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Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Future Of The Past

Over the last few years, several novels I've read have dealt with the high price paid by independent women in the first half of the 20th century. The really exceptional ones - like "The Secret Scripture" (Sebastian Barry) or "The Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox" (Maggie O'Farrell) - make me long for a conversation with my Mother. Would the way these talented authors handle this theme have had any resonance for her?

And these books about the social conventions & accepted wisdom of the early to mid 20th century among us "civilized" folks in the West also lead me to reflect on 2016. What current common practice or contemporary issue will occupy the imagination of great writers as this century concludes? What are we doing or ... not doing right now that readers in eighty five to one hundred years will view with disbelief?

Up until the early 1950's, a woman could be permanently institutionalized in Ireland if a father or husband requested it. All that was needed was the agreement of a general practitioner; almost all the general practitioners back then were men. Doesn't seem possible, right? What will seem equally far-fetched in 2116?      


  1. During the nuclear winter, the terms "gluten-free", "non-GMO", "certified organic", "global warming", "air conditioning", "heat stroke", "vegan", and "grandparents", will be wistful memories.

    1. Anonymous; Thanks for the cheeriness; think I'll grab my cyanide pill now.