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September 20, 2005

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A Large Volume of Adventures

A bit of blog-wandering just turned up this 2003 speech by the historian David McCullough titled “The Course of Human Events.” It’s quite good — and reminds me of a speech I saw McCullough give at Michigan State, an early college “aha!” experience — but it was actually a line he cited that grabbed me:

What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in everything.

From Laurence Stern, an Enlightenment novelist. I love it!

Posted September 20, 2005 at 8:04 | Comments (5) | Permasnark
File under: Books, Writing & Such, Briefly Noted


(Tim puts on his Henry VIII professor hat.)

Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (more properly, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman) is one of the cornerstone works of English literature. It isn't just an Enlightenment novel -- it's the Don Quixote of English literature, at once playfully postmodern and along with the work of Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, and Swift, an original and foundational text for the modern English novel.

Read it. All of you.

(Removes hat.)

Wow, that's great. Yikes, another author on the reading list...

Yeah, the line McCullough quotes is actually from A Sentimental Journey (that is, A Sentimental Journey through England and France with Mr. Yorick -- what is it with Enlightenment authors and their titles?). But I haven't read that book. So, uh, check that book out from the Library. You know, when you get around to it. Like me. (Blushes.)

Tristram Shandy = weird-ass novel. I say that, of course, as a fan of weird-ass novels. I remember spending an hour in section discussing the significance of the marbled page in the middle of the book.

Dude, of course his novel is weird; just look at his photo.

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