- By Norman Fine
In 1971, Michael Hart, a student at the University of Illinois, conceived the most wonderful notion. He had access to a computer that was part of the government-sponsored research network that ultimately became the Internet. He set himself a goal to make the ten thousand most consulted books available to the public, digitally, by the end of the twentieth century. He plucked a copy of the Declaration of Independence from his backpack, and it became the first Project Gutenberg e-text. Hart named the project after the German printer Johannes Gutenberg, who revolutionized the printing press.
Today, there are about forty thousand texts in the Gutenberg collection, including works by Somerville and Ross, G.J. Whyte Melville, and other superb writers of foxhunting stories. Many are in the public domain and may be downloaded and freely reproduced. Periodically, we select a favorite and extract a selection both for your enjoyment and as a reminder of the wealth that Project Gutenberg keeps in store for us.
With this year marking the bicentennial of the birth of Anthony Trollope, a popular English novelist of the Victorian Era who tucked foxhunting scenes into most of his novels, we offer an excerpt from The Duke’s Children (1880), the last volume in his Palliser series.