IT is customary with a certain type of critic to compare most unfavourably the taste of the reading public of to‐day with that of former generations. The great novelists of the nineteenth century are being neglected, we are told; the cry nowadays is for the sensational story; the great books in literature are losing their attraction. Although the standard is low enough, it must not be forgotten that far more people are able to read now than was the case fifty years ago; and I suggest that Dickens, Scott, Thackeray, and other eminent writers of the past are being read by more people than ever before, though the proportion—in comparison with the total number of books read—is doubtless lower. Let us grant that, like the standard of the jokes in Punch, the reading of to‐day has never been so good as it used to be.
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