CHAPTER II
FACTORS IN COMPOSITION

"Of making many books," said the Preacher, "there is no end." But the multiplicity of the act, more obvious as it is in our day than it was two thousand years ago, should not conceal from us its complex character. That which is common is not always simple. In animal and plant life the most familiar processes are sometimes the most complicated. "The meanest flower that blows" suggests the most complicated emotions or the most subtle philosophical question, "what God and man is." How much more remarkable are the miracles of ordinary human thought and action! "What a piece of work is man!" And what a mechanism is the human brain in conscious or subconscious action. This is the machine that lies behind every human writing.

The naïve appreciation of this miracle was expressed in the ancient world by the doctrine of inspiration. Authorship was a superhuman function. The poet or prophet was a man possessed, inspired by the Muses or the holy Spirit; hence the more than human genius that marked his writing. The modern world has lost much of the childish wonder of the past; it takes books for granted as it takes for granted the wonders of nature and of science. In a blasé way it assumes that books write themselves as flowers grow or as watches are turned out by machinery. Instead of adopting either the ancient extreme or the modern one, it is possible for us to examine analytically the human factors of composition.

-12-

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