Thursday, March 17, 2016

`So Young a Man Can Talk So Wisely'

Here is Dr. Johnson on his friend Tom Restless in The Idler#49, published on this date, March 17, in 1759. We all know this fellow:

“Tom has long had a mind to be a man of knowledge, but he does not care to spend much time among authors; for he is of opinion that few books deserve the labour of perusal, that they give the mind an unfashionable cast, and destroy that freedom of thought, and easiness of manners, indispensably requisite to acceptance in the world. Tom has, therefore, found another way to wisdom.”

Today we would recognize Tom as a hipster or blogger:

“When he rises he goes into a coffee-house, where he creeps so near to men whom he takes to be reasoners, as to hear their discourse, and endeavours to remember something which, when it has been strained through Tom’s head, is so near to nothing, that what it once was cannot be discovered. This he carries round from friend to friend through a circle of visits, till, hearing what each says upon the question, he becomes able at dinner to say a little himself; and, as every great genius relaxes himself among his inferiors, meets with some who wonder how so young a man can talk so wisely.”

No comments: