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John Bayley on Austen, Wordsworth

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  • emmh@ntlworld.com
    Amusing quotes from a collection of John Bayley s (Iris Murdoch s husband) criticism, The Power of Delight: A Lifetime in Literature - essays 1962-2002 (just
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 2005
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      Amusing quotes from a collection of John Bayley's (Iris Murdoch's
      husband) criticism, The Power of Delight: A Lifetime in Literature -
      essays 1962-2002 (just out by Duckworth Press):

      Jane Austen:
      "Critics are not required to marry the author they criticise, but many
      of Jane Austen's now write as if they had either proposed and been
      rejected, or had thought better of it."

      (that strikes a chord!)

      William Wordsworth:
      "William Wordsworth's poems are like one's parents' clothes - always
      out of fashion. John Donne is always our contemporary, even more so is
      Stendhal, who was Wordsworth's contemporary... Why have Donne and
      Stendhal in their writings a modern mind and Wordsworth an irremediably
      dated one? He is as egotistic as they, as intent on impressing his own
      consciousness on paper. But perhaps, as Keats intuited, it is because
      Wordsworth in his poetry appears as the "Egotistical Sublime". That,
      where posterity is concerned, is a fatal combination."

      I don't know if he says anything on Byron, but the above quotes in a
      newspaper a couple of weeks ago made me want to go out and buy the
      book.


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