Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Saturday, January 15, 2011

classes of ideas

It is Author makes a formal engagement that he will gratify certain known habits of association; that he not only thus apprizes the Reader that certain classes of ideas and expressions will be found in his book, but that others will be carefully excluded.

-William Wordsworth, from "Preface to Lyrical Ballads"

I am beginning a series of quotes by Wordsworth. I was reading him yesterday and thinking, "Hmmm, this fellow has some interesting things to say." And I chuckled whenever he said something like "A Poet is a man speaking to men."* Then my professor told us that there were some women authors who came up with the ideas in Wordsworth's "Preface," that Wordsworth stole the women's ideas, called said ideas "manly" and anything unmanly as bad writing, and got big and famous while the ladies drifted into obscurity. Big sigh. Not an unusual story.

I've also been wanting to post quotes from the memoir Book of Shadows--a decidedly feminist work--so perhaps I'll switch off between Wordsworth and Book of Shadows.

*That is not an exact quote. I don't feel like looking the quote up.

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