300th post. 

Horace Walpole

“The world is a comedy to those that think; a tragedy to those that feel.”

Walpole, Horace
It’s the birthday of Horace Walpole (books by this author), the 18th-century bon vivant and 4th Earl of Orford, who once mused, “The world is a comedy to those that think; a tragedy to those that feel.” Born in London to the son of the first British prime minister, he was educated at Eton and King’s College. An art historian, antiquarian, Whig politician, and member of Parliament, he is primarily known today as a prolific man of letters and the premier chronicler of the political, social, and cultural history of the 18th century. “The whole secret of life,” he wrote, “is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well,” and so, unhampered by the need to work, he devoted his time to social gatherings, correspondence, and writing. He wrote more than 3,000 letters to friends, family, and colleagues and, combined, his letters and memoirs fill more than 19 volumes, a tremendous historical legacy. “If I write,” he said, “I must write facts.” He believed in painting men and women as they were, and had no regrets in referring to the overly rouged Duchess of Bedford as “like an orange-peach, half-red and half-yellow.”

 

 

 

Advertisements