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March 1, 1890


JAMA. 1890;XIV(9):312. doi:10.1001/jama.1890.02410090024004

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One of the famous literati of the day makes it a cardinal rule never to read a book before reviewing it, because, says he, "it might prejudice me if I did, and I am always desirous of having my mind unbiased." It might be supposed that the principal idea in reviewing is to point out the good and the bad in the work, to assist in the judgment of the book, and to indicate in a general way its value. Not so! One cannot judge these matters a priori. Roughly speaking, we may say that there are at least three standpoints from which the reviewer sees his subject, namely: the commendatory, the condemnatory and the self-laudatory. The character of the review depends largely upon which of these eminences the operator has been located.

It is customary for reviewers of the first class to state, after the usual preliminaries, that it

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