is prefaced by Hardy's poem God's Funeral, printed in full at the start of the book. This device, and the further quoting of it many times in the text, is a successful focus for a well-guided intellectual tour. The bookish reader is driven to return to Hardy and Spencer, and also to make new 'friends' (in the author's cheerful conceit) of both Wilson himself and unknowns like George Tyrrell of the 'Modernist Catholic' persuasion. The non-bookish reader will not, I should think, get past the first chapter, or indeed past the cover and the well-chosen photographs; this is a dense book, and enjoyable to read, but it is for the thoughful and leisured reader who is prepared to commit time and attention.
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