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Books For Self Help Students

Dr. Charles W. Eliot, ex-president of Harvard University is quoted as having said: “I am contemplating making a list of a few books that could be put on a five foot shelf the reading of which for ten minutes each day would in time give a man a liberal education.” This is good news for those music students whose general educational advantages have been slender but we doubt very much whether so conservative a man as Dr. Eliot would have committed himself by proposing such a comprehensive task. It is to books, however, that the music students and music lover seeking broader and wider knowledge of life must turn. It is therefore interesting to make some note of lists of ten indispensable books submitted to the New York Times by Edwin Markham, Dr. E. E. Hale, Thomas Wentworth Higginson and others. Out of fifty-five books, the Bible and Shakespeare received five votes each, Emerson’s Essays and Hugo’s “Les Misèrables” three votes each, and Bacon’s Essays, Browning’s Poems and Edward Fitzgerald (meaning doubtless the Fitzgerald translation of “Omar Khayyam”) two votes each. These books will not give you a liberal education, but they will vastly increase your knowledge of men and things, and if you have not read them you have a great pleasure in store for you. They will broaden you, and that means they will make you a better musician.

 

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