The Best of All Good Company. First Series. By Blanchard
Jerrold. (Houlston.)—Mr. Blanchard Jerz•old gives biographical memoirs of six of the great writers of this century, the six being Dickens, Thackeray, Lord Lytton, Mr. Disraeli, Douglas Jerrold, and Scott, whom, perhaps, as belonging to a past generation, it was a mistake to include. The biographies are of varying value and interest. Those that deal with the lives of Lord Lytton, of Mr. Disraeli, and of Sir Walter Scott have nothing noticeable about them. They reproduce materials with which well-informed readers will be already familiar. To the others wo should be inclined to ascribe a much higher value, not so much on account of superior literary merit, of which Mr. Jerrold's pen has always a sufficient command, but because they are inspired, in greater or less degree, by a personal knowledge and affection. The sketch of Charles Dickens will not be considered superfluous, even in view of the elaborate biography which Mr. Forster is engaged in writing. In the life of Douglas Jerrold the writer performs a pious office well and gracefully. Thackoray's life makes another interesting essay. Well-chosen extracts from the works of the selected author, and a literary criticism, of which the chief fault is, as might be expected, that it is somewhat too laudatory, com- plete the work, which supplies, we may say, as much good reading as could easily be included in a volume of the size.