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Monday, May 04, 2015

Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith (1771-1845)
source: William E Burton, Cyclopedia of Wit and Humor 1858
no copyright infringement intended

He is a very clever fellow, but he will never be a bishop (George III)

A more profligate parson I never met (George IV)

I sat next to Sydney Smith, who was delightful--I don't remember a more agreeable party (Benjamin Disraeli)

He drew such a ludicrous caricature…that Sir James Mackintosh rolled on the floor in fits of laughter (Lord John Russel)

Sydney at breakfast made me actually cry with laughing. I was obliged to start up from the table (Thomas Moore)

The only wit on record, whom brilliant social success had done nothing to spoil or harden (Henry Fothergill Chorley)

One of the funniest writers in the English language (Alberto Manguel)

Anglican clergyman, great wit and writer. Unanimously admired for his brilliant smartness (however too smart to advance very far within the social hierarchy, as King George III famously said). I have just ordered on the web a selection from his works, in a volume edited by W.H.Auden. It should come to me sometime in June. Till then I'll try to read a book by Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey), where one of the personages was seemingly inspired after Smith. I will come back to that.

(A Life in Books)



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