Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
Literary and Social Essays
George William Curtis (1824–1892)
Literary and Social Essays, by George William Curtis. The nine essays which compose this volume were collected from several sources, and published in book form in 1895. Written with all the exquisite finish, the lucidity and grace which characterized every utterance of Mr. Curtis, these essays are like an introduction into the actual presence of the gifted men of our century in whose splendid circle the author was himself at home. Emerson, Hawthorne, and the placid pastoral Concord of their homes, are the subjects of the first three chapters, and are treated with the fine power of apt distinction, with the richness of rhetoric and the play of delicate humor, which those who heard Mr. Curtis remember, and those who know him only in his published works must recognize. To lovers of Emerson and Hawthorne these chapters will long be a delight, written as they were while the companionship of which they spoke was still warm and fresh in the author’s memory.  1
  Equally interesting and valuable as contributions to the biography of American letters are the chapters on Oliver Wendell Holmes, Washington Irving, and Longfellow. Perhaps no one has given us more intimately suggestive portrait-sketches of the personalities of these familiar authors than are given in these collected essays. Particularly interesting to American readers are the occasional reminiscences of personal participation in scenes, grave or humorous, where the actors were all makers of history for New England. The book contains Mr. Curtis’s brilliant essay on the famous actress Rachel, which appeared in Putnam’s Magazine, 1855; a delightful sketch of Thackeray in America, from the same source; and a hitherto unpublished essay on Sir Philip Sidney, which is instinct with the author’s enthusiasm for all that is strong and pure and truly gentle.  2

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