The Choice of Books

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Harper, 1886 - 120 pages

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Page 60 - 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 35 - Vita Nuova,' the 'Canterbury Tales,' Shakespeare's 'Sonnets,' and 'Lycidas' pall on a man; if he care not for Malory's ' Morte d'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...
Page 29 - ... magic-lantern, 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 7 - What are the subjects, what are the class of books we are to read, in what order, with what connection, to what ultimate use or object? Even those who are resolved to read the better books are embarrassed by a field of choice practically boundless. The longest life, the greatest industry, joined to the most powerful memory, would not suffice to make us profit from a hundredth part of the world of books before us. If the great Newton said that he seemed to have been all his life gathering a few shells...
Page 116 - 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 humour, 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...
Page 17 - 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, or some author on the mere ground that we never heard of him before.
Page 17 - ... products of human industry. In the shelves of those libraries which are our pride, libraries public or private, circulating or very stationary, are to be found those great books of the world rari nantes in gurgite vasto,1 those books which are truly " the precious life-blood of a masterspirit.

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