A Divided Heart: And Other Stories

A Divided Heart: And Other Stories

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A Divided Heart: And Other Stories

A Divided Heart: And Other Stories

Read FREE!

Excerpt

It occasionally happens that a reader expecting to find the customary account of an author's early struggles for bread and knowledge, his bitter disappointments, his late and almost joyless success, is surprised by the record of a singularly fortunate life; of a life which advances easily and naturally from a peaceful and promising childhood to an equally peaceful, famous old age. Goethe's was such a life; and reading it, one feels that sharp encounter with the hardest facts of existence would have lessened his greatness, would have disturbed that perfect serenity of soul which made him philosopher as well as poet, and fostered his fidelity to high ideals of life and art.

A countryman of Goethe's, Paul Heyse, born in Berlin in 1830, two years before the great poet's death, was no less fortunate in the lot to which fate assigned him. Heyse's power was unlike Goethe's in kind and degree, but the opportunities for its development were equally favorable. His father was a philologist and lexicographer, whose home was comfortable and refined, and whose friends were cultured and literary. He took charge of his son's early education, and naturally laid great stress on language, inculcating the love for purity and exactness in its use, which is one of Heyse's best qualities. Stimulated by the atmosphere of his home, and by these studies in literary technique, Heyse began to try his skill in original work at a very early age, and was only seventeen years old when his first book, "Jungbrunnen: New Tales by a Travelling Scholar," appeared. Although this production encouraged his friends in the belief that a great future lay before him, it made no impression whatever on the world at large, and the young author pursued his studies at the Berlin University without astounding anyone by phenomenal brilliancy or success.

Finishing at Berlin, he betook himself to Bonn, and spent a year studying Romance . . .

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