The Eighteen-Sixties: Essays by Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature

By John Drinkwater | Go to book overview

but here we have Mr Abercrombie on Henry Taylor and Mr Wolfe on Clough. To read these two papers is not to get a complete view of poetry in the 'sixties, but it is to discover certain intellectual and spiritual qualities that were emphasised by that period, and to see them in their merits and their limitations more precisely than we could in the work of the more universal men. Similarly, Mr de la Mare, in his paper on Wilkie Collins, evokes powers that, while they were certainly not beyond the scope of Dickens and Thackeray, find a more particular, a more easily disengaged expression in & smaller master.

This consideration in the 'sixties has less force when we pass from the poetry and the fiction. These good poets and this good novelist are here richly rewarding to their latest critics, and not the less so in that they must without dispute take second place to giants of their own time. When Mr Granville-Barker comes to write about the theatre in the 'sixties he is free to make the most of any giants that he can find. But that is only because there were not any. The transit from Planché to Gilbert is perhaps as important as anything that was happening in the English theatre at that time, and yet there will be few readers who do not come to Mr Granville-Barker for their first knowledge of the process. Here are no Olympian ardours to remind us of the Elizabethans or Ibsen, but here is an account which in its liveliness reminds us that even in the lapses of its inspiration the theatre remains an enchanted place.

Mr Graves, on the other hand, has caught a giant right enough. His giant is a little fellow with a hump-

-viii-

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The Eighteen-Sixties: Essays by Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Sir Henry Taylor 1
  • Arthur Hugh Clough 20
  • The Early Novels of Wilkie Collins 51
  • Exit Planché -- Enter Gilbert 102
  • Punch in the 'sixties 149
  • Historians in the 'sixties - A New Era 175
  • Eneas Sweetland Dallas 201
  • George Whyte-Melville 224
  • Science in the 'sixties 245
  • Index 271
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