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IDUN—IGLAU

IDUN, or Iduna, in Scandinavian mythology, the goddess of youth and spring. She was daughter of the dwarf Svald and wife of Bragi. She was keeper of the golden apples, the eating of which preserved to the gods their eternal youth. Loki, the evil spirit, kidnapped her and the apples, but was forced by the gods to restore her liberty. Idun personifies the year between March and September, and her myth represents the annual imprisonment of spring by winter.


IDYL, or Idyll (Gr. εἰδύλλιον, a descriptive piece, from εἶδος, a shape or style; Lat. idyllium), a short poem of a pastoral or rural character, in which something of the element of landscape is preserved or felt. The earliest commentators of antiquity used the term to designate a great variety of brief and homely poems, in which the description of natural objects was introduced, but the pastoral idea came into existence in connexion with the Alexandrian school, and particularly with Theocritus, Bion and Moschus, in the 3rd century before Christ. It appears, however, that εἰδύλλιον was not, even then, used consciously as the name of a form of verse, but as a diminutive of εἶδος, and merely signified “a little piece in the style of” whatever adjective might follow. Thus the idyls of the pastoral poets were εἰδύλλια αἰπολικά, little pieces in the goatherd style. We possess ten of the so-called “Idyls” of Theocritus, and these are the type from which the popular idea of this kind of poem is taken. But it is observable that there is nothing in the technical character of these ten very diverse pieces which leads us to suppose that the poet intended them to be regarded as typical. In fact, if he had been asked whether a poem was or was not an idyl he would doubtless have been unable to comprehend the question. As a matter of fact, the first of his poems, the celebrated “Dirge for Daphnis,” has become the prototype, not of the modern idyl, but of the modern elegy, and the not less famous “Festival of Adonis” is a realistic mime. It was the six little epical romances, if they may be so called, which started the conception of the idyl of Theocritus. It must be remembered, however, that there is nothing in ancient literature which justifies the notion of a form of verse recognized as an “idyl.” In the 4th century after Christ the word seems to have become accepted in Latin as covering short descriptive poems of very diverse characters, for the early MSS. of Ausonius contain a section of “Edyllia,” which embraces some of the most admirable of the miscellaneous pieces of that writer. But that Ausonius himself called his poems “idyls” is highly doubtful. Indeed, it is not certain that the heading is not a mistake for “Epyllia.” The word was revived at the Renaissance and applied rather vaguely to Latin and Greek imitations of Theocritus and of Virgil. It was also applied to modern poems of a romantic and pastoral character published by such writers as Tasso in Italy, Montemayor in Portugal and Ronsard in French. In 1658 the English critic, Edward Phillips, defined an “idyl” as “a kind of eclogue,” but it was seldom used to describe a modern poem. Mme Deshoulières published a series of seven Idylles in 1675, and Boileau makes a vague reference to the form. The sentimental German idyls of Salomon Gessner (in prose, 1758) and Voss (in hexameters, 1800) were modelled on Theocritus. Goethe’s Alexis und Dora is an idyl. It appears that the very general use, or abuse, of the word in the second half of the 19th century, both in English and French, arises from the popularity of two works, curiously enough almost identical in date, by two eminent and popular poets. The Idylles héroïques (1858) of Victor de Laprade and the Idylls of the King (1859) of Tennyson enjoyed a success in either country which led to a wide imitation of the title among those who had, perhaps, a very inexact idea of its meaning. Among modern Germans, Berthold Auerbach and Jeremias Gotthelf have been prominent as the composers of sentimental idyls founded on anecdotes of village-life. On the whole, it is impossible to admit that the idyl has a place among definite literary forms. Its character is vague and has often been purely sentimental, and our conception of it is further obscured by the fact that though the noun carries no bucolic idea with it in English, the adjective (“idyllic”) has come to be synonymous with pastoral and rustic.  (E. G.) 


IFFLAND, AUGUST WILHELM (1759–1814), German actor and dramatic author, was born at Hanover on the 19th of April 1759. His father intended his son to be a clergyman, but the boy preferred the stage, and at eighteen ran away to Gotha in order to prepare himself for a theatrical career. He was fortunate enough to receive instruction from Hans Ekhof, and made such rapid progress that he was able in 1779 to accept an engagement at the theatre in Mannheim, then rising into prominence. He soon stood high in his profession, and extended his reputation by frequently playing in other towns. In 1796 he settled in Berlin, where he became director of the national theatre of Prussia; and in 1811 he was made general director of all representations before royalty. Iffland produced the classical works of Goethe and Schiller with conscientious care; but he had little understanding for the drama of the romantic writers. The form of play in which he was most at home, both as actor and playwright, was the domestic drama, the sentimental play of everyday life. His works are almost entirely destitute of imagination; but they display a thorough mastery of the technical necessities of the stage, and a remarkable power of devising effective situations. His best characters are simple and natural, fond of domestic life, but too much given to the utterance of sentimental commonplace. His best-known plays are Die Jäger, Dienstpflicht, Die Advokaten, Die Mündel and Die Hagestolzen. Iffland was also a dramatic critic, and German actors place high value on the reasonings and hints respecting their art in his Almanach für Theater und Theaterfreunde. In 1798–1802 he issued his Dramatischen Werke in 16 volumes, to which he added an autobiography (Meine theatralische Laufbahn). In 1807–1809 Iffland brought out two volumes of Neue dramatische Werke. Selections from his writings were afterwards published, one in 11 (Leipzig, 1827–1828), the other in 10 volumes (Leipzig, 1844, and again 1860). As an actor, he was conspicuous for his brilliant portrayal of comedy parts. His fine gentlemen, polished men of the world, and distinguished princes were models of perfection, and showed none of the traces of elaborate study which were noticed in his interpretation of tragedy. He especially excelled in presenting those types of middle-class life which appear in his own comedies. Iffland died at Berlin on the 22nd of September 1814. A bronze portrait statue of him was erected in front of the Mannheim theatre in 1864.

See K. Duncker, Iffland in seinen Schriften als Künstler, Lehrer, und Direktor der Berliner Bühne (1859); W. Koffka, Iffland und Dalberg (1865); and Lampe, Studien über Iffland als Dramatiker (Celle, 1899). Iffland’s interesting autobiography, Meine theatralische Laufbahn, was republished by H. Holstein in 1885.


IGLAU (Czech Jihlava), a town of Austria, in Moravia, 56 m. N.W. of Brünn by rail. Pop. (1900) 24,387, of whom 4200 are Czechs and the remainder Germans. Iglau is situated on the Iglawa, close to the Bohemian frontier, and is one of the oldest towns in Moravia, being the centre of a German-speaking enclave. Among the principal buildings are the churches of St Jakob, St Ignatius, St John and St Paul, the town-hall, and the barracks formed from a monastery suppressed under the emperor Joseph II. There is also a fine cemetery, containing some remarkable monuments. It has the principal tobacco and cigar factory of the state monopoly, which employs about 2500 hands, and has besides a large and important textile and glass industry, corn and saw-mills, pottery and brewing. Fairs are periodically held in the town; and the trade in timber, cereals, and linen and woollen goods is generally brisk.

Iglau is an old mining town where, according to legend, the silver mines were worked so early as 799. King Ottakar I. (1198–1230) established here a mining-office and a mint. At a very early date it enjoyed exceptional privileges, which were confirmed by King Wenceslaus I. in the year 1250. The town-hall contains a collection of municipal and mining laws dating as far back as 1389. At Iglau, on the 5th of July 1436, the treaty was made with the Hussites, by which the emperor Sigismund was acknowledged king of Bohemia. A granite column near the