Eighteenth Century

Taste of Ages

I found a very interesting read in the way in which Lydia and Mr. Bramble view the exact same locale. In their letters they both describe Bath and London in such completely opposite ways that one would think them to be entirely different geographic locations. Their varying views on the social aspects of each locations vary to such a degree that one can almost find it comical.

“But, I believe that you will not deny, that this place, which Nature and Providence seem to have intended as a resource from distemper and disquiet, is become the very center of racket and dissipation. Instead of that peace, tranquility and ease, so necessary to those who labour under bad health, weak nerves, and irregular spirits; here we have nothing but noise, tumult, and hurry; with the fatigue and slavery of maintaining a ceremonial, more stiff, formal, and oppressive, than the etiquette of a German elector.” (pg. 32)

“Bath is to me a new world-All its gayety, good-humor, and diversion. The eye is continually entertained with the splendor of dress and equipage; and the ear with the sound of coaches, chaises, chairs, and other carriages. The merry bells ring round, from morn till night.” (pg. 36)

Perhaps Mr. Bramble is correct when he states, ” the impetuous pursuits and avocations of youth have formerly hindered me from observing those rotten parts of human nature, which now appear so offensively to my observation.” (pg. 100). This reminds me of the ageing of a fine wine which is actually a myth, if aged too long all wine will pass its peak and eventually spoil. Perhaps, this is the point that Mr. Bramble has reached where he concentrates on the negative aspects of the social world. However, in her youth and naiveté Lydia is prone to only see the appreciable aspects of social society and completely overlooks the more despicable aspects. Lydia and Mr. Bramble seem to represent two separate extremes of the same spectrum.

This relates back to the discussion last week regarding the format of a Thesis and Antithesis.  However, one can not help but question whether it is that Mr. Bramble has “spoiled” in his Taste for social endeavors or whether it is a matter of experience with age speaking?


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