Posts Tagged ‘literature’

I have been listening to G.K. Chesteron’s “A Short History of England” from librivox.org and am quite enjoying it; so much so, that I think I should read it in text, as there is so much to savor that is not possible when briefly hearing it, or when missing a word. However, I think the title is a misnomer. In my opinion, the book should have been entitled “An ‘Opinionated‘ History of England,” I think.

The author certainly loves to use paradox in the manner of Charles Dickens. One of the most famous lines in English literature is the opening of Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities.” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… .” Chesterton uses this type of paradox construction about a dozen times in each and every chapter, it seems. I feel he overdoes it a bit.

However, … this lode star of life I love: “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Here is an even SHORTER history of England: \”The History of England\” by Jane Austen.

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A Jane Austen Saturday Night

Oh Glory! PBS is having another complete Jane Austen night. I have enjoyed every moment of this series. It has been so wonderful. She lived more than 200 years ago and wrote only six novels before she died at the young age of 42 – but what an influence she has had on women … and English literature … and drama … and even the Internet. When I first discovered the Internet, almost a decade ago, the first genre of web sites I encountered was the Jane Austen type of fan clubs that existed to celebrate every nook and cranny of Jane’s England. For now, I’m off to watch the tellie – to see the galloping horses, the lovely English dancing and the charming young ladies and men, the exquisite costumes, and the English countryside.

We all have our best guides within us, … if only we would listen.” It was a good lesson 200 years ago, and it is a good lesson still.

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My father’s sister had told me that her mother, my grandmother, Martha Smith of Cheltenham, Essex, England, had remembered a favorite exclamation of her mother to her father, which was; “Jimmie, Damn your Eyes!” I had never before heard this expression, until I came across it last night in the writings of G.K. Chesterton in “The Innocence of Father Brown.” I can but assume that my great grandfather, Jimmie Smith, must have been a most perceptive person.

DEAR FATHER BROWN,–Vicisti Galilee. Otherwise, damn your eyes, which are very penetrating ones. Can it be possible that there is something in all that stuff of yours after all?.

“Vicisti, Galilee” translates as “you have won, Galilean” – which was the supposed resignation from the last pagan Emperor of Rome that Christianity had won out as the state religion.

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