Fortitude

Fortitude

Fortitude

Fortitude

Excerpt

By Hugh Walpole

I HAVE been asked to write a short Preface to this new edition of Fortitude in the Modern Library.

I am very proud that Fortitude should be included in the "Modern Library" company. I am not going to add, in the modern mock-modest manner, "company much too fine for it." Every book has its own colour and must stand on its own feet; where it is placed there it must stay.

But I am compelled to remark that, after twenty years, Fortitude seems to me to have been written by someone whom I never knew; that is, it has a romantic belief in fairy-tales that the present writer feels that he never could have had. But it has a freshness too, a freshness born of its very naïveté and sincerity, and it is that freshness and that sincerity that has kept it alive when so many more realistic and more truthful novels have vanished.

Its publication in England marked the turning-point of my literary life, and as that turning-point has much to do with America I will recount it here.

I had already published three novels. One of them, Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill (in America The Gods and Mr. Perrin) had had a succes d'estime but none of the three had sold at all.

I spent two years over Fortitude and into the writing of it threw all the "everything" that I possessed. It was to be, I told myself, not only my masterpiece but the masterpiece of my time. I had then, at the age of twenty-five, a self-confidence that I would give many things to possess now. I really agonized and sweated about that book; I

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