Monday, April 6, 2015

Turning reviews to one's own ends

          "Besides, said Mr Norrell, ‘I really have no desire to write reviews of other people’s books. Modern publications upon magic are the most pernicious things in the world, full of misinformation and wrong opinions."
          "Then sir, you may say so. The ruder you are, the more the editors will be delighted.
           "But it is my own opinions which I wish to make better known, not other people’s."
           "Ah, but sir,’ said Lascelles, ‘it is precisely by passing judgements upon other people’s work and pointing out their errors that readers can be made to understand your own opinions better. it is the easiest thing in the world to turn a review to one’s own ends. One only need mention the book once or twice and for the rest of the article one may develop one’s theme just as one chuses. It is, I assure you, what every body else does."
          "Hmm,’ said Mr Norrell thoughtfully, "you may be right. But, no. It would seem as if I were lending support to what ought never to have been published in the first place." 

Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (New York: Bloomsbury, 2004), pp. 112-13.

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