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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

§ 22. A. K. H. Boyd; John Skelton

On a much lower plane stand Smith’s two contemporaries, A. K. H. Boyd and John Skelton. Boyd first became widely known through the volume of pleasant but garrulous and unsubstantial essays entitled Recreations of a Country Parson, which he had contributed to Fraser’s Magazine. It was the earliest of many volumes which continued to appear at short intervals down to 1896, when The Last Years of St. Andrews was published. There was a stronger fibre in Skelton, whose pseudonym Shirley was subscribed to some of the most readable of the papers contributed to Fraser’s Magazine and Blackwood’s Magazine during the latter half of the nineteenth century. From his earliest production Nugae Criticae to The Table Talk of Shirley, Skelton showed great skill as an essayist, blending in a rare degree the love of nature with the love of books, and imparting both to the reader through a style redolent of the writer’s own personality. Skelton was a historian as well as an essayist. Though he is, perhaps, sometimes advocate rather than judge in his essays and books on Mary queen of Scots, they who most widely differ from him in opinion must be sensible of, and grateful for, the charm of his presentation of the case.