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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Chauncey Wright


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Chauncey Wright : Philosophical Discussions

'My dear Norton, since I wrote to you last, I have read Mr Chauncey Wright?s book or nearly all & - to say the truth ? found it a tolerably thorough morsel. It is like walking across a plough field, where one has to look very carefully at one?s footing & get every now & then stuck above the ankles. I admired & respected the man but found it hard to enjoy his work. This, however, can hardly be expected even from a professed metaphysician. He is strong & thoroughgoing; but one longs for a little liveliness & more capacity for bringing things to a focus. Perhaps I am a little spoilt by article-writing & inclined to value smartness of style too highly. The only point wh. struck me unpleasantly in the substance of the book was his rather contemptuous tone about Spence & Lewes. I don?t doubt that his criticisms of Spencer are tolerably correct; though I can see that Spencer really means to concede so much to the enemy as C. W. supposes; but I confess that Lewes seems to me to be a remarkably acute metaphysician & one who will really make his mark. C. W.?s criticism is unluckily so short that I could not quite catch the grounds of his antipathy. He seems to me to be too staunch a Millite & hardly to recognise the fact that we have got to go beyond the Mill school. But I can?t attempt a criticism here, if indeed, I were really capable of it. Anyhow Wright must be a great loss. Nobody can mistake the soundness & toughness of his intellect & his thorough honesty of purpose.'

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Leslie Stephen      Print: Book


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