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they were, and we show also that the talents whose favour we have the good fortune to command are in no wise diminished. The editor's duty on this occasion is little more than a perfunctory one. He has merely to gather the papers together, see that they duly appear between the covers of a book, and record the thanks of the Society to the eminent writers, who have given the audiences in Bloomsbury Square so much pleasure during the preceding year, for their interest and generosity. Not but what the Society itself feels, with becoming reticence be it said, that its own tradition is worthy of the best service that can be offered it. The Royal Society of Literature since its foundation has passed through many vicissitudes, but from a very honourable and distinguished beginning, it has come through a period of rather barren formality into a renewed activity, and, it is to be believed, the promise of much valuable work ahead.

The editor is, however, permitted to offer such observations as he wish upon may the papers that he has the honour of bringing together. And this is a pleasure of which I should like to avail myself. We need make no comparisons between the present contributions, beyond saying that they are at least related by a disinterested enthusiasm for the literary arts—an enthusiasm which it is the purpose of this Society to foster. I may be allowed to remark in passing that the names of our present authors are enough to show the members that attendance at the lectures with which they are provided is sure of ample reward. Some of these papers, indeed, for all their qualities in print must clearly have gained in

delivery. Lord Grey's tender and urbane disquisition on "The Pleasure of Reading" of necessity reaches these pages in the form of an address. But his richly matured experience of life comes delightfully through the ordeal, and it is not difficult to recapture the personality that enriched the occasion of his latest visit to the Society. Mr. GranvilleBarker is now generally acknowledged to have been one of the most remarkable personalities in the modern revival of English drama, and he is also that rather unusual thing a practical scholar of the theatre. He knows the history of our own drama, and how to apply it to modern conditions, and he knows also a good deal about the dramatic achievements of other countries. His paper on the translation of plays is, therefore, invested with a peculiar authority, and his tenure of the Society's Professorship of Drama is clearly making that office one of first-rate importance. Dr. Altamira's discussion of the Spanish theatre will lead readers agreeably to the further study of a subject of which we in this country know a good deal less than we should.

Mr. Bailey's paper on Landor is a very notable service to the most unaccountably neglected of our greater poets. Mr. Bailey, indeed, will not have it that the neglect is altogether unaccountable, but his own beautifully alert appreciation of Landor's exquisite quality will at least do much to make such neglect less excusable. Landor, it is true, looked always for but a small audience, but there are signs that his reputation is steadily approaching more nearly to his achievement, and his admirers are, as they have always been, very devoted ones. They will be

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grateful to Mr. Bailey for a paper the lucidity and moment of which, one may be allowed to say, would have delighted Landor himself. Mr. Bailey's paper affords a happy contrast with Mr. Buchan's shrewd analysis of changing fashions in literature. To go back for a moment on my own words, where Mr. Bailey composes us with his serene and balanced speculation, Mr. Buchan enlivens our attention by the heartening cut and thrust of controversy. The two sides of a very practical question could not well be put with more wit and amiability. Mr. Buchan, liberal as he is in his appreciation of good work whenever it may appear, scores repeatedly against the affectations of both parties, and to read him is to be braced out of one's myopic humours.

The book closes fitly with Sir Henry Newbolt's paper, in which he writes of poetry with a poet's scholarship, and brings to his pastoral subject a charming pastoral freshness of his own.

I trust these gentlemen will forgive me for pointing out in their work merits which are obvious. But it is an editor's privilege on these occasions to have the chance of saying first what many will say afterwards, and he is lucky in the present instance in being able to say it with conviction.


April, 1925.




[Read May 21st, 1924.]

LORD CHARNWOOD, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,-It is true that I have had some experience of the world, but I have had very little experience of occasions such as this. Lord Charnwood was good enough to credit me with modesty. If I have not already, I hope, a sufficient share of modesty, this occasion would certainly beget modesty in me, because I am really disqualified from giving the sort of address which is generally given in this room.

For six years now I have only been able to read slowly and with great difficulty. To read a paper, as is generally done, on some special author, would require a great deal of rapid reading, even of a wellknown author, and this I am not able to do. For the same reason I cannot read a manuscript with sufficient fluency. I must, therefore, ask you to excuse the disorder of arrangement and the unfinished forms of expression, and the crudity of expression, which are inseparable from a verbal address.

My subject, "The Pleasure of Reading," was

VOL. V, N.S.


chosen partly because it is so wide that it covers almost any discursiveness, and partly I have chosen it because I think that modern conditions are putting the pleasure of reading more and more in jeopardy. Some people have such a passion for reading that they will acquire the habit and maintain it against all obstacles. There are others with the inclination and capacity to get that pleasure, but who must find it increasingly difficult under modern conditions to indulge the inclination and cultivate the capacity, and if they do not do so they lose one of the greatest resources and most precious recreations of life. I am using the phrase "The Pleasure of Reading "not in the sense of amusement, but in the sense of that deep and abiding pleasure which increases the more it is indulged. This deserves the name of recreation, because it actually refreshes and restores as well as entertains. Then there is a third class of people to whom reading, because of the nature of their temperament, will never be any pleasure at all. These are in no danger whatever from modern conditions. In old days I think it must have been easy to acquire the habit of reading. People stayed for months in the same house without stirring from it even for a night. The opportunities for reading were so many, and the opportunities for doing other things were comparatively so few, that the habit of reading must almost have been forced upon them. I have never been compelled to read Sir Charles Grandison' myself, but I can well believe that 150 years ago there were people who wished Sir Charles Grandison' even longer than it is.

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