Sunday, June 04, 2006

Edith Wharton...

“In the eyes of our provincial society authorship was still regarded as something between a black art and a form of manual labor.”

Advice to Edith Wharton on criticism from Walter Berry:

“He taught me never to be satisfied with my own work, but never to let my inward conviction as to the rightness of anything I had done be affected by outside opinion.”

Berry’s advice to Wharton on giving criticism:

“Yet when the novel was done, I remember how meticulously he studied it from the point of view of language, marking down faulty syntax and false metaphors, smiling away over-emphasis and unnecessary repetitions, helping me patiently through the beginner’s perplexities, yet never laying hands on what he considered sacred: the soul of the novel, which is (or should be) the writer’s own soul.”

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