Charles Dickens and Other Victorians

Charles Dickens and Other Victorians

Charles Dickens and Other Victorians

Charles Dickens and Other Victorians

Excerpt

All save one of the papers here collected were written as lectures and read from a desk at Cambridge; the exception being that upon Trollope, contributed to The Nation and the Athenaeum and pleasantly provoked by a recent edition of the "Barsetshire" novels. To these it almost wholly confines itself. But a full estimate of Trollope as one of our greatest English novelists -- and perhaps the raciest of them all -- is long overdue, awaiting a complete edition of him. His bulk is a part of his quality: it can no more be separated from the man than can Falstaff's belly from Falstaff. He will certainly come to his own some day, but this implies his coming with all his merits and all his defects: and this again cannot happen until some publisher shows enterprise. The expensive and artificial vogue of the three-volume-novel did wonders for Trollope in one generation, to kill him for another: since no critic can talk usefully about books to many of which his hearers have no access. But we shall see Trollope reanimated.

The papers on Dickens and Thackeray attempt judgment on them as full novelists. Those on Disraeli and Mrs. Gaskell merely take a theme, and try to show how one theme, taking possession, will work upon two very different minds. Much more could have been said generally upon both authors, and generically upon the "idea" of a novel.

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