Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July 1: At the Midpoint

For those of you who have just walked in, welcome. For those of you who been reading along, congratulations for sticking it out this far.

Just to review what's going here, this is a day-by-day reading of The Harvard Classics, based on the reading guide that's included in the 1930 edition that I am doing to mark the centennial of the series. The guide picks a 15-minute reading for each day of the year, which I list in the title of each post. The volume and page numbers are based on the print edition, so those of you who are following along with the online edition at might have a hard time find the selections.

I give a brief comment on each reading. I'm not an English literature major, just a journalist and writer who tastes run more toward non-fiction. So, I am a bit more harsh on the poetry and plays than someone who enjoy that sort of stuff.

Not everything in this set holds up well, and one can while away the hours picking the works and authors that ought to be included and the ones that should be deleted. But if you view The Harvard Classics as a snapshot of what the educated elite of the first decade of the 20th century thought was important, it makes for an interesting contrast between today's canon and the canon of 1909.

So, thanks for stopping by, and on with the show.

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