The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives

5.05.02 – Sunday

Time passes with a measured and memorable wing during the first period of a sojourn in a new place, among new characters and new manners. Every person, every incident, every feeling touches and stirs the imagination. The restless mind creates and observes at the same time. Indeed there is scarcely any popular tenet more erroneous than that which holds that when time is slow, life is dull. It is very often, and very much the reverse. If we look back on those passages of our life which dwell most upon the memory, they are brief periods full of action and novel sensation.

(2002.26, p. 193f.)

There’s a similar passage in Mann’s The Magic Mountain, though naturally there it goes on for several pages of crystalline detail (about soup, if I recall, and the eternal intern eternally bringing the eternal soup — a ripe rummy passage). An interesting book, Sybil, but Disraeli was not much of a novelist; it reads like spirited and somewhat artless version of Brontë’s Shirley, or an abridged and more explicitly class-based Wives and Daughters. The historical asides are nearly Trollope-ian, but lack the narrative luster, and the character development bears the savor of the eighteenth century, being simple, readily understood, but somewhat lacking in local color.


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