Suggestions for a Reading Guide

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Szerző: Howard Phillips Lovecraft • Év: 1936

In general, read what interests you most; but within that range choose the things which are recognised as the best literature or soundest scholarship. Do not despise the recommendations of teachers, librarians, authors, and others in a position to judge. Public libraries nowadays offer very valuable advice, based on the individual tastes and needs of each reader. Ask the nearest library for a circular about this service—called “Reading with a Purpose”. No other age has been as rich as the present in facilities for adult education.

Try to read at least a few things in each of the great branches of human thought and expression, so that you may have a rough, connected idea of what is known about the universe, matter, the world, organic life, mankind, the stream of history, and the major achievements of the race in philosophy, government, literature, and the various arts. Do not scorn “outlines” and summaries, for it is better to have only a smattering of things than to remain with vast total blanks in your knowledge of what lies around you. Try not to let any article in the better grade of magazines, or any allusion in the course of daily reading, remain utterly meaningless and mystifying to you. Regard each totally unfamiliar subject or reference as a kind of challenge, and do not pass it by until you have dispelled at least the densest clouds of ignorance. Turn constantly to reference books—or make notes for future consultation if no such books are available at the moment. Learn what the best reference books are, and where to find them at the principal libraries.

Read light material in odd moments, but choose fair stretches of time—when you can enjoy the greatest freedom from interruption—for reading things which demand concentration and understanding. Do not persist in reading after fatigue begins to slow up your assimilation rate. It is wasteful to spend time which does not bring results. On the other hand, do not be alarmed or discouraged if you fail to remember everything you read. Nobody can hold all the facts and pictures which have ever entered his head. It is enough if a reasonable residue remains—sufficient basic landmarks to give you a general idea of things, make every-day phenomena and allusions intelligible, and enable you to find more detailed knowledge when you need it. The chief value of reading is the exercise and discipline it gives the mind—the way it teaches us to think, be intelligently curious about things, recognise general principles under varied individual surfaces, compare and correlate seemingly remote subjects and events, know where and how to get information, appreciate and understand history and our environment, employ judgment and proportion, enjoy genuine art and beauty, and transfer our interest from the trivial and meaningless to the significant.

Use your own judgment about balancing the different kinds of reading. Don’t feel bound to any logical order, but skip around at will in covering the field of pure literature—unless the works of a certain period make you wish to read more of that period. In covering some of the sciences, it might be well to keep a certain rough sequence in mind, so that the general subjects can come before the more particular ones. You can, if you wish, follow the custom of schools and colleges in conducting parallel lines of reading. Just as they teach ancient and modern literature, science, history, and art at the same time, so can you be reading a book of recent fiction, a translation of Virgil, a summary of history, a popular outline of astronomy, an anthology of poetry, and a manual of Greek sculpture over the same period—picking up one when the mood strikes you, and perhaps choosing another the next time you have a spare quarter-hour. Keep them all going side by side, and one will form an agreeable change from the other. But don’t feel bound to do this. If you have a naturally single-track mind you may prefer to read one book—or one sort of book—at a time; or perhaps you will choose to map out definite courses in literature, the arts, history, or the sciences, following each one uninterruptedly until you turn to another. It is all a matter of taste and temperament. In the end one likes to have a connected and workable idea of things—to see the universe whole, and to feel keenly the continuity, drama, and differing moods of human history. But there’s no hurry about any of this.

Don’t feel bound to “keep up with all the latest books” in order to shew off a superficial up-to-date scholarship. Of the various popular successes of any given season, only a tiny fraction—or perhaps none at all—can usually be of any permanent value. The only books which need to be of recent date are those pertaining to the sciences, where fresh discoveries have to be included—or perhaps to history also, where the modern scientific interpretation of events, and choice of matter for emphasis, are occasionally of great importance. In general literature a large proportion of the most essential books lie in the past—some of them in a past more than two thousand years from the present. However, it will do no harm to keep abreast of recent books and authors by following the reviews in standard periodicals—such as the Book Section of the New York Times or the book columns in the front advertising pages of Harpers and the Atlantic—and reading a few of those volumes which the best critics agree in recommending.

Try to hit certain high spots of general literature, In the classic Greek field, which forms the foundation of our whole structure of western culture, Homer must not be missed—and of all the various translations the prose version formed by Lang and Leaf’s Iliad and Butcher and Lang’s Odyssey is probably the closest in spirit to the original. The fascination of these eternal tales is such that their reading will be no duty. Other Greek masterpieces which ought to be read in good translations are the plays of great dramatists—such as Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and perhaps Antigone, Euripides’ Baccantes, Electra, Alcestis, and Medea, and some of Ariso-phanes’ satiric comedies like The Clouds, The Birds, and The Frogs. Plutarch’s Lives—or at least some of them—and a few of the Socratic dialogues of Plato (Apology, Crito, Phaedo, and some of the Republic—preferably in Jowett’s translation) are also good to round out one’s Hellenic reading. It might be well to have one’s reading of these books come at a time when one is studying about Greek life and customs in the course of one’s history reading. A good abridged course in Greek reading is formed by William Cleaver Wilkinson’s compendium called A Classic Greek Course in English.

Roman literature should give us Virgil in Dryden’s spirited translation—or perhaps in some good prose version, which would probably get closer to the poet’s spirit. One need not read all of Virgil, but a browsing through the Aeneid, Georgics, and Eclogues will reveal numberless passages that hold the imagination and linger in the memory. Read also Horace—supreme master of light verse and playful commentator on human nature, from whom so many of our proverbial sayings (like “golden mean” or “even Homer nods”) come. The prose translation published by Macmillan is probably the best one to get. Some of the best orations of Cicero—especially the thunderings against the traitor Catiline—will prove of curiously contemporary interest in this age of social and political turbulence. Nor should one omit the early books of Caesar’s Commentaries, in which he tells of his conquest of Gaul in prose of the utmost purity and simplicity. Aesop’s Fables—a famous collection of folk tales which we get from the Latin version of Phaedrus—and some of Marcus Aurelius’ philosophic meditations (written in Greek by a Roman emperor of largely Gallic blood) form a good tapering off of our classic reading. It is pleasant to read the Roman classics while studying Roman history; and to make them doubly vivid one may intersperse a few modern novels about Roman life—such as Edward Lucas White’s Unwilling Vestal and his incomparably fascinating Andivius Hedulio, William Steams Davis’s A Friend of Caesar, or Robert Graves’s twin volumes, I, Claudius and Claudius the God. Other such modem titles will at once suggest themselves. William Cleaver Wilkinson’s Preparatory Latin Course in English offers an excellent short cut to Roman literature. In dealing with the ancient world we are also aided by any good manual of mythology—preferably Bulfinch’s Age of Fable. It is likewise useful to have access to some reference book like Harper’s Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities.

A third stream of ancient literature profoundly affecting our culture is that included in the Judaeo-Christian Bible, known to us chiefly in the King James version. The classic and Hellenically influenced book of Job should be read as a drama, while the Psalms and the Song of Solomon are pure poetry. Other parts should be read for dramatic, historical, and literary interest—among them the drama of Genesis, the prophetic music of Isaiah, and the simple tragedy and ethical idyllicism of Mark and John. But for a connected knowledge of the whole Scriptural background, it is advisable to seek a summarising and interpreting manual such as Hendrik Willem van Loon’s Story of the Bible.

Mediaeval literature included some widely separated specimens if we include, as we ought, both European and Oriental. We should read a good bit of Dante—largely in the Inferno—in Cary’s blank verse translation, enjoying the potent grandeur and beauty, and the touches of human realism. Marco Polo’s travels make an absorbing and adventurous story, and throw light on the mediaeval mind. Malory’s Morte d’Arthur and Froissart’s Chronicles present a more northern and romantic phase of mediaeval-ism, but might well be read in summaries or abridgments—such as Bulfinch’s book on the Arthurian legends and Singleton’s condensation of Froissart. Certain modern novels ably create the spirit of this period—notably Scott’s Ivanhoe and The Talisman, and the late Sir A. Conan Doyle’s White Company and Sir Nigel. Our own ancestral stream in the Middle Ages is vividly represented by the early Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf—a tale of monsters and heroes best read in Clarence Griffin Child’s translation. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales should be obtained in an edition with the old English slightly modernised for clearness’ sake. So read, no more piquant and fascinating tales can be found in literature. Another refreshing bit of mediaevalism—full of naive wonders and grotes-queries—is the quaint volume of Sir John Mandeville’s travels. In the Oriental field we do not have to be asked to read the Arabian Nights or Fitzgerald’s translation of Omar’s Rubiyat. All these mediaeval classics will have added interest if we read them simultaneously with books on the history and customs of the period.

Coming down to the Renaissance (a phase of progress which appeared at different dates in different places), we find the short stories of Boccaccio a fundamental classic on which dozens of other writers drew. Some of these should by all means be read. Another classic which epitomises the turbulent Renaissance spirit is Benvenuto Cellini’s autobiography. Selections from Rabelais’ shapeless and pungent Gargantua and Pantagruel are timely, as are goodly slices of Cervantes’ immortal Don Quixote, and a fair number of Montaigne’s Essays. Within our own literary stream comes first and foremost William Shakespeare. Read him through, in instalments of not less than fifteen minutes a day. Other books feed different parts of the mind—Shakespeare feeds the entire brain. We have seen in a preceding chapter what a vast proportion of our common conversational phrases spring from him. That is a fair measure of his importance and influence in our civilisation. A useful preliminary to Shakespearian reading is Tales from Shakespeare, by Charles and Mary Lamb. If we find Shakespeare especially congenial we may care to investigate some of the other Elizabethan dramatists such as Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Webster, and Beaumont and Fletcher. From Shakespeare it is only a step to Bacon—to whom certain fanatics persistently and groundlessly attribute his plays. Some of his incomparably pithy essays should by all means be read, though his profound Novum Organum—one of the major philosophical works of all time—may well be left to specialists. That Bacon was found guilty of bribery in high office is a sad proof that intellect unsupported by ethical taste does not guarantee high character. Don’t miss some of Spenser’s fantastic allegorical poem The Faerie Queene, and the lyrical poems of Ben Jonson, Suckling, Carew, and Herrick. While pursuing this course of reading, it might be pleasant to read also some modern work like Walter Pater’s Renaissance.

