Jocelyn Hillgarth & Julian Jeffs, editors
Maurice Baring: Letters.
Michael Russell, 160 pages, £15.95

What is one to do with them, the Maurice Barings of this world, the faded belletrists of yesteryear and B-list men of letters? Quaint, dated, incontestably minor, they are beyond the point of revival by even the most determined champions—not that such crusaders often sally forth in their defense. In Baring’s case, one quixotic scholar did venture to predict (and to promote with a selection of his work) a “general restoration” of his status; that was in 1970, and almost forty years later we continue to await his second coming. Baring produced a groaning shelf’s worth of books but not one standout. Where, say, an Edmund Gosse will be sheltered from oblivion by means of a single masterpiece—Father and Son, in his instance—Baring would seem to be doomed.

 

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