Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Recommend Robertson Davies

I'm in one of my reading slumps these days.  I've started two or three books but I just can't find the time or the energy or the will to finish them. Life should get better in November December (I hope) so I can get back to reading for pleasure.

Someone (I wish I could remember who) mentioned Robertson Davies the other day and I've been thinking of re-reading some of his novels.  Maybe I'll do that after the first of the year.

If you haven't read him, you should.

"Oho, now I know what you are. You are an advocate of Useful Knowledge."

"Certainly."

"You say that a man's first job is to earn a living, and that the first task of education is to equip him for that job."

"Of course."

"Well, allow me to introduce myself to you as an advocate of Ornamental Knowledge. You like the mind to be a neat machine, equipped to work efficiently, if narrowly, and with no extra bits or useless parts. I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt. Shake the machine and it goes out of order; shake the dustbin and it adjusts itself beautifully to its new position."


Robertson Davies from his novel Tempest-Tost