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May 6, 2012

C. S. Lewis on the value of reading old books


"Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books. All contemporary writers share to some extent the contemporary outlook — even those, like myself, who seem most opposed to it.... To be sure, the books of the future would be just as good a corrective as the books of the past, but unfortunately we cannot get at them."

"From an introduction written by Lewis for a [1944] translation of 'On the Incarnation' [The Treatise of St. Athanasius]. In the same book, Lewis recommended reading one old book for every contemporary book or two."

[via The Endeavour, the blog of John D. Cook]

May 6, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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