This essay was previously blogged under “What to read” but I have now, at the helm of Bob Robinson, posted it as a link and a pdf file.
“…the truth that reading and its necessary twin, writing,
constitute not merely an ability but a power.”
— Jacques Barzun
“Every old man complains,” so said Samuel Johnson, “of the growing depravity of the world, of the petulance and insolence of the rising generation.” Old Professors of small liberal arts colleges moan, like veteran Argive soldiers long back from Troy, about the privileges – hard earned ones – the young Professors have, like sabbaticals, computer support, and no longer needing to raise funds for the school. More often, though, they crab about the competence of young students to write clear sentences with good grammar and active verbs and concrete nouns. I agree with them. I am inclined, however, to think the Apocalyptic Darkness is not just round the bend for, as Robert Benchley once wrote, “the gay little legends on which we were brought up before the world grew dim and sordid” are just that: “gay little legends” (with an extra twist for a former use of “gay”).
If you want to read the rest of this essay, click here.