Skip to main content

John Stuart Mill thinks Emerson is a man-baby


First off, if you don't know, John Stuart Mill was an English philosopher/economist/hilarious person of the Victorian Age. We're pissed at him because he liked Utilitarianism, which was a dumb movement, but I don't even care anymore, because this article makes him the best.

As his obituary in The Times observed, Mill was a candid controversialist, but he was ‘too amiable to indulge in scorching sarcasm or inflict unnecessary pain’. In his spontaneous marginalia, however, Mill was free to indulge his private opinions without fear of causing offence.


"Sentimental Essays in the Art of Intimately blending Sense and Nonsense"
ZING, Mill

This is basically the equivalent of taking a book like The Secret and scrawling "The Secret (to Being Dumb)" on the title page.

This article contains gems like:

Mill took exception to Emerson’s poetry, which he often crossed out.

And later in the essay where Emerson wrote that ‘every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins’, Mill jotted: ‘Speak for yourself.’

 For one poem, "Mill reached for his pencil and wrote: ‘pretensious [sic] emptyness’.

And my favorite:

The concluding paragraph aroused Mill’s scorn, for he scribbled ‘pooh’ twice in the margins.

I want Mill to write marginalia in all Victorian lit. Like there's some big tortured paragraph in Wuthering Heights (which could really be anywhere in that book) and next to it he just writes "pooh." YOU JUST GOT SERVED BY JOHN STUART MILL.

The essayists of the Victorian Age are a bit neglected nowadays. That's true of essayists from almost any period other than the current one, but THEY'RE the people talking about the ideas the authors would then take and run with. If we're being responsible Victorian lit readers, we should be reading Ruskin, Carlyle, Mill and...other people whose names I don't know. The only thing I remember about Ruskin from college is he said the Gothic was an excellent aesthetic because man shouldn't strive to be perfect because only God is perfect. Or something. So our architecture should reflect that. IT'S POSSIBLE I AM MISREMEMBERING I WAS 18 YEARS OLD.

More snarky commentary from Victorians, please. Especially about Transcendentalists, because they are nincompoops.


Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'. You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters. If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing: We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilar

Minithon: The Mini Readathon, January 11th, 2020

The minithon is upon us once more! Minithons are for the lazy. Minithons are for the uncommitted. Minithons are for us. The minithon lasts 6 hours (10 AM to 4 PM CST), therefore making it a mini readathon, as opposed to the lovely Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and 24in48, both of which you should participate in, but both of which are a longer commitment than this, the Busy Watching Netflix person's readathon. By 'read for six hours' what's really meant in the minithon is "read a little bit and eat a lot of snacks and post pictures of your books and your snacks, but mostly your snacks." We like to keep it a mini theme here, which mainly means justifying your books and your snacks to fit that theme. Does your book have children in it? Mini people! Does it have a dog! Mini wolf! Does it have pencils? Mini versions of graphite mines! or however you get graphite, I don't really know. I just picture toiling miners. The point is, justify it or don't

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop ( Odyssey Books , where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have. I feel like we could get to this point, Emily INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy