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"The Morality of Style": John Morley as Essayistic Liberal.

This essay explores John Morley's understanding of "the morality of style," a key evaluative tool that he employed throughout his career as a critic of politics and culture. Morley demonstrated a commitment to liberalism, which to him meant an acknowledgment of the importance of pursuing political agendas within a cultural context that prized sympathy, aesthetic education, and historical understanding. Morley believed the critic's task was to focus on writers representative or typical of their age. An extensive analysis of his essay on Thomas Babington Macaulay demonstrates how Morley put his ideas into practice: the essay emphasizes the profoundly formative effect of a writer's style on readers' minds, and reveals Morley's links to the late-Romantic lineage from which he draws his critical principles. Morley's "essayist liberalism" shows the extent of his investment in nonnative models of political individuation and his efforts to balance this ideology with a commitment to pluralism and an open-ended view of historical process, grounded in practices of imaginative understanding and a culture of self-perfection.


What did it mean for a Victorian critic to believe, as John Morley did, in the "morality of style"? ("Macaulay" 78). Inasmuch as it functioned as a principle of criticism, how did this belief configure the relationship between author and work within the critic's mind, i.e., between the life and the writings, the biography and the achievement, or what Morley would refer to--as he did in his "Harriet Martineau" of 1877--as "character" and "literary production"? (237). Finally, to borrow a phrase from a recent book on Style and the Nineteenth-Century British Critic, what does the moralization of style in Victorian critical discourse--as opposed to the moral criticism of a writer's themes or distillable worldview, say, or what is known about his or her political choices--tell us about the liberal "scene of writing"? The question is all the more worth asking if we keep in mind that by the late 1860s and 1870s, on which this essay shall be focused, early Victorian models of partisan reviewing, let alone still older models of the critic as an arbiter of taste, had to a large degree made way for critical modes whose discourse was subjective or internal, rendering the critic's own style a vehicle for individual expression and--to the extent that styles were becoming individually differentiated--a ground for claiming critical integrity and authority for one's opinions in the print public sphere (Camlot 9).

In engaging these questions, the case of the liberal and rationalist editor, critic, biographer, and "historian of opinion" John Morley, who had a second career as statesman and is best remembered for his monumental Life of William Ewart Gladstone (1903), affords a special opportunity. As a critic, Morley was most active before and during the tenure of his editorship of the Fortnightly Review (1867-1882). This places him in a rich transitional moment in the history of liberal criticism, when criticism (signed, increasingly) was valued over reviewing, authority seemed to devolve from religion onto "higher journalism" and the professions, and political liberalism was energized by the transition to democracy in the wake of the Second Reform Act (cf. Kent; Shattock). Recent years have seen a reorientation toward and deepening interest in the textual and literary forms of liberal culture during this period, including the protocols of reviewing, citation, and other forms of text-based engagement, the modalities of ideation and opinion formation, and the cultures of argument and debate out of which the liberal ethos came to constitute itself. Thus Andrew H. Miller, writing about practical ethical reasoning in Victorian novels and non-fiction texts, has explored the casuistic roots of Victorians' reflective "display of thinking"; he shows how Victorians' careful checking of their choices and values against inner motives and the personal examples of others--and their attendant suspicion of rule-bound responses and formulaic thought--was integral to the culture of self-development and "perfection" of the period ("Reading"). (1) John Plotz, writing about the role of reading in John Stuart Mill, has proposed the term "mediated involvement" to describe how solitary encounters with the text, for Mill, permitted a "controlled exposure" to impressions and ideas; Mill found in this one possible response to the problem of "moral coercion" that he feared was inextricable from direct social intercourse (74, 84). And exploring mid-Victorian liberalism's "idealism concerning the role of cultivated thought in political individuation," Elaine Hardy has offered new theorizations of the extent to which moralizing categories were applied to citizens' "qualities of mind," both in reference to public performances and to modes of internal deliberation. In Living Liberalism she speaks of "liberal cognition" to reference the "wide range of strikingly formalized mental attitudes" that Victorians apprized: "disinterestedness, objectivity, reticence, conviction, impersonality, [...] sincerity," all attitudes fleshed out through "techniques of thought production and judgment" that could be seen at work from the hustings and the voting booth to the textual spaces of liberal reviews such as the Fortnightly (7). Commanding reflective ownership of one's ideas, it appears, was both a liberal ideal and a besetting problem: in different ways, the scholars cited here all ask attention not only for the burdens placed on the gestation and expression of individual thought, but also for Victorians' deep anxiety over the possibility to access the minds of others, make ours known to them, or even truly inhabit our own.

