Saturday, 16 July 2011
Having finished one book (as reviewed extensively in the previous post) I'm now reaching the end of another - the middle one in the picture, Huxley's The Devils of Loudon. Following Like Bees To Honey I was eager to continue reading, particularly while my mindset feels attuned to such things.
In that respect, embarking on The Devils of Loudon was an unexpectedly good choice. I say "unexpectedly" because his prose in this book seems much more dense than in his novels. One lengthy chapter in which he expounds some of the philosophical theory underlying his approach to the historical events that the book focuses on, I found almost impenetrable. I suspect that a second reading at some point would remedy this - but, given my currently-revived enthusiasm for reading books, I persevered and am now reaping the rewards of having done so.
It feels like the initial third or so of the book is an extended exercise in scene-setting, and at times it seemed excessive - but, as I reach the final couple of chapters, the detail given to 17th-century social conditions and the interface between that and religion (not least heresy), medicine, applied reason, law et al more than warrants its inclusion. What at times was an effort to plough through, ends up being a rather rich slab of thorough context which has helped me to more fully appreciate what is a series of gripping and rather horrific events.
I'm not about to embark on another review here, I mainly wanted just to set down a marker, as it were. After this, another sideways step: I'm greatly looking forward to reading Keef's autobiography, I picked it up yesterday for a mere £5.