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This review is taken from PN Review 18, Volume 7 Number 4, March - April 1981.

A HABIT OF THOUGHT Lewis Freed, T. S. Eliot: The Critic as Philosopher (Purdue University Press) £7.00
Brian Lee, Theory and Personality: The Significance of T. S. Eliot's Criticism (Athlone) £9.95

The philosopher Francis Herbert Bradley died in 1924. In The Criterion in October of that year the editor wrote the obituary for one whom he described as 'the last survivor of the academic race of metaphysicians'. He classed Bradley with Arnold, Newman and Pater. None of these men had achieved the obvious influence of Carlyle, or Wells, or Shaw: 'They worked in comparative obscurity, or in the deceptive certainty of moderate success. But their intentions were not squandered upon their generation; and in the gradual dissolution of nineteenth-century ideas and ideals, theirs are amongst the names which carry the most promise of future power.' Bradley is described as 'the man who broke the authority of Mill. . . who restored the rank of Britain amongst philosophers'. With all his apparent debt to Hegel, Bradley's philosophy was English. It is 'quite unaffected by the emotional obliquities which render German metaphysics monstrous'-a philosophy that preserves 'some of the sweetness and light of the medieval schoolmen' once associated with Bradley's own Merton College. 'Few will ever take the pains to study the consummate art of Bradley's style, the finest philosophic style in our language, in which acute intellect and passionate feeling preserve a classic balance: only those who will surrender patient years to the understanding of his meaning. But upon these few, both living and unborn, his writings perform that mysterious and complete operation which transmutes not one department of thought only, but the whole intellectual and emotional tone of our being. ...


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