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«Кузина Бетта» на английском языке

Cousin Bette

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✒ Автор
📖 Страниц697
⏰ Время чтения 27 часов 45 минут
💡 Опубликовано1846
🌏 Язык оригинала Французский
📌 Тип Роман
📌 Жанр Проза

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Cousin Bette: читать книгу на английском

To Don Michele Angelo Cajetani, Prince of Teano

I dedicate this small fragment of a long story, not to the Roman prince, nor to the heir of the illustrious Cajetani family that has given Popes to Christendom, but to the learned commentator of Dante.
I owe the revelation of the wonderful structure of ideas upon which Italy’s greatest poet built his poem, the only modern poem that bears comparison with Homer, to you. Until I had heard you, The Divine Comedy seemed to me a vast enigma, to which no one had found a key, commentators least of all. To comprehend Dante as you do is to be great in his manner; but you find all forms of greatness easy.
A French scholar would make a reputation, be given a Professor’s Chair perhaps, and a host of honours, by publishing, as an authoritative work, the improvization with which you whiled away one of those evenings when we were resting after sight-seeing in Rome. But perhaps you do not know that most of our professors live on Germany, England, the Orient, or the North, as insects live on a tree, and like the insect become part of what they live on, borrowing their importance from the importance of their subject.
As it happens, Italy has never yet been exploited in this way by the scholars; and I shall never be given the credit I deserve for my self-restraint as a man of letters. Dressed in your borrowed plumage, I might have been a savant, worth three Schlegels in weight and erudition, and yet I remain a simple doctor of social medicine, a horse-doctor of desperate social ills; if only in order to offer a tribute to my cicerone, and add your illustrious name to the names of Porcia, San Severino, Pareto, Negro, Belgiojoso, which in The Human Comedy will represent the close and enduring alliance between Italy and France.
So long ago as the sixteenth century, that alliance was celebrated in the same fashion by Bandello (the bishop who wrote some very diverting tales) in a magnificent collection of stories, from which several of Shakespeare’s plays were derived, in some cases entire characters being taken directly from the text.
The two sketches which I dedicate to you represent the two eternal aspects of a single reality. Homo duplex, said our great Buffon; why not add res duplex? Everything has two faces, even virtue. For this reason Molière always presents both sides of every human problem. Following his example, Diderot one day wrote Ceci n’est pas un conte, perhaps his masterpiece, in which he sets the sublime figure of Mademoiselle de Lachaux, immolated by Gardanne, as pendant to that of a perfect lover slain by his mistress.
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