Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/106

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THE AUTHOR'S PURPOSE

writer and a leading statesman: "My good friend, you are not the stuff of which men of letters are made. You want to make people do something or you want to teach something. That is fatal to pure literature."

Once or twice in my life I have taken up the pen in a vein of literary exercise, as a man turns to a game of billiards or to gardening after his day's work. But the demon soon arises and I find myself in earnest, trying to bring men over to one side. It is hopeless to make a man of letters out of a temper like that. Literature is art, and the artist should never preach.[1]
  1. And Lord Macaulay, writing of poetry in his Essay on Milton, comes curiously near saying the same thing in slightly different words:

    "Analysis is not the business of the poet. His office is to portray, not to dissect. His creed … will no more influence his poetry, properly so called, than the notions which a painter may have conceived respecting the lachrymal glands or the circulation of the blood will affect the tears of his Niobe or the blushes of his Aurora. If Shakespeare had written a book on the motives of human actions, it is by no means certain that it would have been a good one."

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