The Letters of Thomas Love Peacock
edited by Nicholas A. Joukovsky
2 Vols. (1792-1827 & 1828-1866), pp. cxxxviii + 554 [+ xii]
Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2001.

A Review by Informal

THE PUBLICATION of the complete letters of Thomas Love Peacock has been eagerly anticipated for many years: as long ago as 1985, the Keats-Shelley Memorial Bulletin gave admirers of Peacock notice of the forthcoming publication, and there have been other subsequent teasers. 1 The long wait, I am pleased to report, has been worthwhile, and this work must surely now be regarded as an essential text. (The scope of the work can be demonstrated by a glance at the table of contents.)

The present edition not only triples the number of published letters but also draws upon a mass of related manuscript material that has not been consulted by Peacock's biographers, either because it was unavailable or because it was overlooked. (p. x)

   Peacock must have written thousands of letters (p. xxxvii) but very few of his private letters survive because of "what Edward Trelawny referred to as Peacock's 'excessive sensitivity to public opinion'". (p. xxxvii). Peacock had a profound distaste for the retailing of stories of famous men and, as Marilyn Butler says, "rigidly avoided such vulgarity himself." 2 In his review of the first volume of Moore's Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, Peacock was so critical of the work that Moore ensured that he was not given the chance to review the second:

This volume contains many allusions to persons who have never obtruded themselves on public notice, and whose names and circumstances ought not to have been dragged before the world. It is, on the whole, a production little instructive to the reader, little creditable to the author, little honorable to its subject: a speculation, perhaps a profitable one, on the public appetite for gossip, backed by a systematical deference to every widely-diffused prejudice, and to every doctrine and opinion which the influential classes of readers desire to be popular. 3

Almost thirty years later, Peacock could still write feelingly on this score: he wrote to Claire Clairmont (the mother of Byron's daughter Allegra), informing her of his plan to write a review of the several memoirs of Shelley and "to protest against this system of biographical gossip" and "to present an outline, clear of all offence to the living" and to rectify errors of fact:

I have read Trelawney's book [on the last days of Shelley and Byron]. You are not named, or in the most distant manner alluded to, in it. In fact, he seems to have carefully abstained from writing a syllable, that might hurt the feelings of the living, in the remotest possible degree. Mr Middleton … appears to have been equally careful in this respect. He might have copied what Medwin had printed respecting you: but he has not even alluded to it. Medwin thought himself justified in repeating what Moore had said in his Life of Byron; as if any thing said or done by that little, dirty, paltry, pitiful rascal, could justify any one in doing the same. (pp. 370-71)

Peacock had some reason to fear the intrusion of gossip-seekers into his private life. In his early years, he had been severely troubled by financial worries, and, through the agency of his friend Edward Hookham, he received three grants of aid from the Literary Fund. In one letter to the Committee of the Literary Fund, Hookham worries that he frequently "had but too just reason to dread that the fate of Chatterton might be that of Peacock" (p. 91). Peacock himself wrote a letter in Latin petitioning assistance from William Roscoe, a wealthy banker and patron of the arts, suggesting that, unless given assistance, he would "die a Roman death". (pp. 110, 111). It is, of course, now almost impossible to assess how much these protestations of prospective felo-de-se might have been tinged with irony.

The discrepancy between Hookham's description of Peacock's letters and the tone of those that survive can most easily be explained as the result of a determined effort to suppress all but the most tenuous evidence of his 'sufferings' and 'despondency'—an effort that may have required the destruction of all the letters that followed the worsening of Peacock's financial situation in the second half of 1811. At the same time, the preservation of a small, unrepresentative selection of his early letters can be seen as a conscious attempt on Peacock's part to leave behind a 'romantic' image of his early life as an independent young poet and scholar. (p. lii)

The surviving letters which describe Peacock's early tribulations shew the reason for Peacock's "Educational Prospectus" and reveal wherefore Peacock was so concerned that his poetical publications be well-received, for they were purposed to alleviate his poverty. They also confirm, to me at least, as I shall write elsewhere, that many aspects of the characters in Peacock's novels—such as Scythrop Glowry of Nightmare Abbey and his Romantic suicidal propensity—involve a substantial element of self-mockery. As Aldous Huxley observed, "Every human being is inclined to see his own qualities and weaknesses in others." 4 Peacock's mockery of Romantic poetical attitudes in his novels and in his "Four Ages of Poetry" is surely based to some degree on self-knowledge.
   Peacock's poetry, which was often written in difficult circumstances, deserves more attention, I believe, and many of the letters now published in full or for the first time will aid the critic to make a fresh, fairer assessment. Though much of his poetry clearly fails to reach the heights of the best of Shelley's, yet it has many virtues, despite the dismissive attitude to be found in many biographical and critical tomes. The critic of the novels will also find much material for insight. In a letter to Thomas Forster, in 1812, almost fifty years before writing Gryll Grange, we see Peacock casually referring to Spenser's Grill (p. 72), and in a letter to Lord Broughton in 1859, Peacock tries (without success) to ascertain the source of Burke's assertion, and subsequently the Rev. Dr. Opimian's, "that the human mind degenerates in America". (p. 387). The letters often refer to points later covered in the novels, though, unfortunately, none is preserved which specifically addresses his views on typography or other material aspects of book production, and few references are made to Peacock's substantial library or to his love of rare editions.

Inevitably, Peacock's biographers and editors have felt some degree of embarrassment at the small amount of correspondence that seems to have survived from his life of eighty years and his many literary friendships. In the 'Biographical Notice' prefixed to the first collected edition of his works, Peacock's granddaughter Edith Nicolls offered a deceptively simple explanation: 'It may surprise my readers to find so few private letters in this notice; but all who knew my grandfather will doubtless remember that he ever entertained the greatest aversion to writing letters; he never did it if he could possibly help it.' Sir Edward Strachey, the son of one of Peacock's India House colleagues, later tried to account for this aversion on stylistic grounds: 'Peacock's literary style was elaborately polished, and he disliked writing letters, lest he should fall into any fault in hasty composition.' Twentieth-century scholars have done little more than restate these nineteenth-century views. In the first full-length biography, Carl Van Doren remarked that Peacock 'abstained painstakingly from letter-writing'. And H. F. B. Brett-Smith, after observing that the seventy-nine letters in the Halliford edition were 'fewer in number than the years of Peacock's life', quoted his granddaughter's account of his 'aversion to writing letters', noting only, by way of qualification, that 'This tendency must have been at its strongest in those latest years when Edith Nicolls knew him.' While his point is well taken, the real objection to Edith Nicolls's explanation is not just that it exaggerates his aversion, but that it fails to acknowledge what should have been obvious from the beginning—that Peacock's correspondence must have been far more extensive than the extant remains might suggest, and that most of it must have been either lost or destroyed.
   … The more we learn about his life, the more obvious it becomes that his dislike of writing letters did not prevent him from writing a great many. Indeed, if he had not been a reasonably efficient correspondent, he could hardly have maintained numerous long-term friendships or earned a reputation as an eminently practical man of business. (p. xxxvi)

   Many biographers and critics of Peacock have been too often inclined to accept what their predecessors have written either without reflecting too much or without actually checking outside of the canonical precedents. Mario Praz, for instance, conclusively condemns Peacock as irredeemably bourgeois, and Howard Mills quite rightly asserts (but, I think, rather pointlessly) that Peacock was neither Nietzsche nor Goethe nor Hazlitt, and even accuses Peacock of "intellectual laziness" for not including in Melincourt a balanced account of Kantian philososphy. 5 In his essay on comic writing, for instance, Peacock says that it should have moral purpose; but the critics accuse Peacock of hypocrisy because they refuse to see that Peacock's conception of literature is one where even comedy should have a such a serious purpose. In his unfinished essay on fashionable literature Peacock clearly requires art to be useful, and deplores that which "aims only to amuse and … not to instruct":

The fashionable metropolitan winter, which begins in spring and ends in autumn, is the season of happy reunion to those ornamental varieties of the human species who live to be amused for the benefit of social order. It is the period of the general muster, the levy en masse of gentlemen in stays and ladies in short petticoats against their arch enemy Time. It is the season of operas and exhibitions, of routs and concerts, of dinners at midnight and suppers at sunrise. But these are the arms with which they assail the enemy in battalion: there are others with which in moments of morning solitude they are compelled to encounter him single-handed: and one of these weapons is the reading of light and easy books which command attention without the labour of application, and amuse the idleness of fancy without disturbing the sleep of understanding.

