Classic literature has come to mean stories that everyone has every intention of reading—but seldom do. This is unfortunate. Great books, poems, and rhetorical speeches do not require an intellect that is beyond the average gentleman. Great literature does, however, require the time that is beyond a modern gentleman. It, therefore, behooves a modern gentleman to seek out the classic literature that can be consumed in the time he has available. Short stories may be the solution to this problem.
The mid-winter weather has caused me to ruminate on the blustery winds, grey skies, and occasional drifts of snow that are so common to mid-January. And during my ruminations my mind wanders back to the classic and very short story–To Build a Fire–a story that has always haunted me during the winter months. I find it to be an exquisitely humbling reminder of how the wild, and indeed life itself, is not kind or unkind, has no inherent virtue of fairness, and is equal only so far as its quotas of death. I will now be quite, so that you have the time to read this very classic piece.