Critics all are ready made


Norton Perkins fund, 1942 – Autograph file, B

Lord Byron (1788-1824). Autograph letter to Edward Noel Long, November 21st, 1807.

Byron addressed one of the poems in Hours of Idleness to his Harrow School and Trinity College classmate, Edward Noel Long. In this letter, he comments on the critical reception of the volume: “As to my poems, I have been reviewed in twenty different publications, in several very favourably indeed, in others harshly.” Hewson Clarke, another Cambridge classmate, wrote one of the most scathing reviews, appearing in The Satirist for October 1807: “His preface, like his book, is stupid; but it is a dull stupidity; therefore, as we propose only to criticize laughable absurdities, we shall turn to his poetical performances.” Of these, according to Clarke, “Oscar of Alva is by far the best; some of the stanzas rise almost to mediocrity.”