Adventures in Criticism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 306 pages of information about Adventures in Criticism.
James Hannays would not have brought it down.  The truth is that it is not the ’critic who knows’ or the public which does not know that determines the ultimate fate of a book—­the immediate fate they may both influence.  The book must do that for itself.  If it is right, it lives; if it is wrong, it dies.  And the critic who re-establishes a neglected poet is merely articulating the growing sense.  There have always been a few good critics, thank God ... but the finest critic is the untutored sentiment of the public, not of to-day or to-morrow or the next day, but of all days together—­a sentiment which tells if a thing is right or wrong by holding on to it or letting it drop.”

Of course, I agree that a book must ultimately depend for its fate upon its own qualities.  But when Mr. Hall Caine talks of “a growing sense,” I ask, In whom does this sense first grow?  And I answer, In the cultured few who enforce it upon the many—­as in this very case of Wordsworth.  And I hold the credit of the result (apart from the author’s share) belongs rather to those few persistent advocates than to those judges who are only “ultimate” in the sense that they are the last to be convinced.

[B] If the reader object that I am using the Great Heart and Great Brain of the Public as interchangeable terms, I would refer him to Mr. Du Maurier’s famous Comic Alphabet, letter Z:—­

     “Z is a Zoophyte, whose heart’s in his head,
      And whose head’s in his turn—­rudimentary Z!”

[C] Questions at Issue; by Edmund Gosse.  London:  William Heinemann.


March 16, 1895.  The “Woman Who Did,” and Mr. Eason who wouldn’t.

    “In the romantic little town of ’Ighbury,
     My father kept a Succulating Libary....”

—­and, I regret to say, gave himself airs on the strength of it.

The persons in my instructive little story are—­

     H.H.  Prince Francis of Teck.

     Mr. Grant Allen, author of The Woman Who Did.

     Mr. W.T.  Stead, Editor of The Review of Reviews.

     Messrs. Eason & Son, booksellers and newsvendors, possessing on
     the railways of Ireland a monopoly similar to that enjoyed by
     Messrs. W.H.  Smith & Son on the railways of Great Britain.

     Mr. James O’Hara, of 18, Cope Street, Dublin.

     A Clerk.

Now, on the appearance of Mr. Grant Allen’s The Woman Who Did, Mr. Stead conceived the desire of criticising it as the “Book of the Month” in The Review of Reviews for February, 1895.  He strongly dissents from the doctrine of The Woman Who Did, and he also believes that the book indicts, and goes far to destroy, its own doctrine.  This opinion, I may say, is shared by many critics.  He says “Wedlock is to Mr. Grant Allen Nehushtan.  And the odd

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Adventures in Criticism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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