his statements, is hopelessly vain.
It is all undeniable, no doubt; from every side we make out that the criticism of a book--not the people in the book, not the character of the author, but the book--is impossible. We cannot remember the book, and even if we could, we should still be unable to describe it in literal and unequivocal terms. It cannot be done; and the only thing to be said is that perhaps it can be approached, perhaps the book can be seen, a little more closely in one way than in another. It is a modest claim, and my own attempt to assert it will be still more modest. A few familiar novels, possibly a dozen, by still fewer writers--it will be enough if I can view this small handful with some particularity. And I shall consider them, too, with no idea of criticizing all their aspects, or even more than one. How they are made is the only question I shall ask; and though indeed that is a question which incidentally raises a good many others--questions of the intention of the novelist, his c