05 April 2011

A night for purple prose

Early this morning while an intense storm wailed outside our house I actually wondered about who wrote the words I was thinking.  You know the ones:  It was a dark and stormy night ...  Of course, I know it as typed by Snoopy in Charles Schultz's comic strip, Peanuts.  The book Snoopy worked on as he sat hunched over a manual typewriter on the roof of this dog house always began with that line.

It was stormy.  Probably the worst weather we've had since we moved into this house almost seven years ago.  It was dark.  The electricity went out with the first violent surge of wind.  Lightening flashes illuminated the bedroom.  We felt small and solitary.  We watched and waited. 

After the storm abated, it was quiet.  No refrigerator, no HVAC, no ceiling fan.  Just our breath.  Four sets of lungs doing what lungs do.  And, then we slept.

After the electricity was restored and after breakfast I satisfied my mid-storm question.  That famous line of purple prose came from Edward Bulwer-Lytton, appearing in his 1830 novel, Paul Clifford.  It was well-received at the time of its publication.  And, it's available in several editions on Amazon.  For all its Gothic atmosphere and for all the ridicule it's received, being in print some 180 years later is a pretty good statistic.

It's not likely I'll order a copy.  Snoopy's more appealing.

No comments: