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

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Sunday, 30 March 2014


Saturday, March 30th., Cadogan Square, London.

In this age of social criticism, destructive and reconstructive, the novelists can and do deliver the wanted goods. Non-fictional writers rarely deliver the goods. For every non-fictional social writer who really impresses either the big public or the small public, there are at least a dozen novelists whom nobody can neglect. True, the big public are children, children love stories, and the novelists have the great advantage of being story-tellers. But this is not their only advantage. As a rule they write better than the non-fictionalists. And in addition to being story-tellers they are critics and moralists. And as critics and moralists they are more effective than their rivals, not merely because they tell stories and write better, but because they know more and understand more about human nature and about social conditions. That is why novels, generally, are better than life.

Brains and imagination exist more abundantly in the heads of novelists than in the heads of other writers. This has been the state of affairs for quite a century and a half, and it still is. Until it is altered novelists will continue to hold the field.

Additionally for March 30th., see 'Gallons of blood'

Curious affair in the village yesterday. Owners of land bordering the forest have the right to catch such deer as they find on their land. Now is the season when deer stray, in search of young shoot. They stray about dawn. Villagers organise a sort of surprise for the deer. They arise before dawn and lie in wait. Yesterday morning sixty people caught six deer. The deer were killed in an open yard close to this house, and blood ran in gallons into and down the road. The sixty people drew lots for the best cuts, and one hears the monotonous calling of the numbers. One tenth of a deer for each person. 

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