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PREFACE Writing not long ago to my oldest literary friend, I expressed in a moment of heedless sentiment the wish that we might have again one of our talks of long-past days, over the purposes and methods of our art. And my friend, wiser than I, as he has always been, replied with this doubting phrase "Could we recapture the zest of that old time?" I would not like to believe that our faith in the value of imaginative art has diminished, that... more...

CHAPTER I In the first part of ROBINSON CRUSOE, at page one hundred and twenty-nine, you will find it thus written: "Now I saw, though too late, the Folly of beginning a Work before we count the Cost, and before we judge rightly of our own Strength to go through with it." Only yesterday, I opened my ROBINSON CRUSOE at that place. Only this morning (May twenty-first, Eighteen hundred and fifty), came my lady's nephew, Mr. Franklin Blake, and... more...

CHAPTER I Mayday afternoon in Oxford Street, and Felix Freeland, a little late, on his way from Hampstead to his brother John's house in Porchester Gardens. Felix Freeland, author, wearing the very first gray top hat of the season. A compromise, that—like many other things in his life and works—between individuality and the accepted view of things, aestheticism and fashion, the critical sense and authority. After the meeting at... more...

CHARACTERISTICS OF VICTORIAN LITERATURE That which in England is conveniently described as the Victorian Age of literature has a character of its own, at once brilliant, diverse, and complex. It is an age peculiarly difficult to label in a phrase; but its copious and versatile gifts will make it memorable in the history of modern civilisation. The Victorian Age, it is true, has no Shakespeare or Milton, no Bacon or Hume, no Fielding or... more...

Chapter I. The weekly bill. Smith's Hotel, 10 Dovermarle Street. Here we are in London again,—Francesca, Salemina, and I. Salemina is a philanthropist of the Boston philanthropists limited. I am an artist. Francesca is— It is very difficult to label Francesca. She is, at her present stage of development, just a nice girl; that is about all: the sense of humanity hasn't dawned upon her yet; she is even unaware that personal... more...


CHAPTER I THE RENAISSANCE (1) There are times in every man's experience when some sudden widening of the boundaries of his knowledge, some vision of hitherto untried and unrealized possibilities, has come and seemed to bring with it new life and the inspiration of fresh and splendid endeavour. It may be some great book read for the first time not as a book, but as a revelation; it may be the first realization of the extent and moment of what... more...

CHAPTER I. CHARLOTTE. Farewell rewards and fairies,Good housewives now may say,For now foul sluts in dairiesMay fare as well as they.             BP. CORBET. An ancient leafless stump of a horse-chesnut stood in the middle of a dusty field, bordered on the south side by a row of houses of some pretension. Against this stump, a pretty delicate fair girl of seventeen, whose short... more...

Preface Several anthologies of poems by Yorkshiremen, or about Yorkshiremen, have passed through the press since Joseph Ritson published his Yorkshire Garland in 1786. Most of these have included a number of dialect poems, but I believe that the volume which the reader now holds in his hand is the first which is made up entirely of poems written in "broad Yorkshire." In my choice of poems I have been governed entirely by the literary quality and... more...

THE DAWN OF A GALA DAY To begin with the old rigmarole of childhood. In a country there was a shire, and in that shire there was a town, and in that town there was a house, and in that house there was a room, and in that room there was a bed, and in that bed there lay a little girl; wide awake and longing to get up, but not daring to do so for fear of the unseen power in the next room—a certain Betty, whose slumbers must not be disturbed... more...

Chapter One. In Benchers’ Inn. “My darling! Mine at last!” Ting-tang; ting-tang; ting-tang. Malcolm Stratton, F.Z.S., naturalist, a handsome, dark-complexioned man of eight-and-twenty, started and flushed like a girl as he hurriedly thrust the photograph he had been apostrophising into his breast pocket, and ran to the deep, dingy window of his chambers to look at the clock over the old hall of Bencher’s Inn, E.C. It... more...