Chapter One, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, published 1891."...As a rule, he is charming to me, and we sit in the studio and talk of a thousand things. Now and then, however, he is horribly thoughtless, and seems to take a real delight in giving me pain. Then I feel, Harry, that I have given away my whole soul to some one who treats it as if it were a flower to put in his coat, a bit of decoration to charm his vanity, and ornament for a summer's day."
"Days in summer, Basil, are apt to liner,' murmured Lord Henry. "Perhaps you will tire sooner than he will. It is a sad thing to think of, but there is not doubt that Genius lasts longer Beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves. In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place. The thoroughly well-informed man - that is the modern ideal. And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value. I think you will tire first, all the same.
I have really only just started reading this, but I'm enjoying it immensely so far. It almost has a Dickensian sort of zest, but then I haven't read from Oscar Wilde before, so maybe that's just how he always is. It's very beautifully written and so simple and enchanting to read that it's hard to pull myself away once I begin.
I wanted to pull this passage out because it contains two of my favourite little bits so far. Firstly, I love how Harry responds to Basil's observation with the slightly cryptic but all wonderful and charming affirmation, "Days in summer, Basil, are apt to linger." It's a sweet encouragement that continues with Basil's simile. I really loved it.
The second part was the lines, "And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value." It's such a lovely thought, regardless of meaning, thought provoking and very new.
I can tell already that I'm really going to enjoy this book!