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August 31, 2009

Comments

Franklin

On the other hand, it seems that her last thirty years of life were unproductive. So it goes.

JL

That's a bit harsh. The Spoils of Time was first published in the mid-1980's, I believe, and any book that carries a blurb from J.H. Plumb can't be too shabby, at least in my eyes. I believe her collected essays contain some later pieces (and there may be others uncollected); her brief Wikipedia biography also makes reference to illness later in life.

Certainly, on behalf of late developers everywhere, achievement when young isn't the only path. And I don't think anyone would deny that, based on the publication record, her most active years were from the 1930's through the 1960's. Still, it's the character of the achievement that astonishes. Plenty of people make a splash in their twenties, after all--that's not humbling--and sometimes even by making something of lasting value. But generally it's still a youthful sort of achievement. And that's not how I, at least, would describe The Thirty Years War.

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