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BRAR'



THE BOOK LOVER



THE BOOK LOVER

A GUIDE TO THE BEST READING

BY JAMES BALDWIN

i

REVISED EDITION WITH NEW

LISTS AND ADDITIONAL

MATTER



WHOSOEVER THEREFORE CLAIMS TO
BE ZEALOUS OF TRUTH, OF HAPPI-
NESS, OF WISDOM, OF KNOWLEDGE,
AYE EVEN OF THE FAITH, MUST
NEEDS BECOME A LOVER OF BOOKS.
RICHARD DE BURY



m



m



FIFTEENTH EDITION



&

m
m

m

m



CHICAGO

A. C. McCLURG & COMPANY
MDCCCCX



COPYRIGHT BY JANSEN, McCLURG & CO., 1884
COPYRIGHT BY A. C. McCLURG & CO., 1888, 1895, 1902

PUBLISHED MARCH, 1902



D. B. UPDIKE, THE MERRYMOUNT PRESS, BOSTON



-v-. PREFACE

TO THE THIRTEENTH EDITION

BOOK love has ever been my passion; of
its beginning I have no recollection.
Although its early opportunities to manifest
itself were slight indeed, yet it seemed to
me so natural and so very necessary, that
as a child I thought everybody ought to
be possessed by it in the same manner as
myself. That any person could live indif-
ferent to the allurements of books was a
matter of constant wonderment.

As time passed and it became my lot to
be an instructor of others, these earlier ideas
were modified by sympathy for those who
were denied the delights that had been
mine. Books had given me so much com-
fort, so much help and guidance, that I

[3]



401092



PREFACE

was anxious for my pupils to be similarly
profited by their gentle ministrations. But
books were not plentiful in those days, and
school libraries were unknown. Nevertheless,
I contrived to place a few choice volumes
within the reach of my young charges, and
therewith tempted them into the paths that
I had trod. What joy was mine and theirs
as with eagerness they began to lay hold
upon this new form of instruction which
offered so pleasant a relief from the dry-as-
dust text-books hitherto believed to be the
only books! But what was our disappoint-
ment when the school director peremptorily
closed my little library, affirming that the
reading habit which I was fostering tended
to debauch the children's minds and to unfit
them for study!

It was while combating the prejudices of



PREFACE

school directors and parents, and trying to
awaken teachers from their indifference, that
I first conceived the plan of THE BOOK
LOVER. In its original form it was largely
addressed to persons charged with the edu-
cation of youth, no less than to that con-
siderable class of men and women who seek
self-culture through the aid of books. Since
the appearance of the first edition great
changes have taken place in matters educa-
tional. Now it is a poor school indeed that
has not its own well-equipped library. The
work of the text-books is everywhere supple-
mented by much reference to the best litera-
ture on the subjects studied; and the culti-
vation of right habits of reading has become
one of the most important duties of teachers.
Were it not that THE BOOK LOVER has
found a much larger field than that to



PREFACE

which it at first aspired, one might suppose
that its mission was in great part ended.
But the generous reception given to it by
bookmen and scholars on both sides of the
Atlantic has indicated that it has a per-
manent interest and a value quite in accord
with the demands of the general reading
public. The publishers have therefore deemed
it wise to reprint it from new plates and with
such revisions as the changed conditions of
things seem to require. Some of the chap-
ters have been rewritten, the pedagogical
features have been modified or omitted, and
the book lists have been brought down to
date. In its new form and new dress, it now
goes forth again to urge the judicious choice
and the right usage and the wise reading of
good books.
March, 1902.



FOREWORD
TO THE FIRST EDITION

THE title-page of this book explains its
plan and purpose. The courses of read-
ing and the schemes for practical study
herein indicated are the outgrowth of the
author's long experience as a lover of books
and director of reading. They have been
tested and found to be all that is claimed
for them. As to the large number of quota-
tions in the first part of the book, they are
given in the belief that "in a multitude of
counsels there is wisdom." And the author
finds consolation and encouragement in the
following words of Emerson: "We are as
much informed of a writer's genius by what
he selects, as by what he originates. We
read the quotation with his eyes, and find a

[7]



FOREWORD

new and fervent sense."" As the value of the
most useful inventions depends upon the in-
genious placing of their parts, so the origi-
nality of this work may be found to lie
chiefly in its arrangement. Yet the writer
confidently believes that his readers will
enjoy that which he has borrowed, and pos-
sibly find aid and encouragement in that
which he claims as his own; and therefore
this book is sent out with the hope that
book lovers will find in it a safe Guide to
the Best Reading.