   Among the many joyful discoveries of these volumes are Peacock's letters to Thomas Ignatius Maria Forster (1789-1860), who was a character who could have stepped out from one of Peacock's novels: if we did not know that Peacock knew the real man, it would seem that it had been necessary for Peacock to invent him. Foster's grandfather and father (the latter a well-known botanist), had been followers of Rousseau and, accordingly, his literary education was neglected; but he soon made up for any paedeutic deficiencies by aquiring great familiarity with Classical literature as well as French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Welsh. "His reputation was based mainly on his work as a naturalist, meteorologist, astronomer and physician, but his pursuits included metaphysics, poetry, and music" and he was "an animal lover and vegetarian" (p. 41, n. 1) who wrote on manifold other subjects: his publications included Researches about Atmospheric Phenomena, and Reflections on Spirituous Liquors, which argued that man was not naturally carnivorous. Importantly for a friend of the man who would write Headlong Hall, Forster invented the term 'phrenology.'
   In a letter to Lord Broughton 6 (7 March 1859, p. 379), after Forster had written to Broughton seeking the address of "a common friend Tom L. Peacock the Poet" (p. 380), Peacock describes this early friendship:

[Forster] and myself were sunephêboi at the beginning of this century. We had the same tastes and pursuits, classical, metaphysical, and, under the spell of Horne Tooke, etymological. We never missed an opportunity of being together; and when separate, we corresponded almost continuously by returning posts, more frequently in Latin than in English. We called each other Tom, and considered each other Pylades and Orestes. But some forty years ago, he went to reside on the continent, and from that time we have had little intercourse. Once there were many who called me Tom. Of all these he alone remains. About ten years ago, some friends of mine going to Bruges, where he was then residing, I asked them to find him out and give him a letter from me. As soon as he received it, he put himself into a steam-boat, arrived in London on a Saturday, and knocked at my bedroom door at 8 on Sunday morning. He returned to London in the afternoon, and went back on Monday to Bruges. This was a joyous meeting to both of us, and seemed a renovation of our youthful intercourse: but though the feeling remained, the habit was gone. We purposed writing as we had used to do: but the days had set themselves new tasks: and that, which had been a reality, became a dream. … (p. 379)

   Forster can be seen as a marvellous forerunner of the characters in Shelley's circle whose ineffective fervour Peacock, along with Harriet Shelley, "was sometimes irreverent enough to laugh at," 7 and from whom he was to draw inspiration for the crotcheteers of his novels. The letters to Forster also demonstrate that the literary allusions and quotations which feature throughout the novels are not superadded as an afterthought, as a pretension to learning, or in an attempt to bedazzle less learned readers, but are a characteristic and integral aspect of Peacock's writing. 8
   In one of his letters to Forster, referring to women, pucherrimae rerum, "fairest of beings," Peacock paraphrases Juvenal, quibus omnia plana infra ventriculum, et tenui distantia rima, "in whom all is flat beneath the belly, and divided by a slender cleft" (Sat. iii, 96). Peacock adds a punning note to the phrase omnia plana, "where you and I like to make omnia plena" (p. 78). Omnia plena means "all full," and this paronomasia may well be our best evidence that Peacock's "thousand and one loves," as his cousin Harriet Love described them, sometimes involved physical consummation. Even in these tight-laced days, as the Reverend Doctor Folliott says, the obscurity of a learned language allows a little pleasantry. 9
   In his edition of Peacock's novels, Richard Garnett applied a motto from Martial: "It is shameful to regard trifles as difficulties, and labour over absurdities is foolish." (II. 86, 9-10):

Accents are omitted from the Greek quotations in this edition out of deference to the opinion and example of the author, who wrote concerning them in one of his notebooks—
"Turpe est difficiles habere nugas:
Et stultus labor est ineptiarum." 10

Peacock did omit Greek accent marks in his earlier novels, and Ancient Greek is perfectly understandable without them. They were invented by Aristophanes of Byzantium much later than the Classical period, in order to demonstrate the proper pronunciation and scansion of poetry, but many a nineteenth-century schoolboy who was forced to pay minute attention to the rules of anastrophe, proparoxytone, properispomenon and the like, plus all the various exceptions, cursed their invention. G.K. Chesterton was one who had rejoiced in ignoring them:

As for Greek accents, I triumphantly succeeded, through a long series of schooling, in avoiding learning them at all; and I have never had a higher moment of gratification than when I afterwards discovered that the Greeks never learnt them either. I felt, with radiant pride, that I was as ignorant as Plato and Thucydides. 11

