Ada Monroe and Inman  (Cold Mountain)

Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)

Babe (Babe)


Bathsheba Everdene (Far from the Madding Crowd)


Beatrice (Much Ado about Nothing)

Becky Sharp (Vanity Fair)

Cecily Cardew (Importance of Being Earnest)

Champion (Les Triplettes de Belleville)


Collin Fenwick (The Grass Harp)

Dorothea Brooke (Middlemarch)

Dorothy Gale (The Wizard of Oz)

Edward Scissorhands

Eleanor Roosevelt

Elizabeth (Frankenstein)

Ellen Foster (Ellen Foster)

Ellie Arroway (Contact)

Eppie (Silas Marner)

Estella (Great Expectations)

Esther Summerson (Bleak House)

Eustacia Vye (Return of the Native)


Flora Poste (Cold Comfort Farm)

Francis Marion Tarwater (The Violent Bear It Away)

Frodo Baggins (The Lord of the Rings)

Gou Wa “Doggie” (King of Masks)

Hadji (Johnny Quest)

Harriet Smith (Emma)

Harry Potter

Harvey Cheyne, Jr. (Captains Courageous)

Hawkeye (Last of the Mohicans)

Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights)


Helena (All’s Well That Ends Well)

Homer Wells (Cider House Rules)

Huckleberry Finn

Hyacinth Robinson (The Princess Casimassima)

Irwin (Northfork)

Isabelle Archer (The Portrait of a Lady)

Jack Dawson (Titanic)

Jack Redburn (Master Humphrey's Clock)

Jake and Elwood Blues (The Blues Brothers)

James Henry Trotter (James & the Giant Peach)

Jane Eyre

Jane Fairfax (Emma)

Jen and Kira (The Dark Crystal)

Jo (Bleak House)

Joe Christmas (Light in August)

Jude Fawley (Jude the Obscure)

Kim (Kim)

Leo Tolstoy

Lilo (Lilo and Stitch)

Lillian (The Chimes)

Lily Bart (The Age of Innocence)

Lily Owen (The Secret Life of Bees)

Little Foot (The Land Before Time)

Little Nell (The Old Curiosity Shop)

Little Orphan Annie

Lucinda Leplastrier (Oscar and Lucinda)

*Lucy Manette (Tale of Two Cities)

Luke Skywalker (Star Wars)

Margaret, Helen, and Tibby Schlegel (Howard's End)

Marilyn Monroe

Mary Lennox (The Secret Garden)

Mary McCarthy

Mathilde and Manech (A Very Long Engagement)

Mattie Silver (Ethan Frome)

Miette (City of Lost Children)

Millie Theale (The Wings of a Dove)

Miriam Chadwick (Oscar and Lucinda)

Mowgli (The Jungle Book)

Nameless (Hero)

*Neo (The Matrix)

Oliver Twist

Orphan Girl (Gillian Welch)

Oscar Hopkins (Oscar and Lucinda)

Our Johnny (Our Mutual Friend)

Pai (Whale Rider)

Patrick Dennis (Auntie Mame)

Peter Pan and the Lost Boys

Philip Carey (Of Human Bondage)

Pip (Great Expectations)


Posthumus (Cymbeline)

Princess Mononoke

Queen Elizabeth I

Rickie Elliot (The Longest Journey)

Rosa (Edwin Drood)

Salvatore “Toto” (Cinema Paradiso)

Sara Crewe (The Little Princess)

Seymour Krelborn (Little Shop of Horrors)

Smike (Nicholas Nickleby)

Solomon Perel (Europa Europa)

Sophie Neveu (The DaVinci Code)

Sophy Viner (The Reef)


Stuart Little
Sue Bridehead (Jude the Obscure)


Tanya Chernova (Enemy at the Gates)

Tertius Lydgate (Middlemarch)

Tom (Water Babies)

Tom Jones

Tom Sawyer


Trinity (The Matrix)

Will Ladislaw (Middlemarch)

Will Turner (Pirates of the Caribbean)

W. Somerset Maugham




* = new or recent addition



[no name] (The Man Without a Past)

Dory (Finding Nemo)

Eleanor Mannering (Garden of Lies)