CONTENTS

PAGE

PRELUDE

In Praise of Books 13

CHAPTER I

On the Choice of Books 31

CHAPTER II

How to Read 59

CHAPTER III

On the Value and Use of Libraries 77

CHAPTER IV

Books of Power 95

CHAPTER V

What Books shall Children Read? Ill

CHAPTER VI

The Library in the School 141

CHAPTER VII

Books relating to Ancient History 153

CHAPTER VIII

Books relating to Modern History 169

[9]



CONTENTS

PAGE

CHAPTER IX

Geography and Travels 197

CHAPTER X

Philosophy and Religion 215

CHAPTER XI

Political Economy and the Science of Gov-
ernment 233

CHAPTER XII

On the Practical Study of English Literature 243

CHAPTER XIII

" The Hundred Best Books" 265

INDEX 287



PRELUDE
IN PRAISE OF BOOKS



BOOK love, my friends, is your pass to the greatest,
the purest, and the most perfect pleasures that God
has prepared for his creatures. It lasts when all other
pleasures fade. It will support you when all other
recreations are gone. It will last you until your death.
It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as
you live.

ANTHONY TROLLOPE



PRELUDE
IN PRAISE OF BOOKS

ET us consider how great a commodity of
doctrine exists in books; how easily, how
secretly, how safely they expose the naked-
ness of human ignorance without putting it to
shame. These are the masters who instruct us
without rods and ferules, without hard words
and anger, without clothes or money. If you
approach them, they are not asleep; if inves-
tigating you interrogate them, they conceal
nothing; if you mistake them, they never
grumble; if you are ignorant, they cannot
laugh at you.

You only, O Books, are liberal and indepen-
dent. You give to all who ask, and enfranchise
all who serve you assiduously. Truly, you are
the ears filled with most palatable grains. You
are golden urns in which manna is laid up;
rocks flowing with honey, or rather, indeed,
honeycombs; udders most copiously yielding

[13]



THE BOOK LOVER

the milk of life; storerooms ever full; the
four-streamed river of Paradise, where the hu-
man mind is fed, and the arid intellect mois-
tened and watered ; fruitful olives ; vines of En-
gaddi; fig trees knowing no sterility; burning
lamps to be ever held in the hand.

No iron-stained hand is fit to handle books,
Nor he whose heart on gold so gladly looks;
The same men love not books and money both,
And books thy herd, O Epicurus, loathe ;
Misers and bookmen make poor company,
Nor dwell in peace beneath the same rooftree.
RICHARD DE BURY, 1344

BOOKS are friends whose society is extremely
agreeable to me; they are of all ages, and of
every country. They have distinguished them-
selves both in the cabinet and in the field, and
obtained high honors for their knowledge of
the sciences. It is easy to gain access to them;
for they are always at my service, and I admit
them to my company, and dismiss them from
it, whenever I please. They are never trouble-

[14]



IN PRAISE OF BOOKS
some, but immediately answer every question
I ask them. Some relate to me the events of
past ages, while others reveal to me the se-
crets of Nature. Some teach me how to live,
and others how to die. Some, by their vivacity,
drive away my cares and exhilarate my spirits;
while others give fortitude to my mind, and
teach me the important lesson how to restrain
my desires, and to depend wholly on myself.
They open to me, in short, the various avenues
of all the arts and sciences, and upon their in-
formation I safely rely in all emergencies. In
return for all these services, they only ask me
to accommodate them with a convenient cham-
ber in some corner of my humble habitation,
where they may repose in peace; for these
friends are more delighted by the tranquillity
of retirement, than with the tumults of society.
FRANCESCO PETRABCA, 1350

BUT how can I live here without my books?
I really seem to myself crippled and only half
myself; for if, as the great Orator used to say,

[15]



THE BOOK LOVER

arms are a soldier's members, surely books
are the limbs of scholars. Corasius says: "Of a
truth, he who would deprive me of books, my
old friends, would take away all the delight
of my life; nay, I will even say, all desire of
living."

