St Teresa and Middlemarch

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Yesterday, being a Sunday, one of the great Carmelite Saints rightfully surrendered her place at the table to her big Brother and Lord and so got mere mention within the Eucharistic Prayer. And I'm certain she was delighted at the honor of being able to surrender place to the One Whom she loved more than all else.

But one other great Teresa is celebrated this month, and I've long meant to comment upon this introductory passage to Middlemarch. I am reminded because I chose Middlemarch as my Daily LIt selection. Thanks to MamaT and TSO for bring it to my attention and then reinforcing the marvelous idea. To sink for five or ten minute a day into a classic--everyone can do it, and, in the case of lengthy books, it may be the only way to get completely through them.

from Middlemarch "Introduction"
George Eliot

Who that cares much to know the history of man, and how the mysterious
mixture behaves under the varying experiments of Time, has not dwelt,
at least briefly, on the life of Saint Theresa, has not smiled with some
gentleness at the thought of the little girl walking forth one morning
hand-in-hand with her still smaller brother, to go and seek martyrdom
in the country of the Moors? Out they toddled from rugged Avila,
wide-eyed and helpless-looking as two fawns, but with human hearts, already
beating to a national idea; until domestic reality met them in the shape
of uncles, and turned them back from their great resolve. That
child-pilgrimage was a fit beginning.

Theresa's passionate, ideal nature demanded an epic life: what were
many-volumed romances of chivalry and the social conquests of a brilliant
girl to her? Her flame quickly burned up that light fuel; and, fed
from within, soared after some illimitable satisfaction, some object which
would never justify weariness, which would reconcile self-despair with
the rapturous consciousness of life beyond self. She found her epos in
the reform of a religious order.

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Thanks. I'd forgotten that passage. Been quite a while since I read Middlemarch and then I was racing through for a class.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 2, 2006 2:12 PM.

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