Thursday, December 08, 2005

Rewriting history

Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself... You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.
- Angela Carter

At the moment I've got my head stuck in Pax Britannia, the second in Jan Morris's imperial triptych.
I laughed out loud several times this morning on the ferry until the chap sitting next to me could stand it no longer and asked me what I was reading. I suppose he thought it was Billy Connolly or some such thing, because he looked at me as if I was an alien when I told him it was a history of the British Empire.
Jan Morris writes triptychs - other mere mortals write trilogies. (Have they made her a Dame yet? She'd probably decline, but it would be delicious. I shall suggest it next time I see the Queen.)

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