BALTHASAB BONIFACIUS RHODIGINUS, 1656

FOR books are not absolutely dead things,
but do contain a potency of life in them to
be as active as that soul was whose progeny
they are; nay, they do preserve, as in a vial,
the purest efficacy and extraction of that liv-
ing intellect that bred them. I know they are
as lively and as vigorously productive as those
fabulous dragon's teeth, and, being sown up
and down, may chance to spring up armed
men. . . . Many a man lives, a burden to the
earth; but a good book is the precious life-
blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treas-
ured up on purpose for a life beyond life.

JOHN MILTON, 1644

BOOKS are a guide in youth, and an enter-
[16]



IN PRAISE OF BOOKS
tainment for age. They support us under soli-
tude, and keep us from being a burden to
ourselves. They help us to forget the crossness
of men and things, compose our cares and our
passions, and lay our disappointments asleep.
When we are weary of the living, we may re-
pair to the dead, who have nothing of peevish-
ness, pride, or design in their conversation.

JEREMY COLLIER

GOD be thanked for books! They are the
voices of the distant and the dead, and make
us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages.
Books are the true levellers. They give to all
who will faithfully use them, the society, the
spiritual presence, of the best and greatest of
our race. No matter how poor I am; no matter
though the prosperous of my own time will
not enter my obscure dwelling; if the sacred
writers will enter and take up their abode un-
der my roof, if Milton will cross my thresh-
old to sing to me of Paradise, and Shakespeare
to open to me the worlds of imagination and

[17]



THE BOOK LOVER

the workings of the human heart, and Frank-
lin to enrich me with his practical wisdom,
I shall not pine for want of intellectual com-
panionship, and I may become a cultivated man,
though excluded from what is called the best
society in the place where I live.

WILLIAM ELLEBY CH ANN ING

WONDROUS, indeed, is the virtue of a true
book! Not like a dead city of stones, yearly
crumbling, yearly needing repair; more like a
tilled field, but then a spiritual field; like a
spiritual tree, let me rather say, it stands from
year to year and from age to age (we have
books that already number some hundred and
fifty human ages); and yearly comes its new
produce of leaves (commentaries, deductions,
philosophical, political systems; or were it only
sermons, pamphlets, journalistic essays), every
one of which is talismanic and thaumaturgic,
for it can persuade man. O thou who art able
to write a book, which once in two centuries
or oftener there is a man gifted to do, envy

[18]



IN PRAISE OF BOOKS
not him whom they name city-builder, and
inexpressibly pity him whom they name con-
queror or city-burner! Thou, too, art a con-
queror and victor; but of the true sort, namely,
over the Devil. Thou, too, hast built what will
outlast all marble and metal, and be a wonder-
bringing city of mind, a temple and seminary
and prophetic mount, whereto all kindreds of

the earth will pilgrim.

THOMAS CARLYLE

GOOD books, like good friends, are few and
chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable;
and like these are approached with diffidence,
nor sought too familiarly nor too often, having
the precedence only when friends tire. The
most mannerly of companions, accessible at all
times, in all moods, they frankly declare the
author's mind, without giving offence. Like
living friends, they too have their voice and
physiognomies, and their company is prized as
old acquaintances. We seek them in our need
of counsel or of amusement, without imperti-
nence or apology, sure of having our claims
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THE BOOK LOVER

allowed. A good book justifies our theory of
personal supremacy, keeping this fresh in the
memory and perennial. What were days with-
out such fellowship? We were alone in the

world without it.

A. BBONSON ALCOTT

CONSIDER what you have in the smallest
chosen library. A company of the wisest and
wittiest men that could be picked out of all
civil countries, in a thousand years, have set
in best order the results of their learning and
wisdom. The men themselves were hid and in-
accessible, solitary, impatient of interruption,
fenced by etiquette; but the thought which
they did not uncover to their bosom friend is
here written out in transparent words to us,
the strangers of another age.

We owe to books those general benefits
which come from high intellectual action.
Thus, I think, we often owe to them the per-
ception of immortality. They impart sympa-
thetic activity to the moral power. Go with
mean people, and you think life is mean. Then
[20]



IN PRAISE OF BOOKS
read Plutarch, and the world is a proud place,
peopled with men of positive quality, with
heroes and demigods standing around us, who
will not let us sleep. Then they address the
imagination: only poetry inspires poetry. They
become the organic culture of the time. Col-
lege education is the reading of certain books
which the common sense of all scholars agrees
will represent the science already accumulated.
... In the highest civilization the book is still

the highest delight.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON

A GREAT book that comes from a great
thinker, it is a ship of thought, deep-freighted
with truth, with beauty too. It sails the ocean,
driven by the winds of heaven, breaking the
level sea of life into beauty where it goes,
leaving behind it a train of sparkling loveli-
ness, widening as the ship goes on. And what
a treasure it brings to every land, scattering
the seeds of truth, justice, love, and piety, to
bless the world in ages yet to come!

