Books 2010

Books 2009

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Friday, 30 January 2009


I finished reading Northanger Abbey a couple of weeks ago and I think this one is much better than Pride and Prejudice from a strictly literary point of view. It is far more finalized and achieved than the first novel, which content is more educational about historic, sociologic and legal aspects though.
Anyway, I just want to point out that Miss Austen too expressed her negative feelings towards critics. I guess you remember very well her words, it is at the end of Chapter 5. I won't quote all that she says because it takes her a good two pages but here are only a few excerpts.
It starts with: "Yes, novels;- for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the numbers of which they are themselves adding....... Let us leave to the Reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure, and over every new novel to talk in threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans.........There seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them." etc, etc...

Thank you for the delightful reminder of Marston’s vigor and spleen. His play “The Malcontent” begins with this line: Sir , the Gentlemen will be angry if you sit heare.

“What You Will” begins: “O I beseech you Sir reclaime his wits,
My masters mad, starke mad, alasse for loue,” and “Strathmore” begins with the line:
“The night is bitter.”

I love a spot of acidulity in mid-winter. Thank you.

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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