The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett, John Wain

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By Arnold Bennett, John Wain

First released in 1908, The outdated Wives' Tale affirms the integrity of standard lives because it tells the tale of the Baines sisters—shy, retiring Constance and defiant, romantic Sophia—over the process approximately part a century. Bennett strains the sisters' lives from youth of their father's material store in provincial Bursley, England, throughout the mid-Victorian period, via their married lives, to the trendy commercial age, after they are reunited as outdated ladies. The environment strikes from the 5 cities of Staffordshire to unique and cosmopolitan Paris, whereas the motion strikes from the subdued family regimen of the Baines loved ones to the siege of Paris in the course of the Franco-Prussian battle.

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Sample text

In his lectures, translated into English in 1846, Schlegel identifies characterization as one of Shakespeare’s most dominant qualities: Never, perhaps, was there so comprehensive a talent for characterization as Shakspeare. It . . grasps every diversity of range, age and sex, down to the lispings of infancy. . the king and the beggar, the hero and the pickpocket, the sage and the idiot, speak and act with equal truthfulness; not only does he transport himself to distant ages and foreign nations .

Of Richard II, Dowden notes: Life is to Richard a show, a succession of images; and to put himself into accord with the aesthetic requirements of his position is Richard’s first necessity. He is equal to playing any part gracefully which he is called upon by circumstances to enact. But when he has exhausted the aesthetic satisfaction to be derived from the situations of life, he is left with nothing further to do. He is an amateur in living; not an artist. (1875: 195) By contrast, Bolingbroke is a practical, self-controlled and powerful figure.

Thus Richard III is seen to ‘display the working out of God’s plan to restore England to prosperity’ (1969: 205); ‘Shakespeare conceived his second tetralogy as one great unit’ (1969: 240) and this ‘epic’ run of plays must therefore be treated as ‘a single organism’ (1969: 242); and Genre 35 ‘Richard II does its work in proclaiming the great theme of the whole cycle of Shakespeare’s History Plays: the beginning in prosperity, the distortion of prosperity by a crime, civil war, and ultimate renewal of prosperity’ (1969: 267).

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