Fountain of Life: Being the Impressions and Comments of Havelock Ellis

Fountain of Life: Being the Impressions and Comments of Havelock Ellis

Fountain of Life: Being the Impressions and Comments of Havelock Ellis

Fountain of Life: Being the Impressions and Comments of Havelock Ellis

Excerpt

Some final word is needed, I am told, now that these three series of Impressions and Comments are at last brought together in one volume. I am not sure that I myself feel the need. Indeed, I am rather inclined to be of Paul Valéry's opinion that 'when once the work has appeared, its interpretation by the author has no more value than that by any one else.' So let it be understood that any remarks I here make about this work, which was completed seven years ago and could not be changed for better or for worse without changing its whole character, are mostly remarks that any attentive reader might make.

We are not here presented, as some have supposed, with 'extracts from a Diary.' There is no Diary. The utterances here brought forward were either evoked in natural response to some impact from the environment, or they arose, in a more spontaneous and involuntary way, at any moment of the day or night, and were at once scribbled down in pencil on any scrap of paper at hand. When they were not thus swiftly caught, they were usually lost to memory, as are dreams, which come to us fully formed out of the unconscious and quickly fall back into it. At leisure these scribbled papers were carefully copied out, any necessary verbal alteration or clarification, seldom other than slight, being at the same time made, but no changes in substance. If, on consideration, the substance seemed to me unsatisfactory, I simply destroyed the whole. It is because these papers admitted of no change in substance that they were dated, for each is the expression of the moment at which it arose, and might not . . .

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