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Stories of Achievement, Volume IV, Authors and Journalists   By: (1876-1960)

Book cover

First Page:

STORIES OF ACHIEVEMENT, VOLUME IV

Authors and Journalists

Edited by

ASA DON DICKINSON

Authors and Journalists

JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU ROBERT BURNS CHARLOTTE BRONTE CHARLES DICKENS HORACE GREELEY LOUISA M. ALCOTT HENRY GEORGE WILLIAM H. RIDEING JACOB A. RIIS HELEN KELLER

[Frontispiece: Robert Burns]

Garden City New York Doubleday, Page & Company 1925 Copyright, 1916, by Doubleday, Page & Company All Rights Reserved

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

In the preparation of this volume the publishers have received from several houses and authors generous permissions to reprint copyright material. For this they wish to express their cordial gratitude. In particular, acknowledgments are due to the Houghton Mifflin Company for permission to reprint the sketch of Horace Greeley; to Little, Brown & Co. for permission to reprint passages from "The Life, Letters, and Journals of Louisa May Alcott"; to Mr. Henry George, Jr., for the extract from his life of his father; to William H. Rideing for permission to reprint extracts from his book "Many Celebrities and a Few Others"; to the Macmillan Company for permission to use passages from "The Making of an American," by Jacob A. Riis; to Miss Helen Keller for permission to reprint from "The Story of My Life."

CONTENTS

AUTHORS AND JOURNALISTS

JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU The Man to Whom Expression was Travail

ROBERT BURNS The Ploughman poet

HORACE GREELEY How the Farm boy Became an Editor

CHARLES DICKENS The Factory Boy

CHARLOTTE BRONTE The Country Parson's Daughter

LOUISA MAY ALCOTT The Journal of a Brave and Talented Girl

HENRY GEORGE The Troubles of a Job Printer

JACOB RIIS "The Making of an American"

WILLIAM H. RIDEING Rejected Manuscripts

HELEN ADAMS KELLER How She Learned to Speak

JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU

(1712 1778)

THE MAN TO WHOM EXPRESSION WAS TRAVAIL

From the "Confessions of Rousseau."

It is strange to hear that those critics who spoke of Rousseau's "incomparable gift of expression," of his "easy, natural style," were ludicrously incorrect in their allusions. From his "Confessions" we learn that he had no gift of clear, fluent expression; that he was by nature so incoherent that he could not creditably carry on an ordinary conversation; and that the ideas which stirred Europe, although spontaneously conceived, were brought forth and set before the world only after their progenitor had suffered the real pangs of labor.

But after all it is the same old story over again. Great things are rarely said or done easily.

Two things very opposite unite in me, and in a manner which I cannot myself conceive. My disposition is extremely ardent, my passions lively and impetuous, yet my ideas are produced slowly, with great embarrassment and after much afterthought. It might be said my heart and understanding do not belong to the same individual. A sentiment takes possession of my soul with the rapidity of lightning, but instead of illuminating, it dazzles and confounds me; I feel all, but see nothing; I am warm but stupid; to think I must be cool. What is astonishing, my conception is clear and penetrating, if not hurried: I can make excellent impromptus at leisure, but on the instant could never say or do anything worth notice. I could hold a tolerable conversation by the post, as they say the Spaniards play at chess, and when I read that anecdote of a duke of Savoy, who turned himself round, while on a journey, to cry out " a votre gorge, marchand de Paris !" I said, "Here is a trait of my character!"

This slowness of thought, joined to vivacity of feeling, I am not only sensible of in conversation, but even alone. When I write, my ideas are arranged with the utmost difficulty. They glance on my imagination and ferment till they discompose, heat, and bring on a palpitation; during this state of agitation I see nothing properly, cannot write a single word, and must wait till all is over... Continue reading book >>




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