The later seventeenth century has a different mood, or set of moods, and bridges the gulf to modernity. Here Milton dominates. Read all of Paradise Lost for unforgettable and inimitable grandeur of concepts, imagery, and language, and revel in the haunting pensiveness of Lycidas, the force of the sonnets, and the rare, ethereal felicity of Comus, “Il Penseroso”, and “L’Allegro”. Some of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress ought to be approached, and the best of Dryden’s poems will scarcely bear missing. A typical Restoration comedy or two—such as Wycherley’s Plain-Dealer, Dryden’s Wild Gallant, Vanbrugh’s Relapse, Farquhar’s Beaux’ Stratagem, or Congreve’s Love for Love—is an admirable key to its period, and will not be found excessively strong meat for a generation reared on James Joyce and Ben Hecht. For quiet rural beauty and naiveté Walton’s Complete Angler should be read at least in part, while a few couplets of the mordantly satiric Hudibras, by Samuel Butler, will not be regretted. Selections from Pepys’ Diary cannot be skipped, nor can Sir Thomas Browne’s quaint Urn-Burial. The great Continental luminary of this period is Moliere, some of whose plays (such as Tar-tuffe, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Le Misanthrope, or Les Precieuses Ridicules) make delightful reading in translation. Contemporaneous with him are the dramatists Corneille and Racine, and the epigrammatist La Rochefocauld, whose acute and cynical Maxims should be read in translation.

As the brilliant eighteenth century dawns literature becomes so prolific that we have to choose from amidst an embarrassment of riches. The novel begins to take form, and we must not miss Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Fielding’s Tom Jones, Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, Smollett’s Humphrey Clinker, and Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield. The rise of the essay can best be grasped through a selection of Spectator papers by Addison and Steele (preferably those dealing with “Sir Roger de Coverley”), in which English prose attains its height in grace and force. The curious freshness, wit, and vitality of these light comments on contemporary life remind one of the popular “columnists” of today—F. P. A., R. H. L., Christopher Morley, Don Marquis, and the late B. L. T. The drama shines with the sparkling comedies of Sheridan—of which The Rivals and The School for Scandal must be read. In poetry we shall relish the ringing verses of Pope, the pastoral beauty of parts of Thomson’s Seasons, the felicity of Goldsmith’s “Deserted Village”, the deathless Elegy of Gray, quiet bits of Cowper, the homely lyrics of Robert Burns, and the prophetic mysticism of William Blake. Boswell’s spirited and absorbing life of Johnson needs no recommendation. Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography brings America on the scene. The great historians Hume and Gibbon need be read only in selections. Of the political oratory of the time, Burke’s speeches afford the best reading. In Germany we see the rise of Goethe and Schiller, both of whom should be noticed. Goethe’s Faust goes over the line into the nineteenth century. In France the restless intellectual and enlightening forces leading up to the Revolution are perceived. Rousseau’s Social Contract and Confessions, and much of Voltaire, can perhaps be passed over by the hasty reader; but Voltaire’s Candide, with its ridicule of the hollow philosophy of optimism, is far too good to miss. In the Zadig of Voltaire we find an early case of that sort of deductive reasoning which later became the stock in trade of the detective-story writer.

As the eighteenth century passes into the nineteenth we see a culmination of that “romantic revival” which dealt with extravagant individual emotion and looked to the Gothic Middle Ages for inspiration. Important poets now become numerous. We cannot afford to skip the dream-heavy Coleridge, the placidly pantheistic Wordsworth, the martial and resonant Scott, the misanthropic and infuriate Byron, the ethereal Shelley, and the beauty-drugged Keats. Here we have the greatest poetic flowering since the age of Elizabeth. In the essay field we shall delight in the work of Charles Lamb, and of our own graceful countryman Washington Irving. Sir Walter Scott, besides his poems, gives us the Waverly Novels, of which at least a few may pleasurably be sampled. Jane Austen’s novels have a quiet and peculiar satiric charm, and a close approach to superficial realism. Read at least Pride and Prejudice. Of Thackeray, who sought to depict and lampoon society, read at least Vanity Fair, The Newcomes, and that marvellous recreation of the eighteenth century, Henry Esmond. Emily Bronte’s titanic Wuthering Heights is a work of genius, nor should her sister Charlotte’s Jane Eyre be passed by. The selected essays of the historian Macaulay should be studied and emulated for force and clearness of style. Equally forceful, though having a choppy, artificial style suggestive of the modern news-magazine Time, was Thomas Carlyle, whose French Revolution and Sartor Resartus might well go on a “must” list. Looking homeward, we should read all the tales and poems of Poe, as well as his essay “The Philosophy of Composition”, in which he professes to explain how he wrote “The Raven”.

This brings us to the early period of many of the giants of the middle and later nineteenth century. Several of Dickens’ novels, especially David Copperfield, should be read, while selected poems of Tennyson, Browning, Mrs. Browning, Longfellow, Bryant, Lanier, Lowell, Holmes, Whittier, Emerson, Matthew Arnold, Walt Whitman, and Swinburne will bring rich rewards. Hawthorne should be read extensively, and of Herman Melville at least Moby-Dick deserves a hearing. Selected essays of Emerson are refreshing and indispensable, as are the Walden and Cape Cod of his independent fellow-Concordite Thoreau. Lowell’s select essays are as important as his poems, while Holmes’ Autocrat of the Breakfast Table and its successors form a perennial delight. The Way of All Flesh, by the later Samuel Butler, is probably the greatest exposé of domestic

sentimentality in all literature. Include Alice in Wonderland as a typical specimen of whimsical humour. As the nineteenth century advances we encounter Mark Twain, whose leading works are fruitful, and George Meredith, a psychological novelist whose Egoist and Diana of the Crossways wear well with the years. Then comes the potent and tragic Thomas Hardy, a growth of the soil who should be judged by such solid masterpieces as Under the Greenwood Tree and The Return of the Native, or by his poems, rather than by his sentimental and melodramatic Tess of the d’Urbervilles or Jude the Obscure. Oscar Wilde is best represented by the inimitable light comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, the tragedy Salome, the tenuously delightful fairy tales, and the poignant Ballad of Reading Gaol. Another writer of the late nineteenth-century aesthetic movement is Walter Pater with his Marius the Epicurean—a delicate study of the psychology of the later ancient world. With the nineties comes the late Rudyard Kipling, a fair representation of whose tales and poems are still capable of giving pleasure. The novelist Henry James, with his complex and over-mannered style, runs on into the twentieth century. Read his Daisy Miller and The American.

The great foreign authors of the nineteenth century begin with Goethe and his Faust—Bayard Taylor’s translation of which is excellent. Other important German products are the essays of Schopenhauer, the philosophic treatises of Nietzsche, and the glamorous poetry of Heinrich Heine. Turning to France, Balzac’s stupendous Human Comedy should gradually be read entire, for it is perhaps the most faithful and living portrait of mankind ever painted. Begin with The Wild Ass’s Skin and Pere Goriot, and see that Cesar Birotteau and Eugenie Grandet are early items. Dumas is not so important, but The Three Musketeers and Count of Monte Cristo may please. Be sure to read at least a few translations form that exquisite stylist Theophile Gautier, and do not miss the Salammbo (a stirring tale of ancient Carthage), Temptation of St. Anthony (rich in prose-poetry), and Madame Bovary (early psychological realism) of his pupil Flaubert. Of Flaubert’s pupil de Maupassant read as much as possible—for his stories are the classic models of psychological penetration, intelligent objectivity, and effective handling. Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Toilers of the Sea, and Notre Dame de Paris are stirring and unforgettable. The Rouge et Noir of Stendhal is a curious foretaste of modernism, while Emile Zola (L’Assomoir, etc.) is the father of modern realism. In French poetry the supreme giant is Charles Pierre Baudelaire, that dark genius whose work is best sampled through the selected translation in the Modern Library. Mallarme, Verlaine, and Rimbaud likewise hold a peculiar charm.

In nineteenth-century Scandinavian literature the plays of Ibsen stand almost unrivalled. Begin with A Doll’s House, Ghosts, Rosmersholm, or Brand, and read as many as you like—not forgetting the curious Peer Gynt. Strindberg is another powerful dramatist.

The Russian literature of the nineteenth century includes some of the most poignantly powerful fiction ever written, but sometimes seems remote and alien to us because of its close involvement with the subtleties of the Slavic temperament. Forget the occasional touches which sound mawkish, hysterical, and oversubtilised to western ears, and try to appreciate the psychological power and ruthless emotional portrayal. Turgeniev’s Virgin Soil and Fathers and Sons have great charm despite some overcolouring and artificial contrasts. Chekhov’s short stories are vigorous, while Tolstoi’s novels War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Kreutzer Sonata, and others go deep into human emotions. Greatest of all the Russians, however, is Dostoyevsky, with his grim and tense novels Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Possessed, and The Brothers Karamazov. No one except Shakespeare can excel him in driving force of fancy and emotion.

Crossing into the present century, we are confronted by a flood of books and authors whose relative merits are still undetermined, and from among which we may only make certain tentative choices. English literature gives us Galsworthy’s magnificent Forsyte Saga, Conrad’s novels of the sea (read Lord Jim and others), Arnold Bennett’s Old Wives’ Tale, D. H. Lawrence’s morbidly emotional novels (Women in Love, Sons and Lovers, etc.), W. Somerset Maugham’s of Human Bondage, H. G. Wells’s serious novels and treatises, Aldous Huxley’s disillusioned and prophetic analyses (read Brave New World and Eyeless in Gaza), William McFee’s Casuals of the Sea, the incandescent satirical plays of George Bernard Shaw, the biographies of Lytton Strachey, and the vital poems of John Masefield, A. E. Housman, Rupert Brooke, Walter de la Mare, Robert Bridges, and T. S. Eliot. Ireland glows with the lustre of two successive reviv-als—the earlier giving us W. B. Yeats, today perhaps the greatest living poet, the dramatist Synge (Riders to the Sea, The Playboy of the Western World), and the preeminent fantaisiste Lord Dunsany (A Dreamer’s Tales, Plays of Gods and Men); and the latter intense realists like James Joyce (Ulysses is important but difficult), Sean O’Casey, and Sean O’Faolain. In America Frank Norris (McTeague, The Pit) and Theodore Dreiser (Sister Carrie, The Titan, An American Tragedy) open up a notable line of novelists including Edith Wharton (Ethan Frome), Willa S. Cather (Death Comes for the Archbishop), Sinclair Lewis (Arrowsmith, Dodsworth, etc.), James Branch Cabell (The Cream of the Jest, etc.), Ben Hecht (Erik Dorn—the first full-length study of the modern temper), Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms), William Faulkner (Sanctuary), and Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel). Poetry has produced Robert Frost, Edgar Lee Masters, Carl Sandburg, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Archibald MacLeish. All of these are worth exploring.

Modern France boasts the philosophical essayist Remy de Gourmont (read A Night in the Luxembourg), who breaks down dozens of nineteenth-century attitudes; the incomparable classical satirist Anatole France, whose Penguin Island purges and delights the soul, and the monumental novelists Marcel Proust (read his Swann’s Way and Within a Budding Grove), Romain Rolland (Jean Christophe is the foremost philosophical novel of modern times), and Jules Romains (Men of Good Will).

