French Arts & Letters and Other Essays

French Arts & Letters and Other Essays

French Arts & Letters and Other Essays

French Arts & Letters and Other Essays

Excerpt

This little volume is the record of the devotion of a man of "sensibility" and of taste, a man of enthusiasm and courage, to two mastering passions: Art and France. Whether alone or delicately blended, they have possessed and dominated the man. These essays are not merely a narrative of things accomplished and of beauties glimpsed; they are animated by a sustained and contagious enthusiasm for the two principal objects of his affection.

The world is cluttered with persons who know much and understand little -- persons who know everything and appreciate nothing. The world is too much filled with facts -- and pseudo-facts that pompously parade as verities. There are too many solemn facts and dreary facts -- facts that make the soul heavy -- facts that make life sad. A million shelves groan under the burden of accumulated knowledge. There have always been more pedants than poets in the world -- more pedestrians than sprinters. And, alas, there has always been a preponderance of dead facts over vital ones. Facts, contrary to a popular belief, seldom speak for themselves; they want interpretation; they demand articulate expression.

The author of these essays has, from long study and experience, an abundant store of knowledge. But he has more; he has the power of resuscitation and of revitalization. He knows how to endow facts with new life and fresh beauty. He possesses a delicate discrimination in reinterpreting classical forms of art and architecture for a modern age. He imparts to his matcrials the enkindling touch of a fertile imagination.

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