How to Fail in Literature; a lecture eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 34 pages of information about How to Fail in Literature; a lecture.
envy those who fail.  It is not wealth that they win, as fortunate men in other professions count wealth; it is not rank nor fashion that come to their call nor come to call on them.  Their success is to be let dwell with their own fancies, or with the imaginations of others far greater than themselves; their success is this living in fantasy, a little remote from the hubbub and the contests of the world.  At the best they will be vexed by curious eyes and idle tongues, at the best they will die not rich in this world’s goods, yet not unconsoled by the friendships which they win among men and women whose faces they will never see.  They may well be content, and thrice content, with their lot, yet it is not a lot which should provoke envy, nor be coveted by ambition.

It is not an easy goal to attain, as the crowd of aspirants dream, nor is the reward luxurious when it is attained.  A garland, usually fading and not immortal, has to be run for, not without dust and heat.


{1} As the writer has ceased to sift, editorially, the contributions of the age, he does hope that authors will not instantly send him their MSS.  But if they do, after this warning, they will take the most direct and certain road to the waste paper basket.  No MSS. will be returned, even when accompanied by postage stamps.

{2} I have made a rich selection of examples from the works of living English and American authors.  From the inextensive volumes of an eminent and fastidious critic I have culled a dear phrase about an oasis of style in “a desert of literary limpness.”  But it were hardly courteous, and might be dangerous, to publish these exotic blossoms of art.

{3} Appreciations, p. 18.

{4} It was the custom of Longinus, of the author of The Bathos, and other old critics, to take their examples of how not to do it from the works of famous writers, such as Sir Richard Blackmore and Herodotus.  It seems altogether safer and more courteous for an author to supply his own Awful Examples.  The Musical Rights in the following Poems are reserved.

{5} Or, if you prefer the other rhyme, read:  And the wilderness of men.

{6} It is a teachable public:  since this lecture was delivered the author has received many MSS. from people who said they had heard the discourse, “and enjoyed it so much.”

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How to Fail in Literature; a lecture from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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