Tag Archives: John Galsworthy

The Third Renaissance

THE THIRD RENAISSANCE: More thoughts from John Galsworthy; writing in 1911 — near the brink of the Suicide of the West in World War I — he called his age the Third Renaissance:

“I cannot help thinking that historians, looking back from the far future, will record this age as the Third Renaissance. We who are lost in it, working or looking on, can neither tell what we are doing, nor where standing; but we cannot help observing, that, just as in the Greek Renaissance, worn-out Pagan orthodoxy was penetrated by new philosophy; just as in the Italian Renaissance, Pagan philosophy, reasserting itself, fertilised again an already too inbred Christian creed; so now Orthodoxy fertilised by Science is producing a fresh and fuller conception of life — a love of Perfection, not for hope of reward, not for fear of punishment, but for Perfection’s sake. Slowly, under our feet, beneath our consciousness, is forming that new philosophy, and it is in times of new philosophies that Art, itself in essence always a discovery, must flourish.”

Galsworthy’s “The Apple Tree”

GALSWORTHY’S “THE APPLE TREE”: This work by John Galsworthy (pictured) is surely one of the greatest short stories in the English language. It sensitively and artistically delineates the deep feelings, the rapture, the ecstasy, the tragedy, and the compromises and social strictures that surround erotic and romantic love.

I think it also says something new to modern men and women who live in a world of cheapened sex, who may not yet understand how deeply Cupid’s arrow may — and indeed, ought to — pierce.

“The Apple Tree” has passed into the public domain, and so one may read it online for free. But there is nothing quite like experiencing this story in an oaken-paneled library or in a meadow dotted with wildflowers — so buy a copy or make a printout and read it someplace far from flickering LCD screens.