Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/99

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the trilogy which began with The Octopus and The Pit, and which poor Norris did not live to round out with The Wolf.[1] Or, again, the controlling purpose of a work may not be born until the structure has risen some distance toward completion and the author suddenly discovers that he is building better than he knew. But when this happens he must look carefully to his


  1. Compare the account given by de Louvenjoul of Balzac's first conception of the idea of bringing together under one title, La Comédie humaine, all the novels he had already published. He hurried to the house of his sister, Mme. Surville, to announce the great event. His sister beheld him enter the parlor with his hat slightly tilted over one ear, his chest thrust out, his walking stick held aloft, like the staff of a drum-major, while from between his lips came a martial "Boom, boom-de-de boom!" and he strode forward in cadenced solemnity, as if he were actually at the head of a regiment. Reaching the sofa where his sister sat, he suddenly came to a halt: then in a tone that was at once grave and comical, he said:

    "Madam, salute a Genius!"