Thursday, November 19, 2009

Essay: "The Man of One Book." Isaac Disraeli [Father of Benjamin].

10-second review: Every great person seems to have a favorite author.


“A predilection for some great author, among the vast number which must transiently occupy our attention, seems to be the happiest preservative for our taste; accustomed to that excellent author whom we have chosen for our favorite, we may in this intimacy possibly resemble him.” [Re-reading our favorite author preserves our taste and even makes our writing style resemble his.]

“It is remarkable that every great writer appears to have a predilection for some favorite author….”

[Here follow several pages of examples of famous persons who focus on their favorite writers and read them again and again.]

“…Sir William Jones’s invariable habit of reading his Cicero through every year…amidst the multiplicity of his authors, still continues in this way to be ‘the man of one book.’ ”

Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc. 1960.

What is an essay? “They are all prefaces. A preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they [essays] do nothing else.” Charles Lamb.

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