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In university, most professors agree that encyclopedias are not proper scholarly sources, but they work well as background information; to discover facts that require further support. Old books waft certain aromas, a headiness, but also a mustiness, an acrid reminder of the past and all the knowledge these encyclopedias contain; knowledge judged inaccurate and unreliable alone.
I was studying the poet Samual Taylor Coleridge, and I paused, thinking if in the academic ‘encyclopedia’ of my Literary Criticism textbook, Coleridge’s writing was valid and acclaimed by modern peers, or if he too spouted words too many scholars scoff at and ignore; does his literary criticism require more validation — the answer is simple, nothing can be read at face value, not even the musings of great poets.
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