"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

Popular? How on earth could it be popular? The thing was charming with all his charm and powerful with all his power: it was an unscrupulous, an unsparing, a shameless merciless masterpiece. It was, no doubt...the worst he could do; but the perversity of the effort, even though heroic, had been frustrated by the purity of the gift...He'll try again for the common with what he'll believe to be a still more infernal cunning, and again the common will fatally elude him, for his infernal cunning will have been only his genius in an ineffectual disguise.

[Magnificent Mistakes: Henry James, The Next Time]

Posted by stronzo on 08.29.2012


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