Saturday, April 26, 2014

Israel Zangwill The Penalties of Fame

Taken from the article "The Penalties of Fame" from the 1896 compilation Without Prejudice by the novelist, playwright, and humorist Israel Zangwill (1864-1926):

The conductor of a penny journal, not unconnected with literary tit-bits, honoured me with a triple interrogatory.  This professional Rosa Dartle wanted to know –

(1) The condition under which your write your novels.
(2) How you get your plots and characters.
(3) How you find your titles.

I was very busy.  I was very modest.  But the accompanying assurance that an anxious world was on the qui vive for the information appealed to my higher self, and I took up my pen and wrote: –

(1) The conditions under which I write my novels can be better imagined than described.
(2) My plots and characters I get from the MSS. submitted to me by young authors, whose clever but crude ideas I hate to see wasted.  I always read everything sent to me, and would advise young authors to encourage younger authors to send them their efforts.
(3) As for my titles, they are the only things I work out for myself, and you will therefore excuse me if I preserve a measure of reticence as to the method by which I get them.

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