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A novel is a mirror carried along a high road. At one moment it reflects to your vision the azure skies at another the mire of the puddles at your feet. And the man who carries this mirror in his pack will be accused by you of being immoral! His mirror shews the mire, and you blame the mirror! Rather blame that high road upon which the puddle lies, still more the inspector of roads who allows the water to gather and the puddle to form.
-Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle), Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black), ch. XL, Levavasseur, translated C.K. Scott-Moncrieff, 1943., 1831