The Man of Letters as a Man of Business - William Dean Howells - Страница 1 из 47


"THE MAN OF LETTERS AS A MAN OF BUSINESS"
by
William Dean Howells
I think that every man ought to work for his living, without exception,
and that when he has once avouched his willingness to work, society
should provide him with work and warrant him a living. I do not think
any man ought to live by an art. A man's art should be his privilege,
when he has proven his fitness to exercise it, and has otherwise earned
his daily bread; and its results should be free to all. There is an
instinctive sense of this, even in the midst of the grotesque confusion
of our economic being; people feel that there is something profane,
something impious, in taking money for a picture, or a poem, or a
statue. Most of all, the artist himself feels this. He puts on a bold
front with the world, to be sure, and brazens it out as Business; but
he knows very well that there is something false and vulgar in it; and
that the work which cannot be truly priced in money cannot be truly
paid in money. He can, of course, say that the priest takes money for
reading the marriage service, for christening the new-born babe, and
for saying the last office for the dead; that the physician sells
healing; that justice itself is paid for; and that he is merely a party
to the thing that is and must be. He can say that, as the thing is,
unless he sells his art he cannot live, that society will leave him to
starve if he does not hit its fancy in a picture, or a poem, or a
statue; and all this is bitterly true. He is, and he must be, only too


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