Heroines of Fiction - Vol. 1

Heroines of Fiction - Vol. 1

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Heroines of Fiction - Vol. 1

Heroines of Fiction - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In proposing to confine these studies to the nineteenth-century heroines of Anglo-Saxon fiction, I find myself confronted by a certain question, which I should like to share with the reader.

A day, a month, a year, these are natural divisions of time, and must be respected as such; but a century, like a week or a fortnight, is a mere convention of the chronologers, and need not be taken very literally in its claim to be exactly a hundred years long. As to its qualities and characteristics, it had much better not be taken so; and in a study like the present one is by no means bound to date the heroines of nineteenth- century fiction from the close of the eighteenth century, even if the whole world were agreed just when that was. In fact, since the heroines of fiction are of a race so mixed that there is no finding out just where they came from, there is some reason why a study of nineteenth-century heroines should go back to their greatest-grandmothers in the Byzantine romances, or even beyond these, to the yet elder Greek lineages in the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey." But there is still more reason why it should not do anything of the sort. We may amuse ourselves, if we choose, in tracing resemblances and origins; but, after . . .

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