Friday, 1 February 1980

"Books That Have Helped Great Men": E F Benson's Selection

My favourite film Heathcliff (Timothy Dalton)
On 22nd October 1927 The Spectator asked some 'great men' to name the books that had most influenced them:
Mr. E. F. Benson adds a philosophical aside to his selection : "No book that is worth reading ever had anything but a bad influence on any author. What he invariably picks up (if he picks up anything) is its defects. Its merits are always the incommunicable secret of the individual writer. But usually he picks up nothing. The three books that have thus most influenced me are: (1) Le Livre de la pitié et de la mort, by Pierre Loti. I derived from it a poisonous streak of sentimentality. (2) Othmai, by Ouida, from which I caught an adolescent habit of 'rich' description. (3) Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, from which I learned clumsy mechanism."
 Just thought I'd mention it. 

Ouida (Louisa de la Ramée)