Stephen Evans

Follow author Add as friend Message author Subscribe to updates from author Subscribe via RSS
Stephen is a playwright and author of The Marriage of True Minds and A Transcendental Journey.

The Mutability of Literature

Language gradually varies, and with it fade away the writings of authors who have flourished their allotted time; otherwise the creative powers of genius would overstock the world, and the mind would be completely bewildered in the endless mazes of literature. Formerly there were some restraints on this excessive multiplication. Works had to be transcribed by hand, which was a slow and laborious operation; they were written either on parchment, which was expensive, so that one work was often erased to make way for another; or on papyrus, which was fragile and extremely perishable. Authorship was a limited and unprofitable craft, pursued chiefly by monks in the leisure and solitude of their cloisters. The accumulation of manuscripts was slow and costly, and confined almost entirely to monasteries. To these circumstances it may, in some measure, be owing that we have not been inundated by the intellect of antiquity—that the fountains of thought have not been broken up, and modern genius drowned in the deluge. But the inventions of paper and the press have put an end to all these restraints. They have made every one a writer, and enabled every mind to pour itself into print, and diffuse itself over the whole intellectual world. The consequences are alarming. The stream of literature has swollen into a torrent—augmented into a river-expanded into a sea. A few centuries since five or six hundred manuscripts constituted a great library; but what would you say to libraries, such as actually exist, containing three or four hundred thousand volumes; legions of authors at the same time busy; and the press going on with fearfully increasing activity, to double and quadruple the number? Unless some unforeseen mortality should break out among the progeny of the Muse, now that she has become so prolific, I tremble for posterity.

 

Washington Irving

The Sketchbook

1819

Recent Comments
Anonymous
1819! If we couldn't have perceived where publishing was going 20 years ago I wonder if Washington Irving could have begun to imag... Read More
Monday, 29 December 2014 11:12
Stephen Evans
Samuel Johnson said: "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." It is hard to keep motivated wondering if anyone will ... Read More
Monday, 29 December 2014 13:21
Anonymous
What would Washington Irving have made of Amazon?
Monday, 29 December 2014 13:30
1844 Hits
4 Comments

Gently with Intent

 

A thought softly intruded 

on the dreadful entropy

which consciousness exuded,

then slipped into a dream,

Santa slapping your youthful face,

gently with intent:

Something finally

makes you stop and think.

 

In the fog you can’t remember

In the haze you can’t regret

In the days that pass for future

In the past that isn’t yet,

there’s a clarity that’s searching

for the fisherman’s net. 

Tags:
Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
Nets are terrifying. St Peter's net is an embrace.
Saturday, 27 December 2014 12:27
Stephen Evans
I call this my Moody Blue period.
Saturday, 27 December 2014 13:55
Rosy Cole
Picasso had one of those. But some of his had guitars. So did the Moody Blues. I was all for putting a dollar each way on opposit... Read More
Saturday, 27 December 2014 16:13
1546 Hits
10 Comments

L'arte non è mai Finita

It was Leonardo da Vinci who said that Art is never finished, only abandoned.

I didn't even know he had read my work.

1186 Hits
0 Comments

Clouds

Clouds are nocturnal:

lazy by Day,

charging cross Sky

feeding on Night.

 

Without Clouds

there would be

no Morning.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Fog-in-the-Mountains---Resized.jpg

Tags:
Recent comment in this post
Virginia M Macasaet
i like this! brief, yet profound.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 21:52
1588 Hits
1 Comment

Writing For Life

We are a small, friendly community who value writing as a tool for developing a brighter understanding of the world and humanity. We share our passions and experiences with one another and with a public readership. ‘Guest’ comments are welcome. No login is required. In Social Media we are happy to include interesting articles by other writers on any of the themes below. Enjoy!


Latest Blogs

A friend recently reminded me of the power in kindness when she asked, what makes an urban area kind? My first thought was, how can an object or mass...
The other evening, my wife and I went for a stroll along the Thames Path  not far from London's Chelsea Harbour and stopped to sit awhile in a  deligh...
“I was inspired by the marvelous example of Giacometti, the great sculptor. He always said that his dream was to do a bust so small that it could ente...
Over the years, I’ve written about some of life’s certainties — birth, death, time and change. You can guarantee we will all experience those things. ...

Latest Comments

Nicholas Mackey A life in trees
08 August 2020
Thank you, Rosy for reading and commenting.
Stephen Evans The Lessons of Gurnemanz
06 August 2020
Interesting -thank you! have to see if I can find those books. The Osiris story is in my Emerson p...
Rosy Cole The Lessons of Gurnemanz
06 August 2020
I read this today in Eliot's notes on The Wasteland:Not only the title, but the plan and a good deal...
Monika Schott PhD Expectations
03 August 2020
Rosy, I'm so touched by your beautiful description of my writing, it's never been described in that ...
Rosy Cole A life in trees
02 August 2020
Trees have such awesome vigour and staying power. There's a silver birch, fifty or sixty feet high, ...