Excerpt: ...and that this character may be transmitted. Nothing could be more unsound. Talent is not an acquired character, but a congenital character, and the man who is born with it has it in early life quite as well as in later life, though Its manifestation may have to wait. James Mill was yet a young man when his son, John Stuart Mill, was ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...and that this character may be transmitted. Nothing could be more unsound. Talent is not an acquired character, but a congenital character, and the man who is born with it has it in early life quite as well as in later life, though Its manifestation may have to wait. James Mill was yet a young man when his son, John Stuart Mill, was born, and not one of his principle books had been written. But though the "Elements of Political Economy" and the "Analysis of the Human Mind" were thus but vaguely formulated in his mind, if they were actually so much as formulated at all, and it was fifteen years before he wrote them, he was still quite able to transmit the capacity to write them to his son, and that capacity showed itself, years afterward, in the latter's "Principles of Political Economy" and "Essay on Liberty." But Ellis' faulty inference is still based upon a sound observation, to wit, that the sort of man capable of transmitting high talents to a son is ordinarily a man who does not have a son at all, at least in wedlock, until he has advanced into middle life. The reasons which impel him to yield even then are somewhat obscure, but two or three of them, perhaps, may be vaguely discerned. One lies in the fact that every man, whether of the first-class or of any other class, tends to decline in mental agility as he grows older, though in the actual range and profundity of his intelligence he may keep on improving until he collapses into senility. Obviously, it is mere agility of mind, and not profundity, that is of most value and effect in so tricky and deceptive a combat as the duel of sex. The aging man, with his agility gradually withering, is thus confronted by women in whom it still luxuriates as a function of their relative youth. Not only do women of his own age aspire to ensnare him, but also women of all ages back to adolescence. Hence his average or typical opponent tends to be progressively younger and younger than he is, and in the end...Read Less
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Among the things I'd take to a deserted island would be sardines, crackers, German beer and the works of Henry Mencken especially "In Defense. . ." All of the above the best of good company, all tastes somewhat acquired.
This is a book that may very well require searching out that dictionary you bought freshman year. It may also require overlooking the occasional puzzling rant: Mencken takes issue with the physical shape of women. Go figure.
It will likely change your thinking about marriage an institution the tenants of which according to H.L.are at best misconstrued by men and in sobering fact exploited to the nth degree by women.
"In Defense. . ." cleaves the sociological phenomenon known as the battle of the sexes anew: Mencken versus staid, smug convention - on one side those who are can appreciate a sardines, crackers and German beer approach, on the other the familiar scenario constructed by purveyors of the likes of Good Housekeeping and Brides Magazine.
Where did I put that lid lifter?
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