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Writing of the tendency m the present age of young men to acquire all their information from short text-books, an American writer says :— '" Compare one of these smart young men with the erudite scholars of the pait generation—the men whose work was as close and perfect as a bit of Japanese enamel—who have chapter and verse for every assertion, and could put their fingers on references and quotations of which our model young lion knows about as much as he does of Chinese-j-R'nd then measure the distance of the downward step that literature has made. What was once solid heart-of-oak is now the flimsiest veneer. What : was once mastery of fhe whole subject is: now a quick study, a book of well-chosen extracts, and a serviceable memory when called on. That which was,once a grave and honourable profession/ has now degenerated into a noisy, pushing, selfr advertising trade ; and he" who would teach is not always abreast of those whom he undertakes to instruct. ; The classics are discarded for personal gossip; the continuity to be found m history runs intone sand out of which a new political fad is built; the human nature w^ich has never varied m essence from inV'earliest times up to mow is glibly supposed to be undergoing a transformation which will enable men to -stand" on their heads and talk. with, their,heejs; the golden apple . has become', til te ''purry pone,'' and the democratic ',- wave has covered the garden of the He'sp^rides witH. ifud and slhrie. Literature is not tile profe«sion it was when, practised by the learned gentlemen and scholars of the past generation, and it dojjs. not confer the same dignity—because thfjiß&ijdard of self respect has fallenjike tRe standard of qualifications—because Dulcamara has displaced Bacon, and Dr Maiygold is the best representative of a philosopher the Kink and file of ■ modern literature can show.

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Bibliographic details

LITERATURE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2467, 17 July 1890

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LITERATURE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2467, 17 July 1890