Commonplace Book: Thoreau goes plectrum electrum

Compelling passages, notable quotables, bon mots, disjecta, ephemera, and miscellany.

December[1838]. A good book is the plectrum with which our silent lyres are struck.

Nov. 16[1850]. In literature it is only the wild that attracts us. Dullness is only another name for tameness. It is the untamed, uncivilized, free, and wild thinking in Hamlet, in the Iliad, and in all the scriptures and mythologies that delights us,–not learned in the schools, not refined and polished by art. A truly good book is something as wildly natural and primitive, mysterious and marvellous, abrosial and fertile, as a fungus or a lichen.

From H.D. Thoreau: A Writer’s Journal, Selected and Edited with an Introduction by Laurence Stapleton (Dover Publications, 1960)