Thursday, July 12, 2012

I Beg To Differ

I will soon be re-reading Louisa May Alcott's Rose in Bloom.  I had planned to read it earlier in the week, but my paperback copy is in worse condition than I remembered, so I've ordered a hardcover copy through abebooks.com.
I  could  just read it for free online, but Louisa May Alcott is one author whose books I'd rather read in book form.  When it comes to Louisa May Alcott, I'm An Old-Fashioned Girl.
However, I strongly disagree with something she has Rose's Uncle Alec  say about a French novel which he considered unsuitable for her to read.
(Thank God for copy and paste!)
"Ah, my dear, if the fine phrases won't bear putting into honest English, the thoughts they express won't bear putting into your innocent mind! That chapter is the key to the whole book, and if you had been led up, or rather down, to it artfully and artistically, you might have read it to yourself without seeing how bad it is. All the worse for the undeniable talent which hides the evil so subtly and makes the danger so delightful."
He paused a moment, then added with an anxious glance at the book, over which she was still bending, "Finish it if you choose–only remember, my girl, that one may read at forty what is unsafe at twenty, and that we never can be too careful what food we give that precious yet perilous thing called imagination."
 I disagree.  I think that what is poisonous at twenty is poisonous at forty, at sixty, at eighty.