By Maurice Francis Egan
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Extra info for Confessions of a book-lover
Why Tom Moore and roses? I do not know, but, when I was sixteen years of age, I printed the paper in Appleton's Journal, where it may still be found. My parents, who did not look on my literary attempts, at the expense of mathematics, with favour, suggested that I was a plagiarist, but as I had no time to look up the meaning of the word in the dictionary, I let it go. It simply struck me as one of those evidences of misunderstanding which every honest artist must be content to accept. My mother, evidently fearing the influence of "classical" literature, gave me one day "The Parent's Assistant," by Miss Edgeworth.
He was not at all like the English fairies in Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream," and, leaving out Ariel, I think I liked him best of all. That summer, too, I found an old copy of "Midsummer Night's Dream" in the attic. The print was exceedingly fine, but everything was there. " The love interest did not count much. In my youthful experience everybody either married or died, in books. That was to be expected. It was the atmosphere that counted. One could see the troopers coming into the open space in the Forest of Arden and hear their songs, making the leaves of the trees quiver before they appeared.
In my own case, it gave a glow to life; it caused me to distinguish between truth and fairy tales, between fact and fiction—and this is often very difficult for an imaginative child. This kind of reading implies leisure and the absence of distraction. Unhappily, much leisure does not seem to be left for the modern child. " As to distractions, the modern child is surrounded by them; and it appears to be one of the main intentions of the present system of instruction not to leave to a child any moments of leisure for the indulgence of the imagination.