Selling Plutarch as Fiction

David Hume, On the Study of History:

“I remember I was once desired by a young beauty, for whom I had some passion, to send her some novels and romances for her amusement in the country; but was not so ungenerous as to take the advantage, which such a course of reading might have given me, being resolved not to make use of poisoned arms against her. I therefore sent her PLUTARCH’S lives, assuring her, at the same time, that there was not a word of truth in them from beginning to end. She perused them very attentively, ’till she came to the lives of ALEXANDER and CÆSAR, whose names she had heard of by accident; and then returned me the book, with many reproaches for deceiving her.”

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