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On the Art of Writing - Lectures delivered in the University of Cambridge 1913-1914
by Arthur Quiller-Couch
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Seraphically free From taint of personality.

And Flaubert, that gladiator among artists, held that, at its highest, literary art could be carried into pure science. 'I believe,' said he, 'that great art is scientific and impersonal. You should by an intellectual effort transport yourself into characters, not draw them into yourself. That at least is the method.' On the other hand, says Goethe, 'We should endeavour to use words that correspond as closely as possible with what we feel, see, think, imagine, experience, and reason. It is an endeavour we cannot evade and must daily renew.' I call Flaubert's the better counsel, even though I have spent a part of this lecture in attempting to prove it impossible. It at least is noble, encouraging us to what is difficult. The shrewder Goethe encourages us to exploit ourselves to the top of our bent. I think Flaubert would have hit the mark if for 'impersonal' he had substituted 'disinterested.'

For—believe me, Gentlemen—so far as Handel stands above Chopin, as Velasquez above Greuze, even so far stand the great masculine objective writers above all who appeal to you by parade of personality or private sentiment.

Mention of these great masculine 'objective' writers brings me to my last word: which is, 'Steep yourselves in them: habitually bring all to the test of them: for while you cannot escape the fate of all style, which is to be personal, the more of catholic manhood you inherit from those great loins the more you will assuredly beget.'

This then is Style. As technically manifested in Literature it is the power to touch with ease, grace, precision, any note in the gamut of human thought or emotion.

But essentially it resembles good manners. It comes of endeavouring to understand others, of thinking for them rather than for yourself—of thinking, that is, with the heart as well as the head. It gives rather than receives; it is nobly careless of thanks or applause, not being fed by these but rather sustained and continually refreshed by an inward loyalty to the best. Yet, like 'character' it has its altar within; to that retires for counsel, from that fetches its illumination, to ray outwards. Cultivate, Gentlemen, that habit of withdrawing to be advised by the best. So, says Fenelon, 'you will find yourself infinitely quieter, your words will be fewer and more effectual; and while you make less ado, what you do will be more profitable.'

[Footnote 1: 'An oration,' says Quintilian, 'may find room for almost any word saving a few indecent ones (quae sunt parum verecunda).' He adds that writers of the Old Comedy were often commended even for these: 'but it is enough for us to mind our present business—sed nobis nostrum opus intueri sat est.']



INDEX

Abelard 203, 205, 212 Abercrombie, Lascelles 18 Addison, Joseph 124, 172 Alcuin 199, 200, 204, 205 Alfred, King 186 Aristophanes 192 Aristotle 128, 203, 227 Arnold, Matthew 35, 76, 139, 186, 202 "Arte of Rhetorique," Wilson's 118 Ascham, Roger 121, 188 Augustine 199

Bacon, Lord 6, 7, 10, 220, 231 Bagehot, Walter 216 "Ballata" 45 Barbour, John 112 Barrie, Sir James Matthew 17, 135 Bede 204 Beerbohm, Max 222 Belisarius 175 Bentham, Jeremy 97 "Beowulf" 159-165 Beranger, Pierre-Jean de 45 Berners, Lord 108-110,120 Bible, The: Authorised Version 53, 97, 110, 122 et seq., 141, 143, 190 Revised Version 131-133 Blair, Wilfred 80 Blake, William 12 Boccaccio 184 Boethius 203 Bologna, University of 200-1, 206 Borneil, Giraud de 181 Boswell, James 238 Bridges, Robert 19 Brooke, the Rev. Stopford A. 159 Brougham, Ld 47, 101 Browne, Sir Thomas 10, 51, 124, 168, 232 Browning, Robert 39, 186 Buffon 245 Bunyan, John 124 Burke, Edmund 27, 28, 46, 47-52, 101 Burns, Robert 45 Butler, Arthur John 20

Caedmon 163 Cambridge 201 et seqq. Campion, Thomas 185, 188 Carducci, Giosue 154-5 Carlyle, Thomas 18, 103, 245 Cellini, Benvenuto 41 Cervantes 7, 25 Chadwick, Professor H. M. 163 Chair of English Literature, University Ordinance 7 Chambers, E. K. 199 Champeaux, William of 205 Chaucer, Geoffrey 10, 110-111, 163, 183, 184, 219 Chesterton, Gilbert K. 233 Chichester, Richard of 211 Cicero 28, 49 Clare, John 39 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor 41, 64, 65 Conington, John 171-2 Courthope, W. J. 13, 158, 184, 199 Coverdale, Miles 124 Cowley, Abraham 185 Cowper, William 186 Crewe, Ld Chief Justice 7 Cynewulf 163

Daniel, Samuel 185, 188 Dante 77, 184 Darwin, Charles 221 Defoe, Daniel 61, 75. Dekker, Thomas 65 De La Mare, Walter 237 De Quincey, Thomas 54 Desiderius, Archbishop 199 Dionysius of Halicarnassus 28 Donne, John 102, 106, 185 Dryden, John 172, 186, 227 "Duchess of Malfy," Webster's 99 Dunbar 10

