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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Les Miserables and Ultra

Been reading the best novel ever written, Les Miserables, again. Came across this and it reminded me of some people on the net. This is a direct quote.

In short, Mme de T----'s salon was 'ultra'. Since that word no longer has any meaning, although what it represents has perhaps not wholly disappeared, we must explain it.
To be 'ultra' is to go to the extreme. It is to attack the sceptre in the name of the throne and the mitre in the name of the altar; to abuse the cause one supports; to rush one's fences, outdo the executioner in the grilling of heretics, charge the idol with insufficient idolatry, insult by excessive adulation, find the pope insufficiently papist and the king insufficiently royalist. It is to denigrate the whiteness of alabaster or snow or the swan or the lily in the name of flawless whiteness; to be a partisan of causes to the point of becoming their enemy; to be so vehemently for as to be in fact against.

I though that was pretty cool, and apt for the times. Abe Lincoln (I read somewhere) didn't read widely but he read deeply. He read Shakespeare's works and the Bible, studied them. That was my goal but I really got bored of reading Shakespeare over and over and the Bible, well, I've read it cover to cover once and... I think I get it. I mean I believe. I don't want to study it like a literary text.

So anyway I decided to read Les Miserable again and I can't believe how wonderful it is. What an incredible book. You can learn a lot about being a Christian by reading Les Miserables, too... even more about being a good person, and about what a society is and can be and should be and... wow what a great book.


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