Tuesday, July 27, 2004

From the Victorville (California) Daily Press:
Writers can't tell if a phrase "sounds right" unless they have heard and read good English.No one knew this better than Lucretia Rhinelander Jones, Edith Wharton's mother.

In Chapter III of her autobiography, "A Backward Glance" (1934), Wharton wrote:"I was never allowed to read the popular American children's books of my day because, as my mother said, the children spoke bad English without the author's knowing it...."I remember it was only with reluctance, and because 'all the other children read them,' that my mother consented to my reading 'Little Women' and 'Little Men'; and my ears, trained to the fresh racy English of 'Alice in Wonderland,' 'The Water Babies' and 'The Princess and the Goblin,' were exasperated by the laxities of the great Louisa."If that sounds a mite too precious, consider a second reason why children's books are important: because they provide adventure and a safe place.

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