10-second review: There exists today, in the modern world (1927), a spirit of boredom, black depths of despair and hopeless unbelief. Why? Disillusionment. And rapid change. Industrial society. It paralyzes human will, a universal futility.
“Other epochs have witnessed disasters, have had to suffer disillusionment, but in no century have the disillusionments followed on one another’s heels with such unintermitted rapidity as in nineteenth and twentieth, for the good reason that in no centuries has change been so rapid and so profound. The mal du siécle was an inevitable evil.”
Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson.
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.