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The Principles of Success in Literature by George Henry Lewes
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LITERATURE***


THE PRINCIPLES OF SUCCESS IN LITERATURE

by

George Henry Lewes

This eBook was prepared by Roland Cheney.

In the development of the great series of animal organisms, the Nervous
System assumes more and more of an imperial character. The rank held by
any animal is determined by this character, and not at all by its bulk,
its strength, or even its utility. In like manner, in the development
of the social organism, as the life of nations becomes more complex,
Thought assumes a more imperial character; and Literature, in its
widest sense, becomes a delicate index of social evolution. Barbarous
societies show only the germs of literary life. But advancing
civilisation, bringing with it increased conquest over material
agencies, disengages the mind from the pressure of immediate wants, and
the loosened energy finds in leisure both the demand and the means of a
new activity: the demand, because long unoccupied hours have to be
rescued from the weariness of inaction; the means, because this call
upon the energies nourishes a greater ambition and furnishes a wider
arena.

Literature is at once the cause and the effect of social progress. It
deepens our natural sensibilities, and strengthens by exercise our
intellectual capacities. It stores up the accumulated experience of the