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February 2019 #598

(continued fro #596 & #597)

H: Les Miserables… Uncle T had half a copy. He kept it in his coat pocket
during the war. I think in its way it was like a bible to him.

Me: …How?

You won’t like the answer.

Me: Tell me anyway.

Many Southerners saw themselves as Hugo’s oppressed.

Me: How?

Fort Sumter fired upon… From that moment we felt our
livelihood – our existence – was in danger. I understand it sounds crass now,
but we felt betrayed. Both the North and South were built on slavery. We felt
betrayed by our own kin: all those who’d fought for freedom against the tyranny
on kingship.

Me: So… when the North had a fit of conscience and introduced
abolition, the South thought it had been stabbed in the back?

Yes. But many said it wasn’t conscience.

Me: What? Abolition was
some political power move against the South?

Yes. Many Southerners felt they were taking a stand against
injustice, like Hugo’s revolutionaries.

Me: That’s a bit fucking

I said you wouldn’t care for it. … No matter how morally
flawed a society, if it gives the ruling class stability, you can be certain it
will be defended.

Me: …Sadly historically
true. Okay. I see the reasoning.

After the war Uncle T packed the book away. Or he might have
burnt it. I’m not sure. All I know is what little he told me of the story. I
never felt inclined to read it. Why do you ask?

Me: I saw a film
adaptation of it recently. It reminded me that just like Dickens, to the modern
reader it can have as many flaws as strengths. It’s the peril of reading
something out of its own time: even greatness of character or narrative ages as
society moves on.

Do you own a copy?

Me: No. Or if I do it’s
in a box in an attic.

Pity. I should like to read it now.

Me: Why?

Your comment about society.

Me: Les Miserables isn’t a litmus test
for how modern you are!

Is there such a universal indicator?

Me: No. Just reading
history and literature and comparing opinions. And hoping you live in a society
that encourages opinion to change for the better.

I shall write Aunt P. Ask if she has a copy.

Me: I can find a copy in
the aether. We could read it together if you like.

I should like that. If you have the time.

Me: Yes. I have to go.
Love you H.

(coughing) Love you darlin’.

Source: Tales of Necromancy

by cnkguy
February 2019 #598

Posted in Tales of Necromancy and tagged by with no comments yet.

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