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Progress of Science

Nature volume 52, page 267 | Download Citation



THE custom of inserting laudatory prefaces or introductions, written by well-known men, in works of science by lesser lights, which was commented upon in these columns a few weeks ago, reaches the ridiculous in the case of this book. A letter from Mr. Samuel Laing to the publishers is printed, in the course of which he says: “I have now had time to read Mr. Marmery's book, and find it a work of great learning and research … and I can confidently recommend it as alike interesting and instructive.” What induced the publishers to print this purely business letter as a testimonial to the book's good qualities, passes our comprehension. A book usually finds its proper level, and the effort to force it into a higher position by means of a letter of introduction from a more or less distinguished individual, must prove futile; for in literature, scientific or otherwise, authors are judged entirely by their own works.

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