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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 39 pages of information about The Man of Letters as a Man of Business.
his broken heart in verse that shall bring tears of sacred sympathy from his readers, and an editor pays him a hundred dollars for the right of bringing his verse to their notice.  It is perfectly true that the poem was not written for these dollars, but it is perfectly true that it was sold for them.  The poet must use his emotions to pay his provision bills; he has no other means; society does not propose to pay his bills for him.  Yet, and at the end of the ends, the unsophisticated witness finds the transaction ridiculous, finds it repulsive, finds it shabby.  Somehow he knows that if our huckstering civilization did not at every moment violate the eternal fitness of things, the poet’s song would have been given to the world, and the poet would have been cared for by the whole human brotherhood, as any man should be who does the duty that every man owes it.

The instinctive sense of the dishonor which money-purchase does to art is so strong that sometimes a man of letters who can pay his way otherwise refuses pay for his work, as Lord Byron did, for a while, from a noble pride, and as Count Tolstoy has tried to do, from a noble conscience.  But Byron’s publisher profited by a generosity which did not reach his readers; and the Countess Tolstoy collects the copyright which her husband foregoes; so that these two eminent instances of protest against business in literature may be said not to have shaken its money basis.  I know of no others; but there may be many that I am culpably ignorant of.  Still, I doubt if there are enough to affect the fact that Literature is Business as well as Art, and almost as soon.  At present business is the only human solidarity; we are all bound together with that chain, whatever interests and tastes and principles separate us, and I feel quite sure that in writing of the Man of Letters as a Man of Business I shall attract far more readers than I should in writing of him as an Artist.  Besides, as an artist he has been done a great deal already; and a commercial state like ours has really more concern in him as a business man.  Perhaps it may sometime be different; I do not believe it will till the conditions are different, and that is a long way off.

II.

In the mean time I confidently appeal to the reader’s imagination with the fact that there are several men of letters among us who are such good men of business that they can command a hundred dollars a thousand words for all they write.  It is easy to write a thousand words a day, and, supposing one of these authors to work steadily, it can be seen that his net earnings during the year would come to some such sum as the President of the United States gets for doing far less work of a much more perishable sort.  If the man of letters were wholly a business man, this is what would happen; he would make his forty or fifty thousand dollars a year, and be able to consort with bank presidents, and railroad officials, and rich

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