Harvard Classics

Introductory Note: Jonathan Swift

Introductory note on Jonathan Swift (Volume 27, Harvard classics)

Hints Towards an Essay on Conversation, by Jonathan Swift

To harp on one's illnesses, giving all the symptoms and circumstances, has been a blemish on conversation for ages. Two hundred years ago Swift complained of persons who continually talked about themselves. (Volume 27, Harvard Classics)

Jonathan Swift born Nov. 30, 1667.

Introductory Note: David Hume

Introductory note on David Hume (Volume 37, Harvard classics)

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Of the Origin of Ideas), by David Hume

Did you ever stop to think just how you thought? What inner emotions, what outer influences make up the fathomless depths of mind and intellect? Hume explains how we draw our thoughts, then clumsily put them into tangible shape called ideas. (Volume 37, Harvard Classics)

Introductory Note: William Blake

Introductory note on William Blake (The Ridpath Library of Universal Literature)

Songs of Innocence and Experience, by William Blake

"To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower---" Such was the exaltation of the mysticism of William Blake, who reflected in his poetry the ecstasy of his visions. Simplicity is the keynote of his genius. (Volume 41, Harvard Classics)

William Blake born Nov. 28, 1757.

Introductory Note: Sir Thomas More

Introductory note on Sir Thomas More (Volume 36, Harvard Classics)

Utopia (Book II, Part IV), by Sir Thomas More

In wondrous Utopia pearls and precious stones were used as playthings for little children. Gold rings and bracelets were only worn by outcasts, while great golden chains shackled criminals and felons. When ambassadors from foreign lands came in fine raiment, the Utopians treated the plainest dressed as the greatest; the others seemed to them like children. (Volume 36, Harvard Classics)

Introductory Note: Charles Lamb

Introductory note on Charles Lamb (Volume 27, Harvard Classics)

On the Tragedies of Shakespeare, by Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb, favorite essayist, thought that no stage could do justice to Shakespeare's tragedies. He advocated reading the plays, and with the imagination costuming the players and building the gorgeous scenery in a way equaled by no scene painter or costumer. (Volume 27, Harvard Classics)

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