Quiz Question….

Here’s a funny ‘fragment’ for your amusement. Inspired by the concept of ‘fragments’ small, fledgling ideas that could perhaps be developed into a full discussion, debate or even philosophical treatise, I’ve decided to post every so often a paragraph from a novel, to see if anyone can guess its origins…

The three questions are:

  • 1/ The author
  • 2/ The year of publication
  • 3/ The title of the work

Please ‘no googling’ there’s really no point!

So here’s the inaugural fragment……

I called for the cheeses and took them away in a cab.  

(The cab) was a ramshackle affair, dragged along by a knock-kneed, broken-winded somnambulist, which his owner, in a moment of enthusiasm, during conversation, referred to as a horse. I put the cheeses on the top, and we started off at a shamble that would have done credit to the swiftest steam-roller ever built, and all went merry as a funeral bell, until we turned the corner. There, the wind carried a whiff from the cheeses full on to our steed. It woke him up, and, with a snort of terror, he dashed off at three miles an hour. The wind still blew in his direction, and before we reached the end of the street he was laying himself out at the rate of nearly four miles an hour, leaving the cripples and stout old ladies simply nowhere. 

So once again I’m looking for, the author, year of publication and the title of the work.


This idea was inspired by the concept of ‘fragments’ discussed in the wonderful historical novel by Andrea Wulf entitled ‘Magnificent Rebels’ – a book that I highly recommend. The book offers a new perspective on the University of Jena (Germany) in the 1790s and the brilliant minds that congregated there. This small group of intellectuals was encouraged and anchored by the gravitas of Goethe. The group included Schiller & August and Caroline Schlegel. It also included the von Humboldt brothers, Fichte (the philosopher) and the novelist and mines inspector ‘Novalis’ as well as the controversial writer Tieck.

Interestingly Alexander von Humboldt’s travels to tropical lands inspired Charles Darwin to depart on his own voyages. Also August & Caroline Schlegel were instrumental in translating many of Shakespeare’s plays into German and for popularising them in Jena, Berlin, Dresden and Weimar.

July 2024

Tom Wood (photographer). North Wales panorama

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