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Decently Writ, XV

March 9, 2014

Clive Lewis

Every age has its own outlook.  It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes.  We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period.  And that means the old books….We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century — the blindness about which posterity will ask, ‘But how could they have thought that?’ — lies where we never suspected it….None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books….The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.

— Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, “On the Reading of Old Books”

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