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About the Author: Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. was a physician by profession but achieved fame as a writer; he was one of the best regarded American poets of the 19th century.

Although mainly known as a poet, Holmes wrote numerous medical treatises, essays, novels, memoirs and table-talk books.


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Goodreads rating: 3.47

Paperback, by Read Books

ISBN10: 1445546302 | ISBN13: 9781445546308

Excerpt from The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table: Every Man His Own Boswell
This book was written for a generation which knew nothing or next to nothing of war, and hardly dreamed of it; which felt as if invention must have exhausted itself in the miracles it had already wrought. To-day, in a small seaside village of a few hundred inhabitants, I see the graveyard fluttering with little flags that mark the soldiers' graves; we read, by the light the rocks of Pennsylvania have furnished for us, all that is most important in the morning papers of the civilized world; the lightning, so swift to run our errands, stands shining over us, white and steady as the moonbeams, burning, but unconsumed; we talk with people in the neighboring cities as if they were at our elbow, and as our equipages flash along the highway, the silent bicycle glides by us and disappears in the distance. All these since 1857, and how much more than these changes in our every-day conditions! I can say without offence to-day that which called out the most angry feelings and the hardest language twenty-five years ago. I may doubt everything to-day if I will only do it civilly.
I cannot make over again the book and those which followed it, and I will not try to mend old garments with new cloth. Let the sensible reader take it for granted that the author would agree with him in changing whatever he would alter, in leaving out whatever he would omit, if it seemed worth while to tamper with what was finished long ago. The notes which have been added will not interrupt the current of the conversational narrative.
I can never he too grateful for the tokens of regard which these papers and those which followed them have brought me.

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