The emphasis placed on liberalism as "lived" through mental dispositions, attitudes, and techniques--the formalizations of which can be traced through a multiplicity of print media and genres--suggests the broad reference of the term "liberal" that is to be maintained here. Nineteenth-century usage corroborates it in ways that bear on the linkage of "liberal" and "criticism" to which this paper attends. From J.F. Stephen's classic essay "Liberalism" of 1862, down to W.J. Courthope's The Liberal Movement in English Literature of 1885--the latter, notably, written "from a Conservative point of view" (xiv)--an argument was current that emphatically incorporated political liberalism under a broader rubric of what could be dubbed, following these authors, "literary" liberalism (with its valences of culture and education). Morley, too, delineated and often preferred this broader understanding: liberalism, he quoted Augustine Birrell as saying, was to be thought of "not [as] a creed, but a frame of mind" ("Matthew Arnold" 356). In brief, this version of liberalism acknowledged the importance of pursuing political hopes, aims, and commitments within a cultural context that prized sympathy, aesthetic education, and historical understanding; it worked hard to maintain a vision of politics as ethos.

Morley belonged to the generation of middle-class "university liberals" (Harvie) who moved on to journalism or letters for a career following an initial intention to train for the clergy. Following his studies at Oxford, which he left with a pass degree in 1859, he lived by the pen in London, where a "middle" article for the Saturday Review gained him the attention and friendship of Mill, who was to be highly supportive of his editorship of the Fortnightly. From his earliest journalism onward Morley looked to science--Mill's Logic, Comte's sociology--for guidance, but he would keep his distance from historians and critics who, in the deterministic vein of H.T. Buckle, Hippolyte Taine, or later Ferdinand Brunetiere, believed to have found developmental "laws" at work in history or in the psychology of literary production. Morley's own "positivism" was progressivist and even perfectibilitarian in an Enlightenment sense, but it recognized contingency in history and it foregrounded human agency. It defines his historical and literary-critical enterprise that the intellectualism formulated by Mill in Book VI of the Logic--in which Mill, following Comte, hypothesized the progressive historical agency of ideas combined in it a Germano-Coleridgean historicism that sought to study the play of ideas "from within," entering the imagination and thought of the other and in the context of cultural forces and social dynamics specific to the time (cf. Mill, "Coleridge"). Stopping short of historical relativism (a danger he cautioned against in On Compromise, 63-65), Morley's idea of ideation and opinion formation was deeply relational, dialogic, and situationally aware. (2)

It seems apposite, then, to consider Morley as an "essayistic liberal" --essayism being understood here as a literary practice embodying many valorized liberal dispositions, in ways encouraging of individualized opinion. (3) In the French studies which he published between 1868 and 1878, Morley specialized in intellectual-biographical writing of a kind which, as Hadley puts it, appeared a "most accurate means of charting the progress of truth through time," given the "consequential" but not aggrandized role which it allotted philosophes and other writers (127). Among the models that fed into this work were the French academic eloge and the "literary portrait" as developed by Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve; the latter's adoption of the "portrait" for literary-critical purposes offered Morley a supple form for approaching the life of ideas. The Sainte Beuvean portrait was exploratory, not explanatory in a causal or deterministic sense; it balanced attention for the inner resources behind individual achievement with sensitivity to context, temporal unfolding, and the place of the portraitee in tradition (see Jefferson 150-53). Indeed, Morley's own word for it was "socio-literary." (4) The critical function of such writing was crucial: the idea was that only the critic comprehended an oeuvre from the larger--developmental--view, in terms of the "mental history" of a culture. Two moments in his critical work might be adduced for examples. The immediate occasion for the essay on "Macaulay," which appeared in the Fortnightly for April 1876--and to which I shortly return --was the publication of George Otto Trevelyan's Life and Letters of his uncle. That Morley chose to write on Macaulay prior to the publication of the "life" not only illustrates a form of "liberal cognition" (in the liberal scene of writing, the essayist can take stock of his ideas in a mood of anticipation, as a "furnished" mind already in relation with the work it is about to read), but also of critical self-authorization. It established him as a reader bearing the impress of Macaulay's influence, but capable, as well, of reflective distance from this impress and of holding it up for scrutiny. The second moment to highlight comes in the opening paragraphs of the essay on Carlyle. Morley says here that "there is a difference between living in the history of literature or belief, and living in literature itself and in the minds of believers" (34). The central question animating this essay or portrait, then, is in which of these two senses Carlyle "lives" in England in 1870: clearly, a question not just regarding "influence" in an historical sense, but regarding English "mental history" seen as unified and continuous--and again, one assuming for the critic the role of interpreter of the climate of opinion.

