Mythical Bards and the Life of William Wallace

Mythical Bards and the Life of William Wallace

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Mythical Bards and the Life of William Wallace

Mythical Bards and the Life of William Wallace

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Excerpt

The writer of a history may, in some respects, be likened unto an adventurous knight, who, having undertaken a perilous enterprise by way of establishing his fame, feels bound, in honor and chivalry, to turn back for no difficulty nor hardship, and never to shrink or quail whatever enemy he may encounter. Under this impression, I resolutely draw my pen, and fall to, with might and main, at those doughty questions and subtle paradoxes, which, like fiery dragons and bloody giants, beset the entrance to my history, and would fain repulse me from the very threshold. And at this moment a gigantic: question has started up, which I must needs take by the beard and utterly subdue, before I can advance another step in my historic undertaking."

So Washington Irving begins a chapter in his Knickerbocker's History of New York, "in which the author puts a mighty question to the rout, by the assistance of the man in the moon," and thus "delivers thousands of people from great embarrassment. . . ."

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