The Adventures of a Kidnapped Orphan (Flowering of the Novel)

The Adventures of a Kidnapped Orphan (Flowering of the Novel) - Anonymous Source: University of Calgary Library. Not, as you might expect, the harrowing tale of an infant spirited away by some unscrupulous private agent - or even by the gypsies - but rather the virtual press-ganging of a healthy but cultivated youth. The storyline is episodic, the prose uninspired, and the characters little more than personified virtues and vices, but for all that it was historically interesting. I think I have finally realized why my 20-th-century spirit refuses to respond to the stimuli which were clearly quite moving to the eighteenth: in essence, novelists had not yet discovered the dramatic spirit of narrative prose - had not discovered that a few lines of evocative dialogue can stir emotions that pages of exposition on the subject of feelings cannot. It may be, too, that our ancestors, unspoiled by descriptive prose, and the even more lulling film, had genuinely more vivid and sensitive imaginations than we - perhaps those key words, which now seem so flat and bland, were enough to provoke "a flood of tears." I wept no tears over this orphan's fate, affecting (that's one of the "key words") though it was clearly meant to be. I did follow with some interest his progress through India in the early wars of that country. [These notes made in 1982:]