Perhaps it follows from Morley's practice of literary criticism as a form or modality of "history of opinion" that the critic's task should be focused especially on writers who could to some degree be seen as representative or typical of their age. The idea is clearly contained in Morley's notion of "synthetic criticism" as proposed in his essay on Byron, whom he ranked among the "sublimer masters" who "come to us with the size and quality of great historic forces." For a poet like Byron, he says, "we need synthetic criticism, which, after analysis has done its work, and disclosed to us the peculiar qualities of form, conception, and treatment, shall collect the products of this first process, construct for us the poet's mental figure in its integrity and just coherence, and then finally, as the sum of its work, shall trace the relations of the poet's ideas, either direct or indirect, through the central currents of thought, to the visible tendencies of an existing age" (6). The "mental figure" in this definition is both product and shaper: it is formed by contemporary historical and intellectual conditions into its inner depths, and to that extent capable of reflecting the times back at itself (interestingly, for Byron himself Morley would maintain this only in regard to the most "political" of his works). It was a select class of writers, then, that offered itself for synthetic criticism in this sense--as select perhaps as Carlyle's cast of "heroes"; this may help explain why Morley's critical interest flagged when his subject was somehow lesser in stature (cf. Willey 291).

In regard to style, Morley's scattered comments on it may seem deceptively simple in the stress they place on writers' inner dispositions; indeed, the above-cited definition of "synthetic criticism" suggests only a subordinate place for it. In an early essay on George Eliot, we read that "[it] is not the assiduous cultivation of a style, as such, but the cultivation of the intellect and feelings, which produces good writing. Style comes of brooding over ideas, not over words" (279). A few years later, he wrote that: "Style [...] can never be anything but the reflex of ideas and habits of mind" (Voltaire 116). In a late address to the English Association he confessed himself "impatient [...] of overdoing precepts about style," commending only, in lieu of literary models, the qualities of "Sanity and Justesse" (Science and Literature 7; cf. "On the Study of Literature" 222-23). In what follows, however, I will try to show how style could form a principal interest in Morley's critical practice. In the process, his assumption of "natural" style will appear less stable than may appear from these stray reflections--and indeed, more a focal point for the articulation of pressing moral and cultural concerns.


If we turn to Morley's essay on Macaulay, we will find that his concern with style found its place within his "socio-literary" criticism as it permitted the articulation of a moral conception of the literary public sphere as a place for shaping the intellectual sensibility of readers. It is his conception of English reading publics as deeply impressionable, and of the agency of texts as working through emotive as well as ideational channels, that made Morley acutely sensitive to the "morality of style" embodied in a writer's rhetoric, modes of argument and narration, and--importantly, in an historian's case--treatment of character. Matthew Sussman has described the "virtue-based vocabulary" which, he shows, could do "double duty" in Victorian critical discourse by holding moral and aesthetic qualities together in the interpretation of texts, often to the point of conflating both (225-26). Morley too wrote in a "stylistic virtue" register, but I would argue that in his essays of the 1870s he was interested in moralizing style not only in the characterological dimension that holds that "the style is the man"--to use Buffon's time-honored phrase (227) but also in the elusive dimension of transmission through which a writer's influence does its work on reader's minds. To this extent, the space for conflating the moral and the aesthetic in Morley's critical language may have been smaller than in that of other critics who published in the Fortnightly (e.g., Walter Pater might be considered as a counterpoint). In his hands, criticism was the guardian of the "intellectual temper" of the reading public, or, of that segment of it which could be seen to have a share in the formation of "opinion"; thus his critical enterprise remained firmly tied to the extra-literary, notwithstanding its cultivation of sensitivity to form.

