Russell is getting in the game. Records last week, books this week. This is a very interesting list. As I’ve said many times before, I’ve learned more from the books I’ve read than from all those years in the classroom. I think Russell is in that same school. The world is our classroom, after all, and together through time we have learned many things. I’m going to include the comments he sent with his list.
In response to your invitation to send you a list of books
I’ve been reading or have re-read:
Selected Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant
The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler
Ecce Homo Friedrich Nietzsche (translated by Walter Kaufmann)
The Trial and Death of Socrates by Plato
Conversations of Goethe by Johann Peter Eckermann
(I highly recommend toÂ anyone. This is one of my most cherishedÂ books. A vast wealth of information, insight, analysis, commentaryÂ about life, art, existence written by Goethe’s closeÂ friend/apprentice/assistant Johann Peter Eckerman, taken fromÂ conversations with the greatest poet/writer/mind in German history,Â during the last nine years of Goethe’s life. I bought it last year and I read and study it often. Exceptionally well written andÂ expressive.
The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy by JacobÂ Burckhardt
(Considered to be the best book ever written on the ItalianÂ Renaissance and it’s historical signicance.
From a review of the book:
“A brilliant piece of writing— and the source for what so many of usÂ in my generation believed about the history of the Renaissance. TheÂ prose here was celebrated in Peter Gay’s (classic) “Style in History” for both its cool patrician detachment and deep aesthetic sense, andÂ reading Burckhardt is a pleasure. I have a History PhD, and I’veÂ taught History at universities— and while there are newer visions of the place and time that are more “scientific” and based on findingsÂ and techniques unavailable to Burckhardt, “Civilization of theÂ Renaissance in Italy” is always and ever the place to start. History grew out of literature, not science, and Burckhardt is a master ofÂ narrative and of creating a world. Witty, ironic, put together out ofÂ a mastery of sources and a wealth of cultured knowledge â€“ you can’t begin to know 15th-c. Italy without Burckhardt.”)
What I find an invaluable guide for my reading program and journey ofÂ learning is the eloquent introductions in many of the books I choose.Â For example, in the Maupissant book, I learned of his key influenceÂ Flaubert, and the short story masters of the nineteenth century likeÂ Turgenev and Chekhov. So, I will at some point read some of theirÂ works next. We’ll see where the journey takes me.