|Thomas Love Peacock by Henry Wallis|
I should not be surprised if "Gryll Grange" is the most learned novel in the English language. The elderly hero, Dr. Opimian, is a great man and a great scholar. the very numerous quotations from the Greek, Latin, French and Italian are admirably translated, and the general style of the story is admirable. The book is mature, mellow, urbane, civilised, and ironic without bitterness. I kept saying to myself: "This book is ridiculous, but ridiculous with nobility." Peacock must have been a distinguished character, if excessively odd. George Meredith married his daughter. (He ought not to have done so.) One hears that the father-in-law influenced the son-in-law. I did not see any potential Meredith in "Crotchet Castle" when I read it many years ago. But I see potential Meredith in "Gryll Grange". Dr. Opimian is the spiritual ancestor of Meredith's Dr. Middleton, but finer - and possibly even more erudite. "Gryll Grange" is richly suffused with learning - learning carried with what elegance and with what ease, displayed with what readableness! The most prodigious scholar might read it without humiliation.
Additionally for January 4th., see 'The writing business' -
Gardiner, editor Daily News, suggested that I should resume writing for D.N. I said I would resume only on similar conditions as before, namely that I had a regular commission for articles, to appear at regular intervals - I didn't mind what the intervals were.