Category Archives: Culture: Fiction

Quantum Mutati ab Illis

“Where is he from?” Bracoletti answered without hesitation, lowering his voice, and with a gesture indicating the most complete disenchantment: “He is a Greek from Athens.” My interest sank like water absorbed by sand. When one has traveled in the … Continue reading

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A Vegan in 1911

The scene: There are no trees in the “Luft Bad.” It boasts a collection of plain, wooden cells, a bath shelter, two swings and two odd clubs — one, presumably the lost property of Hercules or the German army, and … Continue reading

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Quotation of the Day

One of three rivals in love, from a Brazilian novel set in the 1850s: (Note: the aunt and the baroness are one and the same.) He was a young man of about twenty-five or twenty-six. His name was Jorge. He … Continue reading

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A Favorite Passage

Randall Jarrell describes a student art exhibit at a fictional women’s college (“Benson”): The students had learned all the new ways to paint something (an old way, to them, was a way not to paint something) but thye had not … Continue reading

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More Wilkie Collins

Some quotations from The Guilty River (1886): 1. The hero’s stepmother describes their Member of Parliament, who has been unlucky in love (VI): “. . . quite broken-hearted about Lady Lena; gone away to America to shoot bears.” 2. The … Continue reading

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The Value of a First-Class Education

What one British rogue learned at school in the early 19th century: . . . I was sent to one of the most fashionable and famous of the great public schools. I will not mention it by name, because I … Continue reading

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Ponderings of a Fictional Fop

Ambrose Silk, September 1939: It is a curious thing, he thought, that every creed promises a paradise which will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste. Nanny told me of a Heaven that was full of angels playing harps; … Continue reading

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Quotation of the Day

A fictional Prussian soldier of fortune in 1937: After fifteen years I can scarcely recall just what did happen in that confused struggle against the Bolsheviks in Livonia and Kurland, in that whole corner of the civil war with its … Continue reading

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Quotation of the Day

Elderly Nova Scotian Mrs. Fiedke explains why she refuses to fly out of Barcelona: “I’m a strict believer, in fact, a Witness, but I never trust the airlines from those countries where the pilots believe in the afterlife. You are … Continue reading

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A Favorite Passage

Like most of us, LanguageHat dislikes ‘Historical Novelese’. Here’s Robert Graves’ parody of the genre, from a fictional fiction about the Diet of Worms: ‘Nay,’ cried the good bailiff of Hochschloss, ‘all folk who journey through this bailiwick must first … Continue reading

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A Surprising Parallel

Austin Bay (þ Small Dead Animals) has a long post on the Human Relations side of al Qaeda, that is, the generous fringe benefits and not-so-generous salaries listed in a captured document. I was as surprised as everyone else to … Continue reading

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Reading Notes: Trollope

From Chapter I of Anthony Trollope’s Dr. Wortle’s School, I learn that British schools provided their pupils (aged 11-17) with beer every day, and with wine and even champagne when they were ill. In Chapter III, a boy who falls … Continue reading

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