West: Esprit de Finesse

“Reading develops the critical faculty and what Pascal called esprit de finesse (good taste and judgment) more rapidly than any other interest I can think of, and these are qualities that we do not have in America in any overwhelming abundance. Travel, one hears, broadens the mind, but I’ve known people who have been around the world who returned as empty-headed as when they left, though they did bring back a few souvenirs made in Birmingham.”

– Herbert Faulkner West, “On Reading and Collecting”

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