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HIS BIRTH Leonardo Da Vinci, the many-sided genius of the Italian Renaissance, was born, as his name implies, at the little town of Vinci, which is about six miles from Empoli and twenty miles west of Florence. Vinci is still very inaccessible, and the only means of conveyance is the cart of a general carrier and postman, who sets out on his journey from Empoli at sunrise and sunset. Outside a house in the middle of the main street of Vinci... more...

STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES "I was born in the section of Greenwood County called 'the promised land'. My parents were Henry and Julis Watkins. I married Frank Edwards when I was young. Our master, Marshall Jordon, was not so mean. He had lots o' slaves and he give 'em good quarters and plenty to eat. He had big gardens, lots of hogs and cattle and a big farm. My master had two children. "Sometimes dey hunted rabbits, squirrels, possums and doves.... more...

INTRODUCTION [Lockhart, 1794-1854] "Nations yet to come will look back upon his history as to some grand and supernatural romance. The fiery energy of his youthful career, and the magnificent progress of his irresistible ambition, have invested his character with the mysterious grandeur of some heavenly appearance; and when all the lesser tumults and lesser men of our age shall have passed away into the darkness of oblivion, history will still... more...

VAUVENARGUES. One of the most important phases of French thought in the great century of its illumination is only thoroughly intelligible, on condition that in studying it we keep constantly in mind the eloquence, force, and genius of Pascal. He was the greatest and most influential representative of that way of viewing human nature and its circumstances, which it was one of the characteristic glories of the eighteenth century to have rebelled... more...

CAMBRIDGE 1828-1831. After having spent two sessions in Edinburgh, my father perceived, or he heard from my sisters, that I did not like the thought of being a physician, so he proposed that I should become a clergyman. He was very properly vehement against my turning into an idle sporting man, which then seemed my probable destination. I asked for some time to consider, as from what little I had heard or thought on the subject I had scruples... more...


CHAPTER I THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IN ENGLAND The history of the French Revolution in England begins with a sermon and ends with a poem. Between that famous discourse by Dr. Richard Price on the love of our country, delivered in the first excitement that followed the fall of the Bastille, and the publication of Shelley's Hellas there stretched a period of thirty-two years. It covered the dawn, the clouding and the unearthly sunset of a hope. It... more...

FOREWORD Naturally, there are chapters of my autobiography which cannot now be written. It seems to me that, for the nation as for the individual, what is most important is to insist on the vital need of combining certain sets of qualities, which separately are common enough, and, alas, useless enough. Practical efficiency is common, and lofty idealism not uncommon; it is the combination which is necessary, and the combination is rare. Love of... more...

PREFACE I began these memoirs when about twenty-five years old, having from youth kept a diary of some sort, which perhaps from habit made me think of recording my inner and secret life. When I began it, I had scarcely read a baudy book, none of which excepting "Fanny Hill" appeared to me to be truthful, that did, and it does so still; the others telling of recherche eroticisms, or of inordinate copulative powers, of the strange twists, tricks,... more...

CHAPTER I. Peculiar interest attached to his Life—His Birth—His early studies—His passion for Mathematics—His work on the Hydrostatic Balance—Appointed Lecturer on Mathematics at Pisa—His antipathy to the Philosophy of Aristotle—His contentions with the Aristotelians—Chosen professor of Mathematics in Padua—Adopts the Copernican system, but still teaches the Ptolemaic doctrine—His... more...

CHAPTER I BOYHOOD OF LINCOLN The subject of this memoir is revered by multitudes of his countrymen as the preserver of their commonwealth. This reverence has grown with the lapse of time and the accumulation of evidence. It is blended with a peculiar affection, seldom bestowed upon the memory of statesmen. It is shared to-day by many who remember with no less affection how their own fathers fought against him. He died with every circumstance of... more...