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

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Dr Douglas


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Jonathan Swift : The Conduct of the Allies, and of the Late Ministry, in Beginning and Carrying on the Present War

'Swift having been mentioned, Johnson, as usual, treated him with little respect as an author. Some of us endeavoured to support the Dean of St. Patrick's, by various arguments. One in particular praised his "Conduct of the Allies." Johnson. "Sir, his 'Conduct of the Allies,' is a performance of very little ability." "Surely, Sir, (said Dr. Douglas,) you must allow it has strong facts." Johnson. "Why yes, Sir; but what is that to the merit of the composition? In the Sessions-paper of the Old Bailey there are strong facts. Housebreaking is a strong fact; and murder is a mighty strong fact; but is great praise due to the historian of those strong facts? No, Sir, Swift has told what he had to tell distinctly enough, but that is all. He had to count ten, and he has counted it right."'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Dr Douglas      


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