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Facing Life Fearlessly : The Pessimistic Versus The Optimistic View Of Life
by Clarence Darrow
Facing Life Fearlessly - Clarence Darrow - The Pessimistic Versus The Optimistic View of Life - Report of a lecture delivered at the University of Chicago, under the auspices of the Poetry Club, and the Liberal Club; revised by Mr. Darrow. I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Mr. A.E. Housman in the Summer of 1927. I spent two hours with him, and before that I had been to the home of Thomas Hardy. Mr. Hardy told me how much he thought of Housman, before I visited Housman; and Housman was a frequent visitor at the Hardy home. Their ideas of life were very much alike; they were what the orthodox people and the Rotary Clubs would call pessimistic. They didn't live on pipe dreams; they took the universe as they found it, and man as they found him. They tried to see what beauty there was in each of them, but didn't close their eyes to the misery and maladjustments of either the universe or man, because they ware realists, honest, thorough, and fearless. Hardy himself had received the censure of all the good people of England and the world, who, in spite of that, bought his books. They all condemned him when he wrote his 'Tess;' so he determined not to write any more prose. He thought that people probably were not intelligent enough to appreciate him; certainly not his viewpoint, and he didn't wish to waste his time on them. Housman's viewpoint is much the same, as all of you know. He has written very little. You can read all he has written in two hours, and less than that; but everything is exquisitely finished. met him he was in his study in Cambridge. He is a professor of Latin. I can't Imagine anythINg more useless than that -- unless it be Greek! He has been called the greatest Latin scholar in the world, and he seemed to take some pride in his Latin; not so much in his poetry. He said he didn't write poetry except when he felt he had to, it was always hard work for him, although some of the things he wrote very quickly; but as a rule he spent a great deal of time on most of them.