Sunday, February 05, 2006

Seriousness test for critics

Imagine writing this in a preface to your collected works, and meaning it, and not being either intolerable or unintentionally funny:

I see very little in my Reviews to alter or repent of: I always endeavoured to fight against evil, and what I thought evil then I think evil now.

The critic in question? Sydney Smith, official comic relief of the first Edinburgh Review. Clive James should be so lucky.

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