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Record 21053

Reading Experience:

Passages transcribed at length in E. M. Forster's Commonplace Book (1932) include extract from Voltaire, Charles XII Book 3 (on the execution of Jean Reginald Patkul, ambassador of the Czar), accompanied by comment: 'Each time I read the magnificent passage above -- at last transcribed -- I am struck by the economy of the [italics]irony[end italics] and even of the [italics]pathos[end italics]. Yet the whole passage vibrates with both. There is a sort of religious grandeur -- cruelty and cowardice are both noted without contempt. 'When will there be such writing again, or even the leisure to transcribe it? Voltaire and I do speak the same language, vast though be the difference in our vocabularies, we are both civilised [...] We belong to the cultured interlude which came between the fall of barbarism and the rise of universal "education" [...] We believe in reason, in pity, and in not always coming out right -- that is to say I hope to be logical and compassionate'.
Century: 1900-1945
Date: Between 1 Jan 1932 and 31 Dec 1932
Country: n/a
Time: n/a
Place: n/a
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Edward Morgan Forster
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 1 Jan 1879
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: Writer
Religion: n/a
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: n/a
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: Voltaire
Title: Histoire de Charles XII (Book 3)
Genre: History, Biography
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: Passage appears at pp.97-8 of Book 3 in 1856 edition of text owned by Forster.
Provenance: owned


Source Information:

Record ID: 21053  
Source - Print  
  Author: E. M. Forster
  Editor: Philip Gardner
  Title: Commonplace Book
  Place of Publication: London
  Date of Publication: 1985
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 96
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: E. M. Forster, Philip Gardner (ed.), Commonplace Book (London, 1985), p. 96,, accessed: 20 June 2024

Additional comments:



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)