Surely one of the pithiest, funniest and most ebulliently floor-wiping book criticisms in the history of scribbling and patronage.  All those long days and late nights scratching away with a quill on blotchy parchment so you can present your king with a glorious door-stopper of world history.

This always makes me laugh, but then it wasn’t my book that got the royal floor-wipe.

‘Another big fat book!  Scribble, scribble, scribble, eh, Mr Gibbon?’,

Source: George III on Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, quoted in Friends in High Places: Who Runs Britain?, Jeremy Paxman (Penguin, 1990), p. 69


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