The Confessions of an Individualist

The Confessions of an Individualist

The Confessions of an Individualist

The Confessions of an Individualist

Excerpt

The field of autobiography has certainly not been neglected in recent years. This is especially true as regards members of the newspaper trade. So the publication of my own life story seems to call for an explanation, if not for an apology.

I should never have commenced this work if it had not been for the encouragement of sympathetic and considerate publishers. Once fairly engaged on it, however, I found it quite pleasant. There are few of us, I imagine, who do not enjoy writing about ourselves, recalling our own pasts.

The first indispensable quality of self-description is sincerity. This I think I have preserved throughout the book. Nothing seems to me more ridiculous than affectation of any kind; and I hope this makes for a certain realism in the delicate task of describing myself. The traits of my character and personality, my tastes and interests, I think, come out quite clearly not only in the chapters which are predominantly biographical, but in those which range over a wider field. Although, since leaving college, I have followed a profession which enjoys an exaggerated popular reputation for blood-curdling adventure, I have always esteemed reflection above action and found ideas more exciting, as well as more interesting, than bombs.

Sincerity, obviously, is not enough, as anyone knows who has been cornered by a bore with an irresistible weakness for personal reminiscences. Anyone who is presumptuous enough to offer the account of his life to the world should have a story to tell and should know how to tell it. It is for my readers to judge whether I possess these qualifications.

Trying to look at my own work through the eyes of an outside critic, I would say that its chief characteristic is a certain independence of viewpoint.

The author has been an immature but earnest freethinker in a . . .

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