Classics Archive - Classic Books Online
     Home  |   Search  |   Download eBooks  |   FAQs  |   Contact  |   Resources
 

The Man of Letters as a Man of Business - William Dean Howells

Download: The Man of Letters as a Man of Business - William Dean Howells


First Page | Previous Page | Page 1 of 44 | Next Page | Last Page


"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
First Page | Previous Page | Page 1 of 44 | Next Page | Last Page