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Episode 82: The Literary Life of Charlotte Mason

This week on The Literary Life podcast, we are excited to bring some special guests in to speak to the literary life of the educator Charlotte Mason. Along with Angelina, Thomas and Cindy, we also have Donna-Jean Breckenridge and Karen Glass of the AmblesideOnline Advisory. They start off by sharing some biographical information about who Charlotte Mason was and her background.

Karen also talks about how and why Mason developed her practices and philosophy and her educational foundation, the PNEU. Donna-Jean mentions the interesting ephemera belonging to Charlotte Mason housed at the Armitt Museum in Ambleside. Finally, the talk turns to how widely Miss Mason read and how important books were to her throughout her whole life.

Join us next week for the beginning episode of our series on George Eliot’s Silas Marner, covering chapters 1-3. Before you go, don’t forget that registration is opening soon at The House of Humane Letters for the spring. You can also check out Cindy’s Discipleship Group for Moms on

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Commonplace Quotes:

Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most

Must mourn the deepest o’er the fatal truth,

The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.

Lord Byron, from “Manfred”

God is a mystery and not a fellow conspirator.

J. B. Priestley

There seems good reason to believe that the limit to human intelligence arises largely from the limit to human interests.

Charlotte Mason

He was fortified by illimitable reading, by a present sense of a thousand possibilities that had been brought to pass, of a thousand things so wisely said that wise action was a necessary outcome.

Charlotte Mason

The thing is to keep your eye upon words and wait to feel their force and beauty, and when words are so fit that no other words can be put in their places, so few that none can be left out without spoiling the sense, and so fresh and musical that they delight you, then you may be sure that you are reading literature, whether in prose or poetry.

Charlotte Mason

The Village Schoolmaster

by Oliver Goldsmith

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,
The village master taught his little school;
A man severe he was, and stern to view;
I knew him well, and every truant knew:
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace
The day’s disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned;
Yet he was kind, or, if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault.
The village all declared how much he knew —
‘Twas certain he could write, and cipher too;
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And e’en the story ran that he could gauge;
In arguing, too, the parson owned his skill,
For, e’en though vanquished, he could argue still,
While words of learned length and thundering sound
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around;
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew
That one small head could carry all he knew.

Book List:

In Vital Harmony by Karen Glass

Know and Tell by Karen Glass

Consider This by Karen Glass

Literature and Western Man by J. B. Priestley

Towards a Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason

The Golden Thread by Norman McLeod

Scientific Dialogues by Jeremiah Joyce

Jacob Behmen by Alexander Whyte

The Cloud of Witness

The Hidden Life of the Soul by Jean Nicolas Grou

Anne of Geierstein: Maiden of the Mist by Sir Walter Scott

The Savior of the World by Charlotte Mason

Formation of Character by Charlotte Mason

The History of Pendennis by William Thackeray

The Egoist by George Meredith

Hard Times by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Joan and Peter by H. G. Wells

Adam Bede by George Eliot

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Areopagitica by John Milton

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