Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Rations

What strikes one about the literary diet of the Brontes is its apparent narrowness when compared with the panoply of stimuli thought essential to effect a modern education. A single Latin textbook, the smallest selection of poets, Blackwood's magazine for entertainment...from such meagre resources had they to cultivate their skills, to constitute their knowledge, and to hone their fine judgment. But does not the wealth of their brief lives' great output prove over again, that the chink must not dare be too wide if wonder is something we value?

Wonder: that sense of not knowing what's there to be known, without which there is no true learning, which these sisters did feel in such famous abundance, and which fades to the sight of those half-lidded eyes before which, in these days, small digestible pieces are placed for straightforward consumption, and ever more colourful, crazy concoctions are needed to make them stand open.

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