Analyzing Character eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 399 pages of information about Analyzing Character.

“It was probably the most realistically detailed figure of refined moral and physical depravity, searched to its inevitable end, the stage has ever seen.  For a moment after the curtain fell there was a hush of awe and surprise.  Then the audience found itself and called Mansfield to the footlights a dozen times.  But neither then nor thereafter would he appear until he had removed the wig and make-up of the dead Baron.  There was no occasion to change his clothes; he wore the conventional evening suit.  The effect of shrivelled undersizedness was purely a muscular effect of the actor.  The contrast between the figure that fell at the head of the stairs and the athletic young gentleman who acknowledged the applause was no anti-climax.

“Mansfield had come into his own.  The superb art of his performance had dwarfed all about it; the play was killed, but he was from that moment a figure to be reckoned with in the history of the theatre.”

It is said that when Paderewsky played before Queen Victoria, she said to him:  “Mr. Paderewsky, you are a genius.”  “Ah, your Majesty,” he replied, “perhaps.  But before I was a genius, I was a drudge.”  And this is true.  It is said that Paderewsky spent hours every day, even after achieving his fame, practising the scale, improving his technique, and keeping himself in prime condition.

Study the life and achievement of any great man of genius.  His genius has consisted principally in his wonderful capacity to labor for perfection in the most minute detail.  And yet most ambitious misfits are unwilling to work hard.  Their products always show lack of finish due to slipshod methods, unwillingness to spend time, to take pains to bring what they do up to a standard of beautiful perfection, so far as perfection is humanly possible.  Those who are mentally lazy do not belong in an artistic vocation.  There are probably many things that they can do and do well in some less spectacular lines, some calling that does not require such mental effort.

MISFITS IN THE PROFESSIONS

In the traditional educational system the common school is not particularly adapted to prepare its pupils for life, but rather to prepare them for either a high school or a preparatory school.  Passing on to the high school, the same condition prevails.  The whole question in every high school and every preparatory school is whether the training will accredit one to certain colleges and universities.  So the traditional high school graduate is not prepared for life; he is prepared for college or the university.  He goes on to the university.  There he finds that he is being prepared chiefly for four or five learned professions—­the law, the ministry, medicine, engineering, and teaching.  In the beginning, the university was supposed to train a man, not for work, but for leisure.  The very word scholar means a man of leisure.  People were trained, therefore,

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Analyzing Character from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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