By Walter Lionel George
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Extra info for A Novelist on Novels 1918
He will be rather proud to think that he prefers a horse or a golf-stick. It will seldom occur to him that this literature of which some people talk so much can hold anything for him. It will not even occur to him to try, for literature is judged at Jedburgh. It hardly ever occurs to any one that literature has its technique, that introductions to it are necessary; a man will think it worth while to join a class if he wants to acquire scientific knowledge, but seldom that anything in the novel justifies his taking preliminary steps.
Tried one of his books once. I forget its name, and now I come to think of it, it may have been by somebody else. ' Mr H. G. Wells is more clearly pictured: 'Wells? the fellow who writes about flying machines and men in the moon. Jules Verne sort of stuff, isn't it? ' And so out with Mr Bennett, one of our best modern stylists, who in spite of an occasional crowding of the canvas has somehow fixed for us the singular and ferocious tribe from which he springs; so out with Mr Wells, with his restless, impulsive, combative, infinitely audacious mind.
Y. Z. or Shooting Gazelle in Bulbulland, Political Economics, or Economic Politics, (it means much the same either way up). All that sort of thing, that frozen, dried-up, elderly waggishness, that shallow pomp, is mentally murderous. Sometimes men do read novels, mostly detective stories, sporting or very sentimental tales. When observed, they apologise and say something about resting the brain. That means that they do not respect the books they read, which is base; it is like keeping low company, where one can yawn and put one's boots on the sofa.