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The equation of fame

The aim of all criticism is really to solve the equation of fame and to find what literary work is of real value. For convenience, the critic assumes the attitude of infallibility. He really knows better in his own case, being commonly an author also. The curious thing is that, by a sort of comity of the profession, the critic who is an author assumes that other critics are infallible also, or at least a body worthy of vast deference. He is as sensitive to the praise or blame of his contemporaries as he would have them toward himself. He bows his head before the ‘London Press’ or the ‘New York Press’ as meekly as if he did not know full well that these august bodies are made up of just such weak and unstable mortals as he knows himself to be. At the Saville Club in London an American is introduced to some beardless youth, and presently, when some slashing criticism is mentioned, in the Academy

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