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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 1: discontinuance of the guide-board (search)
ut granting these simple conditions fulfilled, the writer of fiction should surely be allowed henceforth to wind up his story in his own way, without formal proclamation of his moral; or, better still, to leave the tale without technical and elaborate winding up, as nature leaves her stories. His work is a great one, to bring comedy and even tragedy down from the old traditions of kingliness to the vaster and more complex currents of modern democratic life. When the elder Scaliger wrote, in 1561, that work on Poetry which so long ruled the traditions of European literature, he defined the difference between tragedy and comedy to consist largely in this — that tragedy concerned itself only with kings, princes, cities, citadels, and camps; in tragoedia reges, principles, ex urbibus, arcibus, castris. All these things are now changed. Kings, princes, camps, citadels are passing away, and the cities that will soon alone survive them are filled with a democratic world, which awaits its c