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A Book of Instructibe Pastime.
By H. A. PAGE,
AUTHOR OF “LIFE OF THOMAS DE QUINCEY," "THOREAU :
A STUDY,” ETC.,
“Wit in its isolation is worthless. Then only is wit tolerable when it rests on an earnest basis : ordinary wit is no more than a sneeze of the reason.”—Heine.
To mingle the instructive and the amusing, in fit and fair proportion, is no easy task, but this is what the author of the present little volume has aimed at. Goethe, not without a certain unconscious self-revelation, said sneeringly of parody: “I have never concealed what an implacable enemy I am to all parody and travesty ; but it is only on this account that I am so, because this base brood pulls down the noble, the beautiful, the great, in order to make an end of them.” Notwithstanding the sneer of so great a master, the author believes that, when viewed in a proper spirit, parody may be both instructive and amusing. When some part of the portion here given on that subject appeared in the British Quarterly Review, it was received with peculiar favour; the Spectator remarking : “ There is some admirable criticism in Parody and Parodists. We have never seen the real nature of parody better defined.” The author trusts that none of his kindly critics may have any reason now to change their opinion of the essays of which they before spoke so favourably.
H. A. PAGE. London, August 28, 1881,