Only the best thing ever: Advice to Little Girls– a playful and mischievous short story penned by young Mark Twain in 1865, encouraging girls to think independently rather than obey social mores, newly illustrated by beloved Russian children’s book artist Vladimir Radunsky.
The difference between science and philosophy is that the scientist learns more and more about less and less until she knows everything about nothing, whereas a philosopher learns less and less about more and more until he knows nothing about everything.
In his popular emblem book Iconologia (1593) showing classical personifications of the human qualities, the Italian author Cesare Ripa depicted curiosity as a wild, disheveled woman, driving home the message in the caption: ‘Curiosity is the unbridled desire of those who seek to know more than they should.’
How far, we must ask ourselves, is a book influenced by its writer’s life — how far is it safe to let the man interpret the writer? How far shall we resist or give way to the sympathies and antipathies that the man himself rouses in us — so sensitive are words, so receptive of the character of the author? These are questions that press upon us when we read lives and letters, and we must answer them for ourselves, for nothing can be more fatal than to be guided by the preferences of others in a matter so personal.
But also we can read such books with another aim, not to throw light on literature, not to become familiar with famous people, but to refresh and exercise our own creative powers.