Germany has exiled her greatest modern novelist Thomas Mann, whose Buddenbrooks and The Magic Mountain are landmarks. Other important German moderns are the dramatist Gerhard Hauptmann (The Sunken Bell) and the novelist Hermann Suderman (The Song of Songs, Dame Care).

The Spanish Ibanez (The Cathedral), the Italian D’Annunzio (The Flame of Life), the Swedish Selma Lagerlof (Gosta Berling), and the Norwegian Sigrid Undset (Kristin Lavransdatter—an important study in mediaeval life) seem assured of a permanent place in literature, while in Russia Andreyev (The Red Laugh, The Seven Who Were Hanged), Artzibasheff (Sanine) , and Gorki (Foma Gordyeff, The Lower Depths, Chelkash) have vigorously carried the tradition of deep psychological insight and savage, ruthless realism down to the present time.

But these are merely suggestions—which, incidentally, purposely omit most ultramodern experimental material, especially in the field of verse. You aren’t forced to read half or a quarter or a tenth of these things. Very few professors of literature have read within twenty or a dozen of the various titles mentioned, to say nothing of those not mentioned. This is merely a rich feast from which you can pick and choose. Nor are you debarred from reading any amount of reasonably good material of a vastly lesser grade.

The whimsical trifles of J. M. Barrie, the sociological strainings of Upton Sinclair, the historical and fantastic imaginings of Bulwer-Lytton, the perfumed posturings of Maeterlinck, the urbane preciosities of George Moore, the poems and tales of William Morris, the supernatural romancings of Mrs. Radcliffe, M. G. Lewis, C. R. Maturin, Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, M. P. Shiel, M. R. James, and Walter de la Mare, the scientific fantasies of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, S. Fowler Wright, and W. Olaf Stapledon, the Victorian imaginings of George Eliot, the Westernisms of Bret Harte, and thousands of other well-written items await the restless browser. The only important thing is to keep away from cheap magazine junk and popular best sellers of the flimsical grade. The better sort of detective stories are far from contemptible—those of A. Conan Doyle, G. K. Chesterton, S. S. van Dine, and others being something like folk classics in their limited way. Don’t feel constrained, but follow your own inclinations to a great extent.

Take your literature in mild doses, and don’t overdo the poetic side if it is slow to appeal to you. Poetic appreciation sometimes comes quicker through a skimming of anthologies like Palgrave’s Golden Treasury or the Oxford Book of English Verse than through the intensive reading of individual bards. If you feel moved to do some writing yourself, get the best manuals. Kellogg’s and W. F. Webster’s works on composition are excellent (but look up others at the library or in bookshops), and for the budding poet Brander Matthews’ A Study of Versification and Gummere’s Handbook of Poetics cannot be excelled. Always fortify yourself with a good dictionary (Webster’s, Standard, Oxford, Century), a Roget’s Thesaurus, a Walker’s Rhyming Dictionary, a Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, a Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, a Crabb’s English Synonyms, a good Encyclopaedia (Britannica, Chambers’, Nelson’s, International), a modern atlas, Harper’s Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities, and such other reference works as may prove convenient. If it is not practicable to have these at home, consult them when necessary at the library.

In your survey of literature as a whole, you will often be helped by some of the many excellent books on the history of the subject, which link authors and periods in a dramatic and enlightening way, or reflect the psychology of particular ages. Get books like the following at the library, and scan the shelves and card catalogues for others of the same general sort:


Macy—Story of the World’s Literature

Quackenbos—Ancient Literature, Oriental and Classical

Jebb—Primer of Greek Literature

Miller and Kuhns—Studies in the Poetry of Italy

Taffie—History of English Literature

Beers—Chaucer to Tennyson

Shaw—Complete Manual of English Literature

Backus and Brown—The Great English Writers

Baldwin—Mediaeval Rhetoric and Poetic

Whipple—Literature of the Age of Elizabeth

Clark—The Seventeenth Century

Minto—Literature of the Georgian Era

Stedman—Victorian Poets

Stedman—Poets of America

Payne—History of American Literature

Boynton—American Literature

Trent and Wells—Pioneer, Colonial, and Revolutionary (Am.) Literature (3 vols.)

Wilkinson—Classic French Course in English

Wilkinson—Classic German Course in English


Finally, books of criticism help to perfect one’s taste and appreciation. Read H. L. Mencken’s Prejudices, Arthur Symons’ The Symbolist Movement in Literature, Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy, Bennett’s Literary Taste—How to Form It, Bushnell’s Historic Background of English Literature, Cross’s Development of the English Novel, Shipley’s Quest for Literature, Untermeyer’s Forms of Poetry, Wilkinson’s Contemporary Poetry, Parrington’s Romantic Revolution in America, Foerster’s Chief American Prose Writers, W. C. Brownell’s various volumes, Lowell’s My Study Windows, and other items of the sort discoverable at the library. An excellent encyclopaedia covering this ground is Moulton’s Library of Literary Criticism.

Devotees of the drama will find many volumes especially suited to them. Virtually all the major current plays are easily accessible in book form, while excellent dramatic histories are available. Read Quinn’s The American Drama (1934-7), Nicoll’s The British Drama (1933), Dickinson’s Contemporary Drama in England (1933), and Smith’s volumes on Philosophic Drama, Romantic Drama, and Social Comedy (1928). Collections of recent plays are Mantle’s Best Plays of 1919 to Date, Watson and Pressey’s Contemporary Drama Series, Scribner’s series of American, English and Irish, and European plays (1931-2), and George Pierce Baker’s Modern American Plays (1920).

Another phase worth attention is language itself—the study of English words and idioms. Read Trench’s old-time classic On the Study of Words, and follow it up with more modern works as Lounsbury’s History of the English Language, L. P. Smith’s English Language, Mencken’s American Language, and Barfield’s History in English Words. One may add that it is advisable to read as many standard works on rhetoric and English usage as one can find time to assimilate, since useful precepts and pointers, some of which may be new to any given reader, are widely scattered through all of them.

But much more important reading is of course outside the field of pure literature. History, science, and art all call for attention. In history we must necessarily be superficial and one-sided. It is enough to have a rough outline knowledge of the history of all lands and ages, and then to specialise in the especial main stream—Greece, Rome, France, England, and America—most directly affecting ourselves. As we approach the present our need for detail increases.

For general history read the latest edition of Wells’s splendid and intelligent Outline. Cover Greece and Rome with West’s or Myers’ Ancient History, supplementing this superficial study with books like Mahaffy’s Survey of Greek Civilisation, Wilkins’ Roman Antiquities, Pellison’s Roman Life in Pliny’s Time, and Osborn’s Heritage of Greece and Legacy of Rome. For fuller material read William Smith’s History of Greece, Liddell’s History of Rome, and Smith’s Student’s Gibbon. For a simpler and more elementary survey, try Barnes’ A Brief History of Ancient Peoples. Going toward the present, Myers’ Mediaeval and Modern History is excellent, though Barnes’ Brief History of Mediaeval and Modern Peoples is shorter and easier. Supplement these with something like Os-born’s The Middle Ages. The Barnes Brief History of France, Harpers’ Student’s History of France, and the more recent Bainville’s History of France are all useful—the first-named being simplest. In this age of world upheavals, special readings in the history of the affected regions—Spain, Russia, Germany, and so on—may well be arranged. Historic accounts of specific events like the World War or Russian Revolution are likewise valuable. For England a good elementary text-book is Montgomery’s English History. Lamed’s History of England is also excellent. But our Mother Country deserves a closer study, so one ought eventually to go through J. R. Green’s ample History of the English People. Historical novels—of which a limitless number exist—and books of English travel and folklore help to make the ancestral land live before our eyes. A good assortment may be unearthed at almost any library. For American history begin with a school text-book like Montgomery’s or Muzzey’s. Later advance to a scientific and unprejudiced book like James Truslow Adams’ Epic of America. Follow this with more detailed books on the different historic periods—like those in the Chronicles of America series—and wind up with a reading of volumes on the folklore, traditions, antiquities, and social trends of the United States. Try George Cary Eggleston’s Our First Century and Life in the Eighteenth Century, Watson’s Men and Times of the Revolution, Scudder’s Men and Manners in America a Hundred Years Ago, Skinner’s Myths and Legends of Our Own Land, Drake’s Nooks and Corners of the New England Coast, Eberlein’s Architecture of Colonial America, Singleton’s Furniture of Our Forefathers, Dyer’s Early American Craftsmen, and kindred things. Read still more intensively on the history, folklore, and antiquities of your own state and general region. And do not omit Turner’s famous Frontier in American History (1921). Finally, give the neighbouring regions of Canada and Latin-America at least a cursory survey. Special books on historic wars and crises are often important, and the reviews should be watched for accounts of new ones. Nowadays we may read of the Revolution, the War between the States, and other debatable questions with infinitely less prejudice and inaccuracy than we could a generation or more ago. Read Andrews’ Colonial Background of the American Revolution (1924), Van Tyne’s Causes of the War for Independence (1922), and Beard’s Rise of American Civilisation (1927), Economic Interpretation of the Constitution (1913), and Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy. Before concluding our survey of this field let us not forget that we have some magnificent historical novels such as Elizabeth Maddox Roberts’ The Great Meadow.

Biography is a special form of history extremely fascinating to many. Read Plutarch’s Lives, and 12 to 20 representative original biographies of world figures like Socrates, Alexander, Aristotle, Caesar, Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Voltaire, and Napoleon. Be sure you have not skipped Boswell’s Johnson, the greatest of all. Investigate the work of Lytton Strachey, Andre Maurois, Emil Ludwig, and Stefan Zweig. Look up still other eminent lives in a first-class encyclopaedia, and do not forget the great autobiographies—factual or spiritual—such as The Education of Henry Adams.

Read a book or two on archaeology, like Magoffin’s Magic Spades, Woolley’s Digging Up the Past (1933), or Casson’s Progress of Archaeology (1934). And do not neglect mythology and folklore. You will be fascinated by Bulfinch’s Age of Fable and his kindred books on non-classical mythology—all bound together in the “Modem Library” volume. Read John Fiske’s Myths and Myth-Makers, Baring-Gould’s Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Sir Walter Scott’s Demonology and Witchcraft,” and the curious books of the Rev. Montague Summers on dark superstitions. For a thrilling and shuddersome background of a sinister belief read Prof. Margaret A. Murray’s Witch-Cult in Western Europe. An abridgment of Frazer’s Golden Bough is valuable as a compendium of odd folk-beliefs, though this encroaches somewhat on the special field of scientific anthropology.

