The Tidal Wave of Fiction

No teacher of writing, myself included, dares speak of the subterranean power available to every writer, if that writer will but take the time to brood on the matter and unearth it. … The less excellences of great writers rarely occur to us, because their works are overwhelming. When most modern writers come in for our praise, it is because of their little tricks or little twists. When Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, George Eliot, or Chekhov are recalled, it is as if a tidal wave is washing over us. We cannot catch our breath. If I have taught you only to write so that your contemporaries may say nice things about you, I have failed you. I should have been teaching you that the one goal you must aim for is the stunned, silent gratitude of history.

– Roger Rosenblatt, Unless It Moves the Human Heart, p. 152.

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