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Suspended Judgments Essays on Books and Sensations   By: (1872-1963)

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[Note: I have made the following spelling changes: qualites which strike to qualities which strike, revelled in to reveled in, protegés to protégés, voluptuous femininty to voluptuous femininity, tyrrannise to tyrannise, Montagus to Montagues, Zarathrustra to Zarathustra, antiChrist to anti Christ, Car nous voulous to Car nous voulons, Gélent votre chair to Gèlent votre chair, slips in in to slips in, irrresponsible a temperament to irresponsible a temperament, common occurences to common occurrences, philanthrophy to philanthropy, demogorgon to Demogorgon, somethings which palls upon us to something which palls upon us, never encounted to never encountered, Arimathaea to Arimathea, the the contemptuous libels to the contemptuous libels, lapséd soul to lapsed soul, philsophical motto to philosophical motto, sybilline to sibylline, pseudo latin to pseudo Latin, and ninteenth century to nineteenth century.]




Copyright, 1916, by G. Arnold Shaw Copyright in Great Britain and the Colonies



The Art of Discrimination 3 Montaigne 17 Pascal 47 Voltaire 63 Rousseau 83 Balzac 107 Victor Hugo 133 Guy de Maupassant 149 Anatole France 171 Paul Verlaine 197 Remy de Gourmont 225 William Blake 257 Byron 279 Emily Brontë 313 Joseph Conrad 337 Henry James 367 Oscar Wilde 401 Suspended Judgment 425


The world divides itself into people who can discriminate and people who cannot discriminate. This is the ultimate test of sensitiveness; and sensitiveness alone separates us and unites us.

We all create, or have created for us by the fatality of our temperament, a unique and individual universe. It is only by bringing into light the most secret and subtle elements of this self contained system of things that we can find out where our lonely orbits touch.

Like all primordial aspects of life the situation is double edged and contradictory.

The further we emphasise and drag forth, out of their reluctant twilight, the lurking attractions and antipathies of our destiny, the nearer, at once, and the more obscure, we find ourselves growing, to those about us.

And the wisdom of the difficult game we are called upon to play, lies in just this very antinomy, in just this very contradiction that to make ourselves better understood we have to emphasise our differences, and to touch the universe of our friend we have to travel away from him, on a curve of free sky.

The cultivation of what in us is lonely and unique creates of necessity a perpetual series of shocks and jars. The unruffled nerves of the lower animals become enviable, and we fall into moods of malicious reaction and vindictive recoil. And yet, for Nature makes use even of what is named evil to pursue her cherished ends the very betrayal of our outraged feelings produces no unpleasant effect upon the minds of others. They know us better so, and the sense of power in them is delicately gratified by the spectacle of our weakness; even as ours is by the spectacle of theirs.

The art of discrimination is the art of letting oneself go, more and more wilfully; letting oneself go along the lines of one's unique predilections; letting oneself go with the resolute push of the inquisitive intellect; the intellect whose rôle it is to register with just all the preciseness it may every one of the little discoveries we make on the long road.

The difference between interesting and uninteresting critics of life, is just the difference between those who have refused to let themselves be thus carried away, on the stream of their fatality, and those who have not refused... Continue reading book >>

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