Now turn to the all-important sciences—in which we must, because of the swift march of discovery, seek the latest authorities possible. A good general survey can be obtained from J. Arthur Thomson’s four-volume Outline of Science, published a few years ago, though this has its weak and now obsolescent points. Another appropriate study at this stage would be mathematics—the basic principles of form and quantity—but as laymen we may well omit this, or restrict it to a review of elementary algebra and plane geometry—the latter a very useful exercise in pure reasoning. Higgs’s Algebra Self-Taught and Wentworth’s Text-book of Geometry make an excellent team. In considering the individual sciences we should study the most inclusive and general ones first. Astronomy of course has the widest spread—and ultra-modern discovery has extended the area of that spread to dizzying and inconceivable figures. We should have the latest books for all points touching on the dimensions and nature of the larger universe, though older treatises will serve us well for the general facts of our solar system, and for those parts of the subject which deal merely with apparent aspects of the sky. For basic facts read Bartky’s High Lights of Astronomy (1936), Stokley’s Stars and Telescopes (1936), Moulton’s Consider the Heavens (1935), Baker’s Astronomy (1933), and Duncan’s Astronomy (1935). Some of the more spectacular aspects of the larger universe are hinted by Eddington’s Nature of the Physical World (1928) and Jeans’s Universe Around Us (1933) and Through Space and Time (1934). For amateurs interested in local and traditional aspects of astronomy—constellation study, low-power celestial observation, etc.—Serviss’s Astronomy with the Naked Eye, Astronomy with an Opera Glass, and Pleasures of the Telescope are recommended. An excellent all-around standby is Newcomb’s Astronomy for Everybody. The best contemporary star-atlas is Upton’s, but a quicker working knowledge of the constellations can be obtained by the use of a small revolving planisphere, such as is sold for a quarter at the new Hayden Planetarium in New York.

Physics—the science of matter and its nature and properties—is another subject needing the latest data for its theory-hedged frontier of rays, electrons, neutrons, and quanta, but ably served by older books so far as the surface aspects of its rudiments are concerned. Begin with a popular text-book like Brownell’s First Course in Physics (1930), or the earlier manuals of Higgins, Sears, or Avery. Even the antediluvian Steele’s Fourteen Weeks in Physics and prehistoric Ganot’s book have their uses in teaching the beginner the first principles of mechanics, optics, acoustics, and so on. All too soon, however, we outgrow such whiskered reliques, and come to require things like Swann’s Architecture of the Universe (1934), Darwin’s New Conceptions of Matter (1934), Jeans’s New Background of Science (1933), Reichenbech’s Atom and Cosmos (1932), and Infeld’s World in Modern Science (1934) . . . works already half-outmoded by new concepts and data. Gone is the comfortably static scholarship of yesteryear! The inventive and industrial aspects of modern physics—radio, television, electric eye, and so on—belong more to technology than to the pure science.

Chemistry can scarcely be told from physics in its modern advanced aspects, but its less attenuated side remains differentiated as before as the science of atomic combination. Here once more we need new books for the tenuous fringe, while old ones will do for the practical rudiments. For a sound elementary introduction read Steele’s ancient Fourteen Weeks in Chemistry, Hessler’s First Year of Chemistry (1931), or Godfrey’s Elementary Chemistry. Ampler standard works are Remsen’s Inorganic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. Beginners who acquire laboratory materials and indulge in actual experiments will appreciate Appleton’s Young Chemist, Easy Experiments of Organic Chemistry, and (if graduating to more advanced fields) Qualitative Analysis and Quantitative Analysis. More modern and specialised aspects are presented in Foster’s Romance of Chemistry (1927), Slosson’s Creative Chemistry, Findlay’s Spirit of Chemistry (1934), Howe’s Chemistry in Industry, and Stieglitz’s Chemistry in Medicine. Veering sharply away from the modern angle, Johnston’s venerable and out-of-print Chemistry of Common Life still holds its fascination for anyone lucky enough to encounter it.

Narrowing down to the earth, an old-fashioned but not seriously misleading introduction to geology still unsurpassed for beginners is Geikie’s old Geology Primer. Another peculiarly congenial veteran is Winchell’s Walks and Talks in the Geological Field—once a fixture in Chautauqua courses. The present age affords such excellent manuals as Longwell’s Foundations of Geology (1930), Norton’s Elements of Geology (1929), and Miller’s Introduction to Geology (1928). In the special department of mineralogy many popular text-books exist, the best of which are perhaps those furnished by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Palaeontology, the science of fossil life-forms, belongs as much to biology as to geology, though usually coupled with the latter. Here again the best brochures and manuals can be obtained from the American Museum. Physiography or physical geography grows out of geology but is really separate from it—being the science of land and water, erosion, climate, ocean currents, weathering, and so on. Obviously, this subject does not demand as much modernity as other scientific fields. Geikie’s Physical Geography and Davis’ Elementary Physical Geography are as attractive and reliable as ever, though the modernist might prefer Dryer’s Lessons in Physical Geography (1927). A subdivision of this science is meteorology—the study of the weather—which one may approach very fascinatingly though Chambers’ Story of the Weather. Much lies behind the daily forecasts of our government observers. In connexion with physiography some random reading of general geography and travel material would be appropriate. Books on the subject are innumerable. Prefer volumes which deal with interesting expeditions or which have literary value. Try Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast, Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle, William. Beebe’s Arcturus Adventure, or Sven Hedin’s books of explorations in the mysterious Gobi.

We now reach that special form of physical organisation called living matter, thereby entering the domain of biology. This is one of the sciences with a bewilderingly forward-moving frontier, but at the moment the admirable and comprehensive Science of Life by H. G. Wells and Prof. Julian Huxley (1929) is the finest conceivable introduction for laymen. This lucid exposition goes into ramifications beyond the field of sheer general biology, but the extensions are welcome rather than otherwise. It gives the novice the clearest possible idea of life and vital structure as a whole, explaining many seemingly hard points with a genius-born aptness. More formal text-books are Cole’s Introduction to Biology (1933) and Moon’s Biology for Beginners (1933). The special science of vegetable life is not among the swiftest changers, so that Hooker’s aged Botany Primer still forms a good easy introduction. Bergen’s Introduction to Botany is another reliable standby. One may, however, be assured of modernity by choosing Campbell’s General Elementary Botany revised to 1930. Holman’s Elements come all the way up to 1933. Those caring to follow botany into the special field of agriculture may profitably read Robbins’ Agriculture for High Schools (1928). The science of the animal world—except on its theoretical frontiers—will also admit of books written day before yesterday. Steele’s old Fourteen Weeks in Zoology is an easy start, and not at all misleading, though one might feel safer with Dakin’s Elements of General Zoology (1927) and Newman’s Outlines of General Zoology. Special fields are covered by such books as Blanchan’s Birds Worth Knowing (1917), Shoffner’s Bird Book (1929), Weed’s Butterflies Worth Knowing (1917), Seton’s Animals Worth Knowing (1926), and Shimer’s Introduction to the Study of Fossils (1914). Wood’s amiably unscientific Natural History still delights the young, and probably conveys far more useful information than wrong impressions. Of books treating solely of the evolution of animal forms, Darwin’s epoch-making Origin of Species and Descent of Man are both pleasantly readable. Haeckel’s Evolution of Man is technical but simple and clear. In passing, one must pay a special tribute to the useful little books with colour plates issued by the Whitman Publishing Co. of Racine, Wis., and vended very reasonably at the late Frank Winfield Woolworth’s widely scattered emporia—the Red, Green, and Blue Bird Books of America, Butterflies and Moths of America, Wild Flowers of America, and Trees of North America.’9 These small brochures, with their clear and descriptive text, do much toward helping one to identify the flora and aerial fauna of the surrounding landscape.

Working around to what the late B. L. T. described as the so-called human race, we find Vernon Kellogg’s Human Life as the Biologist Sees It (1922) and J. Arthur Thomson’s What Is Man? (1924) to be interesting basic treatises. The best popular introduction to anatomy and physiology is Dr. Logan Clendening’s The Human Body, though the Wells-Huxley Science of Life also extends into this field. Insisters on the academic may turn to Kimber’s Text Book of Anatomy and Physiology (1930). A splendid auxiliary to anatomical study is the Atlas of Human Anatomy by Frohse and Broedel, now just on the market in a popular-priced edition (paper $1.25; cloth $2.00) and sold by Barnes and Noble, 105 Fifth Ave., New York City. As we enter the realm of psychology—instincts, emotion, intellect—we find a vociferous multiplicity of rival theories and satellitic charlatanries baying and snapping at our heels, but with care we may pick a sanely conservative course through this tentative and undeveloped science. We soon learn that the major part of the science has nothing to do with sensational “complexes”, “inhibitions”, “wish-fulfilments”, or “subconscious will-power”, but deals with the very exact and prosaic business of testing and measuring obscure mental reactions and investigating delicate nervous coordinations and aptitudes. The most representative elementary text-books are Warren and Carmichael’s Introduction to Psychology (1930), Woodworth’s Psychology (1934), Moss’s Comparative Psychology (including lower animals, 1934), and Murphy’s History and Introduction to Psychology (1929). A more popular sort of treatise is represented by Dr. Dorsey’s Why We Behave Like Human Beings—a best-seller of 1925—and by the various volumes of H. A. Overstreet. In the highly unsettled and controversy-ridden field of Freudian and behaviouristic theory, several works may interest the layman. Freud’s own General Introduction to Psycho-Analysis and The Interpretation of Dreams are not unreadable, but the popular manuals by Andre Tridon, Barbara Low, Isidor Coriat, and William J. Fielding are easier to grasp and digest. Dr. John B. Watson’s Behaviourism presents the case for that extravagant but perhaps truth-containing system, while Dr. Louis Berman’s Glands Regulating Personality tells how the functioning of the ductless glands determines emotional and mental attitudes as well as regulating many physical characteristics. Another class of books, whose interest is mainly professional, is that dealing with psychiatry, or the measurement of intelligence.

When we begin to consider man in the mass, we find ourselves speculating on the precise way he developed from the lower primates, the reasons why he separated into so many races, the relationship he bears to the various brutish sub-human species whose fossil skulls and bones are found in different parts of the world, the stages he traversed in achieving connected thought, speech, and the use of artifacts, the causes for his existing beliefs, customs, likes, and dislikes, the course of his migrations, clashes, and mixtures before the dawn of history, the principles covering his organisation into groups, the laws by which resources are distributed within these groups, and the manner in which he strikes a balance between individual and collective wishes and needs, and maps out an orderly and mutually helpful path for the multitudinous members of his group. Hence the related and sometimes overlapping fields of research called ethnology, anthropology, sociology, economics, and civics; all of them turbulent areas of dispute.

