Portraits from Memory and Other Essays, by Bertrand Russell
D. H. Lawrence and Bertrand Russell sought each other out because of principle—they were both pacifists during World War I. But temperament soon parted them. They were an almost classic case of opposites; each supplied consummately what the other lacked, but neither appreciated this, and feeling won hands down. Lawrence was as open as a wound, he could not meet a man, a landscape, or even an inanimate Object, a train or a bus, without recording the vivid shock of their stubborn, essential reality. But when he tried to reason or to draw general social laws, as he continually did, from this entanglement of impression, he was helpless. Russell, on the contrary, as this illuminating collection of sketches of his contemporaries reveals, seems to be oddly closed off from other people. There is a curiously prim approach to the great and near-great among whom he lived. He does not reason from the encounter but approaches it with a ready-made didactic system of enlightened sentiments; according to their grades in this system, persons and places pass or fail.
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