Cyclical patterns in history (or, the mental incapacity of Geoffrey Chaucer)

Context: Fourteen year old characters in an Angela Brazil book (The Princess of the School, 1920) encounter Theocritus in translation.

“It’s exactly like anybody going out to-day!” commented Carmel, as Miss Adams came to a pause.

“Why does it seem so modern?” asked Dulcie.

“Because it was written during the zenith of Greece’s history, and one great civilization always resembles another. England of to-day is far more in touch with the times of ancient Egypt, Babylon, Greece and Rome, than with the Middle Ages. Read Chaucer, and you find his mental outlook is that of a child of seven. In the days of the Plantagenets grown men and women enjoyed stories of a crude simplicity that now only[97] appeals to children. The human race is always progressing in great successive waves of civilization; after each wave breaks, a time of barbarism prevails, till man is again educated to a higher growth. We’re living at the top of a wave at present!”

8 Comments to “Cyclical patterns in history (or, the mental incapacity of Geoffrey Chaucer)”

  1. This sounds very much like Boris Bhartriraj Pandey. I think he and Angela Brazil would have gotten along.

  2. I have to agree about Chaucer. He sounds idiotic sometimes.

  3. I really really like that book.

  4. What was the need to post the stuff?? I hate this sort of literature.. although I love philosophy.
    In between, nice blog I found..!!

  5. Aadisht – I suspect this is true. Do you know if he’s ever read or been influenced by her work?

    Varali – Really? I think Chaucer’s brilliant. Then again, I have a rather juvenile sense of humour myself(as you’ve probably noticed)

    Opaline – I only read it a couple of days ago. Didn’t think much of it, to be honest; Brazil actually has some protagonists who aren’t cloyingly perfect but Carmel isn’t one of them!

    Siddartha – I’m sorry you’re not a fan of 1920s Girls Own literature. I’m glad you love philosophy. And there’s no need to post any of the stuff I put on my blog, I do it because I’m compelled to.

  6. Hey..!! What does this mean-”And there’s no need to post any of the stuff I put on my blog, I do it because I’m compelled to.”

    Why are you compelled to do so?? I couldn’t understand it..!!

  7. How unfortunate.

  8. I suppose I like it because I read it at an age when I wasn’t very critical of what I read. If I read it again now I would possibly not like it very much, just as I feel a bit annoyed with the Chalet School books but then again maybe not much because I associate them with when I was younger and try to read them more or less with the same point of view but then with Enid Blyton who I did not like much when I was younger, I pretty much hate her books when I read them now.

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