Regarding biological ethnology or physical anthropology (also called somatology)—the development and great divisions of sub-men and true men—we require the absolutely latest books because of the rapid growth of discovery. Every few years a newly excavated primitive skull or correlation of results forces us to change our opinions about man and his subdivisions and relatives. Probably most of the sub-human bones found in ancient strata are not directly ancestral to man, though the Pekin skull discovered in 1931 may be. These lower species were blind alleys of evolution, and the history of surviving races is still obscure. Most believe that all human races have a remote common ancestor within the definite limits of humanity, but Sir Arthur Keith is beginning to dispute this. It is likewise disputed whether the different branches of human civilisation arose independently, or whether all came originally from some common source, probably in Asia. For speculation on these points, and deductions as to the relationships of all the primitive and non-primitive man-like stocks, the best simple books to consult are the latest publications of the American Museum of Natural History. Going beyond these, we should look for the latest volumes by the world’s leading authorities—Prof. G. Elliot Smith, Prof. Marcelin Boule, Sir Arthur Keith, Dr. W. K. Gregory, Dr. Arthur Smith Woodward, Dr. Eugene Dubois, Prof. R. S. Lull, J. Deniker, Dr. Ales Hrdlika, or Sir H. H. Johnston.

General anthropology—the study of primitive thought and customs, and of the evolution of racial beliefs, social institutions, and folkways—demands less modernity that ethnology, although new discoveries and interpretations do steadily occur. Kroeber’s Anthropology (1923) or Lowie’s Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (1934) forms a good introduction, but many of the older classics like Tylor’s Primitive Culture and Early History of Mankind, or Lubbock’s Prehistoric Times, are well worth reading. Sir James G. Frazer in The Golden Bough has presented the most extensive of all records of tribal beliefs and magical rites (an abridged edition is available), while recent notable researches in special fields are Westermarck’s History of Human Marriage and Briffault’s monumental study in matriarchy—The Mothers. When anthropology touches high evolved civilisations it becomes sociology, and concerns itself with conditions of life, principles of organisation, and economic and political factors. A good basic work on this phase is Prof. Lester Ward’s famous Outlines of Sociology (1907), though moderns might look askance at its age. Bogardus’ Introduction to Sociology (1931), Ross’s Principles of Sociology (1930), Hiller’s Principles of Sociology (1933), and Wallis and Willey’s Readings in Sociology are more comfortably contemporaneous. Other not too specialised or advanced treatises are Lynd’s Middletown (study of a typical small American city-1929), W. G. Sumner’s Folkways (1913), W. F. Ogbum’s Social Change (1923), Burgess’ Urban Community (1926) and Personality and the Social Group (1929), Brown’s Social Psychology (1934), and Elliott and Merrill’s Social Disorganisation (1934).

When we reach the stage of economics, the real controversial tornado begins, for here is where greed and conservation clash with certain unmistakable indications. The best popular summary is H. G. Wells’s lucid though perhaps opinionated Work, Wealth, and Happiness of Mankind (1931), which completes a trilogy with his Outline of History and Science of Life. More cautious and academic are Taussig’s Principles of Economics (1925), Garver and Hansen’s Principles of Economics (1928), Fairchild, Furniss, and Buck’s Elementary Economics (1932), and Slichter’s Modern Economic Society (1928). Books which look forward either cautiously or radically are G. D. H. Cole’s Guide Through World Chaos (1932), Wallace’s New Frontiers (1934), Beard and Smith’s The Future Comes (1933), Tugwell’s The Industrial Discipline (1933), and John Strachey’s Coming Struggle for Power and Nature of Capitalist Crisis (1935). Marx’s Das Kapital ought to be read in some abridgment, and Adam Smith’s eighteenth-century Wealth of Nations, the Bible of rugged individualists, has great historic value as a landmark. At the present moment, as the failure of orthodox capitalism to decrease unemployment and the concentration of wealth in a mechanised civilisation becomes increasingly manifest, we must beware of the irresponsible pamphleteering practiced on both sides of the growing breach between conservative “haves” and radical “have-nots”. Facts are distorted amidst the tension, and statements and inferences tend to become emotional and undependable. Orthodox Marxism is certainly a grotesque exaggeration of the truth, though orthodox capitalistic laissez-faire can scarcely be less fantastic in the light of present and future conditions.

Getting to the province of civics or political science, we find the tension and confusion still greater. Bewildered as to goals, methods, and conditions, men ask whether economic and social equilibrium can ever be reached without communism on the one hand or fascism on the other, and Continental Europe gives no encouraging reply. Caution and impersonality in choosing authorities are thus imperative for every reader in the field of civics. Haines’s Principles and Problems of Government (1934) makes a good beginning, as would also Finer’s Theory and Practice of Modern Government (1931). For the local American angle read Bryce’s classic American Commonwealth and Modern Democracies (1921), Beard’s American Government and Politics, Odegard’s American Public Mind (1930), and Holcombe’s State Government in the United States. For Europe read Ogg’s European Governments and Politics (1934), Lengyel’s New Deal in Europe (1934), Laski’s Politics (1931) and Problems of Peace (1932), and Ilin’s New Russia Primer. Special studies in the politics of each of the great nations can easily be discovered at a good library.

Closely attached to sociology and civics is the subject of education; for without intelligent training in facts, skills, taste, judgment, traditions, values, courage, independence, originality, and social responsibility no competent citizenry can ever be developed. A stimulating book in this field is Herbert Spencer’s Education, which presents certain general principles and values with clearness and vigour. Rousseau’s Emile—in the form of a rather sentimental novel—is really a thinly disguised educational treatise of considerable historical interest. Among concrete and practical modern treatises may be mentioned Curoe’s Principles of Education (1924), Averill’s Elements of Educational Psychology (1924), and Cameron’s Educational Psychology (1927). Naturally, an abundance of technical and specialised works exist for the professional teacher.

It is now time to look back over what we have read, and see if we can trace amidst the human animal’s turbulent emotions, contradictory ideas, confused and shifting aspirations, perpetual hostilities, divided and irreconcilable goals, irrational likes and dislikes, tenacious ignorance and delusions, and generally feverish and bewildered activities any signs of a unity or dominant direction which could justify the concept of a fairly stable set of proximate values, or an approach to the idea of a kind of relative meaning, in the general phenomena of life and social relationships on our planet. In other words, we have arrived at the consideration of philosophy. Of all popular manuals to help us understand the endlessly complex, attenuated, and bitterly partisan speculations which have raged around these problems of reality, value, and meaning since the earliest ages of Greece, the best and clearest is undoubtedly Will Durant’s well-known Story of Philosophy. It has certain obvious faults and limitations, and makes too many concessions to common bourgeois optimism; but despite all this it presents the principal types and traditions of speculation about ultimate goals, standards, and entity far better than any other book of equal scope. Probably it will lead many readers to study more deeply, and devour at first hand the writings of the great thinkers whose mental battles are related—Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Spinoza, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Santayana, Dewey, Bertrand Russell, and all the rest. It will in any case help you to comprehend the vast differences between various streams of thought—rational, practical, or mystical—which are irreconcilable because based on fundamentally different kinds of personality. By learning how others are divided you will come to know where you stand yourself. A short reading course can hardly include the writings of older philosophers, but the simpler works of a few acute contemporaries are worth individual attention. Read Bertrand Russell’s Philosophy (1927) and Sceptical Essays (1928). Santayana’s Winds of Doctrine (1913) and Character and Opinion in the United States (1920) are also of basic importance—and of a gracefulness which will not disappoint admiring readers of his recent first novel, The Last Puritan. Reason and Nature, by Prof. Morris Cohen, is highly intelligent and unbiassed. The increasing drift in the United States to the pragmatic instrumentalism of Professor John Dewey—who has taken over and enlarged on the strongest points of the late popular William James without adopting the latter’s inconsistencies and bourgeois concessions—makes it wise to glance at his most typical works. Try Human Nature and Conduct and Art as Experience (1934). The former can be purchased in the Modern Library.

As an example of the opposite school which believes that current knowledge of man and the universe has stripped life of its basic traditional values and rendered most of our familiar emotions (especially that of tragedy) largely meaningless, read Joseph Wood Krutch’s The Modern Temper. Mr. Krutch believes that existence has been hopelessly impoverished by progress and disillusionment, and adopts a highly pessimistic tone. Another really savage pessimist is the eminent anthropologist Robert Briffault, whose Breakdown makes exciting reading. Mr. Briffault’s pessimism, however, covers only our existing culture; and he believes that man can become emotionally regenerated and restored to purposeful living by turning to the fresh ideals and way of life of Marxian communism.

In connexion with philosophy a work of two on formal logic would not be amiss—Jevons’ Elements being particularly good.

There now remain for our notice those fields of taste and human expression not included in literature—the various arts whose modes of conveyance are other than written or spoken words. Before getting to the more recognised ones we ought to consider for a moment a vastly broader field in which the artistic principle vies potently with the utilitarian for dominance—the ancient and still poorly understood field of ethics. That as many factors of civilised human conduct are caused by a form of taste as are caused by utilitarian needs and social pressure, is scarcely to be doubted. It would be odd indeed if man’s ingrained craving for rhythm, harmony, form, and continuity did not affect his approach to personal behaviour as considerably as it affects his approach to craftsmanship, written expression, or graphic presentation; and in truth we find this basic aestheticism in all his acts, and all his preferences and opinions concerning his acts. Sociology and civics determine only a skeletonic portion of his total conduct—hence the logical recognition of a separate field of ethics among the arts. The soundest popular manual of modern ethics now available is Walter Lippmann’s admirable Preface to Morals. Also clear and illuminating is Prof. Irwin Edman’s The Contemporary and His Soul (1931). Prof. Edman may be recalled as one of the leaders of the late Neo-Humanist movement. John Dewey also approaches the moral field (which indeed lies on the borderline of philosophy) in his collaborated work on Ethics, of which a revised addition appeared in 1932.

Approaching the more formal arts, we should first consider the basic and generalised ones including architecture, decoration, the various handicrafts (pottery, silversmithing, carving, bookbinding, cabinet-making, and so on), and possibly some phases of scenery-appreciation. These, we may roughly say, involve the fundamental and more or less abstract aesthetics of form and colour without literal representation—though of course an extraneous associative element plays a great part in their practical application. We love a beautiful object not only because it embodies abstract harmony, but because it strikes some note of familiarity arousing a chain of pleasant memories or symbolism. Abstract beauty alone would not be sufficient to hold us—hence the tragic fallacy of functionally “modernistic” art, which reminds us of nothing, but leave us homesick, bewildered, and dissatisfied in the absence of landmarks.

We cannot expect to pursue all the individual handicrafts in our reading, for their number is of course legion. Indeed, the details of many belong more to the field of technology than to that of art. Of the various functional and decorative arts architecture is without question the most important. It is indeed one of the greatest of all the arts, being executed on such a scale and in such a manner as to dominate whole regions for vast spaces of time. It is likewise the earliest of the major arts to come to maturity in a growing civilisation. A good introductory volume to read is W. R. Lethaby’s Architecture in the Home University Library. Read also Rathbun’s Background to Architecture. For specific handbooks on some of the greatest phases of the art T. Roger Smith’s Classic Architecture and Architecture—Gothic and Renaissance, and Anderson, Spiers, and Dinsmoor’s Architecture of Ancient Greece may be recommended. Sir Arthur Evans’ Palace of Minos at Knossos deals with the author’s famous rediscovery early in the present century of a forgotten civilisation with a great architectural tradition. For Gothic architecture read Henry Adams’ Mont St. Michel and Chartres, and Victor Hugo’s novel Notre Dame de Paris—also the series of illustrated books on English Ca. thedrals published by George Bell and Sons of London. For the local scene Eberlein’s Architecture of Colonial America and Cheney’s New World Architecture (1930) are good. [Sturgis’s] Dictionary of Architecture and Building is at most libraries to help solve knotty problems.

