Page:The Harvard Classics Vol. 51; Lectures.djvu/323

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313
EDUCATION

and above all the great structure of modern science, which gives us ideals and standards of judgment drawn from a new field, the book of Nature herself. The reason why we differ is clear. You still live in the views of the fifteenth century, and you take no account of the vast changes in our knowledge since that time. But if culture is to be an effective criticism of modern life—as we agree—is it not clear that the ideals and standards given by these new fields of learning must form a part of any scheme of complete culture? Thus by clear definition, and by reasoning based on the historic facts, Huxley drives home his conclusion with telling power.


HIS STYLE AND PERSONALITY

The style of the address deserves notice. It is characteristic of all Huxley's writings. Perfect clearness and simplicity are its most obvious qualities. So clear and simple is it, indeed, that one constantly forgets that the printed page is before one. One seems to be looking directly at the thought expressed rather than at the words themselves, just as one looks through a clear window at a landscape. At the same time, the style is never dry. The "bottled life" which, according to a reviewer, Huxley always "infused into the driest topic on which human beings ever contrived to prose," is evident here as in all his writings. Forcible and interesting, as he always is, Huxley also makes this address pungent by picturesque phrases and keen thrusts at his antagonists.

A last word must be given to Huxley as a man. He was one of the most distinguished and striking personalities of his day in England. Hardly any character will better repay study. Let the reader turn to his "Collected Essays," and especially to the two volumes of his "Life and Letters," edited by his son. There he will find a portrait, sharply drawn. It is the portrait of a passionate seeker of truth, fearless in its defense against all odds, and at any cost to himself—a man ruggedly honest and straightforward, big of mind, broad of vision, the soul of simplicity, sincerity, and honor.