‘To be honest I don’t know many countries, but I begin to suspect that England is the most melancholy country in the world…

…Every place where the English gather to chat to one another exudes melancholy. Indeed, nothing in the world is sadder than an English conversation, in which everyone is careful to keep to superficialities and never touch on anything essential. In order not to offend your neighbour, not to violate his privacy – which is sacred – an English conversation revolves around subjects that are extremely boring for everyone concerned, but in which there is no danger.’

– Natalia Ginzburg, England: Eulogy and Lament, The Little Virtues

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