No writer, no matter how gifted, immortalizes himself unless he has crystallized into expressive and original phrase the eternal sentiments and yearnings of the human heart.
The study of social progress is today not less needed in literature than is the analysis of the human heart.
Do you know that charming part of our country which has been called the garden of France – that spot where, amid verdant plains watered by wide streams, one inhales the purest air of heaven?
What it values most of all is the sum total of events and the advance of civilization, which carries individuals along with it; but, indifferent to details, it cares less to have them real than noble or, rather, grand and complete.
Of late years (perhaps as a result of our political changes) art has borrowed from history more than ever.
France, for example, loves at the same time history and the drama, because the one explores the vast destinies of humanity, and the other the individual lot of man.
One might almost reckon mathematically that, having undergone the double composition of public opinion and of the author, their history reaches us at third hand and is thus separated by two stages from the original fact.
But it is the province of religion, of philosophy, of pure poetry only, to go beyond life, beyond time, into eternity.
From this, without doubt, sprang the fable. Man created it thus, because it was not given him to see more than himself and nature, which surrounds him; but he created it true with a truth all its own.
The acts of the human race on the world’s stage have doubtless a coherent unity, but the meaning of the vast tragedy enacted will be visible only to the eye of God, until the end, which will reveal it perhaps to the last man.
I think, then, that man, after having satisfied his first longing for facts, wanted something fuller – some grouping, some adaptation to his capacity and experience, of the links of this vast chain of events which his sight could not take in.
We shall find in our troubled hearts, where discord reigns, two needs which seem at variance, but which merge, as I think, in a common source – the love of the true, and the love of the fabulous.