SPECTATORIAL ESSAYS by Lytton Strachey

SPECTATORIAL ESSAYS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The 35 reviews included here were written between 1904 and 1914. Most were about books and seven were about the theater and appeared in The Spectator, a ponderously respectable political weekly owned and edited by Strachey's cousin. None of the books or plays he discussed are of more than mildly antiquarian interest today. Some of them were about the great names in English letters which allows the reader insight into Strachey's critical stance in relation to his fellow critics. And, it is the way Strachey said what he had to say -- his precision, economy and erudition illuminated by a cultivated wit -- that makes the book pleasant reading. Further, it is possible to trace some of the tentative statements of the first principles Strachey later applied in his own work, i.e., in praising Ferrero's history The Greatness and Decline of Rome he says--""...he shows us the ignorance of the wise, the weakness of the strong, the folly of the prudent, the helplessness of the well-meaning..."" This could stand as a description of Strachey himself as biographer. For the library market and specialized tastes.

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World