My life’s paper trail was longer than I’d imagined. Culling it is no small challenge | Paul Daley

It had sat, a perpetual fire hazard I’m sure, in seven or eight boxes in our roof. What to keep? Why?

In the end I couldn’t toss out my mother’s old exercise books filled with her adolescent writing about spirituality, Romantic poetry and the great 18th and 19th century novelists.

This morning I rescued them from the garbage bag where I put them yesterday during the beginning of an ongoing cull of my personal archive.

Related: We are witnessing a critical time in history. You should keep a diary | Paul Daley

Robert Burns – PASSION

Burns found release in the emotion of love. [He] began with romantic and innocent love affairs [and] later became a rake – gave rise to a double conflict with society and himself ... Burns rebelled against accepted morality, but he was a chivalrous, tender (?) man – therefore he was continually at war with himself.

With Fielding we are breaking new ground. He is an artist in a sense in which Defoe and Richardson were not.

Related: What is Christmas about but memories as we age? | Paul Daley

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