The eminent British philosopher, John Locke, an empiricist, maintained that man is born with a blank slate, to be inscribed by him with knowledge acquired from experience.
Those who choose to avail themselves of the sheer joy and profound experience of reading great literature, thereby acquire an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon of life, its potential and its challenges, and are empowered to relate such understanding to their own experience.
One can comfortably sit at his favorite perch, armed only with a small light and a great book and, while sedentary, travel the planet and the cosmos; he can acquire enlightenment and valuable insight to himself and others by examining other lives and life situations as created and aesthetically portrayed by the great authors. A certain valuable category of books are labeled “Classics” since they portray man’s eternal plight on the human canvas. These exceptional works should be read and re-read (“reprised”) not only as a continuing source of great pleasure, but as instructive and comforting insight and perspective into the timeless, universally eternal issues which are implicit in the human condition.
The young adult, albeit in possession of the requisite intellectual and aesthetic ability to comprehend and enjoy such literary works, nonetheless, is at a relatively prerequisite stage of maturity and potential development ; his future course of life will instruct him, experientially and developmentally, in levels of ever increasing sophisticated insight. This maturity will lead him, ultimately, to the fuller appreciation and comprehension of the author’s intended message.
The mature reader, with a lifetime of accumulated experience, has thus acquired the in- depth capacity to identify with the life and characters portrayed and is equipped to appreciate the full extent of the author’s message and intention; his own experiences, joyous and tragic, empowers him with the ability to spiritually identify and communicate with the classical author.
Reprising the great classics of literature at a later stage of life is a satisfying life-enhancing experience .A little dust never hurt anyone.