Seven Splendid Sinners
Uitgever: Read Books
  • Engels
  • Paperback
  • 9781406769487
  • maart 2007
  • 432 pagina's
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PREFACE IT may be postulated as an axiom of history that in dividuals are more important than events. The importance, not to speak of the interest, of the latter decreases in proportion to their distance from posterity till they are finally submerged in the ocean of time. To this sweeping assertion there is, of course, as usual, an excep tion, and certain epoch-making events in the history of mankind a Renaissance, a Reformation, a Revolution, for instance rear their crests above the waste of time, like those volcanic islands in tropic seas whose summits tower as high above the waves from which they rise as their bases are sunk beneath them. But with regard to individuals the opposite is the case. It has been said that the Muse of History has no politics on the contrary, she has belonged to every political party from the Absolutists to the Republicans save the Social ists. The faith of the latter, indeed, it is impossible for her to profess in history the Individual is all in all. The dagger of Brutus, the eloquence of Antony, the corpse of Caesar, possess greater significance for us than all the influ ences that converted Rome from a republic into an empire. Apart from some examination paper or treatise by Herr Dryasdust of what account is the Agrarian Question, which once so deeply agitated the mistress of the world Yet the Gracchi are deathless. Or coming quite near our own times, can there be any doubt as to the relative importance and interest between the march of events in Frances stupendous struggle for freedom and the careers and char acters of the men and women who engaged in the front rank of that struggle The mere names of Marie Antoinette, Mirabeau, Marat, Robespierre, Napoleon, speak more than whole volumes on the Revolution. For the memory of a personality, let it be stated again, endures longer than the memory of an epoch a fact that all the greatest historians, both scientific and unscientific, have always recognized. But while history asserts the supremacy of personality, it also restores to events and epochs an importance in propor vii viii PREFACE tion to the interest of posterity in the individuals who influ enced, or were influenced, by them. For it goes without saying that in history, as in life, every individual is not of equal importance. But it is not from the contemplation of the greatest and noblest alone that the most useful know ledge of mankind is to be obtained. Much may also be learnt from the small and the base. In the play of Human Nature as acted in the theatre of history the cast is large, and those who perform but a small part are as well worth watching as the great stars who, like those on the French stage, often appear in minor roles, as in the case of Catherine the Great, in whom there were two distinct personalities. To watch this great drama, in which the events of history are but individuals in action, to the best advantage, de pends entirely upon ones seat, so to speak. There are scenes in which only stars of the first magnitude occupy the stage, when it is better not to go at all to the theatre unless one has a stall or a box. Fancy viewing Napoleon from the back-row of the gallery, or Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire condensed into a curtain-raiser When such characters and episodes are on the boards, it is intolerable to be cramped for space and squeezed into some position in which one can neither see norhear. For in history, perspective and proportion are absolutely essential. Likewise, there are times when the only place to observe certain actors is from the wings, the coulisses tfhistoire, as in the case of the seven ladies whose interpretation of certain phases of human nature forms the subject of this book. It is true, from the coulisses persons and events will never appear as attractive as they look from the stalls...



maart 2007
Aantal pagina's
432 pagina's


W. R. H. Trowbridge
Read Books



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Extra groot lettertype
547 g
Verpakking breedte
140 mm
Verpakking hoogte
24 mm
Verpakking lengte
216 mm

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