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PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
THE alterations that I have made in revising this book for a second edition have been mainly in one direction. I have here and there omitted or modified passages that might have seemed to countenance the idea that goodness or badness in style might be pronounced upon, without reference to the effect aimed at by the writer. This I have done to prevent the slightest suspicion that the criticisms in this book consist in the dogmatic application of any absolute standard of style. In spite of the tolerably plain disclaimer in my first Preface, this absoluteness of view has been not only suspected, but alleged. It is true I have not been able, after diligent search, to find the quotations by which the allegation was supported; nevertheless, I wish to place the purpose of the book in this respect beyond the possibility of honest misapprehension.
Since the first edition was issued, Mr Trevelyan's biography of Lord Macaulay has appeared, and Mr H. A. Page has published two volumes on the Life and Writings of De Quincey. My sketches of Macaulay and De Quincey can, in consequence, no longer pretend to be "more complete than any hitherto published."
December 22, 1880.