> If what I tried to do is more than an example of a kind of sophisticated credulity, readers of the present and students of the putative future may find some interest in the "education", in Henry Adam's use of that word, I received as my most pessimistic fears were again and again proved to have been wildly optimistic. And if this book is to have such interest, I shall have to explain how I came to involve myself in activities that effectively diverted a large part of my time and energy from a form of scholarship in which, if it be not vanity to confess it, I had flattered myself that I could attain the eminence and influence of an A. E. Housman or a Wilamowitz-Moellendorff.
Before I do so, however, I must interject an explicit warning, for this book may come into the hands of readers for whom it is not intended. I do not propose to entertain with anecdotes or to soothe by retelling any of the fairy tales of which Americans seem never to tire. If these pages are worth reading at all, they deal with a problem that is strictly intellectual and historical, and they are therefore ad-dressed only to the comparatively few individuals who are willing and able to consider such questions' objectively and dispassionately,thinking exclusively in terms of demonstrable facts and reason, and without reference to the personal wishes and emotional fixations that are commonly called 'faith' or 'ideals'. It is not my purpose to unsettle the placidity of the many who shrink from unpleasant realities and spare themselves the discomfort of cogitation by assuring themselves that some Savior, most commonly Jesus or Marx,has promised that the earth, if not the whole universe, will soon be rearranged to suit their tastes. As Kipling said of the fanaticists of his day, they must cling to their faith, whatever the cost to the irrationality: "If they desire a thing, they declare it is true. If they desire it not, though that were death itself, they cry aloud, 'It has never been'".
> Persons who are not capable of objectivity or are unwilling to disturb their cerebral repose by facing displeasing facts should never read pages that cannot but perturb them emotionally. If they do so,they must blame the curiosity that impelled them to read words that were not intended for them. The reader has been warned.
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