BEFORE the reader looks any further into these volumes, 1 would entreat him to bear in mind two things.
And I say "entreat," and put those two words in italics, not in order to give emphasis to the truth (for truth is, or ought to be, its own emphasis) but to show him how anxious I am on the points, and to impress them the more strongly on his attention.
The first is, that the work, whatever amusement he may find in it (and I hope, for the publishers' sake, as well as my own, that it is not destitute of amusement) was commenced under circumstances which committed me to its execution, and would have been abandoned at almost every step, had those circumstances allowed.
The second is, that the life being that of a man of letters, and topics of a different sort failing me toward the conclusion, I found myself impelled to dilate more on my writings, than it would otherwise have entered my head to contemplate.
It is true, that autobiography, and autocriticism also, have abounded of late years in literary quarters. The French appear to have set the example. Goldoni and Alfieri followed it. Goethe and Chateaubriand followed them. Coleridge's Literary Life is professedly autocritical. With autocriticism Wodsworth answered his reviewers. And editions