word craft


The true human tradition

Aspects of the NovelNot exact­ly a Thanks­giv­ing mes­sage, but what I quote below is from E.M Forster, a writer, and man I great­ly admire. His Aspects of the Nov­el, is a fun­da­men­tal primer for any­one inter­est­ing in writ­ing a novel.

I do not know where this comes from in his volu­mi­nous work, but I am hap­py to pass it on as a Thanks­giv­ing (or any day) thought.

“I believe in aris­toc­ra­cy, though—if that is the right word, and if a demo­c­rat may use it. Not an aris­toc­ra­cy of pow­er, based upon rank and influ­ence, but an aris­toc­ra­cy of the sen­si­tive, the con­sid­er­ate and the plucky. Its mem­bers are to be found in all nations and class­es, and all through the ages, and there is a secret under­stand­ing between them when they meet. They rep­re­sent the true human tra­di­tion, the one per­ma­nent vic­to­ry of our queer race over cru­el­ty and chaos. Thou­sands of them per­ish in obscu­ri­ty, a few are great names. They are sen­si­tive for oth­ers as well as them­selves, they are con­sid­er­ate with­out being fussy, their pluck is not swank­i­ness but pow­er to endure, and they can take a joke.”

1 thought on “The true human tradition”

  1. A gold­en quote for today … with appre­ci­a­tion for my author friends who intro­duce us to these char­ac­ters — “the sen­si­tive, the con­sid­er­ate, and the plucky … and they can take a joke.” We can all, kids AND grown-ups, learn a lot from them. Hap­py Thanks­giv­ing, Avi!


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