The Choice of Books

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Albert, Scott, 1891 - 127 pages

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Page 57 - And now I dare to say thou wert never matched of none earthly knight's hand. And thou wert the courteousest knight that ever bare shield ; and thou wert 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 wert the kindest man that ever struck with sword.
Page 15 - Why do we still suffer the traditional hypocrisy about the dignity of literature literature I mean, in the gross, which includes about equal parts of what is useful and what is useless? Why are books as books, writers as writers, readers as readers, meritorious...
Page 31 - ... magiclantern 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 11 - 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 113 - 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 18 - Yet can any friendship or society be more important to us than that of the books which form so large a part of our minds and even of our characters? Do we in real life take any pleasant fellow to our homes and chat with some agreeable rascal by our firesides, we who will take up any pleasant fellow's printed memoirs, we who delight in the agreeable rascal when he is cut up into pages and bound in calf? If any person given to reading were honestly to keep a register of all the printed stuff that he...
Page 20 - 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 22 - ... books poured forth from Paternoster Row might in a few years be built into a pyramid that would fill the dome of St. Paul's. How in this mountain of literature am I to find the really useful book? How, when I have found it, and found its value, am I to get others to read it? How am I to keep my...
Page 30 - I will keep silence even from good words. I have chosen my own part, and adopted my own teacher. But to ask men to adopt the education of Auguste Comte, is almost to ask them to adopt Positivism itself. Nor will I enlarge on the matter for thought, for foreboding, almost for despair, that is presented to us by the fact of our familiar literary ways and our recognized literary profession. That things infinitely trifling in themselves: men, events, societies, phenomena, in no way otherwise more valuable...
Page 20 - And yet we act as if every book were as good as any other, as if it were merely a question of order which we take up first, as if any book were good enough for us, and as if all were alike honorable, precious, and satisfying.

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