THEODORE PARKER
[21]



THE BOOK LOVER

WHAT is a great love of books? It is some-
thing like a personal introduction to the great
and good men of all past times. Books, it is
true, are silent as you see them on their
shelves; but, silent as they are, when I enter
a library I feel as if almost the dead were
present, and I know if I put questions to these
books they will answer me with all the faith-
fulness and fulness which has been left in
them by the great men who have left the

books with us.

JOHN BRIGHT

BOOKS are our household gods; and we can-
not prize them too highly. They are the only
gods in all the mythologies that are beautiful
and unchangeable ; for they betray no man, and
love their lovers. I confess myself an idolater
of this literary religion, and am grateful for
the blessed ministry of books. It is a kind of
heathenism which needs no missionary funds,
no Bible even, to abolish it; for the Bible it-
self caps the peak of this new Olympus, and
crowns it with sublimity and glory. Amongst
[22]



IN PRAISE OF BOOKS
the many things we have to be thankful for,
as the result of modern discoveries, surely this
of printed books is the highest of all; and I,
for one, am so sensible of its merits that I never
think of the name of Gutenberg without feel-
ings of veneration and homage.

GEORGE SEABLE PHILLIPS

THE only true equalizers in the world are
books; the only treasure-house open to all
comers is a library; the only wealth which will
not decay is knowledge; the only jewel which
you can carry beyond the grave is wisdom. To
live in this equality, to share in these treas-
ures, to possess this wealth, and to secure this
jewel may be the happy lot of every one. All
that is needed for the acquisition of these in-
estimable treasures is the love of books.

JOHN ALFRED LANGFORD

LET us thank God for books. When I con-
sider what some books have done for the
world, and what they are doing; how they
keep up our hope, awaken new courage and
[23]



THE BOOK LOVER

faith, soothe pain, give an ideal life to those
whose homes are hard and cold, bind together
distant ages and foreign lands, create new
worlds of beauty, bring down truths from
heaven, I give eternal blessings for this gift,
and pray that we may use it aright, and abuse

it not.

JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE

SCIENCE, art, literature, philosophy, all that
man has thought, all that man has done, the
experience that has been bought with the suf-
ferings of a hundred generations, all are gar-
nered up for us in the world of books. There,
among realities, in a "substantial world," we
move with the crowned kings of thought.
There our minds have a free range, our hearts
a free utterance. Reason is confined within
none of the partitions which trammel it in
life. In that world, no divinity hedges a king,
no accident of rank or fashion ennobles a
dunce or shields a knave. We can select our
companions from among the most richly gifted
of the sons of God; and they are companions
[24]



IN PRAISE OF BOOKS
who will not desert us in poverty, or sick-
ness, or disgrace.

EDWIN P. WHIPPLE

FOR what a world of books offers itself, in
all subjects, arts, and sciences, to the sweet
content and capacity of the reader? In arith-
metic, geometry, perspective, optics, astron-
omy, architecture, sculptura, pictura, of which
so many and such elaborate treatises are of
late written; in mechanics and their myste-
ries, military matters, navigation, riding of
horses, fencing, swimming, gardening, plant-
ing, etc. . . . What so sure, what so pleasant?
What vast tomes are extant in law, physic,
and divinity, for profit, pleasure, practice, spec-
ulation, in verse or prose! Their names alone
are the subject of whole volumes; we have
thousands of authors of all sorts, many great
libraries, full well furnished, like so many
dishes of meat, served out for several palates,
and he is a very block that is affected with

none of them.

ROBERT BURTON

[25]



THE BOOK LOVER

EXCEPT a living man, there is nothing more
wonderful than a book! a message to us from
the dead, from human souls whom we never
saw, who lived perhaps thousands of miles
away; and yet these, on those little sheets
of paper, speak to us, amuse us, vivify us,
teach us, comfort us, open their hearts to us
as brothers. We ought to reverence books, to
look at them as useful and mighty things. If
they are good and true, . . . they are the
message of Christ, the maker of all things,

the teacher of all truth.

