Of the creative spirits that flourished in Concord, Massachusetts, it might be said that Hawthorne loved men but felt estranged from them, Emerson loved ideas even more than men, and Thoreau loved himself.
The secret of biography resides in finding the link between talent and achievement. A biography seems irrelevant if it doesnt discover the overlap between what the individual did and the life that made this possible. Without discovering that, you have shapeless happenings and gossip.
The answer to old age is to keep one's mind busy and to go on with one's life as if it were interminable. I always admired Chekhov for building a new house when he was dying of tuberculosis.
Henry James joyously engaged in the act of writing. A good day's writing gave him a sense of strength, of control over chaos, a victory of order and clarity over the confused battle of existence.
The biographer who writes the life of his subjects self-concept passes through a fade into the inner house of life.
Any biographer must of necessity become a pilgrim a peripatetic, obsessed literary pilgrim, a traveler with four eyes.
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