Quotation by V.S. Pritchett

The only serious rival to Pepys is Boswell, but Boswell is a snail without a shell. He trails through life unhoused and exclamatory, whereas Pepys is housed and sotto voce. Boswell is confessional before anything else, whereas, though he too tells all, Pepys is not; he records for the sensual pleasure of record. Boswell adores his damned soul to the point of tears and is in shameless, ramshackle pursuit of father-figures who will offer salvation. Unlike Pepys, he has above all a conceit of his own peculiar genius. Pepys has no notion of genius. Where Pepys is an eager careerist, struck by the wonder of it, Boswell has no career; he has only a carousel, and it is odd that the careerist has a more genuine sense of pleasure than the Calvinist libertine.
V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (b. 1900), British author, critic. "The Great Snail," Complete Collected Essays, Random House (1991).
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