Old Swords

The antidote to misreading the classics is to read them in the right way. In outlining the right way, I will do so under a formula that I borrow from the Old English epic Beowulf. The warriors in that story prefer old swords to new ones because they regard them as more useful and reliable. In a similar way, I have taken my principles of reading from older sources that the avant-garde world of contemporary literary criticism would scorn as old-fashioned but whose usefulness readers can prove for themselves. To read the classics with profit and delight we do not need esoteric literary terms that only a handful of scholars can understand. We need time-honored principles that stand out luminous in their clarity and trustworthiness. ~ Leland Ryken, Realms of Gold
Ahimelech GIving the Sword of Goliath to David by Aert de Gelder, c 1680

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