Robert Bage: Barham Downs

(980 words)

Barham Downs (2 vols, 1784) was Robert Bage’s second novel, and it was the one that, a generation later, seemed to cause his admirer Sir Walter Scott most embarrassment. While Scott readily admitted that, in the early years of the nineteenth century, Bage’s democratic politics were old-fashioned and potentially distracting, he was able to dismiss them with relatively little fuss, merely pointing out “the sophistry on which ... [Bage’s principles] are founded” and remarking, apropos of Hermsprong, that readers should remember “a good jest is no argument” (The Lives of the Novelists. 1826. London: J.M. Dent, 1928, 290). Yet when he turned to Barham Downs, even the urbane and sophisticated Scott w…

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Perkins, Pam. "Barham Downs". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 October 2004
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]