Surreysmum's Reviews > The Life and Letters of Alfred Ainger

The Life and Letters of Alfred Ainger by Edith Sichel
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May 22, 2010

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bookshelves: 1983, biography, letters, library

[These notes were made in 1983. I read this in what I have noted as the 1903 original:]. I would not recommend this as the model biography. Yet it had many virtues: a personal interest in its subject which does not degenerate into indiscriminate encomiums, a competent handling of the documentary material (it is especially nice to be allowed to read so many of the letters first-hand) and prose which is neither annoyingly idiosyncratic nor flatly academic. I get irritated with the custom of reticence which edits out all names from anything which might be construed as the least bit derogatory, but I suppose that, since it was published so soon after his death, there were feelings to consider. Ainger himself, from this biography, sounds as if he were an interesting and reasonably amiable person. His chief scholarly work was an edition of Lamb, to whom, as Sichel fairly successfully demonstrates, he bore certain temperamental resemblances. His life work was in the Church, however, and tho' I cannot really sympathize with his mistrust of Biblical criticism, I find him otherwise rather attractive in his moderate, down-to-earth views.
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