Books As They Wait to Be Known

(He) who has not fallen in love with some book or author or vehemently rejected the vision of life in another has not known books as they wait to be known. If he has not sometimes been made temporarily uncomfortable in disillusion or has not been moved by prospects outshining all he had ever glimpsed before in his young life, then he has not travelled in the “realms of gold.” If some thing or somebody has not given his puerile sympathies a shock so that he has grown a little in the strength of feeling to sense another’s trouble as well as his joy, then he has not had a tuition of the spirit without which instruction is worse than useless. If he has not experienced perfection of craftsmanship in such a way as to make him, without thinking, mend his speech and his thought he has missed what ought to be a major blessing of the liberal arts. If he has not enjoyed and understood a cleanly, virile, honest English in such a way as to be forever immunized against pretentiously void, tawdry or conceited language, or the cant of minds unsure of themselves or their matter, then his study has not been liberal or liberating.    Arthur L. Bradford, 1962

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