Fulke Greville's memoirs have long been a source bed for all socio-political gossip surrounding Parliament and Court during the first half of England's 19th century. His three journals, covering, respectively, the reigns of George TV, William IV and Victoria, have here been stylishly condensed into one volume, annotated, edited and introduced through the fastidious hands of Louis Kronenberger, who happens to consider them indispensable. And so, within limits, they are. For 40 years clerk of the privy council, Greville broke bread with the mighty (Wellington, Palmerston, Disraeli, Guizot); followed Regency balls, Chartism, the French Revolution and the Duke of York's stables; attended that madeup intellectual salon, Holland House, where Macaulay babbled like a bibliophilistic brook; wrote felicitous evocations of Peel and Melbourne, flinty ones of the Duchess of Kent or Albert; made on -the-button judgments: ""Ireland is like a strong man with an enormous cancer in one limb of his body."" A chronicler pleasing to read and to have around. Yet Greville's success comes through his economy of means, his modesty of attack compare him to Saint-Simon or Boswell, for example, and you soon see the difference between a lake and an ocean. Modestly pithy, modestly elegant, modestly amusing and modestly lasting; The Great World is a sort of devotee classic.