Page:A critical examination of Dr G Birkbeck Hills "Johnsonian" Editions.djvu/98
A CRITICAL EXAMINATION
tions. It will not exactly do, ostrich-like, to hide his head in the sands of the Clarendon Press. I think he is required to stand forth and vindicate himself, or confess his errors. It will not do, as he has done in these "miscellanies," to print declarations of Dr Johnson—obviously to my address—that attacks need not be noticed, etc. When Boswell pleaded to his father that Homer nodded, the old judge said—"But you're not Homer," and Dr B. Hill is not exactly Dr Johnson.
I must now conclude this "Critical Examination," adding that I have refrained from inserting many more passages to which exception might justly be taken, but which are not of so "telling" a class as those selected. Apart from the innumerable mistakes pointed out, it has been shown that these abundantly noted books are not editions of Boswell, Johnson, or the other folk—but simply "encyclopaedias of anecdotes," copied with much diligence from all quarters—and so far are entertaining.
Nor are the syndics of the Clarendon Press without their share of responsibility. They have professed to furnish purchasers with "editions" of the works in question, and, instead, have supplied a heterogeneous mass of details about everybody and everything. Nearly a century ago, they sent forth a fine edition of Boswell's work, in four volumes, beautifully printed, a fine specimen of reserve in the matter of editing; what will they do now?
It will be noted that no references to the passages quoted are furnished in this "Critical Examination," for, with the aid of the editor's copious indexes, they can be found at once.
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