Every man of my age has had in his youth one blessing for which our juniors may well envy him: we grew up in a world of cheap and abundant books. Your Everyman was then a bare shilling, and what is more, always in stock; your World's Classic, Muse's Library, Home University Library, Temple Classic, Nelson's French series, Bohn, and Longman's Pocket Library at proportionate prices. All the money I could spare went into postal orders to Messrs. Denny of the Strand. No days ... were happier than those on which the afternoon post brought me a neat little parcel in dark gray paper, Milton, Spenser, Malory, The High History of the Holy Grail, the Laxdale saga, Ronsard, Chénier, Voltaire, Beowulf and Gawain and the Green Knight both in translations), Apuleius, the Kalevala, Herrick, Walton, Sir John Mandeville, Sidney's Arcadia, and nearly all of Morris, came volume by volume into my hands. Some of my purchases proved disappointments and some went beyond my hopes, but the undoing of the parcel always remained a delicious moment. On my rare visits to London, I looked at Messrs. Denny in the Strand with a kind of awe; so much pleasure had come from it.So Surprised by Joy. I've actually read very little Lewis; I idled onto this one in a borrowed apartment. Note to self, next time you are in Silicon Valley, look at Google with a kind of awe. But who the devil is Chénier?
Bonus Irony: I typed the whole damn thing out myself, without once glomming onto the fact that I could have just cut and paste from guess-where.