merely that he may give a faithful portraiture of the scenes which he has chosen for a work of fiction; it is impossible to withhold our admiration of the ardour and enthusiasm which alone could suggest the idea of such an enterprize, and communicate the fortitude - and energy requisite for its accomplishment.
Such, as we are informed by M. de Chateaubriand himself, was the sole motive for these Travels, the journal of which, though not originally intended for publication, can scarcely fail to excite a considerable degree of interest in various classes of readers. The scholar and the man of science will accompany his steps, with feelings of mingled pleasure and pain, through some of the most renowned regions of antiquity; the Christian will follow him with devotion in his pilgrimage to the scenes hallowed by the presence and the miracles of the Divine Founder of his religion; the artist will find studies ready sketched to his hand; and the general reader will be delighted with the variety of information, the adventures, and the reflections alternately sublime and pathetic, with which these volumes are interspersed: while a tinge of melancholy, which pervades all the works of this writer, a relative of the illustrious M. de Malesherbes, and which may doubtless be ascribed to the domestic calamities that his early life was destined to experience from a sanguinary revolution, will assuredly not diminish the interest arising from the perusal.
In order to facilitate the reference to any particular passage of the work, a tolerably copious Index, which is not in the original, has been subjoined to this translation. To the present edition is annexed a Map, exhibiting the Author's route, which, it is presumed, will prove a useful accompaniment. This map, which may be procured separately by the
, purchasers of the first impression, was engraved, as the reader will perceive, for the French edition of these Travels. The additional expence of a new one, which must have enhanced the price of the work, was thought unnecessary, as the difference of the names is so trifting, that the English reader cannot be under the least embarrassment on that account,
London, May 20, 1812.