"By companionable books I mean those that are worth taking with you on a journey, where the weight of luggage counts, or keeping beside your bed, near the night-lamp; books that will bear reading often, and the more slowly you read them the better you enjoy them; books that not only tell you how things look and how people behave, but also ...
"By companionable books I mean those that are worth taking with you on a journey, where the weight of luggage counts, or keeping beside your bed, near the night-lamp; books that will bear reading often, and the more slowly you read them the better you enjoy them; books that not only tell you how things look and how people behave, but also interpret nature and life to you, in language of beauty and power touched with the personality of the author, so that they have a real voice audible to your spirit in the silence. "Here I have written about a few of these books which have borne me good company, in one way or another - and about their authors, who have put the best of themselves into their work. Such criticism as the volume contains is therefore mainly in the form of appreciation with reasons for it. The other kind of criticism you will find chiefly in the omissions." Henry van Dyke (1852-1933) was an American clergyman, educator, and author. He graduated from Princeton in 1873, and from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1874. He was pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church, New York City (1883-99), professor of English literature at Princeton (1899-1923), and U.S. Minister to the Netherlands (1913-16). Among his popular inspirational writings is the Christmas story The Other Wise Man (1896). As President Wilson's ambassador to the Netherlands from 1913, Van Dyke was a first-hand witness to the outbreak of World War I and its progress, and was a key player in the President's diplomatic efforts to keep the U.S. out of the conflict. Contents: The Book of Books Poetry in the Psalms The Good Enchantment of Dickens Thackeray and Real Men George Eliot and Real Women The Poet of Immortal Youth (Keats) The Recovery of Joy (Wordsworth) "The Glory of the Imperfect" (Browning) A Quaint Comrade by Quiet Streams (Walton) A Sturdy Believer (Samuel Johnson) A Puritan Plus Poetry (Emerson) An Adventurer in a Velvet Jacket (Stevenson)
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