The Seamstress: A Novel by Frances De Pontes Peebles

By Frances De Pontes Peebles

Winner of the chums of yankee Writers Award for Fiction As seamstresses, the younger sisters Em?lia and Luzia dos Santos understand how to chop, mend, and conceal—useful talents within the lawless backcountry of Brazil, the place ruthless land barons feud with bands of outlaw cangaceiros, trapping blameless citizens within the crossfire. Em?lia, a naive romantic, desires of falling in love with a gentleman and escaping to an important urban. Quick-tempered Luzia additionally longs for break out, discovering it in her craft and mystery prayers to the saints she believes as soon as stored her lifestyles. but if Luzia is kidnapped through cangaceiros led through the notorious Hawk and Em?lia stumbles right into a marriage with the son of a filthy rich and politically robust health care professional, the sisters' quiet lives diverge in methods they by no means could have imagined.

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47 In all this, Bagehot is close to the distrust of'the Citizen' that he thought he saw manifest everywhere in Shakespeare's writings. The Citizen would not read unless, in some fashion, reading had been made pleasant; and, if he were to be exhorted, educated, lifted up to a level his education or tastes had not trained him to appreciate, 'You must give him short views, and clear sentences'; you must avoid systematic completeness. Changing the subject frequently is necessary strategy for the reviewer, who has become singularly important in such a society.

The literary or artistic creation may turn out not to be ephemera at all. The only way to separate the good from the bad, to commend one work and condemn another, is to stake one's Judgement on 'long experience and tact'. Ultimately, criticism, from Lewes's point of view, is lawful, perilous - and worth doing. Lewes may be most lively, trustworthy, and useful as a theatre Victorian Literary Critics guide in his criticism of particular productions, in which case the key work is On Actors and the Art of Acting, printed first in 1875.

37 The suspicion that a writer's knowledge of things is superior to another writer's knowledge of books links Bagehot with Lewes, of course, and explains his preference for Shakespeare over Milton, for Scott over Goethe ('His works are too much in the nature ofliterary studies ... '38). He was apt to praise Shakespeare's understanding of uneducated people, for, as he argued, in England people do not like to be committed to distinct premises. They like a Chancellor of the Exchequer to say, 'It has during very many years been maintained by the honourable member for Montrose that two and two make four, and I am free to say, that I think there is a great deal to be said in favour of that opinion but, without committing her Majesty's Government to that proposition as an abstract sentiment, I will go so far as to assume two and two are not sufficient to make five, which, with the permission of the House, will be a sufficient basis for all the operations which I propose to enter upon during the present year'.

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