[writing] The style of another time

“But I must be advised, how I be over-liberall, in publishing these wonderful mysteries, till the Sages of our State have considered how farre the use of these things may stand with the Policy and good government of our Countrey, as also with the Fathers of the Church, how the publication of them, may not prove prejudiciall to the affaires of the Catholique faith and Religion, which I am taught (by those wonders I have seen above any mortall man that hath lived in many ages past) with all my best endeavors to advance, without all respect of temporall good, and soe I hope I shall. ”

  —  Francis Godwin, “The Man in the Moone, or A Discourse of a Voyage Thither by Domingo Gonsales The Speedy Messenger”, 1638; reprinted in The Man in the Moone, and Other Lunar Fantasies ed. Faith Pizor

Reading this book is almost like reading a foreign language. Fascinating precursors to the science fiction of the modern era. I’m just glad I wasn’t Godwin’s copy editor.

One thought on “[writing] The style of another time

  1. And Henry James would probably have considered the excerpt a bit on the concise side.

    (One of my odder random thoughts recently was the idea of Henry James and Ernest Hemingway rewriting each others’ stories: A Hemingway version of “Turn of the Screw” and a James version of “The Killers”.)

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