Chapter 4: literature as a pursuit
graduated at Bowdoin College in June, 1825.
There was in his mind, apparently, from the first, that definiteness of purpose which is so often wanting when a student takes his first college degree.
There was for him no doubt or hesitation: it must be literature or nothing; and this not merely from a preference for the pursuit, but from an ambition, willingly acknowledged, to make a name in that direction.
He writes to his friend, George W. Wells
, ‘Somehow, and yet I hardly know why, I am unwilling to study any profession.
I cannot make a lawyer of any eminence, because I have not a talent for argument; I am not good enough for a minister,—and as to physic, I utterly and absolutely detest it.’
Even a year before this, he had written to his father a letter of some moment, dated March 13, 1824, containing the following ominous passage: ‘I am curious to know what you do intend to make of me,— whether I am to study a profession or not; and if so, what profession.
I hope your ideas upon ’