Masters of the English Novel: A Study of Principles and Personalities

Masters of the English Novel: A Study of Principles and Personalities

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Masters of the English Novel: A Study of Principles and Personalities

Masters of the English Novel: A Study of Principles and Personalities

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The principle of inclusion in this book is the traditional one which assumes that criticism is only safe when it deals with authors who are dead. In proportion as we approach the living or, worse, speak of those still on earth, the proper perspective is lost and the dangers of contemporary judgment incurred. The light-minded might add, that the dead cannot strike back; to pass judgment upon them is not only more critical but safer.

Sometimes, however, the distinction between the living and the dead is an invidious one. Three authors hereinafter studied are examples: Meredith, Hardy and Stevenson. Hardy alone is now in the land of the living, Meredith having but just passed away. Yet to omit the former, while including the other two, is obviously arbitrary, since his work in fiction is as truly done as if he, like them, rested from his literary labors and the gravestone chronicled his day of death. For reasons best known to himself, Mr. Hardy seems to have chosen verse for the final expression of his personality. It is more than a decade since he published a novel. So far as age goes, he is the senior of Stevenson: "Desperate Remedies " appeared when the latter was a stripling . . .

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