What good is reading?

“…the first Principles of Honour, Truth, Temperance, Publick Spirit, Fortitude, Chastity, Benevolence, and Fidelity. The Names of all which Virtues are still retained among us in Languages, and are to be met with in modern as well as ancient Authors, which I am able to assert from my own small Reading.” –Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Part 4, Chapter 12.

It reminds us of the things we hold dear or have held dear. And, according to Gulliver anyway, good authors will tell us the truth, that we may learn from them.

How little reputation is to be got by writings…

I know very well how little Reputation is to be got by Writings which require neither Genius nor Learning, nor indeed any other Talent, except a good Memory, or an exact Journal.
–Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Part 4, Chapter 12

This makes me feel a little better (and worse) about my blog, which is its own form of journal and which requires no genius, though I would hope it uses learning and talent. Hmm.

But it made me smile today to read it in GT when I was working on my critical essay for publication, so I thought I would share it here.