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QUESTIONS FOR STUDY
How does Ruskin divide books ? (Lines 1-5.)
Name some books that you would call “books of the hour"; some that you would call “books of all time.” (Lines 1-9.)
Discuss them, with reasons for your selection. What is the good book of the hour ? (Lines 10–22.) What is the essential of a book? (Lines 40–68.)
Does the author of a truly great book write for money only ?
Why does he write? (Lines 51–54.)
Why does Ruskin urge the reading of great books? (Lines 69–96.)
Name any great books that you have read. Discuss them. Which do you regard the greatest?. What did you get from it? Did it inspire you with great thoughts or aspirations ?
Did the reading make plain what you had vaguely thought or felt before, or did it give you wholly new ideas? (Lines 129–141.)
Did you feel that you were in great society while you were reading ? (Lines 80–90.)
What is the meaning of lines 146–163?
What is necessary before any one can really read great books? (Lines 97-145.)
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
A poet, a philosopher, and a man of letters, Emerson represents a type rarely found in this or any
other country; a keen observer, a close student of human affairs, who, however, does not mingle intimately among men, but draws from his observations a broad and rich philosophy Emerson's gift was inspirational. He suggests SO many
ideas that the ordinary man is soon lost in following out the thoughts roused by him.
Lowell says of him, that “Emerson had the peculiarly masculine quality of fructifying other minds."
Emerson was born in Boston, graduated at Harvard, was for a time a preacher, being the pastor of the Old South Church in Boston, but later retired from the ministry to devote his life to literature. He both lectured and wrote continuously until his death. Living in partial seclusion at Concord, Massachusetts, he yet has exerted an influence upon American thought, and to a degree upon the thought of all English speaking people, that cannot readily be measured.
THE HUMBLEBEE 1
The following poem shows that the sedate Emerson not only loved nature, but that he had also a sense of humor, and could give a whimsical touch to his writings.
Burly, dozing humblebee,
1 Humblebee, more commonly called bumblebee.
Sailor of the atmosphere;
When the south wind, in May days,
Hot midsummer's petted crone,
1 Epicurean, follower of an ancient philosophy advocating joy as the aim of life.
Of Syrian peace, immortal leisure,
Aught unsavory or unclean
Wiser far than human seer,
RALPH WALDO EMERSON.