I do not count it to the discredit of my mentor, after the lapse of half a century, that he discerned in this something which it is now the fashion to call ‘veal.’
Similar lapses helped to explain the early under-estimate of the Lake school
of poets in England
, and Margaret Fuller
's early criticisms on Lowell
On the other hand, it is commonly true that authors temporarily elevated, in the first rude attempts to solve the equation of fame, have afforded some reason, however inadequate, for their over-appreciation.
, in the essay already quoted, says that no man entirely dupes his epoch, and there is always some basis for the shallowest reputations, though what is truly admirable may find men insensible for a time.
, always profounder than Gautier
, while admitting that popularity varies with the period (la vogue des livres depend du gout des siecles), tells us also that only what is excellent is held in lasting memory (la memoire n'aime que ce qui est excellent), and winds up his essay on the qualities of the writer with the pithy motto, ‘Excel and you will live’ (excelle et tu vivras)!