I should first of all thank John McGuckin and Francesca Murphy for their remarks; both are scholars I very much respect, and it is flattering that they think my work worthy of their scrutiny and of – occasionally – their animadversions. I much prefer praise to censure, of course, but only the latter affords any scope for a meaningful reply. One dare not respond to a compliment by agreeing with it, or amplifying upon it; but to demur from it is to squander a gift that may not come again. So it is probably for the best that, even if I have apparently succeeded on the whole in pleasing both readers, I have nevertheless failed to please either of them in every particular. And I hope I may be excused for confining my replies almost entirely to their more critical remarks.
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