Biographical Essays

Biographical Essays

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Biographical Essays by Thomas De Quincey

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Biographical Essays

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range but a horrid fascination for him; it alarms, irritates, disturbs, makes him profoundly unhappy; and chiefly by unlocking imperfect glimpses of thoughts and slumbering instincts, which it is for his peace to have entirely obscured, because for him they can be revealed only partially, and with the sad effect of throwing a baleful gleam upon his blighted condition. Do we mean, then, to compare Addison with an idiot? Not generally, by any means. Nobody can more sincerely admire him where he was a man of real genius, viz., in his delineations of character and manners, or in the exquisite delicacies of his humor. But assuredly Addison, as a poet, was amongst the sons of the feeble; and between the authors of Cato and of King Lear there was a gulf never to be bridged over. [Endnote: 4]

But Dryden, we are told, pronounced Shakspeare already in his day "a little obsolete." Here now we have wilful, deliberate falsehood. Obsolete, in Dryden's meaning, does not imply that he was so with reg

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