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The Life and Letters of F. J. A. Hort

F. J. A. Hort, William Sanday
1897 The American Journal of Theology  
THE motto for a biographer should be Iq&v layav, nothing in excess, above all not too much of the biographer himself. This condition is admirably fulfilled in Mr. Arthur Hort's personal contribution to the biography of his father. He has kept himself wholly in the background and has allowed the figure of his father to define itself by degrees, mainly in his own words. Fortunately a great number of Dr. Hort's letters have been preserved, and a copious selection of these has been printed with
more » ... en printed with brief connecting summaries by the editor. It is just these which we think could not have been better done. Easily, gracefully, clearly and reticently written, it seems to us that they at once leave nothing unsaid that ought to be said, and yet do not say a word too much. The heightening of the lights and the deepening of the shades, the general enforcing of the impression, is done by the father himself, and not by the son. This is as it should be, and the merit of the performance is great because it is by no means easy-not the more easy from the fact that the qualities most required are in a sense negative qualities, the instinctive tact and good feeling which tells a writer what he ought not to say. The son has in this case discharged his duty as we may be sure that the father would have wished to see it discharged. We could not give it higher praise. There is perhaps more room to question whether the canon p.uS&v ayav has been strictly observed in the other contents of the volumes, the letters which do so much to draw the portrait of the writer. It is no doubt the fashion to publish rather long ' Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, D.D., D.C.L., LL.D., etc., by his son, ARTHUR FENTON HORT. 2 vols. London: Macmillan. I896.
doi:10.1086/476546 fatcat:yk7nmufh7zfzxir34rq2oeluce