Two Quiet Lives: Dorothy Osborne, Thomas Gray

Two Quiet Lives: Dorothy Osborne, Thomas Gray

Two Quiet Lives: Dorothy Osborne, Thomas Gray

Two Quiet Lives: Dorothy Osborne, Thomas Gray

Excerpt

These studies are not a work of research. All the information in them is already in print. But the two characters, who are their subject, seem to me curious and complex enough to deserve a closer analysis and a more extended interpretation than they have up to now received. Further, they illustrate with unusual clearness a peculiar and interesting variety of the human temperament. For, widely as their characters differed in many important respects, temperamentally they were akin. Both were shy, anxious, pensive personalities, with a rich inner life and few but intense affections, who, inspired by an ineradicable distrust of the world, strove, with varying success, to retire from it to a life exclusively personal, private, contemplative. The character that such a life assumed for each of them was not quite the same; for it was modified by the fact that they lived in different ages and different societies. In fact, it is not possible to understand Gray or Dorothy without having first learnt to understand the worlds in which their lives were set. My book, then, aspires to be at once an account of two remarkable persons, a study of a certain phase of human nature and, finally, a picture of private life as lived in two contrasting periods.

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