Eminent Victorians by A N Wilson - review by Elizabeth Longford

Elizabeth Longford

Six of the Best

Eminent Victorians


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Apart from his talents as biographer and novelist, A N Wilson is the best literary interpreter now writing. I may have got the knack of generalisation from his own book: The Diary of a Nobody he calls ‘the best comic novel in the language’, Cardinal Newman is ‘incomparably the most flawless English stylist’ and Branwell Brontë’s painting of his sisters in the National Portrait Gallery is ‘one of the most inescapably emotional portraits of the whole gallery’ – nevertheless I think all four generalisations are true.

But though our Homer never nods – he is far too thorough a scholar for that – he does occasionally thrash out in ways that the very best critics are apt to do in moments of abandon when the brilliance of some special phrase blinds them to its lack of

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