Marivaux brought out a Spectateur Francais (1722), which was coldly received; it was followed by fourteen or fifteen others, under the titles of La Spectatrice (1728-1730), Le Radoteur (1775), Le Babillard (1778-1779), &c. Of a similar character was Le Pour et le contre (1723-1740) of the abbe Prevost, which contained anecdotes and criticism, with special reference to Great Britain.
In the first part of his vocation the novelists of his own youth, such as Marivaux, Richardson and Prevost, may be said to have shown him the way, though he improved greatly upon them; in the second he was almost a creator.
The principle of examination, the reasoned analysis of human conditions and the discussion of causes, far from culminating in disillusioned nihilism, everywhere aroused the democratic spirit, the life of sentiment and of human feeling: in the drama, with Marivaux, Diderot and La Chausse; in art, with Chardin and Greuze; and in the salons, in view of the suppression of privilege.
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