Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing ebooks mentioned in this newsletter.
We recently added information to the PGA site about software and hardware which is available to assist one to read ebooks. Interested readers can find it on our home page at http://gutenberg.net.au, towards the bottom of the page.
Happy Birthday To Us
In thinking about the next article in this newsletter, which mentions
George Orwell, I was reminded of the fact that 1st August is PGA's
birthday. In August 2001 we placed our first book online, "Animal Farm"
by George Orwell (http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks01/0100011.txt).
Our second was Nineteen eighty-four (http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks01/0100021.txt),
also by Orwell. We now have over 1600 titles online.
Project Gutenberg in the US (PG) (http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page) celebrates it's birthday on 4th July, American Independence Day. Our birthday falls on a more (or less, according to your fancy) prosaic occasion: "Horses' Birthday."
According to gutindex.all (http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:Offline_Catalogs), the first ebook posted at PG was in 1971. There were 20 books online by 1991 and 100 by 1993. There are presently over 26,000 titles. Techology has delivered inexpensive document scanners and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to help us on our way.
A Short Essay on an Essay on Essays
Recently, the Sydney Morning Herald (5-6 July, 2008), carried an essay
by Andrew O'Hagan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_O'Hagan)
in which he discussed the art of essay writing. O'Hagan quoted his
English teacher from his school days who had said "the point of an essay
is to amuse, educate and express something personal."
O'Hagan mentioned some famous essayists, including Francis Bacon, Thomas Carlyle, William Hazlitt, Rousseau, and Montaigne. The work of some of these and other essayists is at Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page). He also mentioned George Orwell, a writer who some people associate more with novels than essays. Yet Orwell made his living by writing essays, criticisms and reviews. O'Hagan quoteed from Orwell's essay "A Nice Cup of Tea," which can be found in the PGA compilation "Fifty Orwell Essays" at http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0300011h.html. I won't quote from it here, but include it in the "Quotable Quotes" section, later in this Newsletter. Most of Orwell's writing can be accessed from our Orwell page at http://gutenberg.net.au/pages/orwell.html.
Virginia Woolf was an essayist of the first order. What is more, you can access most of her her works from our Woolf page at http://gutenberg.net.au/pages/woolf.html. In "The Common Reader" Woolf writes about Montaigne and states "After all, in the whole of literature, how many people have succeeded in drawing themselves with a pen? Only Montaigne and Pepys and Rousseau perhaps." She goes on to write "Here then, in spite of all contradictions and all qualifications, is something definite. These essays are an attempt to communicate a soul. On this point at least he is explicit. It is not fame that he wants; it is not that men shall quote him in years to come; he is setting up no statue in the market-place; he wishes only to communicate his soul." Such clear, concise, beautiful prose!
O'Hagan, in his essay in the Sydney Morning Herald, also mentioned Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797). He states that "just as the French cannot think of Flaubert's experiments in psychological realism without thinking first of Rouueau's beautiful 'Confessions,' the English cannot imagine the works of Jane Austen without Mary Wollstonecraft's 'Vindication of the Rights of women.'" (at PG: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3420). Wollstonecraft's essay is eloquently and elegantly crafted. The message is still relevant today. She writes: "'Educate women like men,' says Rousseau, 'and the more they resemble our sex the less power will they have over us.' This is the very point I aim at. I do not wish them to have power over men; but over themselves."
O'Hagan must have the last word. It is almost HIS essay after all. (But not before I state how wonderful it is to be able to refer to writers and to then provide a link to the ebook of the work itself. Talk about instant gratification!) O'Hagan writes, in HIS final paragraph, "I felt my way through the library stacks when I was young, eager to pick up those essays and tune into some of the most beautiful conversations ever to happen in Britain. And in the end that is what the essay gives you: a word in your ear and a thought before bedtime, all the better to speed your dreams and awaken your appetite for life." 'Ear, 'ear!
Quotable Quotes (by Essayists)
But these contributions to the dangerous and fascinating subject of
the psychology of the other sex--it is one, I hope, that you will
investigate when you have five hundred a year of your own--were
interrupted by the necessity of paying the bill. It came to five
shillings and ninepence. I gave the waiter a ten-shilling note and he
went to bring me change. There was another ten-shilling note in my purse;
I noticed it, because it is a fact that still takes my breath away the
power of my purse to breed ten-shilling notes automatically. I open it
and there they are. Society gives me chicken and coffee, bed and lodging,
in return for a certain number of pieces of paper which were left me by
an aunt, for no other reason than that I share her name.
Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own"
* * *
I cannot see the wit of walking and talking at the same time. When I am in the country I wish to vegetate like the country. I am not for criticising hedge-rows and black cattle. I go out of town in order to forget the town and all that is in it. There are those who for this purpose go to watering-places, and carry the metropolis with them. I like more elbow-room and fewer encumbrances. I like solitude, when I give myself up to it, for the sake of solitude; nor do I ask for 'A friend in my retreat, Whom I may whisper solitude is sweet.'
William Hazlitt, 'On Going a Journey' (in "Table-Talk"
* * *
What is truth? said jesting Pilate,and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be, that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits, which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them, as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labor, which men take in finding out of truth, nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor; but a natural, though corrupt love, of the lie itself.
Francis Bacon, 'Of Truth' (in "Essays of Francis Bacon"
* * *
There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tealeaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping thecarpet. It is worth paying attention to such details as warming the pot and using water that is really boiling, so as to make quite sureof wringing out of one's ration the twenty good, strong cups of that two ounces, properly handled, ought to represent.
George Orwell, 'A Nice Cup of Tea' (in "Fifty Orwell Essays"
A list of all the books we provide is available from http://gutenberg.net.au/plusfifty.html
Check there to see if there are other works by the authors listed below
-- JULY POSTINGS -- Jul 2008 The Return of Bulldog Drummond, Sapper [080073xx.xxx] 1655A http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800731.txt or .zip Jul 2008 At the End of the Passage, Rudyard Kipling [080072xx.xxx] 1654A http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800721.txt or .zip Jul 2008 Patriotic Lady, Marjorie Bowen [080071xx.xxx] 1653A http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800711.txt or .zip http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800711h.html Jul 2008 The Provincial Lady Goes Further, E M Delafield [080070xx.xxx] 1652A http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800701.txt or .zip http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800701h.html Jul 2008 Under Capricorn, Helen Simpson [080069xx.xxx] 1651A http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800691.txt or .zip Jul 2008 The Spanish Marriage, Helen Simpson [080068xx.xxx] 1650A http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800681.txt or .zip http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800681h.html Jul 2008 The Ringer, Edgar Wallace [080067xx.xxx] 1649A http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800671.txt or .zip Jul 2008 The Diary of a Provincial Lady, E M Delafield [080066xx.xxx] 1648A http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800661.txt or .zip http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800661h.html Jul 2008 Tales of Horror and the Supernatural,Arthur Machen[080065xx.xxx] 1647A http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800651.txt or .zip Jul 2008 The Queen's Caprice, Marjorie Bowen [080064xx.xxx] 1646A http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800641.txt or .zip
Newsletter Editor: Colin Choat.
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