Nonetheless, by the time Peacock wrote his wonderfully scathing attack on The Epicurean by Thomas Moore (and even, perhaps, partly because of it), he tended to be more strict with the use of accent marks, and he particularly (and rightly) excoriated Moore for omitting iota subscripts: "Mr. Moore, in quoting Greek, always omits the subscribed iota. Is he not aware that it is as much a letter as any in the word?" 12 In his letters, however, Peacock occasionally slips, though the editor, following the practice set out in the introduction of printing "Peacock's Greek, Latin, Italian, and French … as closely as possible to the way they appear in the manuscripts" (p. cxii), identifies the slips in the explanatory notes.
   These explanatory notes constitute a sizeable scholastic achievement, for few modern readers have such a broad knowledge of literature as Peacock acquired; and, sadly, many who are expert in English literature are not so well versed in the Classics. In Professor Mulvihill's brief but useful monograph, for instance, he refers to Nonnus, author of the epic Dionysiaca and a favourite of Peacock's, as a "late Latin poet"! 13 Peacock follows other great writers who were also great readers: the works of both Ovid and Chaucer, for instance, are full of allusions, criticisms, parodies, paraphrases, quotes, rewritings of their great predecessors, and it is, I submit, impossible to make a fair assessment of these works without considering how deeply each had thoroughly absorbed the classicopoetical corpus. Though it is not essential to be very well read in the Classics to appreciate Peacock, it certainly helps:

Except for the location of new manuscript material, the annotation has been the most challenging as well as the most laborious task of this edition, for Peacock was a learned and allusive writer with a broad range of interests, a love of quotation, and a penchant for controversy. Even more than most letter-writers, Peacock tends to refer obliquely to people and things mentioned by his correspondents, whose letters are seldom available to clarify such matters. Often it has required luck, as well as ingenuity and diligence, to track down his references or to explain his allusions. (p. cxiii)

Naturally, not all allusions can be explained, nor every quotation identified:

When I have failed, I have called attention to the fact, in the hope that some future investigator may be more successful. Since Peacock enjoys something of a reputation for wilful misquotation, I have paid special attention to the accuracy of his citations and noted all verbal changes that he makes in the original texts. Whenever possible I have checked his quotations against critical editions that give variant readings of the texts in question. Not infrequently it turns out that what may appear to be misquotations are merely older readings or manuscript variants of classical texts. (p. cxiv)

I tried my hand at identifying some of the unexplained passages. On 24 November 1843 Peacock wrote to Sir John Cam Hobhouse (as he was then):

I have just heard the following anecdote: Some allusion was made in the House of Commons to a passage in Juvenal touching "the freezing of the conduits": this being mentioned in a party at Calcutta, Mr Macaulay quoted what he believed to be the passage referred to: somebody else quoted another passage, which Mr M. admitted must be the correct one. Now I cannot recollect any one passage, which has any such allusion. Perhaps you may call to mind what was said in the House. (p. 280)

The editor notes that "[t]he allusion to Juvenal remains a mystery" (p. 280, n. 2). As far as I can tell, two passages of Juvenal's fifth satire could conceivably fit: line 77 mentions "the chilly Esquiline streets," and lines 104-06, refer to a bloated fish coming from the Roman sewers. However, without the full context of the reported quote the difficulty of being certain is obvious. Another reference which has baffled the editor is from another letter which Peacock wrote to Hobhouse on 17 August 1849 wherein he writes: "but it is 'awl in vane', as Tarquin said, before 'he drew his dager and kiled himself'." (p. 319) This "curious quotation" as the editor puts it (p. 320, n. 4), may come from several sources. In Le Roman de la Rose there is an account of Lucretia killing herself after the violent rape of Sextus Tarquinius:

Through brutal force, by Tarquin used
Most shamefully, and then she killed
Herself. (9028-30)

In the Romance of the Rose, of course, following Livy and Ovid, it is Lucretia who kills herself. In Prologue's description of Thisby in A Midsummer Night's Dream (v. i.), we do have a man killing himself with a dagger:

His dagger drew, and died.

