John Ruskin: Sesame and Lilies
Two lectures, given at Manchester in 1864.
Lecture 1: Sesame (‘On Kings’ Treasuries’)
How and what to read. Given that life is fleeting and leisure hours are few, we should not waste time reading trash. Instead we should read good books. These are the Kings’ Treasuries of the subtitle.
Lecture 2: Lilies (‘Of Queens’ Gardens’)
On the education of girls.
Here’s an extract:
‘ … speaking broadly, a man ought to know any language or science he learns, thoroughly—while a woman ought to know the same language, or science, only so far as may enable her to sympathise in her husband’s pleasures, and in those of his best friends.’
A woman’s duty is to be ‘the centre of order, the balm of distress, and the mirror of beauty’ – in this area she is Queen.
(I shall refrain from comment.)
The text also includes a Preface to the later editions of Sesame and Lilies, plus a third lecture on The Mystery of Life and Its Arts.
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