Any library catalogue will suggest books on such individual decorative crafts as one may wish to study. W. C. Prime’s Pottery and Porcelain, Moore’s Old Glass, European and American, and Leitch’s Chinese Rugs form examples. Books on scenery and its appreciation are scarce to the vanishing point, but a great part of Ruskin’s Frondes Agrestes—a set of selections from his own monumental Modern Painters—amounts to just that. This little volume, though compiled in mid-Victorian times, is still delectable reading, and should not be missed. A book or two on the fascinating art of landscape gardening would suit many tastes—and it is curious to note that the older ones are generally the most delightful. Old Humphrey Repton’s Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening (1794), and Downing’s classic American work of the 1840’s—Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening—will repay anyone fortunate enough to encounter them.

We should give considerable time to the more specialised arts of graphic and plastic representation, since taste in these fields is of very great importance. Everyone should have a keen appreciation of drawing, painting, and sculpture, and reading should be supplemented by study of the actual objects (or such of them as are available) in galleries and museums, or through accurate pictorial reproductions. Books on painting and sculpture mean little except when read in conjunction with the objects or their reproductions. With such aid, however, descriptive and critical matter is of great educational value. Good preliminary books are Kenyon Cox’s Concerning Painting (1917) and The Classic Point of View (1911). For studying the great painters themselves, nothing can excel the series of brochures called Masters in Art, originally published as a magazine thirty years ago by Bates and Guild of Boston, and since issued in collected form. Each of these booklets is devoted to one artist, and contains ten excellent reproductions (unfortunately not in colour) of his best work, plus a portrait of him. In the letterpress is an ample biographical sketch, followed by a series of several critical estimates of the artist’s work, taken from the writings of the best authorities all over the world. Then follows a careful analysis of each reproduced picture; describing the subject, circumstances, and background of the work, indicating the colours, and adding critical notes to aid the learner in grasping all the nuances, details, and implications. The value of such a series—which covers most of the greater masters—is self-evident. It is, indeed, a liberal art education in itself. It is fortunately available in the art departments of most libraries, and isolated booklets occasionally turn up in second-hand bookshops and on remainder counters at grotesquely low prices. Lucky and alert purchasers are often able to form sizeable collections. Another excellent series of art book-lets—with small uncoloured pictures alone—is that published at sixpence each by Gowans and Gray in England. The advantage of these brochures is the great number of photographic reproductions—sixty in the Rembrandt book. The extremely useful Perry Pictures—uncoloured reproductions sold singly by the well-known Boston firm at a minimum price—should be largely represented in your collection. But get as many colour prints as you can. One excellent series is Masterpieces in Colour—thin books, each devoted to one artist and having several fine coloured reproductions of his chief works—published by Frederick A. Stokes Co. of New York. The letterpress consists of a life of the artist plus brief notes on each picture?)

A few books on the eccentric modern forms of painting now so frequently seen will prove value in understanding these manifestations. Read Thomas Craven’s Modern Art (1934), Morris Davidson’s Understanding Modern Art (1934), and Sheldon Cheney’s Primer of Modern Art. Readers desiring to take up graphic art for themselves may find many useful handbooks at the libraries. Here one may mention only a volume or two such as Norton’s Elementary Freehand Perspective, Lederer’s Drawing Made Easy, and Arthur L. Guptill’s encyclopaedic and prodigiously helpful Drawing with Pen and Ink, sold at $8.50 by the Pencil Points Press, 419 Fourth Ave., New York, N.Y. Volumes on sculpture are readily available—some leading treatises on the greatest periods of the art being Miss Richter’s Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks (1930), Tarbell’s History of Greek Art, Walters’ Art of the Romans, and Goodyear’s Roman and Mediaeval Art. Any good life of Michaelangelo perforce sheds light on the best of Renaissance sculpture—while many of the numbers in the Masters in Art series treat of sculptors. For general reference in the graphic art field, consult Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers at the library.

Music is a vast field whose surface reading can only scratch. Audition—apart from being an artist oneself—is everything; and he who would acquire, develop, or satisfy musical taste must arrange to hear the best selections rendered in the best manner, whether at concerts, on phonograph records, or over the radio. However, books may guide the beginner most usefully; speeding up his understanding of the art and of specific pieces, and helping him to judge of the “modernistic” changes which seem to be sweeping over it. We have not been a naturally musical race since Tudor and Jacobean times, but there are signs of a revival in the present century. Certainly, we should not allow any major art to remain a blind spot if we can help it. Useful introductory books are Thompson’s How to Understand Music (1935), Finney’s History of Music (1935), Moore’s Listening to Music (1932), McKinney and Anderson’s Discovering Music (1934), and Spaeth’s Art of Enjoying Music (1933). For the modern angle read Bauer’s Twentieth Century Music (1933), Cowell’s New Music Resources (1930), and John Tasker Howard’s Our American Music (1931). For operatic understanding and appreciation get the well-known Book of the Opera and its sequel, issued in one of the popular series of dollar reprints. And Isaacson’s Face to Face with the Great Musicians will furnish an agreeable biographical background.21 Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, consulted at the library, should help at times.

An outline of this kind cannot go beyond the arts and pure sciences into the prosaic yet absorbing and dramatic field of mechanised technology. However, for those who feel the fascination of a new age based on strange forces and methods, there are plenty of books to guide. One has only to ask at the library. Of greater cultural interest is the origin of the simple devices we have known for centuries—clocks, telescopes, barometers, and so on—and the story of these is well told in Beckmann’s classic History of Inventions.

Acquire as many books of the right sort as you can afford to house, for ownership means easy and repeated access and permanent usefulness. Don’t be a foppish hoarder of fine bindings and first editions. Get books for what’s in them, and be glad enough of that. Marvellous bargains can be found on the dime counters of second-hand shops, and a really good library can be picked up at surprisingly little cost. The one great trouble is housing when one’s quarters are limited; though by using many small book-cases—cheap sets of open shelves—in odd corners one can stow away a gratifying number of volumes. Don’t despise paper-bound books. Investigate the marvellously cheap pamphlets sold by the Haldemann-Julius Co. of Girard, Kansas, which include many of the most important classics, plus extremely clear outlines of scientific and other subjects prepared (and including the latest developments) by staff writers of the firm. For less humble items, read over the titles of well-known series like “Everyman’s Library”, “The Modern Library”, “The Home University Library”, and the various dollar reprints.

Have as good a supply of reference books as possible. If an unabridged dictionary is unfeasible, try something the size and grade of Webster’s Collegiate. Everything depends on a good encyclopaedia. Get an ancient set of the Britannica or Chambers’ (both obtainable cheaply) if you can’t afford a new one, and try the handy one-volume Modern Encyclopaedia (1934) for $1.98 to furnish the few contemporary references you’ll need. You can find Roget’s Thesaurus and Crabbe’s Synonyms among the dollar books, and Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations can be had for little more. Try for Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and get a small classical dictionary if Harper’s large one is out of reach. For ready contemporary facts about places, events, and institutions, get the World Almanac every two or three years. Very fair atlases can be obtained at Woolworth’s. Pick up all the second-hand books of rhetoric and text-books of history and science that you can find room for. You can never tell when they’ll come in handy for the solution of some debatable point. Some literary compendium like Chambers’ Cyclopaedia of English Literature is also good to have. Be on the lookout at second-hand shops for unusual things like the Dictionary of Classical Quotations.

But don’t be overawed by your own library, or discouraged by the number of books you ought to read. The preceding list is only to choose from at leisure—nobody is supposed to read it through. But never stop altogether.


Bibliographical Appendix


Adams, Henry. The Education of Henry Adams. Cambridge, MA: Riverside Press/Massachu-setts Historical Society, 1918.

——. Mont St. Michel and Chartres. Cambridge, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1913.

Adams, James Truslow. The Epic of America. Boston: Little, Brown, 1931.

Anderson, William J. R. Phene Spiers, and William Bell Dinsmoor. The Architecture of Ancient Greece: An Account of Its Historic Development. New York: Scribner’s, 1927.

Andrews, Charles M. The Colonial Background of the American Revolution. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1924.

Appleton, John Howard. Easy Experiments of Organic Chemistry for Students’ Laboratory Work. Providence: Snow & Farnham, 1898.

——. A Short Course in Qualitative Chemical Analysis. Philadelphia: Cowperthwait & Co., 1878.

——. A Short Course in Quantitative Chemical Analysis. Providence: E. L. Freeman, 1879. The Young Chemist. Providence: J. A. & R. A. Reid, 1876. [LL 36]

Arnold, Matthew. Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism. London: Smith, Elder, 1869.

Ashbrook, F. G. The Blue Book of Birds of America. Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing Co., 1931.

The Green Book of Birds of America. Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing Co., 1931.

——. The Red Book of Birds of America. Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing Co., 1931. Averill, Lawrence Augustus. Elements of Educational Psychology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1924.

Avery, Elroy McKendree. School Physics. New York: American Book Co.. 1895.

Backus, Truman J., and Helen Dawes Brown. The Great English Writers from Chaucer to George Eliot. New York: Sheldon & Co., 1889.

Bainville, Jacques. History of France. Tr. Alice Gauss and Christian Gauss. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1926.

Baker, George Pierce, ed. Modern American Plays. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Howe, 1920.

Baker, Robert H. Astronomy: An Introduction. New York: D. Van Nostrand & Co., 1930.

Baldwin, Charles Sears. Medieval Rhetoric and Poetic (to 1400). New York: Macmillan, 1928.

Barfield, Owen. History in English Words. Garden City, NY: George H. Doran, 1926.

Baring-Gould, S. Curious Myths of the Middle Ages. London: Rivingtons, 1866. [LL 66]

Bartky, Walter. Highlights of Astronomy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1935.

Bartlett, John. A Collection of Familiar Quotations. Cambridge: John Bartlett, 1855. (11th ed. 1937.) [LL 67]

Bauer, Marion. Twentieth Century Music: How It Developed, How to Listen to It. New York: Putnam, 1933.

Beard, Charles A. American Government and Politics. New York: Macmillan, 1910.

——. An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. New York: Mac- millan, 1935.

——. Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy. New York: Macmillan, 1915.

——, and Mary A. Beard. The Rise of American Civilization. New York: Macmillan, 1927.

