is more disgusted than I am at bad
criticism. How I have hated the Quarterly,
the Edinburgh and Blackwood!
How I have longed for their utter ex-
tinction! And how exasperated I have
felt with Dr. Johnson or in our times
with the snarls of the Athenæum!
But what offends me even more than
wicked criticism is feebleness, such as
you find in Forbiger, and I have seen
a conspicuous instance of lately in George
Brimley's Essays, in the critique on Tennyson.
This Brimley was a well-meaning,
well-educated man, with much
good sense, judgement and even in some
cases discernment and taste,
at whose death his friends published
the essays which bear his name. You
could only understand by reading
him, how all the good qualities I have
given him are ruined by what Ruskin
would call "gentlemanly feebleness".
Sept. 6 1863
And I hope I may never
hold my own in argument more, if I do
not succeed in putting you out of
conceit with your canon of criticism.
I cannot but think it a little weak
of you, you must pardon me for saying
it, in this and other cases, so entirely
to be engrossed with one side
of a question that you cannot even
see that another side exists: I should
[haney] that you would aspire to a
reputation for judgement, but if so,
you ought to know that nothing so
impairs that reputation as the strong
assertion of half-truths. And this
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