The Choice of Books: And Other Literary Pieces

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Macmillan, 1886 - 447 pages

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Page 44 - Christian knights; and now I dare say," said Sir Ector, "that Sir Launcelot, there thou liest, thou were never matched of none earthly knight's hands; and thou were the courtliest knight that ever bare shield; and thou were the truest friend to thy lover that ever bestrode horse; and thou were the truest lover, of a sinful man, that ever loved woman; and thou were the kindest man that ever...
Page 20 - ... not for what they are in themselves, but solely to amuse and excite the world by showing how it can be done all this is to me so amazing, so heart-breaking, that I forbear now to treat it, as I cannot say all that I would. The Choice of Books is really the choice of our education, of a moral and intellectual ideal, of the whole duty of man.
Page 89 - The great number of books and papers of amusement which, of one kind or another, daily come in one's way, have in part occasioned, and most perfectly fall in with and humor, this idle way of reading and considering things. By this means time, even in solitude, is happily got rid of, without the pain of attention; neither is any part of it more put to the account of idleness, one can scarce forbear saying is spent with less thought than great part of that which is...
Page 10 - Alas! books cannot be more than the men who write them; and as a fair proportion of the human race now write books, with motives and objects as various as human activity, books as books, are entitled a priori, until their value is proved, to the same attention and respect as houses, steam-engines, pictures, fiddles, bonnets, and other products of human industry.
Page 22 - And thus our reading will be sadly one-sided, however voluminous it be, if it entirely close to us any of the great types and ideals which the creative instinct of man has produced, if it shut out from us either the ancient world, or other European poetry, as important almost as our own. When our reading, however deep, runs wholly into "pockets," and exhausts itself in the literature of one age, one country, one type, then we may be sure that it is tending to narrow or deform our minds. And the more...
Page 25 - Arthur and the Red Cross Knight; if he thinks Crusoe and the Vicar books for the young; if he thrill not with The Ode to the West Wind, and The Ode to a Grecian Urn; if he have no stomach for Christabel or the lines written on The Wye above Tintern Abbey, he should fall on his knees and pray for a cleanlier and quieter spirit.
Page 2 - Or, to put out of the question that writing which is positively bad, are we not, amidst the multiplicity of books and of writers, in continual danger of being drawn off by what is stimulating rather than solid, by curiosity after something accidentally notorious, by what has no intelligible thing to recommend it, except that it is new? Now, to stuff our minds with what is simply trivial, simply curious, or that which at best has but a low nutritive power, this is to close our minds to what is solid...
Page 156 - Royalty, followed by the imperial presence of ambassadors, and escorted by a group of dazzling duchesses and paladins of high degree, was ushered with courteous pomp by the host and hostess into a choice saloon, hung with rose-coloured tapestry and illumined by chandeliers of crystal, where they were served from gold plate.
Page 80 - ... ungrateful task not to be ranked with the simple enjoyments ; it is a possession to be acquired only by habit. The great religious poets, the imaginative teachers of the heart, are never easy reading. But the reading of them is a religious habit, rather than an intellectual effort. I pretend not...
Page 11 - But the very familiarity which their mighty fame has bred in us makes us indifferent ; we grow weary of what every one is supposed to have read ; and we take down something which looks a little eccentric, some worthless book, on the mere ground that we never heard of it before.

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