——, and George H. E. Smith. The Future Comes: A Study of the New Deal. New York: Macmillan, 1933.

Beckmann, Johann. History of Inventions and Discoveries. Tr. William Johnston. London: J. Bell, 1797.3 vols.

Beebe, William. The Arcturus Adventure. New York: Putnam, 1926.

Beers, Henry A. From Chaucer to Tennyson. New York: Chautauqua Press, 1890.

Bennett, Arnold. Literary Taste: How to Form It. New York: George H. Doran Co., 1910.

Bergen, Joseph Young. Introduction to Botany. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1914.

Berman, Louis. The Glands Regulating Personality. New York: Macmillan, 1921.

Blanchan, Neltje. Birds Worth Knowing. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page, 1917.

Bogardus, Emory Stephen. Introduction to Sociology. Los Angeles: University of Southern California Press, 1917.

Boynton, Percy H. American Literature. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1923.

Brewer, Ebenezer Cobham. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. London: Cassell, 1870.

Briffault, Robert. Breakdown: The Collapse of Traditional Civilisation. New York: Brentano’s, 1932.

—— . The Mothers: A Matriarchal Theory of Social Origins. New York: Macmillan, 1927.

Brown, Laurence Guy. Social Psychology: The Nature of Human Nature. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1934.

Brownell, Herbert. A First Course in Physics. Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., 1929.

Bryan, Michael. A Biographical Dictionary of Painters and Engravers. London: Carpenter, 1816. 2 vols.

Bryce, James, Viscount. The American Commonwealth. New York: Macmillan, 1888. 3 vols. [LL 128]

——. Modern Democracies. New York: Macmillan, 1921.

Bulfinch, Thomas. The Age of Fable; or, The Beauties of Mythology. Boston: Sanborn, Carter& Bazin, 1855.

Burgess, Ernest Watson, ed. Personality and the Social Group. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1929.

——. The Urban Community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1926.

Bushnell, Nelson Sherwin. The Historical Background of English Literature. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1930.

Campbell, Elmer Grant. General Elementary Botany. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1929 (rev. ed. 1930).

Cameron, Edward Herbert. Educational Psychology. New York: Century Co., 1927.

Casson, Stanley. The Progress of Archaeology. London: George Bell & Sons, 1934.

Chambers, George F. The Story of the Weather. London: George Newnes, 1897. [LL 163]

Chambers, Robert, ed. Cyclopaedia of English Literature. Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, 1844. 2 vols. [LL 164]

Cheney, Sheldon. The New World Architecture. London: Longmans, Green, 1930.

——. A Primer of Modern Art. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1924.

Clark, Sir G. N. The Seventeenth Century. (Oxford History of English Literature.) Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1929.

Clendening, Logan. The Human Body. New York: Knopf, 1927.

Cohen, Morris. Reason and Nature. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1931.

Cole, Elbert Charles. An Introduction to Biology. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1933.

Cole, G. D. H. A Guide through World Chaos. New York: Knopf, 1932.

Coriat, Isidor. Abnormal Psychology. New York: Moffat, Yard, 1914.

Cowell, Henry. New Musical Resources. New York: Knopf, 1930.

Cox, Kenyon. The Classic Point of View: Six Lectures on Painting. New York: Scribner’s, 1911.

——. Concerning Painting: Considerations Theoretical and Historical. New York: Scribner’s, 1917.

Crabb, George. English Synonymes. London: Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 1816. [LL 201]

Craven, Thomas. Modern Art: The Men, the Movements, the Meaning. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1934.

Cross, Wilbur L. Development of the English Novel. New York: Macmillan, 1899.

Curoe, Philip Raphael V. Principles of Education. New York: Globe Book Co., 1926.

Dana, Richard Henry. Two Years Before the Mast: A Personal Narrative of Life at Sea. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1840.

Darwin, Charles. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. London: John Murray, 1871.

——. Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle. London: H. Colbum, 1839. [Later editions as The Voyage of the Beagle.]

——. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. London: John Murray, 1859.

Darwin, Charles Galton. The New Conceptions of Matter. New York: Macmillan, 1931.

Davidson, Morris. Understanding Modern Art. New York: Coward-McCann, 1931.

Davis, William Morris. Elementary Physical Geography. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1902. [LL 224]

Davis, William Stearns. A Friend of Caesar. New York: Macmillan, 1900. [LL 225]

Dewey, John. Art as Experience. New York: Minton, Balch & Co., 1934.

——. Human Nature and Conduct. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1922.

——, and James Hayden Tufts. Ethics. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1908 (rev. ed. 1932).

Dickinson, Thomas H. The Contemporary Drama of England. Boston: Little, Brown, 1917.

Dorsey, George Amos. Why We Behave Like Human Beings. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1925.

Downing, A. J. A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1849.

Drake, Samuel Adams. Nooks and Corners of the New England Coast. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1875. [LL 265]

Dryer, Charles Redway. Lessons in Physical Geography. New York: American Book Co., 1901.

Duncan, John Charles. Astronomy: A Textbook. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1926.

Durant, Will. The Story of Philosophy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1926. [LL 284]

Dyer, Walter Alden. Early American Craftsmen. New York: Century Co., 1915. [LL 287]

Eberlein, Harold Donaldson. The Architecture of Colonial America. Boston: Little, Brown, 1915. [LL 290]

Eddington, Sir Arthur S. The Nature of the Physical World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1928.

Eggleston, George Cary. Life in the Eighteenth Century. New York: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1905. [LL 292]

——. Our First Century. New York: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1905.

Edman, Irwin. The Contemporary and His Soul. New York: Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith, 1931.

Elliott, Mabel A., and Francis Ellsworth Merrill. Social Disorganization. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1934.

Evans, Sir Arthur. The Palace of Minos. London: Macmillan, 1921-35. 4 vols.

Fairchild, Fred Rogers, Edgar S. Fumiss, and Norman Sydney Buck. Elementary Economics. New York: Macmillan, 1926.

Fazzini, Lillian Davids. Butterflies and Moths of America. Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing Co., 1934.

Fielding, William J. Health and Self-Mastery through Psychoanalysis and Autosuggestion. Boston: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1923.

Findlay, Alexander. The Spirit of Chemistry. London: Longmans, Green, 1930.

Finer, Herman. Theory and Practice of Modern Government. New York: Dial Press, 1932.

Finney, Theodore M. A History of Music. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1935.

Fiske, John. Myths and Myth-Makers: Old Tales and Superstitions Interpreted by Comparative Mythology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1872. [LL 317]

Foerster, Norman, ed. The Chief American Prose Writers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916.

Foster, William. The Romance of Chemistry. New York: Century Co., 1927.

Frazer, Sir James George. The Golden Bough. London: Macmillan, 1890, 2 vols. [Rev. ed. London: Macmillan, 1907-45. 12 vols.]

Freud, Sigmund. General Introduction to Psychoanalysis. Tr. G. Stanley Hall. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1920.

——. The Interpretation of Dreams. Tr. A. A. Brill. London: George Allen & Co., 1913. Froissart, Jean. The Chronicles of Froissart. Condensed for Young Readers by Adam Singleton [i.e., Edward Singleton Holden]. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1900.

Ganot, A. Elementary Treatise on Physics, Experimental and Applied. London: H. Bailliere, 1866.

Garver, Frederic Benjamin, and Alvin Harvey Hansen. Principles of Economics. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1928.

Geikie, Sir Archibald. Text-book of Geology. London: Macmillan, 1882. [LL 348]

——. Elementary Lessons in Physical Geography. London: Macmillan, 1877.

Godfrey, Hollis. Elementary Chemistry. New York: Longmans, Green, 1909.

Goodyear, W. H. Roman and Medieval Art. Meadville, PA: Flood & Vincent, 1893.

Graves, Robert. Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina. New York: Harrison Smith & R. Haas, 1935.

——. I, Claudius. New York: Harrison Smith & R. Haas, 1934.

Green, John Richard. History of the English People. London: Macmillan, 1877-80. 4 vols. [LL 374]

Grove, Sir George. A Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan, 1879-90. 4 vols.

Gummere, Francis Barton. A Handbook of Poetics. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1885.

Guptill, Arthur L. Drawing with Pen and Ink. New York: Pencil Points Press, 1928.

Haeckel, Ernst. The Evolution of Man. London: C. Kegan Paul, 1879. 2 vols.

Haines, Charles Grove. Principles and Problems of Government. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1921.

Harbottle, Thomas Benfield. Dictionary of Quotations (Classical). London: S. Sonnenschein; New York: Macmillan, 1897.

Harvey, Jane B. Wild Flowers of America. Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing Co., 1932.

Hessler, John C. The First Year of Chemistry. Chicago: B. H. Sanborn, 1931.

Higgins, Lothrop D. Lessons in Physics. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1903. [LL 422]

Higgs, W. P. Algebra Self-Taught. London: E. & F. N. Spon, 1876.

Hiller, Ernest Theodore. Principles of Sociology. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1933.

Holcombe, Arthur Norman. State Government in the United States. New York: Macmillan, 1916.

Holman, Richard M. Elements of Botany. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1928 (rev. ed. 1933).

Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton. Botany. London: Macmillan, 1876. [LL 438]

Howard, John Tasker. Our American Music: Three Hundred Years of It. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1929.

Howe, Harrison Estell. Chemistry in Industry. New York: Chemical Foundation, 1924.

Ilin, M. New Russia’s Primer: The Story of the Five-Year Plan. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1931.

Infeld, Leopold. The World in Modern Science: Matter and Quanta. London: Gollancz, 1934.

Isaacson, Charles D. Face to Face with the Great Musicians. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1918-21.2 vols.

Jeans, Sir James. The New Background of Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1933.

——. Through Space and Time. New York: Macmillan, 1934.

——. The Universe Around Us. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1929.

Jebb, R. C. Greek Literature. London: Macmillan, 1877. ILL 472]

Jervis, William Henley. A History of France: From the Earliest Times to the Establishment of the Second Empire. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1862. [LL 474]

Jevons, William Stanley. The Elements of Logic. Recast by David J. Hill. New York: Sheldon & Co., 1883. [Based on Elementary Lessons in Logic. London: Macmillan, 1870.]

Johnston, James F. W. The Chemistry of Common Life. Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1854-55. 2 vols.

Kellogg, Brainerd. A Text-book on Rhetoric. New York: Clark & Maynard, 1880.

Kellogg, Vernon L. Human Life as the Biologist Sees It. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1922. [LL 493]

Kimber, Diana Clifford. Text Book of Anatomy and Physiology. New York: Macmillan, 1926.

Kroeber, A. L. Anthropology. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1923,

Krutch, Joseph Wood. The Modern Temper. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1929.

Lamed, J. N. History of England. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1900. [LL 515]

Laski, Harold Joseph. Politics. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1931.

