1822 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Gifford

William Maginn to William Blackwood, 30 July [1822?].; Margaret Oliphant, William Blackwood and his Sons (1897) 1:397.



The faults of "Maga" — I am entitled to speak of them for various reasons — are, first, too much locality of allusion: I know a quantum suff. of such things is of great use in spreading a sale, but there is a limit. Secondly, occasional coarseness, which annoys the Englishman. Thirdly, the attacks of minor correspondents to imitate the audacious puffery of the Magazine, which can be done by W. only. To correct the three faults, let every number henceforward be written exclusively for London, forgetting that there is such a city in the world as Edinburgh. The "Noctes" will be sufficient for locality.

With respect to Gifford, I never have seen him; but I know that his conversation, particularly since his health began to decline, is excessively splenetic. He is a fanatical Ministerialist, and retains even now his hold hatred of the Jacobins, Della Cruscans, &c. His information on all points is prodigious, and he pours it forth very freely. I am told he dislikes all his associates — Croker, J. Murray, &c. — but I do not know how true that is. He would be a hard card to manage in a dialogue.