You can see the meaning of the statement that "Literature is a living art" most easily and clearly, perhaps, by contrasting Science and Art at their two extremes - say Pure Mathematics and Acting. Science as a rule deals with things, Art with man's thought and emotion about things.
His way was like other people's; he mounted no high horse; he was just a man and a citizen. He indulged in no Socratic irony. But his discourse was full of Attic grace; those who heard it went away neither disgusted by servility, nor repelled by ill-tempered censure, but on the contrary lifted out of themselves by charity, and encouraged to more orderly, contented, hopeful lives.
peoples quotesmounted quoteshigh quoteshorse quotesman quotescitizen quotesindulged quotessocratic quotesirony quotesdiscourse quotesfull quotesattic quotesgrace quotesheard quotesdisgusted quotesservility quotesrepelled quotesilltempered quotescensure quotescontrary quoteslifted quotescharity quotesencouraged quotesorderly quotescontented quoteshopeful quoteslives quotes
If you crave for Knowledge, the banquet of Knowledge grows and groans on the board until the finer appetite sickens. If, still putting all your trust in Knowledge, you try to dodge the difficulty by specialising, you produce a brain bulging out inordinately on one side, on the other cut flat down and mostly paralytic at that: and in short so long as I hold that the Creator has an idea of a man, so long shall I be sure that no uneven specialist realises it. The real tragedy of the Library at Alexandria was not that the incendiaries burned immensely, but that they had neither the leisure nor the taste to discriminate... but we may agree that, in reading, it is not quantity so much that tells, as quality and thoroughness of digestion.
crave quotesknowledge quotesbanquet quotesknowledge quotesgrows quotesgroans quotesboard quotesfiner quotesappetite quotessickens quotesputting quotestrust quotesdodge quotesdifficulty quotesspecialising quotesproduce quotesbrain quotesbulging quotesinordinately quotesside quotescut quotesflat quotesparalytic quotesshort quoteslong quoteshold quotescreator quotesidea quotesman quotesuneven quotesspecialist quotesrealises quotesreal quotestragedy quoteslibrary quotesalexandria quotesincendiaries quotesburned quotesimmensely quotesleisure quotestaste quotesdiscriminate quotesagree quotesreading quotesquantity quotestells quotesquality quotesthoroughness quotesdigestion quotes
By all means, let us study the great writers of the past for their own sakes, but let us study them for our guidance: that we, in our turn, having (it is to be hoped) something to say in our span of time, say it worthily, not dwindling out the large utterance of Shakespeare or of Burke.
Will you tell me, 'Oh, painting is a special art, whereas anyone can write prose passably well'? Can he, indeed? ... Can you, sir? Nay, believe me, you are either an archangel or a very bourgeois gentleman indeed if you admit to having spoken English prose all your life without knowing it.