——, et al. Problems of Peace: Sixth Series. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1931.

Lederer, Charles. Drawing Made Easy. Pierre, SD: Capital Supply Co., 1913. [LL 520]

Leitch, Gordon B. Chinese Rugs. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1928.

Lengyel, Emil. The New Deal in Europe. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1934.

Lethaby, W. R. Architecture: An Introduction to the History and Theory of the Art of Building. London: Williams & Norgate, 1912.

Liddell, Henry George. History of Rome from the Earliest Times to the Establishment of the Empire. London: John Murray, 1855. [LL 532]

Lippmann, Walter. A Preface to Morals. New York: Macmillan, 1929.

Lounsbury, Thomas R. History of the English Language. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1879. [LL 546]

Low, Barbara. Psycho-analysis and Education. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1928.

Lowell, James Russell. My Study Windows. Boston: J. R. Osgood, 1871. [LL 552]

Lowie, Robert Harry. An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1934.

Lubbock, Sir John. Prehistoric Times as Illustrated by Ancient Remains and the Manners and Customs of Modern Savages. London: Williams &Norgate, 1913.

Lynd, Robert S., and Helen Merrell Lynd. Middletown: A Study in Cultural Conflicts. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1929.

McKinney, Howard D., and W. R. Anderson. Discovering Music. New York: American Book Co., 1934.

Macy, John. Story of the World’s Literature. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1925.

Magoffin, R. V. D., and Emily C. Davis. Magic Spades: The Romance of Archaeology. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1929.

Mahaffy, J. P. A Survey of Greek Civilization. Meadville, PA: Flood & Vincent, 1896. [LL 589]

Mantle, Bums, ed. Best Plays of 1919. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1920.

Marx, Karl. Das Kapital. Hamburg: 0. Meissner, 1867. [First Eng. tr. as Capital. Tr. Samuel

Moore and Edward Aveling. London: S. Sonnenschein, 1886.]

Matthews, Brander. A Study of Versification. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1911.

Mencken, H. L. The American Language. New York: Knopf, 1919.

——. Prejudices. New York: Knopf, 1919-27. 6 vols.

Miller, Frank Justus, and 0. Kuhns. Studies in the Poetry of Italy. Cleveland: Chautauqua Assembly, 1901. ILL 854]

Miller, William J. An Introduction to Historical Geology. New York: D. Van Nostrand 1916.

Minto, William. The Literature of the Georgian Era. Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1894.

Montgomery, D. H. The Leading Facts of American History. New York: Chautauqua Press, 1891.

——. The Leading Facts of English History. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1887.

Moon, Thomas Jesse. Biology for Beginners. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1921.

Moore, Douglas. Listening to Music. New York: W. W. Norton, 1932.

Moore, N. Hudson. Old Glass, European and American. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1924.

Moss, F. A., and Edward L. Thorndike. Comparative Psychology. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1934.

Moulton, Charles Wells, comp. A Library of Literary Criticism of English and American Authors. Buffalo: Moulton Publishing Co., 1901-05. 8 vols.

Moulton, Forest Ray. Consider the Heavens. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, 1925.

Murphy, Gardner. An Historical Introduction to Psychology. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1928.

Murray, Margaret A. The Witch-Cult in Western Europe. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1921.

Muzzey, David Saville. An American History. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1911.

Myers, P. V. N. Ancient History. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1904. [LL 635]

——. Mediaeval and Modem History. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1902-04. 2 vols.

Newcomb, Simon. Astronomy for Everybody. New York: McClure, Phillips & Co., 1902.

Nicoll, Allardyce. The British Drama. London: George G. Harrap, 1925 (rev. ed. 1933).

Norton, Dora Miriam. Elementary Freehand Perspective. Pelham, NY: Bridgman, 1927.

Norton, William Harmon. The Elements of Geology. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1905.

Odegard, Peter H. The American Public Mind. New York: Columbia University Press, 1930.

Ogburn, W. F. Social Change with Respect to Cultural and Original Nature. New York: B. W. Huebsch, 1922.

Ogg, Frederic Austin. European Governments and Politics. New York: Macmillan, 1934.

Osborn, Edward Bolland. The Heritage of Greece and the Legacy of Rome. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1924. [LL 656]

——. The Middle Ages. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1927. [LL 657]

Palgrave, Francis T., ed. The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language. London: Macmillan, 1861. [LL 671]

Parrington, V. L. The Romantic Revolution in America, 1800-1860. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1927.

Payne, Leonidas W. History of American Literature. Chicago: Rand-McNally, 1919.

Peck, Harry Thurston, ed. Harper’s Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1896. [LL 680]

Pellisson, Maurice. Roman Life in Pliny’s Time. Tr. Maud Wilkinson. Meadville, PA: Flood (Sr. Vincent, 1897. [LL 681]

Pirsson, Louis V., Charles Schuchert, and Chester R. Longwell. Foundations of Geology. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1931.

Prime, W. C. Pottery and Porcelain of All Times and Nations. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1878.

Quackenbos, John D. Illustrated History of Ancient Literature, Oriental and Classical. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1878. [LL 713]

Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur, ed. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250-1900. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1900.

Quinn, Arthur Hobson. A History of the American Drama from the Civil War to the Present Day. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1927. 2 vols. (rev. ed. 1936).

Rathbun, Seward Hume. A Background to Architecture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1926.

Reichenbach, Hans. Atom and Cosmos: The World of Modem Physics. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1932.

Remsen, Ira. Inorganic Chemistry. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1889.

——. An Introduction to the Study of the Compounds of Carbon; or, Organic Chemistry. Boston: Ginn, Heath & Co., 1885.

Repton, Humphrey. Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening. London: W. Bulmer & Co., 1794.

Richter, Gisela Maria Augusta. The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1929.

Robbins, Ermon Bev, and Joseph C. Ireland. Agriculture for High Schools. Atlanta: Turner E. Smith Co., 1924.

Roberts, Elizabeth Maddox. The Great Meadow. New York: Viking Press, 1930.

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Ross, Edward Ailsworth. The Principles of Sociology. New York: Century Co., 1920.

Rous, Samuel Holland. The Victor Book of the Opera. Camden, NJ: Victor Talking Machine Co., 1912.

Ruskin, John. Frondes Agrestes. Sunnyside, UK: George Allen, 1875.

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——. Sceptical Essays. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1928.

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——. The Last Puritan. New York: Scribner’s, 1936.

——. Winds of Doctrine: Studies in Contemporary Opinion. London: J. M. Dent, 1913.

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Clark Ashton Smith:
Hasisevő, avagy a Gonosz Apokalipszise, A


Robert E. Howard:
Harp of Alfred, The


Robert E. Howard:
Red Thunder



Howard Phillips Lovecraft:
Cthulhu hívása

Ez az egyetlen történet Lovecraft részéről, amelyben jelentős szerepet kap a szörnyisten, Cthulhu. 1926 későnyarán, kora őszén íródhatott. A dokumentarista stílusban megírt történet nyomozója, Thurston, a szemita nyelvek egyetemi kutatója darabkáról darabkára rakja össze a rejtélyes kirakóst. A fiatal kutató egyre több tárgyi és írásos bizonyítékát leli a hírhedt Cthulhu-kultusz létezésének. A kultisták a Necronomicon szövege alapján a nagy szörnyisten eljövetelét várják. A történetek a megtestesült iszonyatról beszélnek, ami átrepült az űrön és letelepedett a Földön sok millió évvel ezelőtt. Most hosszú álmát alussza tengerborította városában: Ph’ngluimglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn, vagyis R'lyeh házában a tetszhalott Cthulhu álmodik. A Csendes-óceán déli részén néhány bátor tengerész megtalálta a várost és felébresztette a Nagy Öreget. Ennek hatására őrülethullám robogott végig a Földön, több ember lelte halálát ezekben az időkben. A találkozást csak egy tengerész élte túl, de ő is gyanús körülmények között halt meg. A fiatal kutató érzi, hogy ő is erre a sorsra juthat... A novellát nagy részben Lord Tennyson Kraken című költeménye inspirálta: Cthulhu is egy csápos, polipszerű szörny, egy alvó isten (ez a gondolat nagyban Lord Dunsany műveinek Lovecraftra gyakorolt hatásának köszönhető). S. T. Joshi felveti, hogy számottevő hatást váltott ki Lovecraftra Maupassant Horlája és Arthur Machen A fekete pecsét története című története is. Maga Lovecraft e történetet roppant középszerűnek, klisék halmazának titulálta. A Weird Tales szerkesztője, Farnsworth Wright először elutasította a közlését, és csak azután egyezett bele, hogy Lovecraft barátja, Donald Wandrei bebeszélte neki, hogy más magazinnál is érdeklődnek a sztori iránt.


Howard Phillips Lovecraft:
Őrület hegyei, Az; Hallucináció hegységei, A

Egy déli sarki kutatócsoport, köztük a narrátor, William Dyer a Miskatonic Egyetemről az Antarktiszra indul 1930/31 telén. A fagyott környezetben 14, a hideg által konzerválódott idegen lényre bukkannak. Miután a kutatók több csoportra oszlanak, és az egyikről nem érkezik hír, a megmaradt tagok felkeresik az eltűntek táborát, ahol szétmarcangolt emberi és állati maradványokat találnak - néhány idegen létformának pedig mindössze hűlt helyét... Legnagyobb döbbenetükre azonban a kutatás során feltárul előttük egy évmilliókkal régebben épített, hatalmas kőváros, amely a Nagy Öregek egykori lakóhelye lehetett. A kisregényt szokás Poe Arthur Gordon Pym című kisregényének folytatásaként tekinteni, az enigmatikus és meg nem magyarázott jelentésű kiáltás, a "Tekeli-li!" miatt. Eredetileg a Weird Talesbe szánta Lovecraft, de a szerkesztő túl hosszúnak találta, ezért öt éven át hevert a kisregény felhasználatlanul a fiókban. Az Astounding végül jelentősen megváltoztatva közölte a művet, több bekezdést (nagyjából ezer szót) kihagyott, a teljes, javított verzió először 1985-ben látott napvilágot.


Abraham Merritt:
Moon Pool, The

Amikor dr. David Throckmartin elmeséli egy csendes-óceáni civilizáció ősi romjain átélt hátborzongató élményeit, dr. Walter Goodwin, a regény narrátora azzal a meggyőződéssel hallgatja a hihetetlen történetet, hogy a nagy tudós valószínűleg megzavarodott. Azt állítja ugyanis, hogy feleségét és kutatócsoportjának több tagját magával vitte egy "fényjelenség", amely az úgynevezett Holdtóból emelkedik ki teliholdas éjszakákon. Amikor azonban Goodwin eleget tesz Throckmartin kérésének, és társaival a titokzatos szigetre utazik, fantasztikus, megdöbbentő kalandok sorozata veszi kezdetét.



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