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Methods of Authors   By:

Methods of Authors by Hugo Erichsen

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who is admired and loved by novel readers on both sides of the Atlantic,


by his permission, with sincere regard, by the Author.


When I began to gather the material for this volume I was quite doubtful as to whether the public would be interested in a work of this kind or not. As my labor progressed, however, it became evident that not only the body of the people, but authors themselves, were deeply interested in the subject, and would welcome a book treating of it. Not only M. Jules Claretie, the celebrated Parisian literarian, but the late Dr. Meissner and many others assured me of this fact.

Nor is this very surprising. Who, after reading a brilliant novel, or some excellent treatise, would not like to know how it was written?

So far as I know, this volume is a novelty, and Ben Akiba is outwitted for once. Books about authors have been published by the thousands, but to my knowledge, up to date, none have been issued describing their methods of work.

In the preparation of this book I have been greatly aided by the works of Rev. Francis Jacox, an anonymous article in All the Year Round , and R. E. Francillon's essay on "The Physiology of Authorship," which appeared first in the Gentleman's Magazine .

I was also assisted in my labor by numerous newspaper clippings and many letters from writers, whose names appear in this volume, and to all of whom I return my sincere thanks.

H. E. DETROIT, Mich.


I. Eccentricities in Composition.

II. Care in Literary Production.

III. Speed in Writing.

IV. Influence upon Writers of Time and Place.

V. Writing under Difficulties.

VI. Aids to Inspiration Favorite Habits of Work.

VII. Goethe, Dickens, Schiller, and Scott.

VIII. Burning Midnight Oil.

IX. Literary Partnership.

X. Anonymity in Authorship.

XI. System in Novel Writing.

XII. Traits of Musical Composers.

XIII. The Hygiene of Writing.

XIV. A Humorist's Regimen.



Eccentricities in Composition.

The public that is, the reading world made up of those who love the products of authorship always takes an interest in the methods of work adopted by literary men, and is fond of gaining information about authorship in the act, and of getting a glimpse of its favorite, the author, at work in that "sanctum sanctorum" the study. The modes in which men write are so various that it would take at least a dozen volumes to relate them, were they all known, for:

"Some wits are only in the mind When beaux and belles are 'round them prating; Some, when they dress for dinner, find Their muse and valet both in waiting; And manage, at the self same time, To adjust a neckcloth and a rhyme.

"Some bards there are who cannot scribble Without a glove to tear or nibble; Or a small twig to whisk about As if the hidden founts of fancy, Like wells of old, were thus found out By mystic tricks of rhabdomancy.

"Such was the little feathery wand, That, held forever in the hand Of her who won and wore the crown Of female genius in this age, Seemed the conductor that drew down Those words of lightning to her page."

This refers to Madame de Staƫl, who, when writing, wielded a "little feathery wand," made of paper, shaped like a fan or feather, in the manner and to the effect above described.

Well may the vivacious penman of "Rhymes on the Road" exclaim:

"What various attitudes, and ways, And tricks we authors have in writing! While some write sitting, some, like Bayes, Usually stand while they're inditing. Poets there are who wear the floor out, Measuring a line at every stride; While some, like Henry Stephens, pour out Rhymes by the dozen while they ride... Continue reading book >>

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