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Introduction My aim in this little book has been to give short sketches and estimates of the greatest modern English writers from Macaulay to Stevenson and Kipling. Omissions there are, but my effort has been to give the most characteristic writers a place and to try to stimulate the reader's interest in the man behind the book as well as in the best works of each author. Too much space is devoted in most literary criticism to the bare facts... more...

LECTURE I INTRODUCTORY WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 1916 I In the third book of the "Ethics", and in the second chapter, Aristotle, dealing with certain actions which, though bad in themselves, admit of pity and forgiveness because they were committed involuntarily, through ignorance, instances 'the man who did not know a subject was forbidden, like Aeschylus with the Mysteries,' and 'the man who only meant to show how it worked, like the fellow... more...

WHEN GOD LAUGHS (with compliments to Harry Cowell) "The gods, the gods are stronger; timeFalls down before them, all men's kneesBow, all men's prayers and sorrows climbLike incense toward them; yea, for theseAre gods, Felise." Carquinez had relaxed finally. He stole a glance at the rattling windows, looked upward at the beamed roof, and listened for a moment to the savage roar of the south-easter as it caught the bungalow in its bellowing jaws.... more...

Observe, I do not mean to suggest that the custom of lying has suffered any decay or interruption—no, for the Lie, as a Virtue, A Principle, is eternal; the Lie, as a recreation, a solace, a refuge in time of need, the fourth Grace, the tenth Muse, man's best and surest friend, is immortal, and cannot perish from the earth while this club remains. My complaint simply concerns the decay of the art of lying. No high-minded man, no man of... more...

The 18th of the Month Scheval, in the Year of the Hegira, 837. Thou Joy of ev’ry Eye! Thou Torment of every Heart! Thou Intellectual Light! I do not kiss the Dust of thy Feet; because thou seldom art seen out of the Seraglio, and when thou art, thou walkest only on the Carpets of Iran, or on Beds of Roses. I here present you with a Translation of the Work of an ancient Sage, who having the Happiness of living free from all Avocations,... more...


[3] THE making of an anthology of English prose is what must have occurred to many of its students, by way of pleasure to themselves, or of profit to other persons. Such an anthology, the compass and variety of our prose literature being considered, might well follow exclusively some special line of interest in it; exhibiting, for instance, what is so obviously striking, its imaginative power, or its (legitimately) poetic beauty, or again, its... more...

In a little place called Le Monastier, in a pleasant highland valley fifteen miles from Le Puy, I spent about a month of fine days.  Monastier is notable for the making of lace, for drunkenness, for freedom of language, and for unparalleled political dissension.  There are adherents of each of the four French parties—Legitimists, Orleanists, Imperialists, and Republicans—in this little mountain-town; and they all hate,... more...

THE PERFECT GENTLEMAN Somewhere in the back of every man's mind there dwells a strange wistful desire to be thought a Perfect Gentleman. And this is much to his credit, for the Perfect Gentleman, as thus wistfully contemplated, is a high ideal of human behavior, although, in the narrower but honest admiration of many, he is also a Perfect Ass. Thus, indeed, he comes down the centuries—a sort of Siamese Twins, each miraculously visible only... more...

CHAPTER 1 IN MOONFLEET VILLAGE So sleeps the pride of former days—More The village of Moonfleet lies half a mile from the sea on the right or west bank of the Fleet stream. This rivulet, which is so narrow as it passes the houses that I have known a good jumper clear it without a pole, broadens out into salt marshes below the village, and loses itself at last in a lake of brackish water. The lake is good for nothing except sea-fowl,... more...

There existed formerly, in diplomatic circles, a curious custom, since fallen into disuse, entitled the Pêle Mêle, contrived doubtless by some distracted Master of Ceremonies to quell the endless jealousies and quarrels for precedence between courtiers and diplomatists of contending pretensions.  Under this rule no rank was recognized, each person being allowed at banquet, fête, or other public ceremony only such place as... more...