The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

III. Critical and Miscellaneous Prose

§ 1. Abraham Hayward

THE CRITICAL and miscellaneous prose of the Victorian age is a somewhat unmanageable subject, both because of its volume and because of its variety. Classification is extremely difficult. There are some writers who must clearly be ranked as literary critics and others who, for want of a better word, may be said to belong to the aesthetic school. Others, again, because of that charming note of personal friendliness for which Lamb is supreme, may be described as essayists par excellence. But how are we to classify Borrow; or Lafcadio Hearn, the interpreter of Japan? And is there any one class which will hold at once the author of Modern Painters and the author of Munera Pulveris?

The line of which the evolution is clearest is that of literary critics, and it will be convenient to treat first those who can be classified under this head.