Giambattista "Yambo" Bodini (The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana)

Jason Bourne (The Bourne Identity)

Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

Leonard Shelby (Memento)

*Manech (A Very Long Engagement)

Nick Petrov (Oblivion)

Peter Appleton (The Majestic)

Rita (Mulholland Drive)

Ryder (The Unconsoled)

Samson Greene (Man Walks into a Room)

Will Barrett (The Last Gentleman)


December  3, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

If we gaze into this safely bounded orbis pictus for long enough, we can easily imagine that here someone has stopped the clock and said: this is how it should be for ever after.  The ideal world of the Biedermeier imagination is like a perfect world in miniature, a still life preserved under a glass dome.  Everything in it seems to be holding its breath.  If we turn it upside down, it begins to snow a little.  Then all at once it becomes spring and summer again.  It is impossible to imagine a more perfect order.  And yet on either side of this apparently eternal calm there lurks the fear of the chaos of time spinning ever more rapidly out of control.

--A Place in the Country by W. G. Sebald

December  2, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

[Rousseau] finishes the Confessions and reads from them in various salons in sessions lasting up to seventeen (!) hours, to some extent anticipating Franz Kafka's desire to be allowed to read aloud, to an audience condemned to listen, the whole of Stendhal's Education sentimentale at one sitting.

--A Place in the Country by W. G. Sebald

December  1, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

Few things are as immutable as the vindictiveness with which writers talk about their literary colleagues behind their backs.

--A Place in the Country by W. G. Sebald

November 30, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

I have learned how it is essential to gaze far beneath the surface, that art is nothing without patient handiwork, and that there are many difficulties to be reckoned with in the recollection of things.

--A Place in the Country by W. G. Sebald

November 29, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

What I found most surprising in the course of these observations is the awful tenacity of those who devote their lives to writing.  There seems to be no remedy for the vice of literature; those afflicted persist in the habit despite the fact that there is no longer any pleasure to be derived from it, even at that critical age when, as Keller remarks, one every day runs the risk of becoming simple-minded, and longs for nothing more than to put a halt to the wheels ceaselessly turning in one's head.  Rousseau, who in his refuge on the Ile Sainte-Pierre -- he is fifty-three years old at this point -- already longs for an end to the eternal business of cogitation, nevertheless keeps on writing up to the very end.

--A Place in the Country by W. G. Sebald

November 28, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

It is undoubtedly true that there is no clear and prescriptive relationship between life and art or art and life.  To put it at its most crass, Schubert wrote jolly music when he was gloomy and gloomy music when he was jolly.  but the relationship between artistic expression and lived experience works over a broader span.  It is not just a matter of the mood of the moment, and it also encompasses matters of personal character or predisposition as well as intellectual presuppositions.  Art is created in history by living, feeling, thinking human beings; we cannot understand it without grappling with its associations to and grounding in worlds of emotion, ideology, or practical constraint.  Art is made from the collision between life and form; it does not exist in some sort of idealised vacuum.  Only be investigating the personal and the political, in their broadest sense (and this is especially true of Romantic art), can we properly assess the more formal aspects.

--Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession by Ian Bostridge

[N.B.:  Take that New Criticism--and bravo Bostridge.]

November 27, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

We have all had that moment of catching ourselves unexpectedly in a mirror and seeing ourselves as others see us--older, fatter, thinner, distracted, dismayed, happy, sad, but, above all, Other.

--Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession by Ian Bostridge

November 26, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

Contemporaries spoke of the "entirely new life" which had been given to "the vehicular post in Germany" (1825).  Commentators were impressed: "The reform of the vehicular post that has been carried out in Germany in this century is novel, grand and admirable" (1826).  The road network was expanded, and surfaces improved hand-in-hand with developments in carriage suspension, which gave passengers the feeling that they were "gliding along."  Lengths of stops at post stations were cut down; conductors using clock and logbook ensured that advertised times were adhered to, penalties for slacking expressed no longer in hours or quarter-hours but in minutes.  Journey times were slashed--Berlin to Magdeburg from two and a half days to fifteen hours.  Frankfurt was now only two and a half days distant from Berlin, and ninety-three rapid post vehicles made the journey every week in the 1830s.  The coordination of timetables involved a new and standardised conception of time itself.  In 1825 the main Prussian post office in Berlin installed a "standard clock."  All mail coaches were to carry a portable timekeeper conveying that standardised time to the sleepiest corner of the postal network.

--Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession by Ian Bostridge

November 25, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

The alternative is to present each song as an individual, self-contained experience.  Some performers do indeed find the near-overlapping of songs, the fusion of their musical stuff, to be a denial of the this-ness of each individual piece.  That is not how a song recital works for me, and I would call Winterreise in aid here as the paradigm.  In constructing an evening of Schubert song, the example of Winterreise is compelling.  It uses variation of key, near and distant, major and minor, to great effect--implying, for example, physical proximity and distance between some of the songs on this long journey.  A short, fast song can form a bridge between two longer, slower songs (something another great song composer, Francis Poulenc, learnt from in his cycles); and, as we have seen earlier in the piece, motivic connections can create an elective affinity between certain songs (the way the impetuous triplets of "Erstarrung" segue into the rustling triplets of "Der Lindenbaum"; the way the repetitive, nagging dotted figure of the last verse of "Lindenbaum" is transmuted into the opening of "Wasserflut").  Solutions will be different for different singers, on different occasions, for different audiences, with different pianists, in different halls, after the challenges of a day that will always have been somehow unique.  That multivalency is part of the fascination of Winterreise.

--Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession by Ian Bostridge

November 24, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

One of the most interesting discussions about the meaning and metaphysics of ice flowers took place between Goethe and his intimate friend the poet and translator Karl Ludwig von Knebel.  In 1788 Goethe was off travelling in Italy, enjoying the warm delights of "das Land wo die Citronen bluhn" (the land where the lemon trees blossom), as he famously called it in one of the Mignon songs from his bildungsroman Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjarhre.  Knebel wrote to him playfully reminding him that if the South had its charms, the cold North had its compensations.  On his window, for example, he could see Eisblumen which might well be compared with "echten Pflanzen," true plants, with leaves, branches, vines, even roses.  He praises their beauty, sending his friend a few drawings of them which display their marvellous delicacy of form.

--Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession by Ian Bostridge

November 23, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

The beautiful, various, and overabundant crystalline forms in which frozen water exists have been seen by many as a sign of divine intelligence at work in the universe.  The great seventeenth-century astronomer, renowned discoverer of elliptical planetary orbits, Johannes Kepler, believed that the soul of water created snow crystals.  In his pioneering work of microscopy, Micrographia (1665), Robert Hooke interpreted the complex and individuated structure of the snowflakes he saw through his instrument as tokens of the divine at work in the world.

--Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession by Ian Bostridge

November 22, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

In putting Winterreise together, the issue of tessitura seems not to have been a central concern for Schubert.  Tessitura literally means "texture"; in vocal music, it refers to the area in which most of the singing line lies.  The tessitura of the Evangelist, a tenor, in the Bach Passion is, for example, high, although high B appears only once, and high B-flat not at all.  Even at baroque pitch (A=415 hz, about a semitone lower than modern pitch) the role "sits" high.  On the other hand, many operatic roles for a tenor may have a tessitura which sits lower than the Evangelist's in terms of its vocal centre of gravity, but stretches up much higher for individual notes--those B's, C's, and even C-sharps and D's which operatic tenors call the "money notes."  Singing Winterreise in public concert, projecting in a large hall, none notices that the keys--those published and those higher keys Schubert originally wrote, as in the case of "Wasserflut"--do not really cohere around one voice type.

--Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession by Ian Bostridge

November 21, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

Like Napoleon, Lloyd George had an uncanny ability to sense what other people were thinking.  He told Frances Stevenson that he loved staying in hotels: "I am always interest in people--wondering who they are--what their lives are like--whether they are enjoying life or finding it a bore."  Although he was a wonderful conversationalist, he was also a very good listener.  From the powerful to the humble, adults to children, everyone who met him was made to feel that he or she had something important to say.  "One of the most admirable traits in Mr. Lloyd George's character," in Churchill's view, "was his complete freedom at the height of his power, responsibility and good fortune from any thing in the nature of pomposity or superior airs.  He was always natural and simple.  He was always exactly the same to those who knew him well: ready to argue any point, to listen to disagreeable facts even when controversially presented."  His famous charm was rooted in this combination of curiosity and attention.

