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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Jean Masson


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Jean Masson : Histoire Memorable de la Vie de Jeanne d’Arc, Appelée la Pucelle d’Orleans

Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, 14 December 1797: 'Your parcel & its contents arrived safe. I found it on my return from a library belonging to the dissenters — in Redcross Street; from which, by permission of Dr Towers one of the Trustees, I brought back books of great importance for my Maid of Orleans. a hackney coach horse turned into a field of grass falls not more eagerly to a breakfast which lasts the whole day, than I attacked the old folios so respectably covered with dust. I begin to like dirty rotten binding, & whenever I get among books pass by the gilt coxcombs & yet disturb the spiders. — But you shall hear what I have got. a Latin poem in four long books upon Joan of Arc. very bad — but it gives me a quaint note or two — & Valerandus Valerius is a fine name for a quotation. a small quarto of the Life of the Maid, chiefly extracts from forgotten authors, printed at Paris. 1612. with a print of her on horseback, & another on foot in the same dress & attitude as the one I have. A sketch of her life, by Jacobus Philippus Bergomensis — bless the length of his erudite name! — this is short but the most valuable of all, inasmuch as I have his authority for her prediction of her death — & that he has given me matter for a noble speech in Book 3. (I write in the spirit of prophecy for its nobleness.) by saying that her first vision was in a ruined church, where the weather drove her to pass the night with her flock. there are more treasures in this library — & I go there again on Monday next.'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Robert Southey      Print: Book


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