Random Readings

I was lurking in the stacks in the Large Research Library on the university campus where I work. Sometimes, when I’m in Fort Book (unofficial name of the Large Research Library) in the early stages of research on a new project, I lurk in the stacks looking for material. Today I lurked in the bound copies of Very Old Journals area. I pulled down The Monthly Review volume 70, 1813, and Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine volume 93, 1863. I browsed the six months of articles and reaped the following excerpts for your interest.

From Blackwood’s, and an article entitled “A Month’s visit to the Confederate Headquarters,” by An English Officer, I took this quote from the first paragraph:

“But the desire of knowledge, or the promptings of curiosity, as the case may be, determined me upon running all risks, and making my way into the forbidden land of Dixey [sic], despite all the blockading, gunboats, and Federal patrols along the Potomac river. There was, however, one great drawback to my happiness in starting upon this expedition—namely, the necessity which existed for my being back in New York by the 20th of October, and it was already the 11th of September when I left that city.”

In The Monthly Review, I found a review of Hannah More’s latest work. I have excerpted a small bit of it which thoroughly trashes Mrs. More as one of those writers who has not one unpublished thought:

“We shall not be so rude as to say to Mrs. More that she ought to learn ‘the art to stop:’ but we may venture to observe that the work before us is not in substance so different from her last, as to intitle [sic] it to praise on the score of novelty of sentiment. Whether her professed theme be “Practical Piety” [her previous work] or “Christian Morals” [the work under review], her essays or dissertations have precisely the same substratum and character; her thoughts all flow in the same channel and to the same point; and over the whole a sameness of feature is thrown. A new repast is presented to us: but in substance and essence it is the same with its predecessor; it is served on the old family plate, recast; and, though it assumes a new shape, every ounce of it has been on the table before. With great fluency and occasional eloquence, she prolongs her serious theme; and, whether sick or well, she employs herself in administering religious advice and admonition. With other authors, she has an indisputable right to offer her opinions boldly and without disguise; and though an attempt to mend the world is a very discouraging undertaking, we nevertheless applaud her for not desponding.”

Having satisfied myself that there is nothing really related to my research in these two volumes, I must now go back to work. Ok, the Hannah More review is sort of related to my research in very vague and general terms. But it is not the thing I’m working on right now. Must. Stop. Procrastinating.

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