Which misguided frog was it who dared to say, long ago, that il n’y a pas de lettres ennuyeuses? Can it have been Dumas? It was, at all events, twaddle. Memoirs and biographies and, heaven knows, the daily posts swarm with such letters, as we all know to our cost. However, had the statement concerned diaries, it would have been a different and more accurate kettle of fish. Almost any diary is a fascination, even the purely schoolboy ones (‘Got up late. Didn’t wash. Had breakfast’, and so on right through to the end of an action-packed day: ‘Had my supper. Did my teeth. Squeezed my blackheads. Went to bed’).
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What's the worth of being zen when the icecaps are melting and populism looms? The world's leading thinkers including @ronpurser will assess the 'mindfulness' craze at the world's largest philosophy and music festival, @HTLGIFestival, this May. Learn more: http://ow.ly/STu650ywARQ
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@polblonde on @helenlewis's new book about difficult women throughout history.
'Too many historians sneer at our forbears; scolding them if they follow the customs of their own day ... tut-tutting if the poor things are detected having a little fun.'
From the archive, Mary Clive on medieval travellers.