The Dangers of Reading

The following is a translation of an extract from the Library and National Archives of Quebec (BAnQ). Visit the site for the full article with images (in French).

On February 20, 1902, coroner Charles Alphonse Dubé met with several witnesses at Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire in the Pontiac district. He wanted  to determine the cause of the death of Mrs. Evelina d’Aragon, found dead in bed. After investigation, he concluded that the latter committed suicide by taking a dose of strychnine “in a moment of insanity.”

In his statement  to the jury, Dr. Dubé, who was well acquainted with Madame d’Aragon, declared that she left to her husband, Alfred-Saint-Louis, a note which read: “Dear Alfred, now free. Your taste for the bottle, your first companion, will satisfy you. Evelina.  Although these words suggest that Mrs. d’Aragon, who was pregnant at the time, committed suicide because of her husband’s alcoholic addictions, Dr. Dubé believed that the reason is quite different.

In order to demonstrate that Ms. d’Aragon was not in full possession of her mental faculties at the time of her death, he stated that she suffered from exalted and romantic ideas that she had certainly acquired by reading many novels.  Dr. Dubé affirmed that:  “There is nothing in the world to distort judgment, and to exalt the imagination like the reading of these novels, where everything tends to excite intelligence and lead to a false interpretation of ordinary things of life.

So watch yourselves out there, those penny dreadfuls will rot your brain. {heavy sarcasm}

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Book Review: Inferno (No spoilers)


It’s difficult to share a review of a book without giving anything away, and to say anything at all about Inferno might take the delight out of some tiny plot twist for someone else. All I can say is that I enjoyed this book immensely – it was a page-turner and no mistake; I started to read at about 2:00 PM, and finished around 11:30 that night. I found it a lot more plausible in story line than Angels and Demons or The Lost Symbol, and I got a huge amount of enjoyment out of the fact that I had been in all the cities where the action took place, spending a good deal of time in two of them.  Now I want to go back…  and I need to re-read La Divina Comedia. If it’s done well, this will be an outstanding movie. On that note, why they’re taking so long to turn Symbol into a movie is beyond me, unless they’re finding it too convoluted. Time will tell.

The Old Wolf has spoken.