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Saturday, 1 March 2014

A significant purchase

Tuesday, March 1st., Rue de Calais, Paris.

I bought a new copy of "La Grande Encyclopedie", bound in cloth, 31 volumes for 290 francs, yesterday morning. It can be bought through Le Journal for about 400 francs. It seems a good thing and I read 'in' it yesterday. I found however nothing under the head of 'Cotgrave'; I wanted the date of the first edition of his dictionary. Schwob, on whom I called yesterday afternoon, praised it highly. He mentioned specially such articles as "Aristotle" by Boutroux, as being the very finest of their kind. I looked up this and it certainly impressed me. Brunetiere's article on "style" is admirable; also Remy de Gourmont's on "Aretino". 

Schwob was in bed, and had been there for a month. We discussed the war, and Dickens. He stood up for Dickens, and said that, for style, the opening of "Hard Times" is one of the finest things in English. Of course I disagreed. He said that Dickens's ghost story "The Signalman", was plagiarised from something in Defoe's essay on apparitions, but much improved. He told me about the dinner to Edmund Gosse. Said Gosse was charming but pedantic.
For more on "The Signalman" see 'Uncanny things'

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