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    careless erudition

    Dear Teachers,

    I read these from True Pleasures by Lucinda Holdforth:

    "With an unwavering commitment she upheld an aristocratic code of living based on careless erudition, classical impartiality and casual wit."

    What are "careless erudition" and "classical impartiality"?

    "All conditions were the same to her, from the angel to the oyster. The great, overriding misfortune was to have been born at all."

    Is "from the angel to the oyster" a kind of idiom in English? Why angel and oyster?

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    Re: careless erudition

    IMO, their erudition is casual, not systematic and not meant to impress. They have the knowledge but have it for the pleasure of having it. The impartiality is preumably derived from classical studies that were so important in those days.

    I assume (again) that she means these as examples of the highest and lowest forms of life.

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    Re: careless erudition

    "classical impartiality"
    In the simplest of terms:
    Philosophers argue over types of impartiality. This does not affect or bother these people. Their ideas of what is 'fair' and 'just' are uncomplicated, rational (as opposed to any emotion or feeling coming into a judgment they make). Not for them any philosophical wrangling over such concepts - they just 'know' what is right, honest, fair, just.

    angel and oyster : what is the very highest living creature in all creation (other than God himself), and what is just about the lowest? The angel and the oyster are just being used to show the extremes of life forms, living creatures. It doesn't matter whether you are an angel, a man, a cow, or an oyster - we are all born, and presumably for her, just being born, being alive (whoever or whatever you are) is the greatest misfortune that could happen to you. Being born a pauper (poor person) or a king, what does it matter? Being alive is the worst possible thing that could happen to you.

    Happy reading I must say. That would perk up anyone's gloomy mood - NOT.

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