“It is never too late to give up your prejudices”
Henry David Thoreau
“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation.”
I enjoyed this series several years ago, and I thought it was time to revisit these posts. I hope you enjoy them.
The other day I was thinking about which 2 or 3 fictional characters I would like to sit down with over coffee, tea, or beer and with whom I would like to have a conversation. When I first thought about it, I believed it would be an easy choice to make, but then I realized that there were so many that I would have to do this in parts.
For the initial meeting, I thought I would extend an invitation to Merlin from Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, Gandalf from J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, (not from The Hobbit), and Dumbledore from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series to join me over beer, mead, or even butterbeer, if that were preferable at a nice Public House. I chose these characters because they are central figures in three works that are deeply important to me, not only from the perspective of study but also from the enormous pleasure I have had from reading these works. I have taught all of them in different classes, primarily at the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, and I love to reread these writings over the years.
I am fascinated by the connection among the three of them, all wizards in tales of British mythology. Among the questions I would want to ask would be: Do you see a connection among yourselves? Do you approve of your portrayals in the writings? and Are you descended from the Druids?
I think this would be a lively and enjoyable conversation, although if too much was drunk, I wonder what inebriated and arguing wizards would be like.
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I was thinking recently of a variety of aspects of books that I love, including plot, theme, and character. As I was considering these elements, I realized that some books have extraordinary sentences. These lines might not encapsulate the entirety of those books, but they are beautiful and powerful.
I will offer two such quotations:
The first is the closing sentence from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, one of the most important novels ever written:
The second offering is from A Soldier Of The Great War by Mark Helprin. This novel is, in my not too modest opinion, one of the absolute best novels ever written. With this book, Helprin takes his place among the pantheon of literary giants such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Cervantes, and Tolstoy.
I am sure I will continue this idea as a series, but this little post will serve as a beginning.
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Wordworth Classics. 1993.
Helprin, Mark. A Soldier Of The Great War. Perennial. 2001.
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