[Humanist] 25.703 on criticism, making amends

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Feb 8 06:41:33 CET 2012

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 703.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2012 12:32:41 -0600 (CST)
        From: Alan Corre <corre at uwm.edu>
        Subject: Laurence Sterne on criticism
        In-Reply-To: <131562772.1221252.1328639372288.JavaMail.root at mail12.pantherlink.uwm.edu>

As one who has perhaps abetted the slicing and dicing of texts by my interest in fostering the Icon Programming Language, I would like to make amends by offering the comments on criticism by Sterne in Tristram 2.V arranged by me for the benefit of the contemporary reader as an exchange between a questioner and his interlocutor as well as the brief, acid comments of the narrator, along with a modernization of the punctuation:

Q. And how did Garrick speak the soliloquy last night?
A. Oh, against all rule, my lord, most ungrammatically! Betwixt the substantive and the adjective, which should agree together in number, case and gender, he made a breach thus, stopping, as if the point wanted settling; and betwixt the nominative case, which your lordship knows should govern the verb, he suspended his voice in the epilogue a dozen times three seconds and three fifths by a stop watch, my lord, each time.
C. Admirable grammarian!
Q. But in suspending his voice, was the sense suspended likewise? Did no expression of attitude or countenance fill up the chasm? Did you narrowly look?
A. I look'd only at the stop watch, my lord.
C. Excellent observer!
Q. And what of this new book the whole world makes such a rout about?
A. Oh, 'tis out of all plumb, my lord, quite an irregular thing. Not one of the angles at the four corners was a right angle. I had my rule and compasses etc., my lord, in my pocket.
C. Excellent critic!
A continued. And for the epic poem your lordship bid me look at, upon taking the length, breadth, height, and depth of it, and trying them at home upon and exact scale of Bossu's ["humpback" used of a pitiable person] -- 'tis out, my lord, in every one of its dimensions.
C. Admirable connoisseur!

Alan Corré

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