20 August 2008

Some advice for students of all sorts...

"When authors have been admired for a great number of centuries and have been scorned only by a few people with eccentric taste (for there will always be found depraved tastes), then not only is there temerity, there is madness in casting doubt on the merit of these writers. From the fact that you do not see the beauties in their writings you must not conclude that those beauties are not there, but that you are blind and that you have no taste. The bulk of mankind in the long run makes no mistake about works of the spirit. There is no longer any questions nowadays as to whether Homer, Plato, Cicero, Vergil are remarkable men. It is a matter closed to dispute, for twenty centuries are agreed on it; the question is to find out what it is that has made them admired by so many centuries; and you must find a way to undersatnd this or give up letters, for which you must believe that you have neither taste nor aptitude since you do not feel what all men have felt." --Boileau, in "The Shaping of Modern Thought," Englewood, NJ, Prentice-Hall 1963, p. 35)

1 comment:

James the Thickheaded said...

Sadly, Bolieu wrote at the start of the decade that was to redefine civilization as only that which is relevant to me today. The classics were tossed out.

Fortunately, there is Medieval Studies where folks can recover the "Discarded Mirror" (C.S. Lewis).