at any rate, demand for him, if he does not perceive the need of it for himself, that there shall be something which suggests a wide and flexible training, with large vistas of knowledge.
They like to see in him that ‘full man’ who is made, as Lord Bacon says, by ‘reading.’
One main reason why Homer
and Horace and even Dante
seem to supply more of this kind of fulness than can be got from an equivalent study of Balzac
, is doubtless because the older authors are remoter, and so make the vista look more wide.
The vaster the better; but there must be enough of it, at least, to convey a distinct sensation of background.
Of course, when this background obtrudes itself into the foreground, it becomes intolerable; and such books as Burton
's ‘Anatomy of Melancholy’ are tiresome, because they are all made up of background, and that of the craggiest description; but, after all, the books which offer only foreground are also insufficient.
I do not see how any one can read the essays of Howells
and James and Burroughs
, for instance, after reading those of Emerson
, without noticing in the younger trio