Tag Archives: Project Gutenberg

Loving Sympathy

“What if, when the poor leper came to the Lord to be healed, he had said to Peter, or some other understrapper, ‘Here, Peter, you go touch that fellow and I’ll pay you for it’? Or what if the Lord, when he came on earth, had come a day at a time and brought his …

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Two Pins

Jacob A. Riis writes in his autobiography of his life of poverty upon arriving as an immigrant in America, and how it affected his decision later in life to become a newspaper reporter: It was under such auspices that I made the acquaintance of Mulberry Bend, the Five Points, and the rest of the slum, …

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“Nice lot of counting machines!”

I’m reading Jacob Riis autobiography and came to a part where he mentioned knowing Hans Christian Anderson.  I was amazed- then I remembered that when he wrote this book in 1901 he was already an old man, recounting a story from his youth.  It’s written in such an easy, conversational style that I lost track …

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“A Great Doer”

Photographer Jacob A. Riis published his autobiography, The Making of an American, in 1901.  He died 13 years later in 1914, and a eulogy written by Theodore Roosevelt was included as an introduction when the book was republished in 1924. I think this says a lot about both men: It is difficult for me to …

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Lucretius, not Locutus

Excerpt from On The Nature of Things by Lucretius, translated by Charles E. Bennett ©1946: Not wholly, then, doth perish what may seem To die, since from one thing doth nature build Another, nor will suffer aught to come To birth without the death of something else. A lot of things that were codified into …

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Everything Around Me

There’s a little typo- the quote is actually by Elsie de Wolfe.  Her book is in the public domain and can be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg, HERE.

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For 24 years I’ve been living next door to Alice.

Alice in Wonderland by Arthur Rackham I love the way Alice is the only part of the picture portrayed realistically. (Alice in Wonderland— and all of Lewis Carroll’s other books– are in the public domain and may be downloaded freely from Project Gutenberg.)

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Who Has No Home

In this passage from The Bhagavad Gita 12: 13-20, Krishna lists the qualities good men should strive for: One who bears no hatred, who is a compassionate friend to all creatures, who is not possessive or selfish, equal in happiness and distress, and forgiving, Who is dedicated to the spiritual path, always satisfied, self-controlled, and …

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Changes

Excerpted from The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, translated by John Addington Symonds: The Pope accordingly sent for him at once; and when the man arrived, he made us both appear before him, and commissioned each of us to furnish a design for mounting an unicorn’s horn, the finest which had ever been seen, and which …

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Did I ever tell you about the time…

I am currently reading The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, translated by John Addington Symonds. Cellini was a 16th century artist of some note, and- to hear him tell it- one of the most remarkable men who ever lived.  My feeling is that there may be a kernel of truth buried under the self-aggrandizement, but I’m …

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Literary Odyssey

My first introduction to Homer’s work, like most people, was when I was forced in high school to read excerpts from 19th century translations of The Odyssey and The Iliad; hacking and slashing through a forest of footnotes, trying to pick out which Greek names to memorize for the test, wondering if the teacher found …

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Darwin’s Dogs

On the face of it, a book about the formulation of a theory sounds like a rather dry topic, but Emma Townshend’s book Darwin’s Dogs: How Darwin’s Pets Helped Form a World-Changing Theory of Evolution is surprisingly entertaining as well as informative.  She weaves his many disparate influences (some of which are, as you guessed, …

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The Ways of Men

One of my hobbies is finding old biographies and autobiographies of people who were on the fringes of history.  Many times, their stories are more interesting than those of the ones historians deem Important. I’m currently reading The Autobiography of William Allen White, published in 1946, shortly after his death.  He ran a newspaper in …

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Sans

Excerpt from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: XVIII. I sometimes think that never blows so red The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled; That every Hyacinth the Garden wears Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head. XIX. And this delightful Herb whose tender Green Fledges the River’s Lip on which we lean– …

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I Know

 I only knew one line from the poem below, the title of Maya Angelou’s book.  Here is the poem in its entirety: SYMPATHY By Paul Laurence Dunbar I know what the caged bird feels, alas! When the sun is bright on the upland slopes; When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass, And the …

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The Wreck of the Hesperus

I’ve seen many literary references to the poem The Wreck of the Hesperus by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow over the years, in everything from songs by George Harrison to books by P.G. Wodehouse, so yesterday I decided to look it up and read it for myself. If you are having a happy day and would like …

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Kama Chameleon

I’m reading the Kama Sutra for the first time, and came upon this remarkable little list at the beginning.  Some things are surprising, some made me smile, some are uniquely Indian.  I’ll let you read the list for yourself: The following are the arts to be studied, together with the Kama Sutra:– Singing. Playing on …

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Robinson

I’m re-reading Robinson Crusoe at the moment, and really enjoying it. It’s surprisingly progressive for 1719.  I’m at the part where the cannibals first appear on the island, and at first Robinson is indignant and and plots ways to massacre them for their sinful ways.  Eventually, though, he concludes: But now, when, as I have …

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In like a lion

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”  ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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Time, Time, Time; Look what’s become of me…

Before he was an author or a poet, E.E. Cummings was an idealistic young man who volunteered to be an ambulance driver for the French army during World War I.  When his best friend was caught writing letters home denouncing the war, he found himself imprisoned along with him for several months while the French …

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