Our ignorance of history makes us calumniate our own time. We have always been like this. Some calm years have deceived us. That is all. I too believed in the softening of manners. We must erase this error and esteem ourselves no more than people esteemed themselves in the time of Pericles or Shakespeare, atrocious epochs in which fine things were done.

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) French writer, novelist
Letter (8 Sep 1871) [tr. Tarver]
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Added on 20-Dec-07 | Last updated 30-Jan-20
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