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“I am no novel-reader — I seldom look into novels — Do not imagine that
I often read novels — It is really very well for a novel.” Such
is the common cant. “And what are you reading, Miss — ?” “Oh!
It is only a novel!” replies the young lady, while she lays down
her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. “It
is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda”; or, in short, only some
work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in
which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest
delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and
humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.
–Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, ch. 5 (1803).
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Chances that a doctor’s diagnosis of Lyme disease is erroneous:
Engineers were said to be at greater risk of becoming terrorists.
A deaf dog belonging to a deaf owner was shot and killed in Alabama, and an Indiana dog’s skin troubles were found to be caused by an allergy to humans. “It’s just not his fault,” said the owner of Lucky Dog Retreat.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”