Gilbert & Sullivan: A Critical Appreciation of the Savoy Operas

Gilbert & Sullivan: A Critical Appreciation of the Savoy Operas

Gilbert & Sullivan: A Critical Appreciation of the Savoy Operas

Gilbert & Sullivan: A Critical Appreciation of the Savoy Operas

Excerpt

The best work of the Victorian age, perhaps the most Victorian work of the Victorian age, was its satire upon itself. It would be well if this were remembered more often by those who talk of nothing but its pomposity and conventionality. There was, indeed, a strain in it not only of pomposity but of hypocrisy; but like everything English, it was rather subtle. In so far as it existed it should be called rather humbug than hypocrisy, for hypocrisy implies intellectual clarity, and humbug suggests rather that convenient possession, a confused mind. The exclamation that a thing is all damned humbug is of the same sort as the exclamation that it is all damned nonsense. English humbug has had at least the comforting quality of nonsense, and something of that quality belongs even to the nonsense which made fun of the . . .

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