Thursday, 25 April 2013

George Eliot's Pencil

The pencil is conscious of a delightful facility in drawing a griffin—the longer the claws, and the larger the wings, the better; but that marvellous facility which we mistook for genius is apt to forsake us when we want to draw a real unexaggerated lion. Examine your words well, and you will find that even when you have no motive to be false, it is a very hard thing to say the exact truth, even about your own immediate feelings—much harder than to say something fine about them which is not the exact truth.

George Eliot, Adam Bede (1859)

George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880), English novelist and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She used a male pen name because she wanted to be taken seriously and avoid being stereotyped as female writer of lighthearted romances.

1 comment:

  1. I can draw the very occasional caricature that by sheer luck suggests artistic training, as though I might be able to pull off a realistic sketch. I have no artistic training, and a well-rendered realistic sketch is beyond me.

    I've done a little small-time politicking, and the artful distortions and cultivated passions of the public arena beat simple truth any day (at least in the States). I can point to a few political brawls where, I'm confident, almost no one could make simple assertions of fact about what they were quarreling over. One faction possesses some advantage that it has somehow gained over another faction, and the former will fight to retain it. Eliot is right. Jack/USA