After reading The Easter Party by Vita Sackville-West (see previous post), which included a little section where Lady Quarles propounds her thoughts on philosophy and theology – a little overdramatic, and seemingly Vita’s own views put into a character who, for a page or two, became a puppet – it got me thinking.
It is a truism that the very young proclaim their beliefs most assertively, and that the old have been humbled by their experience of life into an unprovocative wisdom. That isn’t my experience of reading novels. Yes, young writers often throw forth their theories with earnest abandon- but also, it seems to me, with a sly awareness of their own audacity. Novelists at the end of their careers (and, at 61, Vita Sackville-West was not exactly old when writing The Easter Party, but she was nearer old than young) seem to dismiss all other theories as the babblings of youth, and put forward their own (however subjective) theories as some sort of obvious truth.
Does this tally with your reading? Any thoughts?