‘Some cynical Frenchman has said that there are two parties to a love-transaction: the one who loves and the other who condescends to be so treated.
Perhaps the love is occasionally on the man’s side; perhaps on the lady’s.
Perhaps some infatuated swain has ere this mistaken insensibility for modesty, dulness for maiden reserve, mere vacuity for sweet bashfulness, and a goose, in a word, for a swan.
Perhaps some beloved female subscriber has arrayed an ass in the splendour and glory of her imagination; admired his dulness as manly simplicity; worshipped his selfishness as manly superiority; treated his stupidity as majestic gravity, and used him as the brilliant fairy Titania did a certain weaver at Athens.
I think I have seen such comedies of errors going on in the world.
But this is certain, that Amelia believed her lover to be one of the most gallant and brilliant men in the empire: and it is possible Lieutenant Osborne thought so too.’
William Makepeace Thackeray – Vanity Fair
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.