Saturday, May 28

Paul Collins' passion is the Victorians, especially quirky novels and science from the period. From his book Sixpence House, here's his snappy description of them:
They are all, you see, so like us in their hope and dread of technological progress, their goals fo equality for women, their overarching ambitions for world culture and global markets, their miraculous tying together of continents in instant communication ... they are us. Here are people groping toward a universe of quantum mechanics, a world after Darwin, a country after monarchy, a sky and sea filled with mechanical contrivance. Their hopes and rhetoric are recognizably our own, but ehir tools are hilariously unequal to the task: they are future thinkers armed with nothing but leather, steel, stone, and porcelain. The friction between their dreams, which are recognizably ours, and thir means, which are so quaint, is what makes the Victorians sympathetic and yet also absurd.


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