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The answer to the previous question:

The author of this quotation:
Belgium!  name unromantic and unpoetic, yet name that whenever uttered has in my ear a sound, in my heart an echo, such as no other assemblage of syllables, however sweet or classic, can produce.  Belgium!  I repeat the word, now as I sit alone near midnight.
is in fact Charlotte Brontë - but not in Villette, where she refers to the country as "Labassecour" rather than Belgium, and the eponymous "Villette" is pretty obviously Brussels (the boarding school is on the site of what is now the Palais des Beaux-Arts/Paleis voor Schone Kunsten). However, in her earlier novel The Professor she uses much the same plot without bothering to change the names of the setting. I found the quote in Chapter 7, online here; it starts:
READER, perhaps you were never in Belgium?  Haply you don't know the physiognomy of the country?  You have not its lineaments defined upon your memory, as I have them on mine?
I'm half-way through Villette and enjoying it about as much as I enjoy any novel of that genre; have already survived the first of the notorious plot twists though I understand there were more to come.

Well done bopeepsheep and nearly to aliceinfinland for at least suggesting Charlotte Brontë; I have to say it doesn't sound to me like anything Douglas Adams would have written! (And perhaps in retrospect it isn't all that obvious even when you do know the answer.)


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 15th, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
Aha! Yes, I should have remembered she doesn't actually call it Belgium, but I've got used to mentally pigeonholing it as 'a book about Belgium'... it's been four or five years since I actually read it. I've read The Professor too but even longer ago.
Oct. 15th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
Doesn't Sound Like Douglas Adams
Maybe not, but there's no saying what they might have added for the American edition...
Oct. 15th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Doesn't Sound Like Douglas Adams
Wow, that's scary.

I actually like the expanded bit about Belgium, but even so, the censorship is palpable. Wonder if the same would happen today.
Oct. 15th, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)
Oh crap - I have actually read The Professor and forgot that it's quite a bit less allusive than Villette. And position of knowledge workers, particularly teachers, operating as guest workers in EU countries is still much as depicted in the latter, it seems to me.

It's very much a 19th century quote and could not be earlier since there wasn't much of a Belgium earlier.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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