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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
Estimated cost of the environmental damage caused each year by the world’s 3,000 largest companies:
Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.
Beekeepers began extracting 1 million honeybees living beneath the siding of a house in New York State.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”