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· REVIEWS '. VICTORIANS REVALUED* LOUIS CAZAMIAN A reader of Lord David Cecil's Pictoritin Novelists might well hazard the conjecture, from the method and manner of this excellent survey, that its noble author must have had some experience ·o{ the lecture-roam-on the teacher's side. His aim is so clearly defined; it is reached with such orderly progress; each chapter is so carefully planned; and the findings for and against each writer are so deliberately" numbered and marshalled. But that the work has solidity, and no visible amateurishness, is by no means the highest praise that it deserves. The whole book displays genuine insight, nice judgment, a beautiful sanity, and a fine sense of literary values. We are given a penetrating, and what matters even more, a just estimate of writers who have been for a long time under a cloud of more or less systematic depreciation . . Lord DaVId Cecil is that rare thing, a judge of literature whohas really thought out his standards and revolves round his own centre. The vagaries of fashion seem to leave him unperturbed. Not only does he not join in the hue and cry against the Victorians;. but he quietly pricks the ~ubble of a whole generation's conceited injustice in holding up to scorn the prodigious blunders of their immediate predecessors. The Victorians, they said for instance, were grotesquely self-centred. No one thought, however, of charging the same fault upon the Elizabethans: "Critics rebuked ' Tennyson for representing Lancelot as an English gentleman of 1860, but ' were · only interested when Shakespeare represented Troilus as an English gentleman of 1590." At the same time Lord David will not be too hard upon the anti-Victorian iconoclasts; their error was a familiar one: '


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pp. 559-562
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