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Stendhal – The author allows himself a complaint.

December 2, 2014

“’Politics,’ the author resumes, ‘are a stone attached to the neck of literature, which, in less than six months, drowns it. Politics in the middle of imaginative interests are like a pistol-shot in the middle of a concert. The noise is deafening without being emphatic. It is not in harmony with the sound of any of the instruments. This mention of politics is going to give deadly offence to half my readers, and to bore the other half, who have already found far more interesting and emphatic politics in their morning paper.’

‘If your characters do not talk politics,’ the publisher retorts, ‘they are no longer Frenchmen of 1830, and you book ceases to hold a mirror, as you claim. …’”

(from The Red and the Black [1830], translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff)

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