We can begin to gauge Morley's anxiety about the influence of style by considering his bold generalization, proposed in reference to modern journalists' (alleged) literary debt both to Macaulay and to Mill, that those who allowed the latter's influence to preponderate might have learnt from Mill "to reason," while those receptive to the impress of the former have been "tempted" merely "to declaim" (75). Morley specified the problem with Macaulay by describing how the encounter with an admired writer most commonly works through the thickening distance so imperfectly mediated by print (and time):
   It is no new observation that the influence of an author
   becomes in time something apart from his books, and that
   a certain generalised or abstract personality impresses
   itself on our minds, long after we have forgotten the
   details of his opinions, the arguments by which he
   enforced them, and even, what are usually the last to
   escape us, the images by which he illustrated them.
   Phrases and sentences are a mask: but we detect the
   features of the man behind the mask. (76-77)

Recalling Miller's recruitment, in his discussion of Mill's ideal of "mediated involvement," of the Goffmanian trope of facework (70), we might say that Morley's anxiety here concerned the psychology of influence, approached in terms of the physiognomy projected by style. As he went on to say:
   This personality of a favourite author is a real and
   powerful agency. Unconsciously we are infected with his
   humours; we apply his methods; we find ourselves
   copying the rhythm and measure of his periods; we
   wonder how he would have acted, or thought, or spoken
   in our circumstances. Usually a strong writer leaves a
   special mark in some particular region of mental activity:
   the final product of him is to fix some persistent religious
   mood, or some decisive intellectual bias, or else some
   trick of the tongue. (77)

Morley's view on the conundrum of influence as compounded by the inextricably affective or emotive dimension of the processes of transmission, reception, and literary ideation led to an ambivalent assessment of Macaulay's style. Noting the corruptive effects attendant on the historian's literary strengths, he finds Macaulay's relationship with readers deeply fraught." We might compare Morley to other critics to unpack his argument further. The charge that Macaulay was an unreliable rhetorician, compromised perhaps by his taste for popularity, was quite common by the 1870s; the complaint was that the contrasts were too strong, the use of contradictions--a Macaulayan trademark--too stylized (cf. Jann 92, 99). Leslie Stephen, for instance, found the clarity of Macaulay's prose deceptive: "His writing [...] bears the same relation to a style of graceh. (5) modulation that a bit of mosaic work bears to a picture. Each phrase has its distinct hue, instead of melting into its neighbours. [...] There are no half tones, no subtle interblending of different currents of thought" (350). Stephen's inorganic metaphor ("a bit of mosaic work") points up the moral or characterological flaw he felt was at the root of formulaic writing; behind the charge one senses Mill's ideal of spontaneity, of maintaining a living and spontaneous relationship with one's own thoughts. Morley, by contrast, although he had comparable things to say about Macaulay's style, shifted the emphasis more firmly from the writer's literary character to the moral force it exuded in the print public sphere. Grounding his assessment in late-Romantic style theory, he wrote that Macaulay "set his stamp" upon "style in its widest sense, not merely on the grammar and mechanism of writing, but on what De Quincey described as its organology, style, that is to say, in its relation to ideas and feelings, its commerce with thought, and its reaction on what one may call the temper or conscience of the intellect" (77; emphasis in original). Although organic style in this sense counts as an achievement--of individuality--Morley pressed the point to a censorial conclusion: what in Macaulay were "the incidental defects of a vigorous genius" "became and still remain in those who have made him their model, substantive and organic vices" (75). It is in this sense that Macaulay's style could be said to have the virtues of "sincerity," "manliness," and "directness" (all epithets of praise with which Morley's and Stephen's essays abound), and yet pose a moral danger: to the degree that readers internalized it, so the suspicion went, it threatened to substitute the gestures of criticism and politico-historical argument for the exercise of independent judgment, putting them out of "commerce" with their thoughts. What is articulated here, then, is a model for thinking about style that sees the form of the transmission of ideas as charged with moral weight, more than the distillable content. (6)

It places Morley's criticism in perspective to stress that he did not, for all the vehemence of his reaction to Macaulay, join the chorus of professional historical detractors, even though by the sound of it he could come close: "[Macaulay] seeks Truth, not as she should be sought, devoutly, tentatively, and with the air of one touching the hem of a sacred garment, but clutching her by the hair of the head and dragging her after him in a kind of boisterous triumph, a prisoner of war and not a goddess" (86). Morley remains a committed educationalist in this essay, approaching Macaulay as more than a "chronicler of party and intrigue" by virtue of his capacity, as a narrative historian, to appeal to the imagination and "affect the sensibilities of men" (85). He developed the point by re-deploying a second distinction from De Quincey, between the "literature of knowledge" and the "literature of power," or, what has been glossed as informative versus emotive writing (Camlot 79; cf. Agnew 61-63). Morley's readiness to criticize an historian's work in light of the late-Romantic ideal of the "literature of power," seen as transformative in its appeal to feeling and imagination, underlines the importance he attached to experience--both on the part of writers, who authenticate their thought by offering access to their inner world, and that of readers, whose deepest sympathies are only then engaged. Indeed, one recurrent complaint in the essay on "Macaulay" is that the historian lacked any signs of inwardness (89, 91). Morley's Victorian substitution of the term "edification" for De Quincey's "power" does not diminish the implications of his critique here: for his purposes, there is no need to retain the full equipment of De Quinceyan literary psychology to postulate a mode of writing that appeals to the intellect by virtue of the affective and imaginative qualities which it adds by way of the form in which ideas are conveyed. Morley's model of intellection or ideation was thoroughly rationalist, but in the precise--i.e., Millian and organic--sense which could assume, in the parlance of his cherished Vauvenargues, that "great thoughts come from the heart" (qtd. in Morley, "Vauvenargues" 23).

