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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Saturday, 28 September 2013

Promoting culture

Tuesday, September 28th., Villa des Nefliers, Fontainebleau.

I wrote this morning the third article ("Fiction") in the series for the Home Reading Union. 

The aims of the National Home Reading Union (1889 - 1930) were to guide readers of all ages in the choice of books, to unite them as members of a reading guild and to group them, where possible, in circles for mutual help and interest; it would, on the one hand, ‘check the spread of pernicious literature
among the young’, and on the other, ‘remedy the waste of energy and lack of purpose so often found among those who have time and opportunity for a considerable amount of reading’. The Union would not simply encourage reading but would develop it within a systematic framework, and
would educate readers in the practice of reading reflectively and to personal advantage.

And then my New Age article, dealing with Chesterton's and E. V. Lucas's essays. Continuing Taine's "Origines", I thought how absurd I was that I had not before read a similar work on English origins. But I could not think of any similar work.

After dinner I reached down the first volume of A. W. Benn's "Modern England", which I have had for about a year, and found that it was dedicated to Bernhard Berenson, which made me favourable to it. That a historian and publicist should be sufficiently intimate with, or an admirer of, a first-class art critic to wish to dedicate a book to him, is certainly a proof of the former's breadth of sympathy. I read the first chapter. Good, but very inferior after Taine. Still a work of genuine culture, and marked by liberal principles; perhaps he shows too much emotion when his feelings are outraged, as by the ill-treatment, industrially, of children. A historian has no business with righteous indignation. He ought to be above that. Cruelty to children is not worse than a lot of other cruelties. I admired the book; well written though perhaps a shade turgid. But I doubt if I shall finish it. I want something more masterful and of genius.

Reflecting on my poem about Fontainebleau, I settled on the general form and metre, and composed the first line. I can now go on with it any time.

Additionally for September 28th., see 'Parisian life' - http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/parisian-life.html

As I was sitting on the terrace of the Cafe de la Place Blanche, a voiture drove up containing two men, two women and a white puppy. One of the men was clearly an actor or singer of some sort, he had the face and especially the mouth; one of the women, aged perhaps 25, short, getting plump, and dressed with a certain rough style, especially as to the chic hat and the jupon, was evidently his petite amie; the other woman was a servant, nu-tete and wearing a white apron.

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