16 July 2007

On literary critics

'I perused all the newspapers attentively. The Spectator and Athenaeum amused me. The critics of these papers are, I doubt not, acute men in their way - theirs is not the shallow weakness of The Observer and the Daily News. But when called on to criticise works of imagination, they stand in the position of deaf men required to listen to music, or blind men to judge a painting. The Practical their minds can grasp; of the Ideal, they know nothing'

- Charlotte Bronte, letter dated 9 November 1849, writing to her literary adviser William Smith Williams about the response to her new novel, Shirley

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