Unfortunately, neither of the above passages has an "all in vain" within cooee. Clearly, only the most exhaustive of searches, or pure serendipity, will enable some intrepid researcher to trace the certain sources of such quotations or paraphrases.
   Many business letters survive from Peacock's time at the East India Company, and a small selection of those which are undoubtedly drafted by Peacock are included in this work. Peacock's many years of service for the Honourable East India Company deserve more attention from biographers, and there is still scope for writers of the future to add historical works as worthy as John S. Guest's Euphrates Expedition, which describes an absorbing aspect of Peacock's rôle in promoting the Euphrates for a commercial route between India and Britain. 14
   These letters (and other papers) are important, not just to those who are interested in Romantic literature in general and to Peacock in particular: Peacock was a learned, liberal, humanist writer who knew and understood leading Romantic writers. He had, in the words of Irving Babbit, that "humanism sufficiently grounded in humility" which we need today. 15 Whether we like it or not, the modern conception of poetry and poets, and more broadly of art and artists, is largely one which has been bequeathed to us by the influential writers of the early nineteenth century. At a time when allegedly first-rate works of fiction of unpolished style and little real merit, but with fashionable themes, win rich prizes, critical acclaim, and an honoured place in university studies, the underlying philosophy of Peacock's works still needs to be considered. Peacock demonstrated that art has a continuing importance, that great works of art are greater for being useful as well as entertaining, that frivolity and seriousness need not be incompatible, and that comedy is superior (in social utility) to tragedy.
   In short, the two volumes of The Letters of Thomas Love Peacock are a delight to the Peacockian, an eximious achievement of research and industry, and a remarkable example of professional scholarship. These volumes will surely provide the means, impetus, and inspiration for a new generation of scholarly essays and monographs on the life and works of Peacock. Referring to the numerous hours he has spent labouring on this superlative production, the editor says, "I have not spent these many years in Peacock's company without a conviction that his mind and art are deserving of such study" (p. x). The careful reader of these volumes will, I am sure, wholeheartedly agree.


 1   "Notes on Contributors": "Nicholas A. Joukovsky teaches at Pennsylvania State University. He is completing an edition of Peacock's letters for Oxford University Press." Keats-Shelley Memorial Bulletin 36 (1985), p. 119. See also Thomas Love Peacock by James Mulvihill (Boston, 1987), in the Select Bibliography: "To date, the Halliford edition provides the most substantial selection of Peacock's letters. A complete edition of the collected letters is currently being prepared by Professor Nicholas Joukovsky of Pennsylvania State university" (p. 133). [back]

 2   Marilyn Butler, Peacock Displayed: A Satirist in His Context (London, Boston and Henley, 1979), p. 6. [back]

 3   "Moore's Letters and Journals of Lord Byron" in The Halliford Edition of the Works of Thomas Love Peacock, Volume IX: Critical & Other Essays, edited by H.F.B. Brett-Smith & C.E. Jones (London, 1926), pp. 137-38. The character of Mr. Eavesdrop in Crotchet Castle is surely influenced by Peacock's distaste for Moore's example: in Chapter V, Lady Clarinda describes Eavesdrop as "a man who, by dint of a certain something like smartness, has got into good society. He is a sort of bookseller's tool, and coins all his acquaintance in reminiscences and sketches of character." In Chapter XVII, he is dismissed: "Mr Eavesdrop, having printed in a magazine some of the after-dinner conversations of the castle, had had sentence of exclusion passed upon him, on the motion of the Reverend Doctor Folliott, as a flagitious violator of the confidences of private life." * Peacock expresses similar concerns for privacy in his "Memoirs of Shelley":

not only is a departed author of any note considered a fair subject to be dissected at the tea-table of the reading public, but all his friends and connexions, however quiet and retiring and unobtrusive may have been the general tenor of their lives, must be served up with him. It is the old village scandal on a larger scale; and as in these days of universal locomotion people know nothing of their neighbours, they prefer tittle-tattle about notorieties to the retailing of whispers about the Jenkinses and Tomkinses of the vicinity.
   This appetite for gossip about notorieties being once created in the "reading public," there will be always found persons to minister to it; and among the volunteers of this service, those who are best informed and who most valued the departed will probably not be the foremost.   [back]

 4   Those Barren Leaves, chapter 17.  [back]

 5   Mario Praz, The Hero in Eclipse in Victorian Fiction, translated by Angus Davidson (London, New York & Toronto, 1956); and Howard Mills, Peacock: His Circle and His Age (Cambridge, 1969), pp. 22, 23-24, 189 and 122.  [back]

 6   Sir John Cam Hobhouse, Bt. (1786-1869), created 1st (and only) Baron Broughton de Gyfford in 1851, Byron's friend and executor, and a friend of Peacock's later years, is one of the most important of Peacock's correspondents.  [back]

