Some fourteen years ago Lord David Cecil published a penetra‐ting study of the greater English novelists of the mid‐nineteenth century. That was a period of our literature which in one way was the converse of that in which we are living. Today we have a con‐siderable number of competent and more than respectable novelists of the second class, but surely none who is indisputably of the first. In the first half of Queen Victoria's reign there were five or six of the first class, and best sellers at that, and after them almost nothing in front of a great crowd of also‐rans.
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