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Genius or Talent.
Genius or Talent.
Unquestionably, a literary life is for the most part of an unhappy life for most people; because, if they have genius, they must suffer the penalty of genius; and, if they have only talent, there are so many cares and worries incidental to the circumstances of men of letters, as to make life exceeding miserable.
Besides the pangs of composition, and the continuous disappointment which a true artist feels at his inability to reveal himself, there is the ever-recurring difficulty of gaining the public ear.Young writers are buoyed up by the hope and the belief that they have only to throw that poem at the world's feet to get back in return the laurel-crown; that they have only to push that novel into print to be acknowledged at once as a new light in literature.
You can never convince a young author that the editors of any magazines and the publishers of books are a practical body of men, who are by no means frantically anxiuos about placing the best literature before the public.No, that for the most part they are mere brokers, who conduct their business on the hardest lines of a profit and loss account.But supposing your book fairly launches, it's peril are only the beginning.You have to run the gauntlet of the critics.
To a young author, again, this seems to be as terrible as an ordeal like passing down the files of Sioux or Comanche Indians, each one of whom is thirsting for your scalp.When we are a little older, we will find that criticsm is not much more serious than the bye-play of clowns in a circus, when they beat around the ring the victim with bladders slung at the end of long poles.A time comes in the life of every author when he regards critics as comical rather than formidable, and goes his way unheeding.
But there are sensitive souls that yield under the chastisement and, perhaps after suffering much silent torture, abondon the profession of pen forever.Keats, perhaps, is the saddest example of a fine spirit hounded to death by savage criticism; because, whatever his biographers may aver, that furiuos attack of Gifford and Terry undoubtedly expedited his death!!