Tall Criticism—Author Unknown

Today I observed a pamphlet in a bookseller’s window entitled Essence of Progress and Poverty, and naturally thought I had struck a patch. As an adverse criticism of the author of Progress and Poverty, it is, certainly, pretty rough. I have simply glanced at it, but that is sufficient to warrant my last sentence. Take the following rather pedantic and verbose extract on page 9:

In fact, like a cuttlefish, he involves himself in an ink-fog, and takes advantage of the obscurity to practise a deception. And having done so, it is as interesting as to observe through a microscope the voracious energy of one of the infusorial animalcule in a drop of ditch-water, to watch him with a velocity which prevents his unsuspecting reader from noticing the trick he has played, dash off upon some false issue he has raised, and in a torrent of historical, legal, economical, political, poetically imaginative, and awe-inspiringly encyclopaedic erudition fulminate a furious indictment of robbery against land owners, charge the jury, which is himself, to bring in an unanimously prompt verdict of guilty, with a faint recommendation to mercy, and pass sentence upon the culprits, with solemn admonition that they merit even greater severity.

The conclusion states: “The title of the book Progress and Poverty may be translated from American into English as Humbug and Knavery.” The pamphlet is written by Mr. Fitz Gibbon. It may interest this gentleman to learn that Henry George still lives! S.

–Author Unknown


  • The above has been typed out, with corrections, from a typo-riddled printout I found while sorting through 20 years worth of bank statements, receipts, rental slips, birthday cards, and various other paper based memorabilia from previous lives. I have no idea how or when it came into my possession, but, after locating Mr. Fitz Gibbon’s pamphlet online and glancing at it myself, it struck me that the author may be Henry George himself! In any case, my thusfar brief reading of Fitz Gibbon’s pamphlet has injected a good dose of much needed humor into my bloodstream, to which I am promptly returning for more:)

One response

  1. wow! It is written as a play at least at first it is. I didn’t read everypage but will later, for now, chapter III with the weeping guardian angel :)

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