Tales My Father Taught Me: An Evocation of Extravagant Episodes

Tales My Father Taught Me: An Evocation of Extravagant Episodes

Tales My Father Taught Me: An Evocation of Extravagant Episodes

Tales My Father Taught Me: An Evocation of Extravagant Episodes

Excerpt

The chief object of a preface or introduction is to give an author the chance of tilting his book at the correct angle for the reader, and sometimes to explain how it came to be of a certain form and why it developed as it did. Thus, the origin of this book is comparable to that of jewels. When a large gem has been detached from its matrix to be cut and polished there inevitably remain fragments of precious stone. To these the expert artificer then turns his attention, proceeding to fashion them, however small they may be, into separate ornaments, or parts of them. Similarly, after the life-size portraits of my father and myself emerged from the five volumes of my autobiography, Left Hand, Right Hand! many memories of him that I had been compelled to omit, for reasons of the general design and by the laws immanent in every individual structure, seemed to claim my attention with a vivacity of their own. This book came into being in this way, and has been written with no other object than to engage the interest of the reader: but I hope that because I have, after this fashion, declared my purpose, he will not accuse me of levity or assume that I do not realize the tragic implications under the smiling lawns, or perceive the flames and fury of great catastrophes veiled behind flimsy screens. Nor should it be taken for granted that it was . . .

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