Asaf Bartov (ijon) wrote,
Asaf Bartov
ijon

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Austen on History

Let me know when you've had enough. I'm having a great time with Austen.
"That is, I can read poetry and plays, and things of that sort, and do not dislike travels. But history, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in. Can you?"

"Yes, I am fond of history."

"I wish I were too. I read it a little as a duty, but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all -- it is very tiresome: and yet I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention. The speeches that are put into the heroes' mouths, their thoughts and designs -- the chief of all this must be invention, and invention is what delights me in other books."

--Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, ch. 14
(actually, the discussion goes on, no less amusingly, but I don't want to quote too much. Read it, if you find these excerpts as delightful as I do!)
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