This week's Condemned to Repeat It Award for flagrant lack, or possibly disregard, of history.
It is not as though quite recently there have not been reviews of, and articles about, Kate Summerscale's book on the Victorian murdering child who was alleged to have been the victim of penny-dreadfuls working on his immature brain.
Is this not a perennial motif? - you teach people to read so they can read the Bible, or be more efficient cogs in the capitalist wheels, and next thing you know, they are reading for pleasure.
In my young day I think it was comics like Beano and Dandy vs more srs children's comics like Eagle and its stablemates.
Children are not supposed to read popular material produced in The Now, unless certified to be moral and improving, they are supposed to read the Great Works of the Past (many of which were formerly the despised popular works of their day - 'It Is Only A Novel').
The alternatives provided are particularly hilarious - the Romantic poets. Yay, let's give them Shelley's 'Masque of Anarchy', stat, or some of the sex and violence from Keats. Bless his little heart, we think that Mr Whiting not only doesn't get out much, he hasn't read much.
Perhaps someone should send him that classic book on the penny dreadful, ES Turner's Boys will be Boys.
And as for frightening and horrifying, that early C19th moralising classic, The Fairchild Family, takes some beating.
What I read
Finished Love Among the Ruins and boy, it would have been a lot shorter book without all the moaning and whingeing and whining about Them: surely People Like Us, the Barsetshire county crowd, were supposed to be a bit more stiff-upper-lip and stoical? Also can't help feeling that a lot of what they were whingeing about was Aftermath of World War as much as the iron heel of Clem and Nye. Okay, there is a bit about desirable social mobility of the Worthy (which comes over a bit weird in the general context). Was also a bit irked by the thing Thirkell does that 'men are fairly useless, women get things done', but still what a woman should aim for is marrying one of the useless creatures.
I.e. Not a Top Thirkell.
Read during travel: Margaret Maron, Long Upon the Land (2015) - okay, but I was fairly elated to see at the back that a new Sigrid Harald mystery is finally in the works. George Macdonald Fraser, Royal Flash (1970) because I picked up the ebook during a markdown sale recently. Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey, Etheldreda the Ready. A School Story (1910).
On the go
Picked up Lewis Melville, The Beaux of the Regency Vol 1 (1908 - ?revised from an earlier 1874 version) in a charity shop, with some pages still uncut. Clearly quite well researched and has points of interest.
Everything else that was on the go still going.
Not sure there will be much reading happening over the next several days!
[From the AMacD- notebooks, Volume 3, decrypted passages]
The most curious event this morn, when I went to visit Clorinda and unfold to her my concerns around M. She listened to me with all sobriety for a while but eventually was overtaken by quite a paroxysm of mirth, quite unlike the dainty laughter she will normally manifest, bringing a flush to her cheek &C. Sure I have ever considered my disposition to be as firmly set and unchanging as the colour of my hair or the weakness of sight that necessitates my wearing of spectacles; and yet, as she laughed so heartily, felt the most distinct signs of desire even unto stirring of the m. v. I have been greatly missing dear G while he must be about the duties of his station at A-; but I would not have supposed that that would incline me in this direction. I said nothing, of course: doubtless had I done so she would have made allusions to love in idleness or fateful philtres; or perchance renewed that kind offer she made on that occasion in Surrey: but my sensations had nothing of the philosophical and scientific about them.
Great relief on discovering that my recent unwonted sensations concerning Clorinda must have been some passing frenzy. Able to feel quite entirely on our usual terms when I visit her. Only wish that I might disclose this strange vagary to her, for I daresay, with her knowledge of the phenomena of desire, she might have some thoughts upon the matter. Perchance as students of psychology suggest, some forgotten association brings it about?