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

[N.B.:  Now which modern president does this description remind you of?]

November 20, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

If anyone was like Napoleon it was not the poor deluded Northcliffe but the man he hated.  Napoleon once said of himself, "Different subjects and different affairs are arranged in my head as in a cupboard.  When I wish to interrupt one train of thought, I shut that drawer and open another.  Do I wish to sleep?  I simply close all the drawers and there I am--asleep."  Lloyd George had those powers of concentration and recuperation, that energy and fondness for the attack.  "The Englishman," he told a Welsh friend, "never respects any fellow unless that fellow beats him; then he becomes particularly affable towards him."

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

November 19, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

Clemenceau did not much like either Wilson or Lloyd George.  "I find myself," he said in a phrase that went round Paris, "between Jesus Christ on the one hand, and Napoleon Bonaparte on the other."  Wilson puzzled him: "I do not think he is a bad man, but I have not yet made up my mind as to how much of him is good!"  He also found him priggish and arrogant.  "What ignorance of Europe and how difficult all understandings were with him!  He believed you could do everything by formulas and his fourteen points.  God himself was content with ten commandments.  Wilson modestly inflicted fourteen points on us . . . the fourteen commandments of the most empty theory.

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

[N.B.:  Any resemblance this description might have with a current or past president is purely coincidental.]

November 18, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

During the Peace Conference, France's allies became exasperated with what they saw as French intransigence, French greed and French vindictiveness.  They had not suffered what France had suffered.  The was memorials, in every city, town and village, with their lists of names from the First World War, the handful from the Second, tell the story of France's losses.  A quarter of French men between eighteen and thirty had died in the war, over 1.3 million altogether out of a prewar population of 40 million.  France lost a higher proportion of its population than any other of the belligerents.  Twice as many again of its soldiers had been wounded.  In the north, great stretches of land were pitted with shell holes, scarred by deep trenches, marked with row upon row of crosses.

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

November 17, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

Across Europe there were squares, streets, railway stations and parks bearing Wilson's name.  Wall posters cried, "We Want a Wilson Peace."  In Italy, soldiers knelt in front of his picture; in France, the left-wing paper L'Humanite brought out a special issue in which the leading lights of the French left vied with each other to praise Wilson's name.  The leaders of the Arab revolt in the desert, Polish nationalists in Warsaw, rebels in the Greek islands, students in Peking, Koreans trying to shake off Japan's control, all took the Fourteen Points as their inspiration.  Wilson himself found it exhilarating but also terrifying.  "I am wondering," he said to George Creel, his brilliant propaganda chief, who was on board the George Washington, "whether you have not unconsciously spun a net for me from which there is no escape."  The whole world was truning tot eh United State but, he went on, they both knew that such great problems could not be fixed at once.  "What I seem to see--with all my heart I hope that I am wrong--is a tragedy of disappointment."

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

[N.B.:  No word yet on whether Wilson was also described as a "light worker" who embodied "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."]

November 16, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

The Mexican adventure also showed Wilson's propensity, perhaps unconscious, to ignore the truth.  When he sent troops to Mexico for the first time, he told Congress that it was in response to repeated provocations and insults to the United States and its citizens from General Victoriano Huerta, the man who started the Mexican Revolution.  Huerta in fact had taken great care to avoid provocations.  At the Paris Peace Conference Wilson was to claim that he had never seen the secret wartime agreements among the Allies, promising Italy, for example, enemy territory.  The British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, had shown them to him in 1917.  Lansing said sourly of his president:  "Even established facts were ignored if they did not fit in with this intuitive sense, this semi-divine power to select the right."

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

November 15, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

Wilson paid little attention to what he regarded as niggling objections fro Lansing.  He was clear in his own mind that he meant well.  When the American troops went to Haiti or Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic, it was to further order and democracy.  "I am going to teach," he had said in his first term as president, "the South American Republics to elect good men!"  He rarely mentioned that he was also protecting the Panama Canal and American investments.  During Wilson's presidency, the United States intervened repeatedly in Mexico to try to get the sort of government it wanted.  "The purpose of the united States," Wilson said, "is solely and singly to secure peace and order in Central America by seeing to it that the processes of self-government there are not interrupted or set aside."  He was taken aback when the Mexicans failed to see the landing of American troops, and American threats, in the same light.

