Confessions and Criticisms

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Ticknor and Company, 1887 - 266 pages

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Page 91 - The latter form of composition is presumed to aim at a very minute fidelity, not merely to the possible, but to the probable and ordinary course of man's experience. The former — while as a work of art, it must rigidly subject itself to laws, and while it sins unpardonably so far as it may swerve aside from the truth of the human heart — has fairly a right to present that truth under circumstances, to a great extent, of the writer's own choosing or creation.
Page 93 - In short, his present concern with the socialist community is merely to establish a theatre, a little removed from the highway of ordinary travel, where the creatures of his brain may play their phantasmagorical antics, without exposing them to too close a comparison with the actual events of real lives.
Page 217 - But lest I should mislead any when I have my own head and obey my whims, let me remind the reader that I am only an experimenter. Do not set the least value on what I do, or the least discredit on what I do not, as if I pretended to settle anything as true or false. I unsettle all things. No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker, with no Past at my back.
Page 204 - If malice and vanity wear the coat of philanthropy, shall that pass ? If an angry bigot assumes this bountiful cause of abolition, and comes to me with his last news from Barbadoes, why should I not say to him, ' Go, love thy infant ; love thy wood-chopper : be good-natured and modest ; have that grace ; and never varnish your hard, uncharitable ambition, with this incredible tenderness for black folk a thousand miles off. Thy love afar is spite at home.
Page 214 - A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls.
Page 160 - Ever the words of the gods resound ; But the porches of man's ear Seldom in this low life's round Are unsealed, that he may hear.
Page 210 - Boston Bay and Bunker Hill Would serve things still; Things are of the snake.
Page 93 - Land, so like the real world that, in a suitable remoteness, one cannot well tell the difference, but with an atmosphere of strange enchantment, beheld through which the inhabitants have a propriety of their own. This atmosphere is what the American romancer needs. In its absence the beings of imagination are compelled to show themselves in the same category as actually living mortals — a necessity that generally renders the paint and pasteboard of their composition but too painfully discernible.
Page 210 - But who is he that prates Of the culture of mankind, Of better arts and life? Go, blindworm, go, Behold the famous States Harrying Mexico With rifle and with knife! Or who, with accent bolder, Dare praise the freedom-loving mountaineer?
Page 84 - No author, without a trial, can conceive of the difficulty of writing a romance about a country where there is no shadow, no antiquity, no mystery, no picturesque and gloomy wrong, nor anything but a commonplace prosperity, in broad and simple daylight, as is happily the case with my dear native land.

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