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Tue Apr 04 19:13:25 2017 1 The Project Gutenberg eBook, Robert Louis Stevenson, by Walter Raleigh This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.
You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at Title: Robert Louis Stevenson Author: Walter Raleigh Release Date: January 17, 2007 [eBook #333] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII) ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON*** Transcribed from the 1906 Edward Arnold edition by David Price, email ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON BY WALTER RALEIGH PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD AUTHOR OF ’STYLE,’ ’MILTON,’ ’WORDSWORTH,’ ETC. _FOURTH IMPRESSION_ LONDON EDWARD ARNOLD 41 & 43 MADDOX STREET, BOND STREET, W. 1906 THE GREATER PART OF THIS ESSAY WAS GIVEN AS A LECTURE AT THE ROYAL INSTITUTION ON THE 17TH OF MAY 1895 ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON When a popular writer dies, the question it has become the fashion with a Tue Apr 04 19:13:25 2017 2 nervous generation to ask is the question, ’Will he live?’ There was no idler question, none more hopelessly impossible and unprofitable to answer.
It is one of the many vanities of criticism to promise immortality to the authors that it praises, to patronise a writer with the assurance that our great-grandchildren, whose time and tastes are thus frivolously mortgaged, will read his works with delight.
But ’there is no antidote against the opium of time, which temporally considereth all things: our fathers find their graves in our short memories, and sadly tell us how we may be buried in our survivors.’ Let us make sure that our sons will care for Homer before we pledge a more distant generation to a newer cult. Nevertheless, without handling the prickly question of literary immortality, it is easy to recognise that the literary ...

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