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Views and Reviews Essays in appreciation: Literature   By: (1849-1903)

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VIEWS AND REVIEWS

ESSAYS IN APPRECIATION

By W. E. HENLEY

LITERATURE

LONDON Published by DAVID NUTT in the Strand 1892

FIRST EDITION

Printing begun 28th October 1889, ended 13th May 1890

ORDINARY ISSUE 1000 copies

Finest Japanese 20 copies

SECOND EDITION

Printing begun May 25th, ended June 18, 1892

1000 copies

Edinburgh : T. & A. CONSTABLE , Printers to Her Majesty

TO THE MEN OF 'THE SCOTS OBSERVER'

PREFATORY

Suggested by one friend and selected and compiled by another , this volume is less a book than a mosaic of scraps and shreds recovered from the shot rubbish of some fourteen years of journalism . Thus , the notes on Longfellow , Balzac , Sidney , Tourneur , ' Arabian Nights Entertainments ,' Borrow , George Eliot , and Mr. Frederick Locker are extracted from originals in ' London ' a print still remembered with affection by those concerned in it ; those on Labiche , Champfleury , Richardson , Fielding , Byron , Gay , Congreve , Boswell , ' Essays and Essayists ,' Jefferies , Hood , Matthew Arnold , Lever , Thackeray , Dickens , M. Theodore de Banville , Mr. Austin Dobson , and Mr. George Meredith from articles contributed to ' The Athenaeum '; those on Dumas , Count Tolstoi's novels , and the verse of Dr. Hake from ' The Saturday Review '; those on Walton , Landor , and Heine from ' The Scots Observer ,' ' The Academy ,' and ' Vanity Fair ' respectively ; while the ' Disraeli ' has been pieced together from ' London ,' ' Vanity Fair ,' and ' The Athenaeum '; the ' Berlioz ' from ' The Scots Observer ' and ' The Saturday Review '; the ' Tennyson ' from ' The Scots Observer ' and ' The Magazine of Art '; the ' Homer and Theocritus ' from ' Vanity Fair ' and the defunct ' Teacher '; the ' Hugo ' from ' The Athenaeum ,' ' The Magazine of Art ,' and an unpublished fragment written for ' The Scottish Church .' In all cases permission to reprint is hereby gratefully acknowledged ; but the reprinted matter has been subjected to such a process of revision and reconstitution that much of it is practically new , while little or none remains as it was . I venture , then , to hope that the result , for all its scrappiness , will be found to have that unity which comes of method and an honest regard for letters .

W. E. H.

Edinr. 8 th May 1890

DICKENS

A 'Frightful Minus'

Mr. Andrew Lang is delightfully severe on those who 'cannot read Dickens,' but in truth it is only by accident that he is not himself of that unhappy persuasion. For Dickens the humourist he has a most uncompromising enthusiasm; for Dickens the artist in drama and romance he has as little sympathy as the most practical. Of the prose of David Copperfield and Our Mutual Friend , the Tale of Two Cities and The Mystery of Edwin Drood , he disdains to speak. He is almost fierce (for him) in his denunciation of Little Nell and Paul Dombey; he protests that Monks and Ralph Nickleby are 'too steep,' as indeed they are. But of Bradley Headstone and Sydney Carton he says not a word; while of Martin Chuzzlewit but here he shall speak for himself, the italics being a present to him. 'I have read in that book a score of times,' says he; 'I never see it but I revel in it in Pecksniff and Mrs. Gamp and the Americans. But what the plot is all about , what Jonas did , what Montague Tigg had to make in the matter , what all the pictures with plenty of shading illustrate , I have never been able to comprehend .' This is almost as bad as the reflection (in a magazine) that Jonas Chuzzlewit is 'the most shadowy murderer in fiction.' Yet it is impossible to be angry. In his own way and within his own limits Mr. Lang is such a thoroughgoing admirer of Dickens that you are moved to compassion when you think of the much he loses by 'being constitutionally incapable' of perfect apprehension... Continue reading book >>




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