Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/77

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THE POWER OF SELF-CRITICISM

from volumes of criticism and monographs on how to write; that he should go to the authors who have produced literature rather than to those who tell others how to produce it. There is, however, one class of critical essay, the importance of which, to the young writer, can hardly be overrated; and that is the criticism written by men who have proved themselves masters of the art they criticise. I have in mind such essays as that of Poe, in which he analyses the structure of The Raven; Maupassant's introduction to Pierre et Jean; and Valdès's introduction to La Hermana San Sulpicio; Trollope's chapter on the novel in his Autobiography; and in general the various critical writings of Zola and Anatole France, Henry James and William Dean Howells—the list could be amplified at pleasure—in which they allow themselves to theorise freely about their conception of the art they prac-

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