It cost too much, to begin with. I really had no excuse for buying it, except that I was feeling out of sorts and aphoristic philosophy seemed like a good choice at the time; it seemed to be a clean copy, too, which would go a little way to excusing the price. At home, however, I found that it was not a clean copy, though the bold underlining and feckless marginalia were limited to one chapter with the inauspicious title ‘On Women’. I say that it was inauspicious, for unless one is a worldly-wise cynic of one and twenty, Schopenhauer on the subject of women is best left to imbeciles and those with strong stomachs. Naturally the hapless annotator of the volume in question drew attention (no doubt in aid of a feminist philosophy class) to most of the more nauseous expressions.
Of course I returned the book, trading it in for a rather underpriced copy of Cowper, and on the whole am well satisfied.1
- Indeed, I was much charmed by the pompous life of Cowper which begins the book, as well as beginning of ‘The Task’; from the advertisement to which: ‘A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the sofa for a subject.’ One wonders about the lady, whether she delighted in impossible subjects or was merely a flirt.