What makes Morley's "Macaulay" significant within the liberal "culture of style" which 1 take it to exemplify, then, is first the emphasis it places on the profoundly formative effect of a writer's style on readers' minds, and second the late-Romantic lineage that Morley draws upon in developing his stance. Morley's borrowing from De Quincey's theory of rhetoric and style should not surprise. De Quincey was an associationist (see Burwick xxv-xxvi), who shared with Mill a debt to Wordsworth as a model of individuality achieved through feeling cultivated in solitude. More precisely, what Mill, De Quincey, and, I argue, Morley each had in common was an interest in the Wordsworthian ability to make intellection or ideation--so private and internal--present to others through the power of words. This interest must be understood as a matter of social concern for them, as the requirement of inwardness, for Morley as for Mill (cf. Plotz), was meant to serve to guarantee sincerity and integrity where modern society was feared to put such qualities at risk. (7) Morley's insistence on the distinction between written versus spoken language points up the issue. The problem with Macaulay, he suggests, is that the quality of his language is too purely public, i.e., he only ever writes in a style of oral delivery that seems aimed at persuasion, without "indirect address to the inner ear" (87). And it is surely telling that Morley's natural counterexample here should be Edmund Burke--i.e., ironically, Burke's rhetoric qua oratory. In line with De Quincey's terms of praise for Burke in the essays on "Rhetoric" and "Conversation," from which he cites, Morley, in his book on Burke of 1879, lauded him as a speaker of such an "elastic intelligence" that his thought could be witnessed in "motion": "motion [...] propagating motion, and life throwing off life" (210). In this sense it was Burke who represented for Morley the Romantic liberal ideal of subjective personhood, revealing its thoughts in the process of formation--and to this extent, a model of language that might positively impress the intellects of readers.

It is this linking of style with a criterion of inwardness, then, that helps comprehend the place of style in Morley's critical enterprise, precisely in the "socio-literary" cast of it to which it aspired. All in all, the essay on Macaulay reveals two aspects of the liberal scene of writing, which we can see as closely linked: (1) style did not so much function as an aesthetic category for Morley but rather, as for De Quincey (Camlot 87), "as a matter of psychological and social significance" in its ability to index the "character" of a writer and the quality of their "conduct" of themselves in the print public sphere; (2) insofar as style could bring into focus the transmission of ideas and the inner manner in which they were held, stylistic criticism permitted generalizing moral reflections on the "literary character and intellectual temper" of readers, or even of an era ("Macaulay" 75). There is a third point to make, which is--in brief--that in this form of criticism, the literary and the extra-literary tended to refer back to each other in a kind of recursive loop: for Morley, style always leads back to the psychological, and ultimately to the social and historical conditions which are necessary for truthful writing and speaking to occur. Ultimately it was in the "socio-literary" dimension that the idea of style as something self-authorizing--at least in principle and in ideal cases--could be reconciled with the mission of a moral criticism that was as individualist as Morley's. This is to say that insofar as his discourse on style centered on character, sincerity, and critical integrity, and not on beauty, aesthetic experience, or the arbitration of taste, it was in the exercise of historical judgment as well as sympathetic understanding that the criticism of it must be anchored.


