Thursday, November 24, 2011

Quote for the day: When books were long...I mean, REALLY long...

"A GREAT historian, as he insisted on calling himself, who had the happiness to be dead a hundred and twenty years ago, and so to take his place among the colossi whose huge legs our living pettiness is observed to walk under, glories in his copious remarks and digressions as the least imitable part of his work, and especially in those initial chapters to the successive books of his history, where he seems to bring his arm-chair to the proscenium and chat with us in all the lusty ease of his fine English. But Fielding lived when the days were longer (for time, like money, is measured by our needs), when summer afternoons were spacious, and the clock ticked slowly in the winter evenings. We belated historians must not linger after his example; and if we did so, it is probably that our chat would be thin and eager, as if delivered from a camp-stool in a parrothouse. I at least have so much to do in unravelling certain human lots, and seeing how they were woven and interwoven, that all the light I can command must be concentrated on this particular web, and not dispersed over that tempting range of relevancies called the universe."--George Eliot, Middlemarch

(Obviously George Eliot considered her own books to be just novelettes in comparison with Fielding's.)

1 comment:

Michael Snow said...
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