Books may be written in all sorts of places. Verbal inspiration may enter the berth of a mariner on board a ship frozen fast in a river in the middle of a town; and since saints are supposed to look benignantly on humble believers, I indulge in the pleasant fancy that the shade of old Flaubert who imagined himself to be (amongst other things) a descendant of Vikings might have hovered with amused interest over the decks of a 2000-ton steamer called the Adowa, on board of which, gripped by the inclement winter alongside a quay in Rouen, the tenth chapter of Almayer's Folly was begun
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March 01, 2010
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