But generally the essay-character - that is to say, the discussion of a special point, it may be with wide digressions and divergences - displays itself.
The digressions are indeed constant, and sometimes have the appearance of being absolutely wilful.
It is immensely diffuse and pretentious, loaded with digressions, its argument buried under masses of fantastic, uncritical learning, the work of a vigorous but quite unoriginal mind.
Hence, probably, the wide popularity which his works enjoyed in the 18th century; and hence the agreeable feeling with which, notwithstanding all their false taste and their tiresome digressions, they impress the modern reader.
Nevertheless, the book exhibits a relative unity; for, whatever digressions occur in the development of its theme, the main object of the writer is never lost sight of.
But These Very Digressions' Give The Book Its Intimate And Abiding Charm; For They Keep The Reader In Close Personal Touch With Every Side Of Canadian Life, With Songs And Tales And Homely Forms Of Speech, With The Best Features Of Seigniorial Times And The Strong Guidance Of An Ardent Church, With Voyageurs, Coureurs De Bois, Indians,., Soldiers, Sailors And All The Strenuous Adventurers Of A Wild, New, Giant World.
The story is well told; the digressions are few; and there are many touches of domestic life and natural sympathy.
The former he imitates in the maxims (-yv14at) he throws in and the speeches which he puts into the mouth of the chief actors; the latter in his frequent geographical digressions, in the personal anecdotes, in the tendency to collect and attach some credence to marvellous tales.
Gaillard is painstaking and impartial in his statement of facts, and his style is correct and elegant, but the unity of his narrative is somewhat destroyed by digressions, and by his method of treating war, politics, civil administration, and ecclesiastical affairs under separate heads.
In the first volume, anticipating an obvious complaint, he had protested against digressions that left the main work to stand still, and had boasted - not without justice in a Shandean sense - that he had reconciled digressive motion with progressive.
One of the last dramatists of the 16th century belonging to the old school was Simao Machado, who wrote the Comedy of Diu and the Enchantments of Alfea, two long plays almost entirely in Spanish, and full of digressions only made tolerable by the beauty of their lyrics.
BianchiGiovini's biography (1836) is greatly marred by digressions, and is inferior in some respects to that by Arabella Georgina Campbell (1869), which is enriched by numerous references to MSS.
It is a striking fact that Ammianus, though a professional soldier, gives excellent pictures of social and economic problems, and in his attitude to the non-Roman peoples of the empire he is far more broad-minded than writers like Livy and Tacitus; his digressions on the various countries he had visited are peculiarly interesting.
Other less pronounced wrinkles run from southwest to north-east and intersect the former series at certain points, so that it is by alternate digressions from one to the other series that the irregular crest of the Pyrenees acquires its general direction.
Thus the thrilling story of the Second Punic War is broken in upon by digressions on the contemporary affairs in Greece and Asia.
These digressions at times interrupt the symmetry of his plan; but Strabo had all the Greek love of legendary lore, and he discusses the journeyings of Heracles as earnestly as if they were events within recent history.
The fourth and fifth books contain long digressions on the deeds of William the Conqueror in Normandy and England.