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SPECIAL INTRODUCTION Among the absurd notions as to what the Talmud was, given credence in the Middle Ages, one was that it was a man! The mediaeval priest or peasant was perhaps wiser than he knew. Almost, might we say, the Talmud was Man, for it is a record of the doings, the beliefs, the usages, the hopes, the sufferings, the patience, the humor, the mentality, and the morality of the Jewish people for half a millennium. What is the Talmud?... more...

LIFE OF EMERSON Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, May 25, 1803. He was descended from a long line of New England ministers, men of refinement and education. As a school-boy he was quiet and retiring, reading a great deal, but not paying much attention to his lessons. He entered Harvard at the early age of fourteen, but never attained a high rank there, although he took a prize for an essay on Socrates, and was made class poet after several... more...

CHAPTER I. A PRELIMINARY VIEW. Anglo-Saxon literature is the oldest of the vernacular literatures of modern Europe; and it is a consequence of this that its relations with Latin literature have been the closest. All the vernacular literatures have been influenced by the Latin, but of Anglo-Saxon literature alone can it be said that it has been subjected to no other influence. This literature was nursed by, and gradually rose out of, Latin... more...

A PROTEGEE OF JACK HAMLIN'S. I. The steamer Silveropolis was sharply and steadily cleaving the broad, placid shallows of the Sacramento River. A large wave like an eagre, diverging from its bow, was extending to either bank, swamping the tules and threatening to submerge the lower levees. The great boat itself—a vast but delicate structure of airy stories, hanging galleries, fragile colonnades, gilded cornices, and resplendent... more...

My name is Hugh Paret. I was a corporation lawyer, but by no means a typical one, the choice of my profession being merely incidental, and due, as will be seen, to the accident of environment. The book I am about to write might aptly be called The Autobiography of a Romanticist. In that sense, if in no other, I have been a typical American, regarding my country as the happy hunting-ground of enlightened self-interest, as a function of my desires.... more...


Z. MARCAS I never saw anybody, not even among the most remarkable men of the day, whose appearance was so striking as this man's; the study of his countenance at first gave me a feeling of great melancholy, and at last produced an almost painful impression. There was a certain harmony between the man and his name. The Z. preceding Marcas, which was seen on the addresses of his letters, and which he never omitted from his signature, as the... more...

Preface Several anthologies of poems by Yorkshiremen, or about Yorkshiremen, have passed through the press since Joseph Ritson published his Yorkshire Garland in 1786. Most of these have included a number of dialect poems, but I believe that the volume which the reader now holds in his hand is the first which is made up entirely of poems written in "broad Yorkshire." In my choice of poems I have been governed entirely by the literary quality and... more...

THE FIRE If I were 'seeing over' a house, and found in every room an iron cage let into the wall, and were told by the caretaker that these cages were for me to keep lions in, I think I should open my eyes rather wide. Yet nothing seems to me more natural than a fire in the grate. Doubtless, when I began to walk, one of my first excursions was to the fender, that I might gaze more nearly at the live thing roaring and raging behind it; and I... 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...

CHAPTER I. The Sabbath day was drawing to a close, as Agnes Wiltshire sat at her chamber window, absorbed in deep and painful thought. The last rays of the sun lighted up the garden overlooked by the casement,—if garden it could be called,—a spot that had once been most beautiful, when young and fair hands plucked the noxious weed, and took delight in nursing into fairest life, flowers, whose loveliness might well have vied with any;... more...