I would like to conclude by returning to the question of "essayistic liberalism," this time in terms of the relationship between politics and aesthetics--between political and aesthetic models of critical agency--which such a concept calls into question. A recent article in Victorian Studies distinguishes between "political" and "aesthetic" liberalism in the essays of John Stuart Mill, approaching the former by stressing its commitment to reflective argument and persuasional modes of relation, and appraising the latter as more attentive to expressive individuality, "experiential depth," and the affective basis for reasoned positions (Russell). Compare this oppositional frame to Amanda Anderson's critique, by way of a potent historiographical distinction, of the narratives of "aesthetic" and "political" modernity which she argues have undergirded much work in Victorian studies since the 1980s, and to which she traces back an engrained bias in literary and cultural scholarship to look quite solely to aesthetic discourses as the custodians of critical agency and non-instrumental reason, while casting overtly political forms of expression as prejudicial against "aesthetic" notions of autonomy and critique ("Victorian"). From such a perspective, separating an "aesthetic" liberalism out from liberal political and intellectual culture-- notwithstanding its heuristic value--might be said to risk glossing over some crucial things. Among others, I would argue that it risks misrecognizing how for a Victorian critic in the 1860s and 1870s, as John Morley's case bears out, the cultivation of inwardness need not stand in tension with the development of social vision and with commitment to argument and debate, but could be seen as working to authenticate these affectively or emotively--as if animated by a political spirituality which tied liberal selves, in their inner recesses, to the "truth" of their historical moment and of the field of social relations. I find Anderson's intervention useful, then, in the reminder it holds out that literary and essayistic liberalism could only be assimilated to a narrative of "aesthetic modernity" at the cost of a (heavy) contextual reduction; and indeed, that one step toward overcoming the "difficulty" which she notes "within the literary field [...] in apprehending or thinking in distinctly aesthetic terms of political liberalism" ("Liberal Aesthetic" 253) might be to recover the notion of literary liberalism in the precise, encompassing contemporary sense which meant to subsume the political under the "literary" as a guardian of education and culture.

In this regard, it seems apposite to stress in closing that Morley's essayistic liberalism as practiced at the Fortnightly not only shows the extent of his investment in nonnative models of political individuation, held out for readers through the journal's formal requirements and protocols, and indeed through an ideal of "natural" style; but also, that it strove to balance this with commitment to pluralism and an open-ended view of historical process, grounded in practices of imaginative understanding and a culture of self-perfection. At this place I can only suggest that a fuller exploration of the relationship between political liberalism and mid-Victorian literary and cultural criticism than we have at present would find rich ground, not only in Morley's portraits of Byron, Carlyle, and Macaulay, but also in his relations with direct contemporaries including George Eliot, George Meredith, and even A.C. Swinburne (with whom, despite the furore surrounding his attack on Poems and Ballads in 1866, Morley developed a friendly working relationship over the years, cemented by shared admiration for Victor Hugo). If Morley's critical practice exemplifies the Victorian liberal ethos, it does so precisely in its readiness to let political energy and affect flow into a mode of literary and historical reflection whose primary concern could be with form.

Amsterdam University College


(1) Although Miller does not apply the term "liberal" to what, following Stanley Cavell, he calls "perfectionism" ("Reading" 89), to speak of liberalism here seems apposite in light of both his argument and his selection of texts (cf. Miller, Burdens).

(2) The relational and dialogic aspects are clearly in evidence in what Basil Willey has dubbed "the ventriloquial method" in the work of Morley and other mid-Victorian liberal critics (Willey 263; cf. Hadley 147-50).

(3) I prefer this term over "liberal essayist," which would suggest a literary role or practice defined by adherence to party.

(4) References to Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve abound in Morley's correspondence: e.g., from Frederic Harrison flattering him by suggesting a comparison with Sainte-Beuve in 1870, in response to his first French studies (qtd. in Everett 277), down to Morley's editorial advice to Mrs. Humphry Ward in 1883 that she model her essays on French subjects for Macmillan's Magazine on the "literary, or socio-literary" (as opposed to "academic") criticism of Sainte-Beuve's causeries (John Morley to Mrs. Humphry Ward, 22 March 1883; Mrs. Humphry Ward papers, Honnold/Mudd Library, held in Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library, Claremont, California).

(5) "Corruptive" resonates with Morley's own choice of words in 1878, when he endorsed Lord Cockburn's estimate of Macaulay as "a corrupter of style [...] more dangerous to the young than Gibbon" ("Memorials" 279).

(6) There is a sense in which it corroborates my point here that Morley refrained from commenting directly in this essay on any of Macaulay's political interventions, choices of historical interpretation in The History of England, or more broadly his affiliation with the Whigs.

(7) The social aspect is much in evidence in Morley's 1888 introduction to Wordsworth's Complete Poetical Works. Morley--in part quoting R.H. Hutton here--lauded Wordsworth's "direct appeal to [the] will and conduct" of his readers, achieved through the "volition and self-government" expressed in "every line" of his poetic work ("Wordsworth" 43-44).

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Author:de Waard, Marco
Publication:Nineteenth-Century Prose
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 22, 2016
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