CHARLES KINGSLEY

I LOVE my books as drinkers love their wine ;
The more I drink, the more they seem divine;
With joy elate my soul in love runs o'er,
And each fresh draught is sweeter than before !
Books bring me friends where'er on earth I be,
Solace of solitude, bonds of society.

I love my books! they are companions dear,
Sterling in worth, in friendship most sincere;
Here talk I with the wise in ages gone,
And with the nobly gifted in our own :
[26]



IN PRAISE OF BOOKS
If love, joy, laughter, sorrow please my mind,
Love, joy, grief, laughter in my books I find.

FRANCIS BENNOCH

OH for a booke and a shadie nook

Either in-doors or out ;
With the grene leaves whisp'ring overhead,

Or the streete cryes all about,
Where I may reade all at my ease,

Both of the new and olde ;
For a jollie goode booke whereon to looke,

Is better to me than golde.

OLD ENGLISH SONG

BOOKS, we know,

Are a substantial world, both pure and good;
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and

blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

GOLDEN volumes! richest treasures!
Objects of delicious pleasures!
You my eyes rejoicing please,
You my hands in rapture seize.
[27]



THE BOOK LOVER

Brilliant wits and musing sages,
Lights who beamed through many ages,
Left to your conscious leaves their story,
And dared to trust you with their glory;
And now their hope of fame achieved,
Dear volumes! you have not deceived.

HENRY RANTZAU



[28]



ON THE CHOICE OF BOOKS



THE choice of books, like that of friends, is a serious
duty. We are as responsible for what we read as for
what we do. The best books elevate us into a region
of disinterested thought where personal objects fade
into insignificance, and the troubles and the anxieties
of the world are almost forgotten.

SIR JOHN LUBBOCK



CHAPTER I
ON THE CHOICE OF BOOKS

THE most important question for you to
ask yourself, be your profession what it
may, is this: What books shall I read? For
him who has inclination to read, there is no
dearth of reading matter, and it is obtainable
almost for the asking. Books are in a manner
thrust upon you almost daily. Shall you read
without discrimination whatever comes most
readily to hand? As well say that you will
accept as a friend and companion every man
whom you meet on the street. Shall you read
even every good book that comes in your way,
simply because it is harmless and interesting?
It is not every harmless book, nor indeed
every good book, that will make your mind
the richer for the reading of it.

Never, perhaps, has the right choice of books
been more difficult than at present; and never
did it behoove more strongly every right-
[31]



THE BOOK LOVER

minded person to look well to the character
of that which he reads.

First, then, let us consider what books we
are to avoid. All will agree that those which
are really and absolutely bad should be
shunned as we shun a pestilence. In these
first years of the twentieth century there are
no more prolific causes of evil than bad books
and certain vile periodicals miscalled news-
papers. There are some publications so utterly
vicious that there is no mistaking their charac-
ter, and no question as to whether they should
be avoided. There are others that are a thou-
sand-fold more dangerous because they come to
us disguised, "wolves in sheep's clothing,"
affecting a character of harmlessness, if not of
sanctity.

I have heard those who ought to know
better laugh at the silly jokes of a very silly
book, and offer by way of excuse that there
was nothing very bad in it. I have heard teach-
ers recommend to their pupils reading matter
which, to say the least, was of a very doubt-
[32]



ON THE CHOICE OF BOOKS
ful quality and devoid of all good. Now, the
only excuse that can be offered in such cases
is ignorance, "I didn't know there was any
harm in the book." But the teacher who
through ignorance poisons the moral character
and checks the mental growth of his pupils is
as guilty of criminal carelessness as the drug-
gist's clerk who by mistake sells arsenic for
quinine. Step down and out of that responsible
position which you are in no wise qualified to
fill ! The direction of the pupils' habits of read-
ing, the choice of reading matter for them, is
by no means the least of the teacher's duties.

The elder Pliny, eighteen hundred years
ago, was accustomed to say that no book was
so bad but that some part of it might be read
with profit. This may have been true in Pliny's
time; but it is very far from correct nowa-
days. Very many books, not a few of which at-
tain an immense circulation, are but the em-
bodiment of evil from beginning to end ; others,
and by far the greater number, although not
absolutely and aggressively bad, contain not a
[33]



THE BOOK LOVER

single line that can be read with profit. These
last we may designate as worthless books
useless trash.

What are the sure criterions of a bad book ?

There is no better authority on this subject
than Dr. Robert Collyer. He says: "If when I
read a book about God, I find that it has put
Him farther from me ; or about man, that it has


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