Don’t Quit Your Day Job…

Some support for George Eliot’s view that, “among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous”:

We cannot think that he will live as an English classic. He deals too much in accidental manifestations and too little in universal principles. Before long his language will have passed away, and the manners he depicts will only be found in a Dictionary of Antiquities. And we do not all anticipate that he will be rescued from oblivion either by his artistic powers or by his political sagacity.

The author in question? Charles Dickens. (The source is an 1864 essay by Justin McCarthy.) Another potential lesson here? Evaluation is a risky critical mode.

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