Monday, November 23, 2009
As I don't have anything to say today - or, rather, too much - I am relying on the words of others. I picked up Henry James's English Hours at the weekend. It has an essay on the interment of Browning in Westminster Abbey. First it made me laugh:
'A good many oddities and a good many great writers have been entombed in the Abbey; but none of the odd ones have been so great and none of the great ones so odd.'
Then it made me laugh and cry:
'Just as his great sign to those who knew him was that he was a force of health, of temperament, of tone, so what he takes into the Abbey is an immense expression of life - of life rendered with large liberty and free experiment, with an unprejudiced intellectual eagerness to put himself in other people's place, to participate in complications and consequences; a restlessness of psychological research that might well alarm any pale company for their formal orthodoxies.'
Henry James eh? Sometimes it does exactly what it says on the tin; sometimes it doesn't.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 1:29 pm