Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/47

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THE INBORN TALENT

A newspaper training is a good, wholesome tonic, especially as an antidote to the stilted heaviness of the academic style. It gives a certain fluency, a certain colloquial tone that makes for freedom. "To the wholesome training of severe newspaper work when I was a very young man, I constantly refer my first successes," was Dickens's stereotyped reply to the questions of American reporters.[1] And yet one hesi-

  1. The late Edouard Rod declared himself even more emphatically in favour of a newspaper training: "Journalism is an excellent school: it stimulates sluggish minds, it disciplines roving imaginations, it brings into direct contact with the public certain writers who otherwise would have remained unknown to the general public, and who during the process of becoming known, learn reciprocally to know their public. This is useful and healthy: because it is, after all, for others that we write.… The school of journalism is exacting and wearisome, it is true; but that is not an evil. Certain writers, they tell you, in the slang of the editorial room, 'write themselves dry;' but it is only those who had nothing of importance to lose."
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