Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 17: At Thirty Scott Began to Write (Vol. 25, pp. 410-420)

This selection from Thomas Carlyle's "Sir Walter Scott" might be considered an ode to the late bloomer. Scott showed no signs of being a literary writer until he was 30. He was living a quiet, orderly life, but within that quiet, orderly life, Carlyle said Scott was building himself into the kind of person who's bound to succeed if given the right opportunity at the right time.

"The uttered part of a man's life, let us always repeat, bears to the unlettered unconscious part of an unknown proportion; he himself never knows it, much less do others," writes Carlyle. "Give him room, give him impulse; he reaches down to the infinite with that so straitly-imprisoned of his; and can do miracles if need be!"

Not everybody gets this chance, but Scott was fortunate enough to get his and the result was "Ivanhoe " and a flood of other works. Genius is never enough, you have to have the right circumstances to apply it.

No comments: