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how fair the realm

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A quote I vaguely remembered, on the importance of imagination, which I finally found the time to look up:

‘Anne and Paul both knew

“How fair the realm
Imagination opens to the view,”

and both knew the way to that happy land. There the rose of joy bloomed immortal by dale and stream; clouds never darkened the sunny sky; sweet bells never jangled out of tune; and kindred spirits abounded. The knowledge of that land’s geography… “east o’ the sun, west o’ the moon”… is priceless lore, not to be bought in any market place. It must be the gift of the good fairies at birth and the years can never deface it or take it away. It is better to possess it, living in a garret, than to be the inhabitant of palaces without it.’
— Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

OK, it hardly seems my style, but I read most of the series years ago, and have not forgotten it. Readers focus on the first book, Anne of Green Gables, because of its popularity with girls, but the series follows Anne through adult life, faithfully documenting the late Victorian and Edwardian eras in eastern Canada. At times it touches on real-world politics and changes in society, and even World War I. Two of Anne’s sons go, and only one comes back, the other remaining on the Flanders fields.

As Anne liked to say: there’s scope for imagination in there.

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Written by brian t

August 3, 2006 at 1:53 pm

Posted in books, philosophy

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