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

November 14, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

When it came to making peace, Wilson said, their country would rightly hold the position of arbiter.  They must live up to the great American traditions of justice and generosity.  They would be, after all, "the only disinterested people at the Peace Conference."  What was more, he warned, "The men whom we were about to deal with did not represent their own people."  This was one of Wilson's deep convictions, curious in a man whose own Congress was now dominated by his political opponents.  Throughout the Peace Conference he clung to the belief that he spoke for the masses and that, if only he could reach them--whether French, Italian or even Russian--they would rally to his views.

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

[N.B.:  Does this seem eerily familiar regarding a more contemporaneous personage?--I believe he is about to go off to a global-warming conference.]

November 13, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

[Wilson's] first wife, whom he had loved deeply if not passionately, had died in 1914; by the end of 1915, he was married again, to a wealthy Washington widow some seventeen years his junior.  That this caused gossip bewildered and infuriated him.  He never forgave a British diplomat for a joke that went around Washington: "What did the new Mrs. Wilson do when the President proposed?  She fell out of bed with surprise."

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

November 12, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

[Wilson] loved puns and limericks and he liked to illustrate his points with folksy stories.  He enjoyed doing accents: Scottish or Irish, like his ancestors, or Southern black, like the people who worked for him in Washington.

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

[N.B.:  Oh, that must have been when he started doing Southern black--when he moved to Washington--and had nothing to do with him growing up in the South during the Civil War and having the traits and characteristics of a person with that background.]

November 11, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

Wilson remains puzzling in a way that Lloyd George and Clemenceau, his close colleagues in Paris, do not.  What is one to make of a leader who drew on the most noble language of the Bible yet was so ruthless with those who crossed him?  who loved democracy but despised most of his fellow politicians?  Who wanted to serve humanity but had so few personal relationships?  Was he, as Teddy Roosevelt thought, "as insincere and cold-blooded an opportunist as we have ever had in the Presidency"?  Or was he, as Baker believed, one of those rare idealists like Calvin or Cromwell, "who from time to time have appeared upon the earth & for a moment, in burst of strange power, have temporarily lifted erring mankind to a higher pitch of contentment than it was quite equal to"?

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

[N.B.:  Of course, both Calvin and Cromwell could also be described in the words of Teddy Roosevelt.  But, in any event, is there a more modern--dare one say, contemporary--president that this description reminds one of?]

November 10, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

Wilson's career was a series of triumphs, but there were darker moments, both personal and political, fits of depression and sudden and baffling illnesses.  Moreover, he had left behind him a trail of enemies, many of them former friends.  "An ingrate and a liar," said a Democratic boss in New Jersey in a toast.  Wilson never forgave those who disagreed with him.  "He is a good hater," said his press officer and devoted admirer Ray Stannard Baker.  He was also stubborn.  As House said, with admiration: "Whenever a question is presented he keeps an absolutely open mind and welcomes all suggestion or advice which will lead to a correct decision.  But he is receptive only during the period that he is weighing the question and preparing to make his decision.  Once the decision is made it is final and there is an absolute end to all advice and suggestion.  There is no moving him after that."  What was admirable to some was a dangerous egotism to others.  The French ambassador in Washington saw "a man who, had he lived a couple of centuries ago, would have been the greatest tyrant in the world, because he does not seem to have the slightest conception that he can ever be wrong."

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

November 9, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

No other American president had ever gone to Europe while in office.  His opponents accused him of breaking the constitution; even his supporters felt he might be unwise.  Would he lose his great moral authority by getting down to the hurly-burly of negotiations?  Wilson's own view was clear: the making of the peace was as important as the winning of the war.  He owed it to the peoples of Europe, who were crying out for a better world.  He owed it to the American servicemen.  "It is now my duty," he told a pensive Congress just before he left, "to play my full part in making good what they gave their life's blood to obtain."  A British diplomat was more cynical; Wilson, he said, was drawn to Paris "as a debutante is entranced by the prospect of her first ball."

--Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan

November 8, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

The power of a banking system lies in three things: first that it is able to create currency uncontrolled by the State, and in amounts not limited save by the bankers' own interest and convenience.  It makes money "out of air" as it were.

Secondly, this "money" is not real wealth as is land or crops or cattle, and can therefore be transferred, expanded or concealed without offering any hold to the sovereign Authority which should properly govern all society.  In other words a banking system is a state within a State.

Thirdly, the bank-currency thus created out of nothing is what is called "liquid."  The whole of it can be used for whatever purposes the bank proposes.   It comes to check industry at will, to bribe or subsidise whom it will or to penalise whom it will, to control as a money-lender the activities of the community and to drain the wealth of that community by the usury it demands.

--Louis XIV by Hilaire Belloc

November 7, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

Aristocracy, the alternative to monarchy, has proved itself in one commercial state after another, not least in our own, eminently capable of conquest by negotiation, of expansion by penetration.  But it has never proved itself capable of a set secret plan followed rapidly and in detail.  That sort of thing is military, not mercantile.  That sort of thing is monarchic nor aristocratic.

--Louis XIV by Hilaire Belloc

November 6, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

We cannot know the exact date, but it must surely have been some time during the July of 1661, in the full festivities of Fontainebleau that [Louise de la Valliere] fell.  She would be seventeen in August, he twenty-three a week or two later.

Let there be no error; it was an abomination.  Here was not one of those innumerable introductions to life of a lad by some woman in the common tradition of the rich and hardened.  Here was not even a mutual flame of youth to youth, she knowing her way and he his.  I repeat, she was innocent.  He destroyed her innocence without a scruple and as a thing of course.  He desired and did.  He made her wholly his--but not himself hers.  It was to be enjoyed by him, so long as it should be enjoyed, but she was possessed nor ever could be at peace again.

--Louis XIV by Hilaire Belloc

[N.B.:  For a more modern example, meet Mimi Alford.]

November 5, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

As a writer [Saint Simon's] style is admirable for its purpose, and it not only leaves a permanent effect upon the reader but often enough it engraves for us a vivid false impression of reality.  Everyone must value it who desires to visualise, for instance, the famous death scene, and in bulk it properly projects all the last years of the reign.

One may say of Saint Simon's style that it is like his handwriting, not only secure and clear and level but after a fashion convincing.  The trouble is that it is a little too convincing and that just because he was so excellent a writer Saint Simon has been overrated as an historian.

--Louis XIV by Hilaire Belloc

November 4, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

[Louvois] was great in intelligence and especially great in his power of command.  But these phrases are abstract.  You can better understand the man himself in the concrete by saying that he was a mixture of ferocity and high talent.  The ferocity was so violent, sometimes so extravagant, and very often so repulsive that it makes posterity misjudge him, because men have difficulty in accommodating their minds to a combination of good and evil.  Hearing that a man has in him something which they hate, they will deny in him qualities which they should admire.  And so it is with Louvois.

--Louis XIV by Hilaire Belloc

November  3, 2015

Patrick: Lagniappe

Colbert had been half in opposition as being out of sympathy with the Dutch war, and it was the Dutch war gradually thrust him aside.

Had that war led as it might have led, to a rapid and complete victory none would have weighed his attitude therein.  But the Dutch war turned out to be something far from a rapid and complete victory.  It half failed after its first beginnings, and since Colbert had always thought it would lead to trouble, therefore, when trouble came, he was the more disliked.

--Louis XIV by Hilaire Belloc

[N.B.:  No one cares for Mr. Told-You-So and once his contrarian counsel has been rejected he must hope that his counsel will be proven wrong lest he serve as a constant visual reminder of the path not taken.]



  1. The Birth of the Middle Ages by H. St. L. B. Moss
  2. Their Finest Hour by Winston S. Churchill
  3. Death and Mr. Pickwick by Stephen Jarvis
  4. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens


  1. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  2. Masters of Atlantis by Charles Portis


Patrick: Kathryn:


  • Story by Robert McKee
  • Consilience by Edward O. Wilson



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