 7   Memoirs of Shelley, in Works, Vol. VIII (1934), p. 70.[back]

 8   Felix Felton says: "If there is one effect of [Peacock's] lone approach to learning it is his endearing habit of tending to parade it. His assertion that the Dionysiaca of Nonnus was the best poem in the world after the Iliad provoked Edward Strachey to remark: 'It was pardonable if there was a little mixture of vanity in this, since very few but himself had the knowledge of the former which would qualify them for deciding or discussing the question on its merits'." Thomas Love Peacock (London, 1973), p. 36.  [back]

 9   Crotchet Castle, Ch. V.  [back]

10   In Richard Garnett's edition of Peacock's Headlong Hall (1891), p. 51, and also, for example, in the Everyman's Library edition of Headlong Hall [and] Nightmare Abbey (London, 1965), p. 9. Prof. Joukovsky notes that the notebook in which Garnett found the motto has not been recovered. The reference for Martial's epigram, unfortunately, is incorrectly given as I. lxxxvi. 9-10, instead of II. lxxxvi. 9-10 (p. cxii, n.16); but such typograpical errors are very rare; I have so far noticed only two other slips: on page 273, the birth date of Thomas Love Peacock, the grandson of our author, is given as "23 Jan." though it is correctly given earlier as "23 June" (p. cxxxiii); and under the index entry for Mary Ann Rosewell (p. 543), a reference is not supplied for the mention she receives in the letter from Mary Ellen Peacock to her father.  [back]

11   G.K. Chesterton, Autobiography (London, 1936), p. 57.  [back]

12   T.L. Peacock, "Moore's Epicurean" in Works, Vol. IX, p. 61. Howard Mills declines to reprint this review in his edition of Peacock's Memoirs of Shelley and Other Essays and Reviews (London, 1970), "because of the luxurious length of its sarcastic paraphrasing" (p.10).   [back]

13   Mulvihill, op. cit., p. 113.  [back]

14   John S. Guest, The Euphrates Expedition (London and New York, 1992).  [back]

15   Irving Babbit, Rousseau and Romanticism (New Brunswick and London, 1991) [reprint of 1910], p. 382: "A humanism sufficiently grounded in humility is not only desirable at all times but there are reasons for thinking that it would be especially desirable to-day."  [back]

notes to the notes

 *   David Garnett (the grandson of the aforementioned Richard) identifies Mr Eavesdrop as a portrait of Leigh Hunt, in his edition of The Novels of Thomas Love Peacock (London, 1963), p. 678, n.1, whereas Ben Ray Redman supplies a "Key to Characters" wherein Eavesdrop is identified as Hazlitt, in his Pleasures of Peacock (New York, 1947), p. 458. The character of Eavesdrop is surely a composite of Hazlitt and Hunt and Medwin and Moore and even, perhaps, unidentified others. The erroneous belief persists that Peacock's characters are portraits: Robert F. Kiernan, for instance, in Frivolity Unbound: Six Masters of the Camp Novel (New York, 1990), p. 21, says: "Like all of Peacock's novels, Headlong Hall is arguably a roman à clef." a Aldous Huxley, was vexed by this game of identifying supposed originals of characters: "It irritated him because he found it trivial and besides the point." b

    Works, Vol. VIII, pp. 39-40. (Details of the various volumes of the Halliford Edition can be found at the TL Peacock Society's shorter bibliography.)

    Yet the editors of the Halliford edition conclude: "As a piece of cool and detached destructive criticism, the review is a masterly piece of writing; to those who know the views of the writer, it is also in some sort a confession of faith." ; Works, Vol. I, pp. cxxxiv-v.

notes to the notes to the notes

 a   Frivolity Unbound is, I must add, one of the sillier contributions to Peacockian studies.

 b   Sybille Bedford, Aldous Huxley: A Biography, Volume I: The Apparent Stability 1894-1939 (London, 1987), p. 122.

Outside of Australia, some may not understand the reference above in the tenth paragraph to "within cooee". "Cooee" is a bush-call used for its high audibility; the expression usually refers to persons being within audible range.

19 November, 2001
(some typographical corrections made, 22 February, 2002)

contents of The letters of Thomas Love Peacock
a list of Peacock's letters

OUP's sites for these volumes: for Vol. I; and for Vol. II.

View some sample pages scanned from The Letters of Thomas Love Peacock (with the kind permission of Prof. Joukovsky and Oxford University Press): letter 47 (from Vol. I, pp. 94-95), and letters 241-43 (from Vol. II, pp. 344-45).

added 30 November, 2001