Saturday, January 16, 2010

Visiting the Gutenberg Project

From Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (1858)

"All generous minds have a horror of what are commonly called 'facts.' They are the brute beasts of the intellectual domain. Who does not know fellows that always have an ill-conditioned fact or two which they lead after them into decent company like so many bull-dogs, ready to let them slip at every ingenious suggestion, or convenient generalization, or pleasant fancy? I allow no 'facts' at this table. What! Because bread is good and wholesome and necessary and nourishing, shall you thrust a crumb into my windpipe while I am talking?


"Don’t you know how hard it is for some people to get out of a room after their visit is really over? They want to be off, and you want to have them off, but they don’t know how to manage it. One would think they had been built in your parlour or study, and were waiting to be launched. I have contrived a sort of ceremonial inclined plane for such visitors, which being lubricated with certain smooth phrases, I back them down, metaphorically speaking, stern-foremost, into their 'native element,' the great ocean of out-doors. "

For more, go to the Gutenberg Project, here.

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