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Page:Biographical and critical studies by James Thomson ("B.V.").djvu/314

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A STRANGE BOOK[1]

I

In order to make clear how strange is this book, I must cite at considerable length from the Note which concludes it, but really serves as a Preface:—

"The history of this little volume may be told in a few words.

"It is written by a new method, partly explained in the title, Improvisations.

"Last autumn my attention was particularly directed to the phenomena of drawing, speaking, and writing by Impression; and I determined to make an experiment of the kind, in composition, myself. The following poems are the result. Let me now explain more precisely what is meant by Writing by Impression, so far as my own personal experience is concerned; for I cannot refer to any other.

  1. "Improvisations from the Spirit" [by James John Garth Wilkinson]: 1857. Now long out of print; only to be got, when it can be got, second-hand.

    [It gives me great pleasure to reprint this essay, partly because I presented the author with the copy of the "Strange Book" which he used while writing the article—but chiefly because it will henceforth be impossible for any one making any pretensions to literary culture to inquire, as the critic of a high-class periodical actually did, when reviewing a former work of Thomson's, "Who is Garth Wilkinson?" This gentleman actually cited Thomson's admiration for Wilkinson as a proof of his critical incompetence! I fancy that henceforth any one who displays his ignorance of Wilkinson's writings will hardly be accepted as a competent critic of English literature.— Editor.]

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