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 drink the health of my Lord the Duke: in mead, be they poor; in good Rhine wine, be they of the better sort.’

This is from Chapter 10 of one of my favorite novels, Antigua, Penny, Puce (1936). In Chapter 17, we are told that the author of A Session of the Diet “had to pay to get it published and was grossly over-charged and, in spite of a large additional sum that the publishers demanded for advertising, only sold forty-five copies in England and seven in Canada”.

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