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‘Chrestomathy’ Category

  1. Reading as Intellectual Liberation

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    December 22, 2014 by Bookworm

    I guess it is true; fine minds really do think alike!

    The highest use of the great masters of literature is not literary; it is apart from their superb style and even from their emotional inspiration.  The first use of good literature is that it prevents a man from being merely modern.  To be merely modern is to condemn oneself to an ultimate narrowness; just as to spend one’s last earthly money on the newest hat is to condemn oneself to the old-fashioned.  The road of the ancient centuries is strewn with dead moderns. Literature, classic and enduring literature, does its best work in reminding us perpetually of the whole round of truth and balancing other and older ideas against the ideas to which we might for a moment be prone.

    From G.K. Chesterton’s “On Reading”

     


  2. Edgar Allan Poe on the Nature of Man

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    December 1, 2014 by Bookworm

    Of this spirit philosophy takes no account. Yet I am not more sure that my soul lives, than I am that perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart — one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of Man. Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a silly action, for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such? – from “The Black Cat” (which is well worth reading if you never have).

    This inward inclination Poe calls the spirit of PERVERSENESS – Christian theologians call it total depravity.  In fact, Poe here sounds much like Paul in Romans 7:7-11, does he not?