In Praise of Books

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Cosimo, Inc., 2005 M01 1 - 144 pages
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With suggestions form influential thinkers and authors, IN PRAISE OF BOOKS can help those who are developing a personal library or reading list. Ralph Waldo Emerson contributed an Atlantic Monthly essay to this volume, in which he recommended his favorite writers and texts. He named Homer, Shakespeare, Herodotus, Dante, Spenser, Bacon, Dickens, and Thackeray as among his most cherished authors. He also listed his three criteria for selecting a book: never read a book that is less than a year old, always read well-known books, and always read topics that one enjoys. Sir John Lubbock also shared his love of books -- "How thankful we ought to be for these inestimable blessings, for this numberless host of friends who never weary, betray, or forsake us!" he wrote -- before recommending the works of Confucius, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Darwin, Goethe, Eliot, and many more. Also included are quotes about reading and books from Socrates ("Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings; so you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for"), Niccolo Machiavelli ("I forget every vexation" when reading), Alexander Pope ("At this day, as much company as I have kept, and as much as I love it, I love reading better"), Henry Fielding ("We are as liable to be corrupted by books as by companions"), David Hume (" I was seized very early with a passion for literature, which as been the ruling passion of my life"), and other avid readers.

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Dobson Living HI Montagu Lady 16901762 66
In Praise of Books By Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Soo of Books By Sie Joes Lubbock
The Choice of Books By Sir John Lubbock
Emerson 03 1882 88 Moore 1780 1802
1587 55 Wordsworth 1770 1850
Milton 16J1674 50

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Page 75 - No matter how poor I am ; no matter though the prosperous of my own time will not enter my obscure dwelling. If the sacred writers will enter and take...
Page 43 - I were to pray for a taste which should stand me in stead under every variety of circumstances, and be a source of happiness and cheerfulness to me through life, and a shield against its ills, however things might go amiss and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for reading.
Page 72 - I own that I am disposed to say grace upon twenty other occasions in the course of the day besides my dinner. I want a form for setting out upon a pleasant walk, for a moonlight ramble, for a friendly meeting, or a solved problem. Why have we none for books, those spiritual repasts a grace before Milton a grace before Shakespeare a devotional exercise proper to be said before reading the "Fairy Queen?
Page 32 - MY days among the Dead are past ; Around me I behold, Where'er these casual eyes are cast, The mighty minds of old: My never-failing friends are they, With whom I converse day by day.
Page 41 - But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think...
Page 71 - Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know, Are a substantial world, both pure and good: Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood, Our pastime and our happiness will grow.
Page 71 - Blessings be with them and eternal praise, Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays ! Oh ! might my name be numbered among theirs, Then gladly would I end my mortal days.
Page 8 - CONSIDER what you have in the smallest chosen library. A company of the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil countries, in a thousand years, have set in best order the results of their learning and wisdom.

About the author (2005)

Known primarily as the leader of the philosophical movement transcendentalism, which stresses the ties of humans to nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and essayist, was born in Boston in 1803. From a long line of religious leaders, Emerson became the minister of the Second Church (Unitarian) in 1829. He left the church in 1832 because of profound differences in interpretation and doubts about church doctrine. He visited England and met with British writers and philosophers. It was during this first excursion abroad that Emerson formulated his ideas for Self-Reliance. He returned to the United States in 1833 and settled in Concord, Massachusetts. He began lecturing in Boston. His first book, Nature (1836), published anonymously, detailed his belief and has come to be regarded as his most significant original work on the essence of his philosophy of transcendentalism. The first volume of Essays (1841) contained some of Emerson's most popular works, including the renowned Self-Reliance. Emerson befriended and influenced a number of American authors including Henry David Thoreau. It was Emerson's practice of keeping a journal that inspired Thoreau to do the same and set the stage for Thoreau's experiences at Walden Pond. Emerson married twice (his first wife Ellen died in 1831 of tuberculosis) and had four children (two boys and two girls) with his second wife, Lydia. His first born, Waldo, died at age six. Emerson died in Concord on April 27, 1882 at the age of 78 due to pneumonia and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

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