Monday, March 15, 2021

Beers & Books LIX – Lady Gregory

There is many
a man without learning
will get the better of a college-bred man,
and will have better words, too.

Lady Gregory  (15 March 1852 – 22 May 1932)


  1. What a nice coincidence... momentarily I almost finished Cuchulain of Muirthemne, The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster,also written by Lady Augusta Gregory =]

    1. Now that's indeed a nice coincidence!

    2. But I can't agree with her statement (Though I understand why she had this opinion, as she lacked a college degree). But it's a misconception to think that a person who didn't go to college didn't "learn" nor that someone who did, necessarily learned anything.
      In my opinion it's impossible to achieve a certain skill without learning and practicing the things learned. Despite college degrees...

    3. Hm, I think Lady Gregory would not disagree with you, Linda.
      I understand that a peasant, e.g., or a humble cobbler can be "wiser" than someone who believes he has eaten wisdom with spoons, because he studied astronomy, speaks Greek and Latin and knows to recite Banquo:
      And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
      The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
      Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
      In deepest consequence.
      What did an elderly woman say, being asked one day after the Tiananmen Square Massacre for her opinion about democracy? "I can't eat democracy."

    4. Oops, Sean, did I misinterpret Lady Gregory? Was this a statement about whisdom? For I thought she was talking about knowledge and I see quite some distinction between both.
      Nothing beats a good cobbler though, if my shoes need a repair. Because he learned how to fix them, and I didn't ;-)

      Meanwhile I recommend "Cuchulain of Muirthemne" which I finished last evening. The book was quite a revelation to me.

    5. All I know is that I would not have chosen this very quote had I interpreted it your way. Perhaps a native speaker could help.
      As for "Cuchulain of Muirthemne", I read it 'deep' in the past millennium. In what way it was a revelation for you?

    6. First of all, I'm not so familiar with the Irish saga's, so the age of the stories were a suprise for me.
      These saga's date from the time Beowulf originated.
      Second, the actions in the story are remarkably timeless and show such a great fantasy from the original narators, one would wish to sit by the fire listening to these story tellers.
      Then there are the similarities with other mythological stories, e.g. the Greek
      And last but not least the story of the creation of the book itself.
      If William B. Yeats had been less supportive in his review, maybe Lady Gregory's efforts weren't appreciated in the same way as they were... and that's a frequently occuring problem in the art world. To enter the "circle", one needs the right recommendations, talented or not.
      I hope in a nutshell I 've answered your question...?
      May I ask, what's your opinion about this book?