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Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 3 of 3) Essay 1: On Popular Culture   By: (1838-1923)

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First Page:

CRITICAL MISCELLANIES

BY JOHN MORLEY

VOL. III. Essay 1: On Popular Culture

London MACMILLAN AND CO., Limited NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1904

ON POPULAR CULTURE

PAGE

Introduction 1

Importance of provincial centres 2

Report of the Midland Institute 4

Success of the French classes 5

Less success of English history 6

Value of a short comprehensive course 8

Dr. Arnold's saying about history 'traced backwards' 9

Value of a short course of general history 10

Value of a sound notion of Evidence 16

Text books of scientific logic not adequate for popular objects 21

A new instrument suggested 21

An incidental advantage of it 23

General knowledge not necessarily superficial 25

Popular culture and academic organisation 25

Some of the great commonplaces of study 29

Conclusion 34

ON POPULAR CULTURE

AN ADDRESS DELIVERED AT THE TOWN HALL, BIRMINGHAM (OCTOBER 5, 1876), BY THE WRITER, AS PRESIDENT OF THE MIDLAND INSTITUTE.

The proceedings which have now been brought satisfactorily to an end are of a kind which nobody who has sensibility as well as sense can take a part in without some emotion. An illustrious French philosopher who happened to be an examiner of candidates for admission to the Polytechnic School, once confessed that, when a youth came before him eager to do his best, competently taught, and of an apt intelligence, he needed all his self control to press back the tears from his eyes. Well, when we think how much industry, patience, and intelligent discipline; how many hard hours of self denying toil; how many temptations to worthless pleasures resisted; how much steadfast feeling for things that are honest and true and of good report are all represented by the young men and young women to whom I have had the honour of giving your prizes to night, we must all feel our hearts warmed and gladdened in generous sympathy with so much excellence, so many good hopes, and so honourable a display of those qualities which make life better worth having for ourselves, and are so likely to make the world better worth living in for those who are to come after us.

If a prize giving is always an occasion of lively satisfaction, my own satisfaction is all the greater at this moment, because your Institute, which is doing such good work in the world, and is in every respect so prosperous and so flourishing, is the creation of the people of your own district, without subsidy and without direction either from London, or from Oxford, or from Cambridge, or from any other centre whatever. Nobody in this town at any rate needs any argument of mine to persuade him that we can only be sure of advancing all kinds of knowledge, and developing our national life in all its plenitude and variety, on condition of multiplying these local centres both of secondary and higher education, and encouraging each of them to fight its own battle, and do its work in its own way. For my own part I look with the utmost dismay at the concentration, not only of population, but of the treasures of instruction, in our vast city on the banks of the Thames. At Birmingham, as I am informed, one has not far to look for an example of this. One of the branches of your multifarious trades in this town is the manufacture of jewellery... Continue reading book >>


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