Notes on Novelists: With Some Other Notes

Notes on Novelists: With Some Other Notes

Notes on Novelists: With Some Other Notes

Notes on Novelists: With Some Other Notes

Excerpt

IT was the happy fortune of Robert Louis Stevenson to have created beyond any man of his craft in our day a body of readers inspired with the feelings that we for the most part place at the service only of those for whom our affection is personal. There was no one who knew the man, one may safely assert, who was not also devoted to the writer -- conforming in this respect to a general law (if law it be) that shows us many exceptions; but, naturally and not inconveniently, it had to remain far from true that all devotees of the writer were able to approach the man. The case was nevertheless that the man somehow approached them , and that to read him -- certainly to read him with the full sense of his charm -- came to mean for many persons much the same as to "meet" him. It was as if he wrote himself outright and altogether, rose straight to the surface of his prose, and still more of his happiest verse; so that these things gave out, besides whatever else, his look and motions and voice, showed his life and manners, all that there was of him, his "tremendous secrets" not excepted. We grew in short to possess him entire, and the example is the more curious and beautiful as he neither made a business of "confession" nor cultivated most those forms through which the ego shines. His great successes were sup-

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