Tuesday, July 13, 2004
James G. Frazer:
The oldest books are the best, witness, for example, the Bible and Homer. And why should the oldest books be the best? The reason, I take it, is simple. The principle of the survival of the fittest applies to books as well as to men. Bad books perish, but good books survive, because the world will not willingly let them die. Therefore the older a book, the stronger the testimony of men to its excellence. If men have taken the trouble to reproduce a book again and again and to hand it on from generation to generation, depend on it there is something in that book that deserves to live.