Emile Zola - William Dean Howells - Страница 1 из 15


EMILE ZOLA
by
William Dean Howells
In these times of electrical movement, the sort of construction in the
moral world for which ages were once needed, takes place almost
simultaneously with the event to be adjusted in history, and as true a
perspective forms itself as any in the past. A few weeks after the
death of a poet of such great epical imagination, such great ethical
force, as Emile Zola, we may see him as clearly and judge him as fairly
as posterity alone was formerly supposed able to see and to judge the
heroes that antedated it. The present is always holding in solution
the elements of the future and the past, in fact; and whilst Zola still
lived, in the moments of his highest activity, the love and hate, the
intelligence and ignorance, of his motives and his work were as
evident, and were as accurately the measure of progressive and
retrogressive criticism, as they will be hereafter in any of the
literary periods to come. There will never be criticism to appreciate
him more justly, to depreciate him more unjustly, than that of his
immediate contemporaries. There will never be a day when criticism
will be of one mind about him, when he will no longer be a question,
and will have become a conclusion. A conclusion is an accomplished
fact, something finally ended, something dead; and the extraordinary
vitality of Zola, when he was doing the things most characteristic of
him, forbids the notion of this in his case. Like every man who
embodies an ideal, his individuality partook of what was imperishable


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