Edward Rowland Sill: His Life and Work

Edward Rowland Sill: His Life and Work

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Edward Rowland Sill: His Life and Work

Edward Rowland Sill: His Life and Work

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Excerpt

It is more than ten years since, in a burst of enthusiasm and admiration, I undertook to prepare a "Life" ofSill. Enthusiasm and admiration have continued unabated, but circumstances interposed to delay the work; not, I am now inclined to think, to its detriment. Had I gone forward unimpeded, working out the plan I then had in mind, the result would have been different, partaking of the nature of essay and criticism. But midway of my task I fell under the influence of that great master of the art of biography, Sir Leslie Stephen, whose dicta upon the subject changed the course I was taking. "Nobody," said he, "ever wrote a dull autobiography"; and he added, "The biographer can never quite equal the autobiographer, but with a sufficient supply of letters he may approach very closely to the same result." About the same time a saying of Sill's, which I had probably read half a dozen times without seeing its application to the matter in hand, came home to me and reinforced the remarks of Sir Leslie,-- "Let a man write about himself. It's the only fellow he knows anything about." These have been my sailing . . .

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