Darwin on the importance of art

Letter by Charles Darwin, late in his life, to a friend:

“Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure… But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry;… My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts… and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week… The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.

Charles Darwin: His Life Told in an Autobiographical Chapter & in a Selected Series of his Published Letters, Edited by Francis Darwin. London: William Clowes and Sons, Ltd.1892, p. 51.

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