16 September 2010

Now reading: M.R. James

I am reading Ghost Stories Of An Antiquary by M.R. James during my lunch hours and coffee breaks at work, and I came across this funny and somewhat acid quotation which reminded me of similar sentiments expressed by numerous writers, especially those writing in and of the 18th and 19th centuries:

Sir Richard was a pestilent innovator, it is certain. Before his time the Hall had been a fine block of the mellowest red brick; but Sir Richard had travelled in Italy and become infected with the Italian taste, and, having more money than his predecessors, he determined to leave an Italian palace where he had found an English house. So stucco and ashlar masked the brick; some indifferent Roman marbles were planted about in the entrance-hall and gardens; a reproduction of the Sibyl's temple at Tivoli was erected on the opposite bank of the mere; and Castringham took on an entirely new, and, I must say, a less engaging, aspect. But it was much admired, and served as a model to a good many of the neighbouring gentry in after-years.
From the story "The Ash-tree". 

P.S. I'm not including these stories in the short story challenge.

1 comment:

Dorte H said...

Un-English! Oh, horror!

I am trying my best to grab that English spirit right now as I write my story set in Yorkshire. In some ways it is difficult as I have never been there, in other ways not so hard as I grew up in the country and know a lot about the suspicion of everything that comes from the outside.