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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Jules Quesnay de Beaurepaire (1838–1923)
Critical and Biographical Introduction
 
THE WRITER known in French literature under the pen-name of Jules Glouvet is a noble individuality, in addition to being a well-marked one, in contemporary French fiction. He was born at Saumur, July 2d, 1838; began his career as a magistrate in 1862; was a soldier in active service during the war of 1870; and in 1883 (after filling various important provincial positions, also a position as magistrate) he became the Prosecutor-General at Paris. Since then he has been a marked and honored man in his real profession. He has won peculiar distinction in connection with the efforts to repress the Anarchistic movement, and to punish the Anarchist criminals, in his country. He was a most important factor in the trial of General Boulanger; and was bravery itself in the check of that feeble, rash, and yet dangerous intrigue, which concluded in a tragedy. He has done his duty as a magistrate and lawyer at the risk of his life. M. Quesnay de Beaurepaire has been called the Father of his Country, as was Cicero proud to be styled when he had shattered the conspiracy of Catiline; and there is a likeness in the two careers.  1
  From such labors at the bar, severe and even personally dangerous, M. de Beaurepaire has turned to writing stories that express peasant-life in certain districts of France, and certain types of French rural character, as no French novelist has done before him. In these stories it was evidently the intention of the writer to show that a novel of humble life could be produced without the grossness of so many of the French authors. The books were auxiliaries in the new campaign against “naturalism.” His scenes of the true rural world of France, his feeling for the relation of human nature and its natural environment, have been exhibited with great fidelity and interest in his books ‘Le Forestier’ (published in English under the title of ‘The Woodman’), and ‘Le Berger’ (The Shepherd). In each instance, he shows us that he is not only a finished painter of real life, lived in simple conditions, but the possessor of that sort of literary sense which grasps, in part as an artist and in part as a realist, every essential detail of the temperament, course of existence, and scenery to be more or less minutely portrayed.  2
  There is something of the quality of Thomas Hardy in the books of M. Quesnay de Beaurepaire; there is something of George Sand; there is something of many novelists whose dramas of everyday out-of-door life are played in books full of a dramatic impressiveness, enhanced by a perfect scenic artist’s skill. But there is likewise an inner moral quality and moral suggestiveness in M. Quesnay de Beaurepaire’s books distinctly their own. He exhibits with singular beauty and naturalness the countryman in touch with his milieu; the finer elements in imperfect rustic character; the promptings of the heart that beats passionately and warmly in the breast of a humble shepherd, or an uneducated and not too honest woodlander. The author of ‘The Woodman’ and ‘The Shepherd’ does not carry his realism as far as Zola, even when verging on the same territory; and yet he is in much a truer realist. The pathos of the books impresses us, the simple course of their dramas enlists all our attention; and at the same time a sermon is suggested while none is directly preached—a sermon found, not in the stones and trees and running brooks which so exquisitely serve as background for the author’s handful of peasant characters, but in their aspirations, their weaknesses, and all that is to them life and feeling and purpose day by day.  3
 
 
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