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カテゴリ : 
くも本 (面白い絶版書の紹介)
執筆 : 
Tom Gally  投稿日 2009-9-15 19:10
The progress of the friendship between Catherine and Isabella was quick as its beginning had been warm, and they passed so rapidly through every gradation of increasing tenderness that there was shortly no fresh proof of it to be given to their friends or themselves. They called each other by their Christian name, were always arm in arm when they walked, pinned up each other's train for the dance, and were not to be divided in the set; and if a rainy morning deprived them of other enjoyments, they were still resolute in meeting in defiance of wet and dirt, and shut themselves up, to read novels together. (ジェーン・オースティン『ノーサンガー僧院(Northanger Abbey)』)

The next day, however, as the two young ladies sate on the sofa, pretending to work, or to write letters, or to read novels, Sambo came into the room with his usual engaging grin, with a packet under his arm, and a note on a tray. (サッカレー『虚栄の市(Vanity Fair)』)

This was a realisation of those delights of life of which she had read in the thrice-thumbed old novels which she had gotten from the little circulating library at Bungay. (アントニー・トロロープ『我々の今の生き方(The Way We Live Now)』)


現在は、米国やカナダの図書館の本棚に眠っている古い小説のスキャンがほぼ毎日 Internet Archive に追加されている。次の3点は、Wikipedia に出ていない無名の著者による小説だ。傑作かどうかわからないが、ここで紹介する。
The Fellow Commoner by John Hobert Caunter (1836)

A Romance of Modern London by Curtis Yorke (1892)

Jack Warleigh: A Tale of the Turf and the Law by Dalrymple J. Belgrave (1891)
それぞれを覗いてみたら、 A Romance of Modern LondonJack Warleigh は比較的平易な英語で書かれているが、 The Fellow Commoner はかなり凝った文体を使っている。そのストーリーも社会の下層で展開しているようなので、『虚栄の市』などのお嬢さんたちの趣味に合わなかっただろう。次はその書き出しだ。
James Dillon, known many years to a considerable portion of the comitatus vulgus, under the facetious sobriquet of the Hobgoblin, from his extraordinary adroitness and activity of locomotion, or by the more characteristic cognomen of Slippery Jim, from the eel-like lubricity with which he escaped from the official clutches of watchmen and thief-catchers, was born in Plumtree-street, St. Giles's, towards the close of a hot night in June, somewhere about the latter end of the last century. He first saw the light in the cellar of a small house, which, with only eight rooms, and these of very moderate dimensions, gave nightly shelter to a hundred and ten squalid creatures, exhibiting "the human form divine" under the mask of that odious moral deformity which eclipses the divine, and degrades the human into an object the most bestial and revolting. Vice here held her nightly orgies in unrestrained luxuriance; and so consummate was the profligacy which unceasingly prevailed in this moral pest-house, that it was completely shunned by the more respectable portion of the king's lieges, as if it had been the haunt of gnomes or devils.
cognomenという単語を初めて見た。その意味は文脈からも推測できるが、『リーダーズ』には「苗字; あだ名」と説明されている。