even though self-sufficiency is long past

Volyen has been a subject planet several times in the past: its thoughts and beliefs are full of the vestiges of the Rhetoric of slaves. It has been an independent planet, using minimum contact with its planetary neighbours: the language of proud and self-sufficient isolation is still in use, even though self-sufficiency is long past. It has been a rapidly growing and ruthless Empire: songs, poems, heightened and emphatic speech of all kinds, still in use remain as evidence of this phase. It is an Empire falling apart and disconsolate in its present state: but its language has not caught up with its condition. It is soon to be a Sirian colony: well, it will not have to invent new means of expression, for the commonplaces of its epochs of servitude will only have to come forward again and find new life.

Doris Lessing
Documents Relating to the Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire
(Canopus in Argos: Archives)
Flamingo, Hammersmith 1994
p. 74

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