Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Re^3: O'Brian on the power of novels

Joe McWilliams

I almost - but not quite - ordered a book by Prevost, La Fayette or Richardson from the library. They're all there. One feels one should. Has anyone here read anything by any of them?

On Mon Mar 27, Brian O'Patrick wrote
>That's it!  You hit a hole in one!  Thank you very much!

>On Mon Mar 27, Guest wrote
>>On Mon Mar 27, Brian O'Patrick wrote
>>> I'm looking for a passage from one of the books where O'Brian,
>>> through Stephen Maturin, reflects on the wonderful ability of
>>> novels to plumb the depths of what it means to be human, much
>>> more effectively than any textbook or factual treatise can. My
>>> fervent hope is that someone here will say, "Oh, sure, that's
>>> right here." I need it for a literacy narrative in school. It
>>> isn't the end of the world (nor even The Far Side of the World
>>> lol) if I can't find the passage, but it would certainly be nice
>>> to have since it perfectly supports a point I'm making.
>>> Thank you in advance,

>>From "The Nutmeg of Consolation":
>>   ‘Sir,’ said Stephen, ‘I read novels with the utmost pertinacity.
>>   I look upon them – I look upon good novels – as a very valuable
>>   part of literature, conveying more exact and finely-
>>   distinguished knowledge of the human heart and mind than almost
>>   any other, with greater breadth and depth and fewer constraints.
>>   Had I not read Madame de La Fayette, the Abbé Prévost, and the
>>   man who wrote Clarissa, that extraordinary feat, I should be
>>   very much poorer than I am; and a moment’s reflection would add
>>   many more.’

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