Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:
Happy Birthday little fellow - one year old today
After yesterday's disaster, I came across Alexander Nehamas, who was much more enlightening. Here we learn that To find something beautiful is to believe that making it a larger part of our life is worthwhile, that our life will be better if we spend part of it with that work. Which seems fair enough. But what use is it? Harold Bloom points out that immersing ourselves in beautiful literature will not make one a better or a worse person, a more useful or more harmful citizen., and here Theodore Dalrymple likewise notes that it is possible for a man with the roughest manners to have a heart of gold and wonders why is it that well-read people do not behave conspicuously better than those who have never read a book in their lives?
Whilst I search for the answer to that one, Bloom, through Nehamas, has thrust another problem before me. That of immersing myself deeply in the Canon [of Western / English literature]. I took English at high school through to seventh form but the curriculum was mercifully free of anything to do with English whatsoever - quite a feat to pull off over five years.
Now, I would like to find out about great writers and even poets (I was scarred for years by the shit Ted Hughes) but have absolutely no idea where to start. All I have are names, Wodehouse, Keats, Larkin, Dickens, Hemmingway and so forth. What should I read?