The simple secret with Classics is: They were written in the correct sequence of the natural cycle which would appeal to everybody. But, the people ate unable to follow that correct cycle, for lack of knowledge how it runs. This is why they lay those books away and pick them up later. They get "sick", not of the right cycle, but of themselves.
I am so sure that this is the way the majority of readers find things wich the Masters, especially so, since, for many years I have been in the habit to buy the finest editions of classics ar auction sales for a nominal price considering the quality of paper and binding.
This is whac I invariably found: None of these sets acquired hid been cut open further than to the sixth or eighth page, some of them had never been cut open. They just decorated some rich man's home.
The owners just bought them to show off. It is fashionable to have a book case filled with classics. Some interior decorator might have suggested them as decorations like he does with other pieces of occasional furniture. We are not interested in these types of people whatever.
Books of the Bohn or the Aldine Collection of Classics are seldom found in auction rooms. They can be had from used book dealers. With new books you cannot see what others, prior owners, had done with them. I always prefer used volumes of the Classics to study possible marks or remarks left therein by others.
Very few of the used classics contained marks or notes. Some one hundred different volumes were acquired by me, not all at one time, but gradually, at various rimes, in various dries of the country, allowing therefore, a substantial spread of place and time. Only two were found with notes. A Greek work, bought at San Jose, Calif., had notes, i.e. remarks made by the teacher or professor as he explained one sentence after the other. The second case, a Breviar-ium Romanum (a Catholic prayer book for priests) owned, as the entry showed by a scudent of Divinity, with notes in Spanish, conveying to another student that he is very fond of a certain girl. Bur, to top all this, a second, later owner, apparently a boy of 10 or 12 years, made the following entry on the front page: "Steal not this book, my little lad, for five good cents it cost my dad". It had cost me six bits before I had discovered that note!
Anyhow, nobody seems to make any notes or explanatory remarks on the margin referring to the subject read. They either seem to have understood perfectly everything they read or else they understood nothing- whatever, requiring therefore no notes.
This remark leads us into a new field.
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