Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thought for the day …

Do not suppose, however, that I intend to urge a diet of classics on anybody. I have seen such diets at work. I have known people who have actually read all, or almost all, the guaranteed Hundred Best Books. God save us from reading nothing but the best.
— Robertson Davies, born on this date in 1913


  1. But I wonder why?

  2. From Mr Davies' Tanner Lecture on "Reading":

    "Our grandparents used to say that we must eat a peck of dirt before we die, and they were right. And you must read a lot of rubbish before you die, as well, because an exclusive diet of masterpieces will give you spiritual dyspepsia. How can you know that a mountain peak is glorious if you have never scrambled through a dirty valley? How do you know that your gourmet meal is perfect in its kind if you have never eaten a roadside hot dog? If you want to know what a masterpiece The Pilgrim’s Progress is, read Bonfire of the Vanities, and if you have any taste — which of course may not be the case — you will quickly find out. So I advise you, as well as reading great books that I have been talking about, read some current books and some periodicals. They will help you to take the measure of the age in which you live."

    http://tannerlectures.utah.edu/lectures/documents/davies92.pdf pages 81-82

    1. Exactly, Dave. And there are pleasures to be found in the low and debased as well. Davies' Marchbanks' columns would never be considered classics, but they are gems of wisdom and foolery uniquely Canadian.