Page:Georges Sorel, Reflections On Violence (1915).djvu/16

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REFLECTIONS ON VIOLENCE

they often led me to investigate certain questions more thoroughly. I am sure that the reflections which I here submit to you, and which you have provoked, will be very useful to those who wish to read this book with profit.

There are perhaps few studies in which the defects of my method of writing are more evident; I have been frequently reproached for not respecting the rules of the art of writing, to which all our contemporaries submit, and for thus inconveniencing my readers by the disorder of my explanations. I have tried to render the text clearer by numerous corrections of detail, but I have not been able to make the disorder disappear. I do not wish to defend myself by pleading the example of great writers who have been blamed for not knowing how to compose. Arthur Chuquet, speaking of J. J. Rousseau, said: "His writings lack harmony, order, and that connection of the parts which constitutes a unity."[1] The defects of illustrious men do not justify the faults of the obscure, and I think that it is better to explain frankly the origin of this incorrigible vice in my writings.

It is only recently that the rules of the art of writing have imposed themselves in a really imperative way; contemporary authors appear to have accepted them readily, because they wished to please a hurried and often very inattentive public, and one which is desirous above all of avoiding any personal investigation. These rules were first applied by the people who manufacture scholastic books. Since the aim of education has been to make the pupils absorb an enormous amount of information, it has been necessary to put into their hands manuals suitable to this extra rapid instruction; everything has had to be presented in a form so clear, so logically arranged, and so calculated to dispel doubt, that in the end the beginner comes to believe that science is much simpler than our fathers supposed. In this

  1. A. Chuquet, Jean Jacques Rousseau, p. 179.