'Eliot, George' 11 Emerson, Ralph Waldo 11

Falconer, William 79 Falkner, J. Meade 168-9 Fenelon 248 FitzGerald, Edward 97 Flaubert, Gustave 247 Fletcher, John 13 Fowler, W. H. and F. G. 90, 137 Freeman, Professor E. A. 158, 160, 174-179, 186 "Froissart," Berners' 108 Froude, James Anthony 78 Fuller, Thomas 206

Gibbon, Edward 124, 216 Gildas 175 Goethe 103, 247 Gray, Thomas 11, 16, 136, 157-8, 162 Green, J. R. 158 Green, T. H. 8 Gregory the Great, Pope 199 Grierson, Professor H. J. C. 185

Hamilton, Sir William 213 Hardy, Thomas 18 Harris, Frank 240 Harvey, Gabriel 185, 216-7 Heine, Heinrich 45 Herbert, George 133 "Hero and Leander," Marlowe's 98 Herodotus 44, 63 Homer 25, 64, 69, 76-78, 80, 81, 161, 190, 228 Horace 171-2 Housman, Professor A. E. 222

Ibsen 96 Irnerius 206 Isaiah 130-133

Jackson, Dr Henry 213 Johnson, Samuel 11, 37, 69, 121, 172, 238 Jonson, Ben 129, 146, 185, 219, 220 Jowett, Benjamin 29 Jusserand, J. J. 182 Juvenal, 172

Keats, John 16, 39, 186 Kempis, Thomas a 15 Ker, Professor W. P. 160, 199 Kipling, Rudyard 61

Lamb, Charles 41 Lessing 81, 227, 244 Lindsay, the Rev. T. M., D.D. 118 Lloyd George, the Right Hon. David 137-8 Lucian 6, 160, 192, 228, 245 Lucretius 193

Malory, Sir Thomas 107-110, 120 Marlowe, Christopher 98-9, 185, 220 Marvell, Andrew 185 Mason, William 157 Masson, David 12 McKenna, the Right Hon. Reginald 137-8 Meredith, George 243, 247 Milton, John 1, 10, 16, 43, 56-62, 74-76, 124, 152, 185, 195, 238 Minto, Professor William 245 Moore, Thomas 45 Morris, William 188 Mullinger, J. Bass 205, 219 Murray, Professor Gilbert 193

Nashe, Thomas 120 Newman, Cardinal 5, 30, 31-2, 115, 134, 144, 147, 234 Newton, Sir Isaac 221 Noyes, Alfred 78 "Nut-Brown Maid, The" 111

Oates, Captain 42 Origen 195, 202 Oxford 201 et seq.

Paris, University of 200, 205 Pater, Walter 77, 222 Patmore, Coventry 245 Payne, E. J. 100-103 "Pervigilium Veneris" 151, 194 Pheidias 14 Philosophy and Poetry 1 Piers Plowman 163, 182 "Pilgrimage to Parnassus, The" 217-220 Plato 1-4, 150, 205 Pliny 152-3 Podsnap (see Freeman) Poggio 205 Pope, Alexander 157, 162 Powell, F. York 159 Provencal Song 181-183 Pythagoras 208

Quintilian 29, 140, 240

Raleigh, Professor Sir Walter 9 Rashdall, Hastings 208-213 Remigius 206 Renan 1 Reynolds, Sir Joshua 23-25

Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustus 20 Saintsbury, Prof. George 55, 56, 187 Salamanca, University of 200 Scott, The Antarctic Expedition 42 Severus, Sulpicius 199 Shakespeare, William 15, 41, 50, 51-2, 97-100, 113, 129, 185, 190, 197, 219, 229, 246 Shaw, George Bernard 72 Shelley 40 Shirley, James 106 Sidgwick, Henry 232 Sidney, Sir Philip 41-2 Skeat, Walter W. 12 "Sonata" 45 South, Robert 102 Spenser, Edmund 185, 206, 217, 219 Stevenson, Robert Louis 133 Stubbs, Bishop W. 44 'Student's Handbook, The' 72-3 Swift, Jonathan 61 Swinburne, Algernon 196

Taylor, Jeremy 68-9 Tennyson, Lord 75, 186 Tertullian 195, 198, 202 Thackeray, William Makepeace 124 Thompson, Francis 241 Thomson, James 39 Toulouse, University of 208 Tyndale, William 122, 126, 127

Vacarius 206 Ventadour, Bernard de 181 "Venus and Adonis" 98-9 Verrall, Dr A. W. 7 Vigfusson, Gudbrand 159 Virgil 25, 80, 194, 200 Voltaire 192

Waller, Edmund 85 Walpole, Horatio 173 Walton, Isaak 70-1, 124, 201 Warton, Thomas 158 Watson, E. J. 155 Watson, William 16 Webster, John 99 Wendell, Barrett 97 Whistler, James McNeill 236 Whitman, Walt 53, 56 "Widsith" 60 Wolfe, General 134 Wood, Anthony 184 Wordsworth, William 11, 12, 55, 67, 68, 129, 146, 186, 204, 210 Wright, Aldis 12 Wyat, Sir Thomas 115-118, 184 Wyclif, John 124, 127

Yeats, William Butler 143 Young, Arthur 171



Cambridge: Printed by J. B. Peace, M.A., at the University Press.

THE END

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