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Reflections of a working writer and reader

 

 

Reigns of Terror

This was first published in my blog on the 27th December 2004:

“There were two ‘Reigns of Terror’ if we would remember it and consider it; the one wrought in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood . . . our shudders are all for the ‘horrors’ of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak, whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty, and heartbreak? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror, that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror, which none of us have been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.”

Mark Twain, quoted by Noam Chomsky in a recent interview.

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