Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mountains as they rise ii

"Immobility," the petrol-rationed
scholar wrote, "has its advantages,"
and they are not denied to any so-
cial isolation. "I have now read
The Paston Letters," he was able to
report to Berenson, between members
of a wealthy Norfolk family in the
English Renaissance.

No wonder the civilised Italian envoys from 'bourgeois-capitalist' cities like Venice found the English barbarians!
I was reminded of Morocco - the 
great caïds of the Atlas who built 
up, by ways very like those of our 
15th Century dukes, similar ephem-eral empires of patronage, vio-lence, and corruption .. Really it is to Morocco that our medievalists should go to study feudal life. But alas, they insist on reading only monkish words and build up a ridiculous never-never-land of Christian Unity: kings with folded hands and nuns demurely knitting, in shady cloister pent.

The gift for comparison, we admire as a legacy of learning, is as strained in our fact-denying cultures as the gift of comparison, we value as culture

Somehow the beauty of the one is upheld by the vitality of the other.
Then we have Venice.

Hugh Trevor-Roper
Fellow of Christ Church
Regius Professor of
  Modern History
Letters from Oxford
  to Bernard Berenson
  7 January 1957
Richard Davenport-Hines
op. cit.

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