“The Two Lord Lyttons” -- By: Anonymous
BSac 67:267 (July 1910) p. 451
“The Two Lord Lyttons”
[Extract From The Thirty-Fifth Century For March, A.D. 3405.]
Through the courtesy of the publishers we have received an “advance-copy” of a book which is expected to be issued in a short time, and which is likely to make a sensation in literary and scholarly circles. The book is entitled “The Two Lord Lyttons,” and its author is Professor Peter Nisbet, who worthily fills the chair of English Literature in the University of Kilmarnock.
We understand that Professor Nisbet intended, at first, to devote his life to the criticism of the Old Testament. With this object in view he studied for some years at the University of Leipzig, where, indeed, he took his degree of Ph.D., and where he acquired those vigorous, remorseless methods of Highest Criticism which he is now applying to the study of English literature.
Though Professor Nisbet has now deserted the field of Old Testament criticism for the wider plains of English literature, still he did not leave that well-cultivated Oriental field without taking from its teeming bosom some fruits of his toil. The monograph which he published on “The Five Jeremiahs” was regarded, at the time it appeared, as showing great critical ingenuity and skill.
Since Professor Nisbet was called to fill his present post in the University of Kilmarnock he has made a special study of that somewhat tangled and perplexing period of English lit-
BSac 67:267 (July 1910) p. 452
erary history — the nineteenth century. And this book on “The Two Lord Lyttons” is the first-fruits of his labours in that field.
Now five novels have come down from the nineteenth century under the name of Lord Lytton, — “Paul Clifford,” “Eugene Aram,” “The Caxtons,” “My Novel,” and “What will He do with It?” Professor Nisbet has examined these novels, and he says, decidedly and without hesitation, that the same man could not possibly have written all these books. There must have been two hands at the work. One hand wrote “Paul Clifford” and “Eugene Aram”; another hand wrote “The Caxtons,” “My Novel,” and “What will He do with It?”
The Professor gives detailed proof in support of this verdict. Lie shows how utterly different in conception and in execution are these two sets of novels. “Paul Clifford” and “Eugene Aram” are lurid tales of crime and retribution. “The Caxtons,” “My Novel,” and “What will He do with It?” are quiet stories, full of a placid ease, a calm contentment, an innocent guilelessness.
Professor Nisbet, having first shown that it is absolutely certain that two authors have been at work in the compositi...
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