Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Gibbon does have, in his usage, a felicitous style. Here's a passage which one can find happy or not, depending on how one receives such a style. (He's writing of the succession of the Gordiani).
His manners were less pure [than Gordian I], but his character was equally amiable with that of his father. Twenty-two acknowledged concubines, and a library of sixty-two thousand volumes, attested the variety of his inclinations; and from the productions which he left behind him, it appears that the former as well as the latter were designed for use rather than for ostentation.
Of course this made me smile, but I don't suspect Gibbon of dry humor here, or of winking at the reader, as it were. But the reader can get something out of it that the writer didn't intend. That's happy.