The Complete Prosed Works Of Oliver Wendell Holmes

The Complete Prosed Works Of Oliver Wendell Holmes

Published On
2006
Language
English
Read Time
"Explication of Holmes's didactic works, including A Mortal Antipathy and Over the Teacups, which substantiates Holmes as a serious writer of the New England Renaissance whose ideology of self-determination as an American value is as relevant to modern society as it was to the agrarian and industri ...more

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There was nothing better than these things and there was not a little that was much worse.  A young fellow of two or three and twenty has as good a right to spoil a magazine-full of essays in learning how to write, as an oculist like Wenzel had to spoil his hat-full of eyes in learning how to operate for cataract, or an elegant like Brummel to point to an armful of failures in the attempt to achieve a perfect tie.  This son of mine, whom I have not seen for these twenty-five years, generously counted, was a self-willed youth, always too ready to utter his unchastised fancies.  He, like too many American young people, got the spur when he should have had the rein.  He therefore helped to fill the market with that unripe fruit which his father says in one of these papers abounds in the marts of his native country.  All these by-gone shortcomings he would hope are forgiven, did he not feel sure that very few of his readers know anything about them.  In taking the old name for the new papers, he felt bound to say that he had uttered unwise things under that title, and if it shall appear that his unwisdom has not diminished by at least half while his years have doubled, he promises not to repeat the experiment if he should live to double them again and become his own grandfather.
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—If I belong to a Society of Mutual Admiration?—I blush to say that I do not at this present moment.  I once did, however.  It was the first association to which I ever heard the term applied; a body of scientific young men in a great foreign city who admired their teacher, and to some extent each other.  Many of them deserved it; they have become famous since.  It amuses me to hear the talk of one of those beings described by Thackeray—
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