lundi 7 novembre 2011

Augusta Jane Evans, ST. ELMO, New York, G. W. Carleton & Co., 1867, 571 pages.

For several weeks her book had been announced as in press, and her publishers printed most flattering circulars, which heightened expectation, and paved the way for its favorable reception. Save the first chapter, rejected by
Page 443 Mr. Manning long before, no one had seen the MS.; and while the reading public was on the qui vive, the author was rapidly maturing the plot of a second work.
        Finally, the book was bound; editors' copies winged their way throughout the country; the curious eagerly supplied themselves with the latest publication; and Edna's destiny as an author hung in the balance.
        It was with strange emotions that she handled the copy sent to her, for it seemed indeed a part of herself. She knew that her own heart was throbbing in its pages, and wondered whether the great world-pulses would beat in unison.
        Instead of a preface she had quoted on the title-page those pithy lines in "Aurora Leigh":

                       "My critic Belfair wants a book
                       Entirely different, which will sell and live;
                       A striking book, yet not a startling book--
                       The public blamos originalities.
                       You must not pump spring-water unawares
                       Upon a gracious public full of nerves--
                       Good things, not subtle--new, yet orthodox;
                       As easy reading as the dog-eared page
                       That's fingered by said public fifty years,
                       Since first taught spelling by its grandmother,
                       And yet a revelation in some sort:
                       That's hard, my critic Belfair!"
        Now, as Edna nestled her fingers among the pages of her book, a tear fell and moistened them, and the unvoiced language of her soul was, "Grandpa! do you keep close enough to me to read my book? Oh! do you like it? are you satisfied? Are you proud of your poor little Pearl?"

p. 442-443

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