Thursday, January 19, 2006

On January 19th, 1837...
Venerable John Henry Newman wrote to his sister Jemima, on matters literary....

Tell Miss M. that I fear I must decline the place in her poetical collection. I never can write except in a season of idleness. When I have been doing nothing awhile, poems spring up as weeds in fallow fields.

I have been reading 'Emma.' Everything Miss Austen writes is clever, but I desiderate something. There is a want of body to the story. The action is frittered away in over-little things. There are some beautiful things in it. Emma herself is the most interesting to me of all her heroines. I feel kind to her whenever I think of her. But Miss Austen has no romance—none at all. What vile creatures her parsons are! she has not a dream of the high Catholic ethos. That other woman, Fairfax, is a dolt—but I like Emma.

I have nearly finished Southey's 'Wesley,' which is a very superficial concern indeed: interesting of course. He does not treat it historically in its connexion with the age, and he cannot treat it theologically, if he would ... I do not like Wesley—putting aside his exceeding self-confidence, he seems to me to have a black self-will, a bitterness of religious passion, which is very unamiable. Whitfield seems far better.


Blogger William Luse said...

This is good stuff. I hope Peony sees the part about Jane Austen.

12:08 AM  

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