The preface to a biography of Charles V. necessarily resolves itself into an apology for its method. It is a comparatively easy task, if there be no stint of time or space, to write the life of any man, great or little, detailing year by year all that he did and suffered. Yet if the hero's interests or tasks are widely divergent, it may be doubted whether this is the most illuminative process of presentation. After all, in the everyday life of the most ordinary person there are compartments, intellectual, athletic, amorous, religious. Between these his own memory draws vertical rather than horizontal lines. Any fact which he may recall in any one of them has a closer relation to those which precede and follow than to the synchronous events in the other series, although it is true enough that the several groups are rarely without some trace of interaction.
In the history of Charles V. the method of strict chronological sequence would be peculiarly perplexing, because the vertical bars between the several sections of his interests are singularly thick, although not thick enough to produce total isolation.
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