**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Essays On Some Of The Forms Of Literature
by [?]

And again:–

“The critic criticized, if dealt with in the worst fashion of his own class, must be pronounced a mere monster, ‘seeking whom he may devour;’ and, therefore, to be hunted and slain as speedily as possible, and stuffed for the museum, where he may be regarded with due horror, but in safety. But if dealt with after the best fashion of his class, a very honourable and beneficent office is assigned him, and he is warned only–though zealously–against its perversions. A judicial chair in the kingdom of human thought, filled by a man of true integrity, comprehensiveness, and delicacy of spirit, is a seat of terror and praise, whose powers are at once most fostering to whatever is good, most repressive of whatever is evil…. The critic, in his office of censurer, has need so much to controvert, expose, and punish, because of the abundance of literary faults; and as there is a right and a wrong side in warfare, so there will be in criticism. And as when soldiers are numerous, there will be not a few who are only tolerable, if even that, so of critics. But then the critic is more than the censurer; and in his higher and happier aspect appears before us and serves us, as the discoverer, the vindicator, and the eulogist of excellence.”

But resisting the temptation to quote further from Mr. Lynch’s book on this matter of Criticism, which seemed the natural point of contact by which the Reviewer could lay hold on the book, he would pass on with the remark that his duty in the present instance is of the nobler and better sort–nobler and better, that is, with regard to the object, for duty in the man remains ever the same–namely, the exposition of excellence, and not of its opposite. Mr. Lynch is a man of true insight and large heart, who has already done good in the world, and will do more; although, possibly, he belongs rather to the last class of writers described by himself, in the extract I am about to give from this same essay, than to any of the preceding:–

“Some of the best books are written avowedly, or with evident consciousness of the fact, for the select public that is constituted by minds of the deeper class, or minds the more advanced of their time. Such books may have but a restricted circulation and limited esteem in their own day, and may afterwards extend both their fame and the circle of their readers. Others of the best books, written with a pathos and a power that may be universally felt, appeal at once to the common humanity of the world, and get a response marvellously strong and immediate. An ordinary human eye and heart, whose glances are true, whose pulses healthy, will fit us to say of much that we read–This is good, that is poor. But only the educated eye and the experienced heart will fit us to judge of what relates to matters veiled from ordinary observation, and belonging to the profounder region of human thought and emotion. Powers, however, that the few only possess, may be required to paint what everybody can see, so that everybody shall say, How beautiful! how like! And powers adequate to do this in the finest manner will be often adequate to do much more–may produce, indeed, books or pictures, whose singular merit only the few shall perceive, and the many for awhile deny, and books or pictures which, while they give an immediate and pure pleasure to the common eye, shall give a far fuller and finer pleasure to that eye that is the organ of a deeper and more cultivated soul. There are, too, men of peculiar powers, rare and fine, who can never hope to please the large public, at least of their own age, but whose writings are a heart’s ease and heart’s joy to the select few, and serve such as a cup of heavenly comfort for the earth’s journey, and a lamp of heavenly light for the shadows of the way.”