Apes, Ivory and Jade: Essays on the Minor Arts

Apes, Ivory and Jade: Essays on the Minor Arts

Apes, Ivory and Jade: Essays on the Minor Arts

Apes, Ivory and Jade: Essays on the Minor Arts

Excerpt

In a certain scene of Maeterlinck Blue Bird Father Time stands inspecting the babies of the coming year. One carries in his chubby hands the gift of Beauty, another that of Valour, a third, Music, and so on. One distressed waif, having nothing, is sent back and told to get something, even a crime, so that he may not go empty-handed into the world of men. Long before Maeterlinck, however, the Parable of the Talents taught how widely men vary both in their natural gifts and in the use they make thereof.

Kirk Meadowcroft was assuredly the man of many talents; but only his close friends saw the effort that he lavished on their development. His writing flows along in what seems at first to be unpremeditated art and novel ideas weave themselves into a Bayeux tapestry under his skillful hand; but perennial labour was necessary to accumulate the plenteous stores from which he drew the stuff his genius fashioned. Although he owed much to a divine curiosity it is clear that objects and events did not yield their secrets to him until after an intensive and well-thought-out siege and attack. The talent of order was his in full . . .

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