At long last, I am returning to the Writing the Great Book series that I started two year ago. I am reposting this opening post. I will then, over the next couple of weeks, repost my essays on Angels and Animals. Once that is done, we will begin anew with the rest of Mortimer Adler’s Great Ideas, starting with the dreaded Aristocracy (dreaded, because I have tried to write this post several times, and it’s never come out right.)
Mephistopheles Prospero is excited to hear about the Great Ideas relaunch
Here is the previous post:
Before we discuss the quality that make a great books, we should probably discuss what makes a book great.
First, we should distinguish between the two uses of the term “great books.” For clarities sake, I shall refer to them as great books and Great Books.
A great book is a book you love. Perhaps, it is a book that changed your life. Perhaps, it is one you want to read again and again. Perhaps, it is one that rocked your world, or uplifted you in a time of darkness. Perhaps, it stirred your heart, ignited your passion, or brought you comfort. It is a book that touched you.
A Great Book is a book that did to a whole lot of people what a great book did to you. It is the same thing on a society level: a book that rocked many people’s world; or that introduced new ideas into society; or that led millions of readers to “burn with the bliss and suffer the sorrow of all mankind.” * It is a book that so many people found great that it outlasted the sandblast of Time, which otherwise clears away all things.
*My dad’s favorite quote from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita. I have also seen it written: “burns with the bliss and suffers with the sorrows of every creature”.
So what makes a book great?
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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)