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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Walter de la Mare

Walter de la Mare on Lewis Carroll

Every century, indeed every decade of it, flaunts its own little extravagancies and aberrations from a reasonable human standard. Passing fashions in dress and furniture, in plays, music and pictures, and even in ideas and sentiments, resemble not only the caprices of our island {Great Britain} climate, but also the extremes made manifest in English character, both of which in spite of such excesses yet remain true to a more or less happy medium. And so too with literature.

The Victorian age was rich in these exotics. It amuses us moderns, having dried and discoloured them, to make little herbariums of them. We forget to remind ourselves that many of our own prized blossoms are also of the hot-house, and will suffer a similar desiccation. But there is one Victorian wild flower which makes any such condescension absurd – and it is called Nonsense. (page 7)

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