Books in general

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 07.23.45In a second-hand bookshop in Shrewsbury, Dalrymple snaps up works by Augustine Birrell, Solomon Eagle (J.C. Squire), Walter Bagehot and Leslie Stephen. People ought to read these authors, writes Dalrymple,

both for their content and style.

None of these men, Dalrymple points out, was an academic, and

all would have disdained to write a sentence which it was necessary to read a dozen times to perceive a faint glimmer of meaning, as so many literary academics now habitually do with pride in their own obscurity.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 07.27.11Eagle, Bagehot, Stephen, Birrell and their like

had the knack of extracting the significance from the lives and works of the authors whom they read, and conveying it with elegance and precision. They were also very funny.

Dalrymple formerly harboured a prejudice about Bagehot.

I had rather supposed that he was dour, dry and dull, as befits the founder of the Economist.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 07.40.46Far from it, Dalrymple found when he read Bagehot’s literary criticism.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 07.18.06Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 07.13.55Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 07.31.29Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 07.58.21

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