Pot-Boilers

Pot-Boilers

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Pot-Boilers by Clive Bell

Published:

1918

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Pot-Boilers

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Book Excerpt

o have Mrs. Ward judged as a specimen of Humanity and "Tono-Bungay" as a specimen of Literature. It must be tried by the standards we try "Tristram Shandy" and "La Princesse de Clèves" by. How, then, does it stand? With "Liaisons Dangereuses"? Hardly. Well, is it of the class of "Evelina" or of "Adolphe," or of "Consuelo" even? Mr. Bennett can be as sharp as a special constable with Thackeray: is it as good as "Pendennis"? And, unless it be infinitely better, what sense is there in despising Thackeray and extolling Mr. Wells? Pray, Mr. Bennett, how good is this book? Let us see; I think I have a note on the subject: "his scientific romances" are "on the plane of epic poetry" and "in 'Tono-Bungay' he has achieved the same feat, magnified by ten--or a hundred"; "there are passages toward the close of the book which may fitly be compared with the lyrical freedoms of no matter what epic, and which display an unsurpassable dexterity of hand." And now what are we to say of "Manon Lescaut"? That it is a milli
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