Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for May 22nd, 2011

“An obscure and profane life”

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[Shakespeare] was master of the revels to mankind…As long as the question is of talent and mental power, the world of men has not his equal to show. But when the question is, to life and its materials and its auxiliaries, how does he profit me?…Other admirable men have led lives in some sort of keeping with their thought; but this man, in wide contrast. Had he been less, had he reached only the common measure of great authors, of Bacon, Milton, Tasso, Cervantes, we might leave the fact in the twilight of human fate: but that this man of men, he who gave to the science of mind a new and larger subject than had ever existed, and planted the standard of humanity some furlongs forward into Chaos,—that he should not be wise for himself;—it must even go into the world’s history that the best poet led an obscure and profane life, using his genius for the public amusement.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Representative Men

Written by nevalalee

May 22, 2011 at 9:56 am

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