We've all seen it happen: the reviewer pronounces the new movie "an astonishing waste of time – banal beyond belief." Then the full-page ad comes out in the Times: "Leonard Maltin: 'astonishing...beyond belief.'"
In an March 1867 letter in Time and Tide, Ruskin commented on an edition of Balzac's Contes Drôlatiques with illustrations by Gustave Doré:
Both text and illustrations are as powerful as it is ever in the nature of evil things to be – (there is no final strength but in rightness). Nothing more witty, nor more inventively horrible, has yet been produced in the evil literature, or by the evil art, of man: nor can I conceive it possible to go beyond either in their specialities of corruption.... of all the 425 [illustrations], there is not one, which does not violate every instinct of decency and law of virtue or life, written in the human soul.Seven years later, Chatto & Windus (the firm Beckett referred to as "Shatupon & Windup") issued an English edition of the Balzac with its Doré illustrations; their catalogue copy read as follows:
"The illustrations to the Contes Drôlatiques are full of power and inventiveness.... Nothing more witty, nor more inventively horrible, has yet been produced." John Ruskin in Time and Tide by Weare and Tyne.Ruskin was not amused.