C.S. Lewis on the Casual Reading of Old Books

“There are, I know, those who prefer not to go beyond the impression, however accidental, which an old work makes on a mind that brings it to a purely modern sensibility and modern conceptions; just as there are travellers who carry their resolute Englishry with them all over the Continent, mix only with other English tourists, enjoy all they see for its ‘quaintness’, and have no wish to realise what those ways of life, those churches, those vineyards, mean to the natives. They have their reward. I have no quarrel with people who approach the past in that spirit. I hope they will pick none with me. But I was writing for the other sort.”

– C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image (Preface), Cambridge University Press, 1964, pp. ix-x

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