1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

John Keats to George and Thomas Keats, 5 January 1818; Works, ed. H. Buxton Forman (1901) 4:53-54.



You ask me what degrees there are between Scott's novels and those of Smollet. They appear to me to be quite distinct in every particular, more especially in their aim. Scott endeavours to throw so interesting and romantic a colouring into common and low characters as to give them a touch of the sublime. Smollet on the contrary pulls down and levels what with other men would continue romance. The grand parts of Scott are within the reach of more minds than the finest humours in Humphrey Clincker.