The problem is when you focus too much on the civic arts and not enough on formation of character. Man may be a political animal, but that isn’t all he is. We read Jane Austen to learn how to love with a happy mixture of sense and sensibility. We read King Lear not just for its political lessons, but for some shock of sympathy with a foolish old man whose loving daughter died. We read Montaigne (among other reasons) so we may learn to die well. We read Great Books to become better people, and to share in the long tradition of readers who have read these works before us.

-David Randall ‘Why read Great Books?‘ First Things


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