Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/73

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THE POWER OF SELF-CRITICISM

admires are those that no one examines. We receive them as a precious burden, which we pass on to others without having looked at them." And in much the same vein, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote: "Nothing is interesting to all the world. An author who is spoken of as universally admired will find, if he is foolish enough to inquire, that there are not wanting intelligent persons who are indifferent to him, nor yet those who have a special emphatic dislike to him." Unless you are devoid of literary taste, you must find pleasure in a certain number of the recognised masters; but you are under no obligation to admire them all.[1] The ability to give an intelligent reason for differing from the accepted estimate of Milton,

  1. This is practically the thought of Thoreau, when he wrote: "If the writers of the brazen age are most suggestive to thee, confine thyself to them and leave those of the Augustan age to dust and the bookworm."
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